Episode 47 - Fisher’s Fabulous Find and Could Your DNA Recreate An Ancestor’s Face?!

podcast episode Jul 07, 2014

Fisher’s Family Histoire News covers the passing of the last of the 29 original Navajo Code Talkers, whose unique code was never broken by the Japanese in World War II.  Plus, the original words to what became our National Anthem have been reunited with the flag the inspired them.  Learn where you can see this remarkable display.

Photo expert Ron Fox returns to the show.  Ron was on just a few weeks ago talking about collecting things relating to your ancestors.  Fisher took his advice and, recognizing he was letting an opportunity slip away, went to work.  The result was a haul of family history treasures, some dating back over 160 years, that left him speechless.  Fisher and Fox discuss the particulars and how you could potentially do the same thing.

Dr. Mark Shriver from Penn State then joins the show by phone to discuss his experiments into how DNA might one day soon be able to “predict” your ancestor’s face!  Sounds like science fiction, but Dr. Shriver says not so.

And Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com shocks Fisher with an answer to a listener question about how to get at your grandparents’ old movies.  Tom then gives important contact information to assure you get proper permissions for use of copyrighted materials when using them in family history presentations.

Transcript of Episode 47

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Ron Fox

Segment 1 Episode 47

Fisher: Welcome aboard Genies! Its Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And I've got to tell you, I have had a week! You'll remember a few weeks back, antique photograph expert, Ron Fox came on the show and we talked about collecting your ancestors and how to find things tied to them on places like eBay, as well as by tracking down other descendants of particular ancestors. Well, after that show, I realized I was letting one particular opportunity slip away, so I employed option B, and did it pay off! I received a very special box last weekend. What was in it? I will tell you in about three minutes. And Ron Fox will be back to give his take on this find. There's a method to the madness. And you can do this too. Then, later in the show, he's a scientist who's working on an experiment that may one day result, now theoretically of course, in us being able to see what our ancestors looked like as a result of our DNA. We'll talk to Doctor Mark Shriver of Penn State University about this out of the box research project. Sounds like science fiction. And then, Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com is back to deal with a listener question about dealing with grandparents who won't allow you to borrow their old movies so they can be digitized. You might be shocked at his answer. On our ExtremeGenes.com poll from last week, we asked, "Do you have an ancestor who fought for the Confederacy?" Almost half, 48% said yes. Our new poll for this week asks, "Are you taking a family history vacation this summer?" And yes, that can include a reunion. Cast your vote now at ExtremeGenes.com. Well, just a reminder, if you missed any of our passed shows or there's one you'd like to hear again, catch the podcast at iTunes, iHeart Radio or ExtremeGenes.com. And you can download our new free podcast app for iPhones and Androids. Our family histoire news for this week takes us to Washington DC where the original Francis Scott Key document, where he wrote out the words of the star spangled banner, has been united for a brief time with the flag that inspired those words. It’s a special arrangement between the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, which has displayed the flag for years, and the Maryland Historical Society which owns the document. The 200th anniversary of the British shelling a fort McHenry in Baltimore is coming up on September 14th of this year. Key, of course watched that shelling, it went on for like 25 hours, as a temporary captive on a British war ship, and penned the lyrics on the back of a letter he had in his pocket. Shortly thereafter, the words were published in Baltimore papers, and then carried to other papers throughout the United States. What would Francis Stott Key have thought if he could have seen into the future? His words were later matched to a popular tune called "The Anacreontic Song" written oddly enough by a member of a social club in London. Key's poem was originally called "Defense of Fort McHenry." And you think the song is hard to sing now! You can see Key's original handwritten words, together with the flag that inspired them at the Smithsonian, on through July 6th. Well, the last of the original 29 Navaho code talkers of World War II fame has died. Chester Nez passed in Albuquerque at the home of his son, at age 93 on June 4th. It’s hard to imagine something like this happening now, but when Chester attended school as a boy, if he used his native Navaho language, the teacher would scrub his tongue with a toothbrush and his mouth would be washed out with soap. Well, in 1942, just four months after Perl Harbor, he was recruited by the Marines, because he spoke both English and Navaho. He wasn't required to volunteer, because as a Native American, he was barred from voting. But Chester Nez felt that his people had always been protectors, and that was a thing of honor. Every code the allies had used at that point had been broken by the Japanese. Chester and twenty eight others who were confined to a base in San Diego, where they came up with a code based on the Navaho language that was never broken. It was the only code the Japanese were never able to crack. Needless to say, they saved countless lives. Read more on his remarkable life now at ExtremeGenes.com. Well, it was just a few weeks ago on this show, we had you, Ron Fox come on by. We were talking about collecting your ancestors. And we were talking about finding things on eBay, even making discoveries on YouTube, like the old video I found of my father from 1936. Who knew that would be out there! And you got me inspired, Ron, and I actually started doing what we had talked about, tracing forward to find other descendants. And you've done this for a long time.

Ron: It works. In fact, at one point in time in my life, I found through doing some of my own when we first got started, I found some unclaimed money in West Virginia.

Fisher: Ooh!

Ron: That, for some property that the State had in holding, and if it had gone another year, the money would have reverted back to the states.

Fisher: I know what everybody's screaming right now, how much??

Ron: It was only about $750. But, understand, this was 1975.

Fisher: Ooh!

Ron: So that was a lot of money.

Fisher: Yeah, that was a good chunk of money then. Well, you know, I've been sitting on this for a while. There was somebody who had taken control of some property that had belonged to a third cousin that I was in touch with for about twenty years. And he just died last year. I didn't know about it till I found his obituary online. And there was a phone number in there of somebody who had been in charge of his memorial service. And I thought, "Wait a minute, he had a lot of family things that would be of no interest to anybody else. I'm going to call that number!" Doing just what we had talked about a few weeks ago. What happened? We'll tell you all about it, coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 2 Episode 47

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Ron Fox

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History ExtremeGenes.com America’s Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with our guest Ron Fox the man I call “The Super Sleuth” because he can find things nobody else finds. And it was about three weeks ago when we had Ron on. We were talking about collecting your ancestors. We were talking about finding things on eBay and similar sites. Good to have you back Ron. 

Ron: Thank you.

Fisher: And this past week I got a little inspired and boy did I hit the jackpot with doing exactly what we talked about. We’ve done it before, but this was kind of unique because this wasn’t finding a descendent, it was actually finding someone who wound up with the descendant’s stuff and had been stuck with it for over a year. I had found this third cousin, he had died a year ago March and it was just kind of horrifying to me. I had been in touch with him over many years, knew he had quite a collection of old photographs, daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and when I found out he passed it was like, “Oh, what do we do now?” Because he had no family, and that’s kind of a dilemma isn’t it Ron?

Ron: It is. You never know when you’re going to be able to find the descendents, and in your case it was a fabulous find. And some good person who would have handled the estate after he passed away had kept this box for over a year hoping someone would contact him and they did.

Fisher: Well that’s right, and what was funny about that conversation when I finally got a hold of her she’s like, “This box has been in my way for so long, getting in my way at the house. I’ve been wanting to get rid of it but I knew it was a treasure to somebody. I was going to try to track down a descendent somewhere and I said well you got one, and so she was kind enough to package it up, refused to take money from me to send it. She packaged it, sent it up after wrapping it all meticulously. You were there for the box opening Ron, I think. [Laughs]

Ron: The grand opening.

Fisher: It was unbelievable. And of course the biggest part was a 150 year old bible record that was in there. 4 pages started in the hand of my second great grandfather. And this really illustrates this is a great method for finding unique things. 

Ron: It is. It’s really amazing to me. Not only did she keep it, but she forwarded it to you at no expense and that’s real dedication and I love finding people like that. But what she had was so important to you just as an individual, the bible pages and the daguerreotypes and the ambrotypes. We had photographs there that were taken over 165 years ago, and then on top of it the people were born, some of them, at the beginning of the 19th century. 

Fisher: That’s right. And they’re in pretty good shape as a whole. Now we wound up with this particular ambrotype that I love. It’s three of my great, great uncles or great grand uncles as you want to call them, in top hats in New York City in the 1860s. And this one’s missing the glass. We actually got these things when we were taking them out, you can see pictures by the way on our Extreme Genes Facebook and on ExtremeGenes.com. Ron was there to kind of guide me along as to what type of photographs we had and what we do we them. And actually Ron took them apart so my wife would take the glass, she would clean them, I’d take the image and do a digital scan of it, then we both take the parts back to Ron and he’d reassemble them and then we’d go on to the next one.   

Ron: It’s not something that the armature should do, but they can. And it’s very interesting when you take a daguerreotype, which is a boxed image, or an ambrotype, you just have to be careful of one thing, and that is when you take them apart that you don’t place your hands or anything on the actual image. Because it’s like anything else, your fingers with oil on them or if you try to rub off what you think is tarnish, which it is with ambrotypes. It’s silver so it tarnishes. And so, back in the 19th century once they had completed doing a photo graph, they would seal it with tape. Normally the tape after 150 years just come apart.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] 

Ron: So it’s always best to reseal these. But understand that we have a wood box, and many times behind the image. They’re just placed in there tight. We can find, as we did in yours, the actual date which the photograph was taken, or the individual’s name. Only 15 to 20% of daguerreotypes and ambrotypes have identification to them.

Fisher: And we were very fortunate because some of them, there were little notes on paper and I recognised the handwriting of my great, great uncle in there and he put the date 15 January 1857. He had a beautiful picture of his daughter who was one year five months is what it said on the sheet. And it had been hand colored. Now what is this, water color? How do they do that because it looks so real and natural?

Ron: It was colored, and photographs which began in 1839 in France and really made it to here in 1841 and then it just exploded like technology. It’s like getting your Apple phone and then just watching everybody else get one. By 1845 there were like 200 daguerreotype just in the city of New York. 

Fisher: Wow! 

Ron: And so, think about this though that if a person wanted to get their picture taken they’d pay five dollars. Now five dollars in 1841is what a white collar worker would make in one week. 

Fisher: So essentially it was the most well off people who could even afford to do this. 

Ron: True. And in your case, you did have three that were all taken the same day. But that little girl’s daguerreotype which you talked about which is on your website, it is the most beautiful color job of many that I have seen. She’s in a red dress and they had to hand color that whole thing. And they would. They would have someone with a very, very tiny brush because you’re talking about an image that’s no more usually than two and a half inches by three inches.  

Fisher: Right. I know. It’s interesting. I never really looked at daguerreotypes before. They’re not that common. The average person doesn’t run into them every day but they’re like holograms. It’s kind of like the back of your credit card. You can only see them at a certain angle. 

Ron: That’s correct. It was a chemical process and most of the people who were your early photographers and it was actually Samuel FB. Morris who’s known for the telegraph, who actually brought photography to America because he sat in a French auditorium academy when they announced it, but it was a copperplate and then it was a piece of silver and then the chemicals that were added once the image was exposed that gave it that image. But it’s like a hologram almost because as you look at the surface, you have to tilt it one way or another to be able to see it. 

Fisher: And if there’s a bright light behind it you can’t see it at all. You only can do it like up against a wall or some dark place. But when you go to scan the image, it comes out beautiful. 

Ron: Perfect. And of course as you had, many of the ambrotypes which is when you say ambrotype, all that means is that it’s an image taken on glass. And after they took the image the emulsion was usually on the back, was painted with a dark or light paint to give the contrast so you could see it. If you didn’t have that on you could actually use it like a negative, slide it into an enlarger and actually make a new print.

Fisher: Really? 

Ron: Then they used something called Ruby Glass, or a dark red glass and that was sufficient with respect to the contrast once they put the emulsion on, that you didn’t have to paint the back of it and you could actually slip that into an enlarger and get a perfect image. 

Fisher: So this was actually the beginning of the era where you could make multiple images.

Ron: Right.

Fisher: Because the daguerreotypes they’re one of a kind, every single one because the image is directly put on the metal right?

Ron: Correct. And if you wanted to have a copy of that picture you would have to take a picture of the daguerreotype. But they did not for the first almost hundred years have any way to enlarge or reduce pictures. There are cameras that were used in the 1860s and ’70s on glass plates. The glass plates were as big as a window. 

Fisher: Wow! 

Ron: I mean they were huge. They were like 36 inches by 40 inches. And that’s how you would get a life size portrait.

Fisher: So how many of these daguerreotypes, especially the really early pictures, do you think still exists from those that were made or have most of them been lost?

Ron: A lot of them of course have just been destroyed. I’ve talked about people when they go through a death in a family and you go out to the farm and much of the stuff had to be auctioned because that’s what the state law was.  But the papers and the photographs, people used to just get big 55 gallon drums and start a fire and start throwing things into it because nobody cared. 

Fisher: Oh! So does that make the daguerreotypes valuable? I mean from a monitory point of view. 

Ron: They are valuable in that you can pick them on eBay that they all go, depending on how old they are, they’ll go anywhere from twenty to thirty dollars just for a Joe average one. But they sell in the areas between two to three thousand. I’ve been involved with two; one sold for over two hundred thousand.

Fisher: Whoa!

Ron: One sold for fifteen thousand. And you know, I’ve got a friend of mine who picked one up for thirty five bucks and he’s been offered one million dollars for it.

Fisher: Stop it. 

Ron: Nope.

Fisher: What makes the value on a daguerreotype like that?

Ron: Well, it was a photograph that was taken in 1840s in Boston and it was an abolitionist meeting and the featured speaker who the camera caught was Frederick Douglas.

Fisher: Oh! So the value is tremendous and I would assume the guy’s just going to hang on to it.

Ron: He’s put it on loan to the Smithsonian who proudly has it on display at all times, and it’s considered one of the five rarest photographs but it was a thirty five dollar purchase. 

Fisher: [Laughs] Isn’t that insane. Well I’ll tell you what, it’s been a great couple of weeks because now I’ve had to go through and do all this scanning and sorting and posting on websites to make sure all the people who are connected with this thing can share it which, the funny thing is, you get all this stuff it creates a lot of work all of a sudden. 

Ron: It does, but the important thing is that everybody that has a daguerreotype or an ambrotype or an LB, which is just basically another word for paper print, people need to write down on a piece of paper, place it with the item or write on the back of a cardboard who the people are. I know with my mother, I have sat and gone through photographs of people who I don’t know but she still knows. 

Fisher: Well, and we were very fortunate that pretty much all of these were identified in one way or another. And so I’m one of the lucky few I guess based on those percentages you gave us earlier.

Ron: Extremely rare. People just knew that that was Aunt Minnie or Cousin Joe. And one generation dies and...

Fisher: That’s it.

Ron: That’s it.

Fisher: It’s gone. Well it’s been a great rare find and it was a box full of goodies and you can see them once again on our Facebook page you can go to ExtremeGenes.com. And Ron, thanks for all the insight once again, because this has been absolutely incredible. Last week we’ve heard from an awful lot of people who not necessarily related, but certainly are excited about this process and what it can bring. Once again, it’s just a reminder, you want to go back to your ancestor maybe three, five generations ago and pull down to people you’ve never heard of, third of fourth cousins, and see what they have, especially people who are not generally active in family history. Because a lot of the things those folks have are already posted somewhere for you to see. These are the rare things. So it’s been fun.

Ron: And you know what? The people really do care when you reach out to them that somebody else is interested in it. And most times they will either give those to you or you can offer to pay for them but it’s continuing history down some line and then with today’s technology these are posted, and how many other people do you touch when you post somebody who has two, three thousand descendents.

Fisher: That’s right. That’s right.

Ron: And then all of a sudden they get on one of these websites and there’s Grandpa Fisher. 

Fisher: [Laughs] Exactly. So you can do the same. Who knows how much you’ll find. I’ve done this three or four times myself and I know you’ve done it countless times Ron, but this is how you find these rare moments in family history research. Thanks for joining me again. Good to see you.

Ron: Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next we’re going to talk to a man who says we might be able to see our ancestors’ faces through your DNA. We’ll talk to Dr. Mark Shriver coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.  

Segment 3 Episode 47

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr Mark Shriver

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here with my guest Dr Mark Shiver from Penn State University. He’s a Professor of Biological Anthropology. Dr Shriver, welcome to the show!

Dr Shriver: Thanks, glad to be here.

Fisher: Absolutely fascinated by what you’re doing as I’ve seen several articles about how you’re working on DNA for the potential of actually creating faces of, well for mug shots, for criminal use and potentially for ancestors as well. Tell us about this!

Dr Shriver: Well, you know the face is quite a fascinating part of our bodies and probably has more variation than other parts. We think this is actually driven by the need to be identifiable in large societies. You know even small human groups are large compared to how other primates live. So there are probably some evolutionary forces that are quite interesting that have shaped how genes are variable from one person to the next. And we want to understand these evolutionary forces as well as to develop some practical tool.

Fisher: And so you’re creating this for the idea that you can see how the faces evolved over time, but then all these other things kind of fall in with it, yes?

Dr Shriver: Yeah, exactly. My primary interest is largely academic you know, understanding how the evolutionary process.

Fisher: So, tell me now, you’re doing the DNA test. I saw a video; you had a lot of people you know, spitting into test tubes. It’s very similar of course to what’s being done with Family Tree DNA, and so your purposes are a little bit different but nonetheless, you’ve got to have some interaction going on with people with Family History applications that are interested in this. What is that dialogue like?                                                                                                               

Dr Shriver: Well yeah, a lot of people are interested in their ancestry and genealogical connections that’s why what attracts them to the studies that are going on. Part of the study we’re mapping, not only 3-D facial shape, we take facial photos, we also measure skin color on the inner arm and the forehead, we measure hair color, we take a hair sample, take pictures of the hands and the feet and measure how tall they are standing and how tall they are sitting. We also do a voice recording so we can measure voice pitch and voice timber and some other features.

Fisher: So, are you anticipating the potential then that someday you might be able to take somebody’s DNA and say, “All right, this is what your fifth great grandfather looked like, and this is what he sounded like?”

Dr Shriver: Well, umm…

Fisher: I mean that’s extreme, obviously, but is that potential there?

Dr Shriver: Not from a single person. Any kind of estimation of ancestors is going to require a number of descendents. 

Fisher: Sure.

Dr Shriver: You know if DNA material from the ancestor is not available, which can be gotten through, I mean, in the extreme exhuming the remains, but locks of hair sometimes found, so you know...

Fisher: In an old bible, yeah.

Dr Shiver: Yeah right. So, if you have a source of DNA; you know it’s expensive to get DNA out of hair. It’s much cheaper to get it out of saliva. So, all of our sampling now is you know, working with modern participants and their saliva. If you had enough cousins and uncles and aunts, you could maybe start to estimate grandma by reconstructing what her most likely genotype was, but you need lots of descendents. You know, just identifying a single lineage, sometimes that can be interesting genealogically, but to estimate that person’s genotype overall, you need lots of people who are descended from that person.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Dr Shiver: From the genotype we can estimate the phenotype or the face.

Fisher: Oh I see.

Dr Shiver: That’s the idea. We need to get the genotype from somewhere, either from the hair or from lots of descendents. Then we can formulate, you know, once we have the genotype we can make a predictive estimate of the face.

Fisher: That is unbelievable. How much time do you think it will take to ever get to that point?

Dr Shiver: We can do it right now, but we’ve only discovered twenty five or twenty four facial snips so far; snips that have significant affects from a face and that there may be a hundred or a thousand times that many that we need to discover before we can, you know, really be happy. But we expect actually within next six months we should have our next analysis ready to publish and that should have hundreds of these. So, in six months we’ll be able to demonstrate if this really is producing usefully accurate estimates of the face, and then within two years I think we’ll have something that really is generally useful, at least for the main populations that we’ve been sampling.

Fisher: Sure. How accurate a picture of the face do you think you could get to if you were able to find all of these markers that you’re looking for?

Dr Shiver: Yeah, I mean it’s probably going to be like another five years or ten years even before we really can include all the information that we’re collecting because on the first level we’re getting at common alleles. What you find at a particular gene or gene region has some common alleles that affect the face. There’s the potential for that region to also have rare alleles. You know sometimes there’s a distinctive trait in a family you know that may be kind of unique to that family.

Fisher: Sure.

Dr Shiver: Not something you find across all other families. So a lot of those affects we’re not going to discover in this first path analysis. I mean there’s going to be research on this for a number of years into the future. But, I think you know, we’ll have generally good estimates for people in our population in two to five years. If a family has one of these strong mutations that makes them distinctive in some way that we haven’t captured in our general sampling like the Habsburg jaw, you know, that’s one a genealogy enthusiast might be familiar with. You know if we measured everything about those people except that gene which does seem to be a single gene that has a strong effect. We might miss a distinctive part of those people’s faces.

Fisher: Now what about crime fighting? Are you involved at all with people with an interest in identifying potential criminals by what they look like?

Dr Shiver: Yeah, yeah. Right, right. This is a ...I mean we’ve named this approach Molecular Photofitting about five years ago.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dr Shiver: A friend of mine; I wrote the introduction for his book; It’s called Molecular Photofitting Predicting Ancestry and Phenotype from DNA. And the whole idea is if you don’t have the person who matches your evidentiary material in a database so you don’t have a suspect who matches that, then a lot of cases are just cold. They can’t use that DNA as evidence anymore.

Fisher: Sure.

Dr Shiver: Here we’re thinking there are features of the DNA like somebody’s ancestry group that may be important. In fact, there are six cases that I know of that we helped assist by typing for ancestry. DNA Print was the company at the time. They were one of the first companies marketing to the general public for a DNA base test. And we did help solve the six cases. The most prominent was the Louisiana serial killer in 2003.

Fisher: Wow, and what a great thing to get them off the streets and save some lives.

Dr Shiver: Yeah. No, I think there’s definitely...I mean a lot of people are sensitive about the use of DNA in forensics, but you know often it leads to exoneration for people who were unfairly convicted, or it prevents harassment of people and focuses the investigator’s attention on people who are more likely to include the person who committed the crime. So, I mean there’s always pluses and minuses to the use of technology. And I think the US has done a pretty good job, maybe a better job than they’ve done at being open about the kinds of serve the NSA has done.

Fisher: Unbelievable! Well, it looks like that technology can work both ways as far as crime exoneration and finding guilt. He’s Mark Shriver. He’s a Professor of Biological Anthropology at Penn State University. He says we might be able to get an idea what our ancestors looked like someday, somewhere down the line. Thank you Doctor.

Dr Shriver: Thank you.

Fisher: And coming up next, our Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com answering your questions on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 4 Episode 47

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. It’s all about preservation today, isn't it, Tom?

Tom: It is, absolutely! Everything just falls together.

Fisher: And of course, this whole batch of stuff that I just received this past week has really tied up my time, trying to make sure that I properly preserve it. So a lot of the things you've talked about are really coming into play.

Tom: Oh, it’s amazing! People really need to go to the website and see some of these finds you have. The daguerreotypes, absolutely incredible!

Fisher: Do you work with them much, by the way, do people bring those in? Do you see them?

Tom: Oh yeah! Oh yeah, we have people bring in, and I just, you know, it’s like do you really want this back or do you want just a copy?

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And they always want it back. It’s really sad.

Fisher: Well, it’s funny, because the copies actually look better than the daguerreotypes themselves generally, because you can only look at them from a certain angle and see the image.

Tom: Oh, exactly. It’s like looking at something high definition and looking at something standard definition. When you scan it with today's technology, the high def images you have are absolutely amazing!

Fisher: And the daguerreotype itself is more like a hologram or something you'd see at Disney.

Tom: Exactly, exactly! It’s incredible, it’s amazing.

Fisher: I love having the originals, but I love being able to see them, too. So it’s quite a find.

Tom: Oh, that's what's so neat about them. You go in and like you did on some of these, Photoshop them, make them look wonderful. But it’s kind of cool to go back and look at the ones that are missing pieces, just for the kind of feel.

Fisher: Yes, you're absolutely right. Well, we have a question today about preservation from Brian Burley in Toledo, Ohio. He writes, "Dear Tom, my grandmother and granddad have some old home movies and photographs that they won't let out of their sight, and chances are they won't make it out to a reunion at your campus where they can transfer them themselves. What can we do? I don't want them to pass on before we have them narrate the films." Wow, that's a dilemma!

Tom: Oh, it is. But there's a couple of really good ideas. The first one I would suggest is with the film is really a problem. I would suggest sending your grandparents on a cruise.

Fisher: [Laughs] What do you mean? Just so that they can get out of the way and you can go in and get it?

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Aha!

Tom: We had a family actually do this.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: They were laying in wait down the street while their other siblings took them off to the airport. They ran in, grabbed all their film, came down to our place, had us transfer it, and then as they were picking up their family at the airport, we were, you know, a little bit behind, so they took them to a restaurant on the way home.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Then they ran them in, put all the film back, so when mom and dad got home, all their film was there on dad's shelf.

Fisher: And no one knew?

Tom: Nobody had any idea.

Fisher: Oh, you're funny, you're sneaky!

Tom: You've got to do what you're got to do!

Fisher: [Laughs] I love that! All right, what's another thought on this?

Tom: Well, so what you want to do if you're in the situation like this, if this isn't possible for you to do, go, and if your film's not too brittle, you can still project it okay. Go and rent a projector if you don't have one. Just be really, really careful, because a lot of the old film will shatter. So be careful that, you know, do the bend test on a piece of the lead at the very beginning. Bend it, if you can bend it back and forth once, you're probably okay. If you bend it and it snaps, don't even take a chance. But if you can project, get a Mini DV camcorder or an HDD, which is the hard drive camcorder, and what you want to do is, you want to set it up by, you know, mom and dad or grandma and grandpa and you want to shoot the screen, not grandma and grandpa. And the reason for this is, when they're narrating it, talking about what's going on, you want to get the audio from them, but you want to show the picture, so later on whether we do it for you or you do it yourself, when you match the audio with the film, you'll know what picture they were talking about.

Fisher: So you could put it on the screen or on a wall I would imagine.

Tom: Oh yeah! It doesn't matter. Quality's not important at all, because all you care about is getting their voices describing what's going on. Now one bad thing about the projector too, there's no way you can pause it, whereas if you can get transferred to a hard drive or DVD and there's a picture that they want to talk about for five minutes, you can hit pause, and while they’re talking, just, you know, have the frame on pause. With a projector, you don't want to do that, because it's going to burn through your film and then you're going to have those burn spots on it. But you know, you can always stop it and let them talk about this house, how they came about getting it. And then when you go in to edit it, you can either take that last frame, especially if you do jpegs, like you've done with your film and you can have that jpeg on for as long as you want, or this is a good time to bring in some photos of what they're talking about at the same time during the film transfer process. But most importantly, don't wait till tomorrow! Get your parent's voices down describing the photos, the film, whatever you can. And later on, we can put the pieces together, but you can't call them back, unless you're really, really good at a séance to be able to have them narrate your film.

Fisher: All right, great advice from Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority. And coming up next, what are we going to talk about, Tom?

Tom: Okay, we kind of promised the people some information on copyright, we didn't get it finished, so I'm going to give you some phone numbers and  some website addresses you can go to if you want to have a family reunion and show a movie.

Fisher: All right, coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 47

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, ExtremeGenes.com, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com. And Tom, we keep getting sidetracked the last few weeks, and we never fully finished all this stuff about copyrighting. We talked a little about music last week, and you mentioned there was an organization where people can write, if, say, they wanted to use music at a wedding.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: And that's what?

Tom: It’s HarryFox.com. H A R R Y F O X.com. Go there, click on song file, you can get it licensed. And then also, if you want to rent a movie and show it a family reunion or a block party or something, you want to go to Swank.com, that's S W A N K.com. You can get the stuff that you need, you're covered, there's not going to be any problems with it. Like I say, if you're just doing any kind of thing that's outside your home, whether it’s a church or whatever, you're in violation of copyright if you don't go to somebody like Swank.com and get permission to do it. And another thing we mentioned briefly is, it’s really, really cool, you can get the movies that have been edited, and these haven't been done way after.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: These are actually edited by the original directors at the same time they made the edited version, the one in the theaters. So they're not somebody's chop job. They're really, really good. The content is all the same as far as where everything goes. They just take out maybe some sexual stuff, they take out the bloody, gory stuff, so it’s a good movie that's gone from R, like PG, PG13.

Fisher: Okay, that's helpful.

Tom: We had somebody that asked, they wanted to know more specific things which I promised last week and we didn't get to. You cannot go to a library and rent a CD and put it on your MP3 player. You can't go and buy a videotape, bring it to us and have us turn it into a DVD and then go and give the videotape to somebody else, you can't do that.

Fisher: How many times do you have somebody actually come and ask you to copy something public for them?

Tom: Oh, weekly!

Fisher: Every week?

Tom: Oh yeah! Every time they go, "Oh, you know, well, I want three copies for my kids." like its Jane Fonda exercise video that's not available.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And I go, "Well, we can't do that, because that's copyright violation. However, if can go onto eBay and buy five videotapes, bring them in, then we can give you the five DVDs and that's fine. But you can't then go and give the tape to somebody else. It says right on the disk, it has copyright information saying that the tape and the disk must be kept together. So you can't give it away, you can't check it out from the library, bring it in to us, we can't do things like that. And when you buy it, you do not have any rights to it whatsoever. All you can do is show it at your house, that's pretty much it. And if somebody really wants to find out the whole shebang, they can go the Federal Copyright Act, title 17, United States code Public Law 94-553.

Fisher: Oh, boy, here we go!

Tom: Statured 2541, and you are set.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Buy seriously, you know, these people make their livelihood on it. And you don't want to go and take something away from them, like you wouldn't somebody taking anything away from you. And like the old photos that you have, these are photos that were way before copyright laws. So as you mentioned when we were off the air, what's the rights to those?

Fisher: Yeah, if I scan them, and I make my copies of them, do I own the copyright to the scan or does the copyright not exist because it’s an old photo? And this is probably really splitting hairs, but it’s interesting.

Tom: Oh yeah! If you take Photoshop and you enhance it and you fix it, you change things, then that for sure is your property, then it pretty much is yours to do with what you want. The scan itself is pretty much public domain. So with these photos that you have, since they're so old, you can make as many copies as you want and you can distribute them, whatever you want. If you post them, somebody could go on your website and download them and share them with their friends and that's totally legal, but the ones that you've gone into Photoshop and you've made changes on, now they've become your property because you've enhanced them. So they're your property. So just be careful. If you want to take something off a website, check with them. Even if you have an old album, a vinyl album that you just love, it’s not available, I've had people bring those into us, and I say, "You know, write to the copyright holder and see if they'll let you." And nine out of ten times, they'll email them back and say, "Yes, we give you permission to make a copy of this Christmas album, up to five copies." And they usually say yes, so just ask. They worst they can do is say no.

Fisher: All right, there you go great advice from Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority. You can always [email protected], and maybe you'll hear your question answered on the air. Well, that's it for this week. Thanks so much to Ron Fox, the super sleuth photograph authority for helping me out with the daguerreotypes in that big haul we found this week. And also doctor Mark Shriver who's working on DNA studies to see if he can actually reproduce the faces of your ancestors through your DNA. It sounds so science fiction. Check out the podcast if you missed that. We'll talk to you again next week. Take care. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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