Episode 5 – Tracing Our Lineage Back to Adam and Eve

podcast episode Aug 14, 2013

On this week’s show, Fisher shares the latest family history news, including a shocking story involving a 1964 kidnap victim and what DNA has told him. He also talk about a firefighter whose family lost all the memorabilia of his firefighting grandfather then later received an amazing gift that neither he nor his family sought. Then, it's renowned researcher Gordon Remington on tracing your tree back to Adam and Eve!

Transcript of Episode 5

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Kyle Lavender

Segment 1 Episode 5 

Fisher: Hello genies and welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers in Salt Lake City preserving your memories for over forty years. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth Fisher and so glad to have you along today. We have so much ground to cover. Very excited to have Gordon Remington on the show today who’s a lifelong researcher, who is going to explain to you about that line back to Adam that you or grandma think you have and why you’re [Laughs] probably going to have to push the Delete button on that. We’ll have that for you coming up in our second segment today, lots of interesting stuff happening on “Who Do You Think You Are?" We got the British version this past week with Minnie Driver on there. And Minnie learns that she actually has another family. Her dad had actually been married to someone else and found out that her mom was his mistress and she had, yes, she had another family. And so she actually got to meet her half sister who she didn’t know existed. So, that’s pretty interesting stuff and then on the American side of it of course. I didn’t know there were shows over there and over here, but that is the case. We’re got Zooey Deschanel who’s going to be on this coming Tuesday on TLC, Chris O’Donnell the following week. So, if you keep tracking that show that is where that is going. Another interesting that came up and you can follow this of course on our website ExtremeGenes.com. Kind of think of that as your “drudge report” for everything family history. Now the FBI is saying that they’re reopening an investigation into a kidnapping that took place in 1964, a newborn boy from the Chicago Hospital there. Recent DNA testing is revealing now that that boy found in New Jersey more than a year later returned to the elated parents was not actually their son. The son is now 49, a married father of his own and he works as an Administrator at a college, and lives in Henderson, Nevada. He’s a little confused as you can imagine because he says, “Wow, the real Paul Fronczak is out there somewhere.” He believes he’s still alive. He had to tell his parents, “No, I wasn’t the one.” And now this whole thing is reopened for them as well, almost 50 years later. It’s an amazing story and once again DNA in this case not bringing a family together but to some extent pulling them somewhat apart. It will be an interesting to see where this goes now as they’ve start to try once again to find out where that child went who was kidnapped in 1964, unbelievable stuff. We have a poll up today. “Do you or have you ever had a line back to Adam?” And this of course all ties into our segment coming up here in just a few minutes with Gordon Remington. A simple yes or no will do. You can cast your vote at ExtremeGenes.com. We’ll get the final results on that coming up next week. Of course, any time you have a comment or a question or you want to share your joy over something you found recently, we need to hear from you. So, contact our Extreme Genes “Find Line” that’s open 24/7 by the way. You can just record your thoughts or you can have us call you back. We’d love to hear from you. The number, real easy to remember is 1-234-56 GENES. 1-234-56 GENES and we look forward to hearing from you. And on our Extreme Genes “Find Line” right now, Kyle Lavender a fire fighter in Salt Lake City, Utah who has an amazing story.

Fisher: How are you Kyle?

Kyle: I’m good, thank you. I am a second generation fire fighter. My grandfather was a fire fighter for Salt Lake City Fire Department and I grew up knowing about that and just looking at his fire magazines and always wanted to be one, and kind of followed in his footsteps. And I also work for the fire department he worked for in Salt Lake City Fire.

Fisher: The same unit?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah exactly, lot of the same stations he worked in and found some of his old log book writings and just kind of always had a good connection with him.

Fisher: How old were you when he passed?

Kyle: I was only 15 so I never actually got to share with him my chance to be on the fire department. He knew I wanted to be but I never actually got to share that with him because he passed when I was 15.

Fisher: Now part of the problem though also with enjoying your grandfather’s legacy as I understand it, you don’t have any pictures or any of his memorabilia. What happened there?

Kyle: Yeah, the only picture I have is a picture he had taken when he was a Chief Officer that hangs at our Administration building. And everything else he had, his wife passed away. And when he remarried the second wife came in and basically cleaned out pretty much everything he had.

Fisher: Why?

Kyle: To her it had no real value. He had been retired for 20 plus years when they met and married. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Kyle: Unfortunately, rather than come to the family and ask if we were interested it just disappeared. It was gone.

Fisher: Why wouldn’t she think of that? 

Kyle: I don’t know.

Fisher: I don’t get that. [Laughs]

Kyle: I don’t know. We’ve never figured that out and now she’s passed and we never could figure that out. The only things that were saved were some stuff that were hidden away in a box that she didn’t see and it was a belt buckle that was given to me. But that was it. That was all that survived.

Fisher: And so, now the mission for you is to find those missing pieces of your grandfather’s past and you had a little break here recently.

Kyle: Yeah, I did. I got really, really fortunate. There was a story that the Salt Lake Tribune did recently, an anniversary of the Victory Theater fire here in Salt Lake.

Fisher: What year?

Kyle: 1945 I want to say.

Fisher: So it’s 68 years ago?

Kyle: Yeah, yeah.

Fisher: Wow! 

Kyle: Long time ago. And my grandpa and his brother in law were both fire fighters. They were both relatively new, had about a year on the job. They both responded to the call as pretty much every Salt Lake City fire fighter did. It was a general alarm fire, brought everybody from all of Salt Lake City, off duty fire fighters and pretty much anybody in their uniform. It didn’t matter if they were soldiers here during the war. It didn’t matter if they were the railroad guys. Everybody came. It was a big deal. Sadly, in the course of that fire, a balcony collapsed. It was a renovated Broadway Theater that had been turned into a movie theatre and all that heavy equipment for movie display had over weighted the balcony and it collapsed on a bunch of fire fighters.

Fisher: Ugh.

Kyle: My grandpa was thought to be one of the fire fighters that had been hurt or killed and as they took the fire fighters that were dead and injured up to the LDS hospital. Another relative worked there, an aunt, and she called my grandma and said, “Did your husband have any identifiable jewelry or anything? We’ve got dead fire fighters here.” She was very matter of fact about it. “You need to come and identify him.” And obviously put grandma in some hysterics. She got a phone call a few minutes later that said, “Hey, your husband Grant’s okay, but your sister’s husband Theron is dead.

Fisher: Ugh.

Kyle: So, my grandpa survived but my grand uncle actually passed in the fire. You know, I’ve known this family history for a long time, talked about it. We dedicated a monument at our station one. The day that that happened, my great uncle Theron’s daughter who was only about 15 months old at the time of his death in the fire, she was able to come and her mom was able to come, the widow, and be part of that celebration of their sacrifice. But really, that’s kind of where the family history ended with it. It wasn’t ever a lot around the fire stations. It wasn’t really any history in our yearbooks that we’ve done in every 10 years.

Fisher: Wow.

Kyle: It just wasn’t the kind of event that came and went and that was it.

Fisher: And then all of a sudden came this article you mentioned in the newspaper.

Kyle: Yeah.

Fisher: And what did that do for you?

Kyle: Well, the article in the newspaper was really needed, saw a couple of old pictures and you know, I didn’t know where they’d gotten those from. I had no clue and it brought a lot of memories for my mom and she was 4 years old at the time of the big fire. And we talked about it. We talked about the different connections our family had and they interviewed me for that article. And I don’t know, about 3 weeks ago our PR person for the Fire Department gave me a call. We were actually headed to the brand new public safety building that Salt Lake City just dedicated. And he said, “Hey, I go this phone call from a guy and he’s sending me a bunch of pictures that he’s found from the State Archives. And he says, I really want you to look at these. They’re apparently all from the Victory Theater fire.” And I thought that would be kind of fun. He showed me really quickly his work station, his pictures and he said, “I’ll forward them to you so you can look at them a little more in depth, but take a look at them really quick. And they were neat pictures, stuff I’d never seen. Our chief was there that day and he looked at them and there were things he’d never seen and he’s been on the job 30 years. So, I thought this is kind of a cool deal. So, I kind of forgot about it, got really busy, had a little family vacation, didn’t spend a lot of time looking at them and finally got home and thought I need to go look at those pictures. So I pulled up the email and started going through the pictures one at a time. And as I’m looking at them one photo immediately jumped out and there’s a group of like five fire fighters. They looked like they’re in the lobby of the old Victory Theater. You can see the rope, the old velvet rope, one of those that’s hanging up and it looks like maybe a popcorn machine. And I’m looking at these five fire fighters, they’re spraying water and one of them is one the nozzle and one is backing him up and then there’s a couple more. And in the background is a young fire fighter in all black. Turns out he looks like he’s brand new, he’s wearing newer gear than the rest of them and his face is partially covered in the shadow. And I looked at him and I’m like, “That’s my grandpa!”

Fisher: No kidding!

Kyle: That’s my grandpa. I recognize that face. That is my grandpa. And so I hurried and emailed it to my mom and said, “I want you to look at this picture.” And I’m talking to her on the phone while she’s looking at it. I said, “Do you see anything?” And she looks at it for a minute and she’s like, “That’s my dad!” And I said, “Okay, it wasn’t just me.” I thought maybe I was seeing something I wanted to see.

Fisher: I’ve been through that experience, yes. [Laughs] You’ve got to call in somebody else.

Kyle: Yes, that’s definitely your grandpa. And we both got really excited and thought “Wow, this is a first for us. This is a fire footage photo of grandpa at work.” So it was neat. He’s a brand new fire fighter. I thought about the situations he would have been in and as the new guy on a big fire like this they had him back in a safe position where he couldn’t get hurt. And it just all kind of made sense and clicked and it was one of those kind of like hair standing on edge experiences.

Fisher: Wow, that’s so exciting. I’m happy for you and your family Kyle and I appreciate you taking the time to share that with us.

Kyle: My pleasure.

Fisher: And if you have a story you want to share with us, call the Extreme Genes “Find Line” 24/7, 1-234-56 GENES. And I’ve got to mention that the picture that Kyle just described is on our website ExtremeGenes.com so you could check out the picture of his grandpa back in 1945. And coming up for you next, Gordon Remington a lifelong researcher with an amazing story about that line to Adam that everybody claims they have. Wait till you hear this. Pretty interesting coming up next on Extreme Genes brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers.

Segment 2 Episode 5

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Gordon Remington

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, ExtremeGenes.com. Hello genies. It is Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth and it’s all brought to you today by TMC the Multimedia Centers in Salt Lake City, preserving your memories for over forty years. You know, one of the things that happens when you move into the exciting world of family history research, you learn a couple of things real fast that don’t necessarily work real well, that’s the line back to Adam and Eve and Coats of Arms. And that’s why I have my friend Gordon Remington in from ProGenealogist. And Gordon, I’ve known you for twenty five years or so and this is one of the most interesting things to me is, where did all this stuff about a line back to Adam and Eve come from? I mean we all descend from them but the lines have a problem. 

Gordon: Well, yeah Scott. It’s basically a matter of can you prove it on paper by documentation? And a very long time ago, back in England in the 700s, 800s AD, the kings of England were all Pagans. They were Anglo Saxons that came over from Northern Europe to England. And because they had to prove their descent or say they descended from a god, they all had a line that went back to the God Odin, who is the chief God of the Norse.

Fisher: Odin. I thought it was a Center with the Portland trailblazer that didn’t work out so well.  

Gordon: [Laughs] Well yeah. He’s got a lot of descendents. 

Fisher: Um hmm. 

Gordon: Anyway, so the Anglo Saxon Kings, in order to be king, they had to have this descent from a God. When they became Christians, probably came around that same time period, they couldn’t do that anymore because they couldn’t descend from a Pagan God. So, they called their court poets together and all these Anglo Saxon kings. There were seven of them, but they’re all distantly related. They’re all claim the same descent. They got the court poets together and the bards and so forth and they said, “We want to know how we descend from Adam.” And I think these guys were under the pain of death.

Fisher: Sure they would be. I mean if the King asks me to go through there, I will find the line that you require Sir. 

Gordon: Because remarkably they all came up with the same line. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Gordon: And so they added from the earliest king that they all agreed upon, that was a real person, they added generations going back to Odin. Well, they already had done that. They already had gone back to Odin from that king. And then they added more generations from Odin back to get to Noah on the Ark.

Fisher: What’s the story of Odin by the way? What was his, you know, every god had a purpose.

Gordon: He was the chief God of the Norse Gods. 

Fisher: Oh, okay.

Gordon: In Norse mythology you had Odin. He was the father of Thor and all these other Gods that were up there. He was like the head God. 

Fisher: Okay. He sat at the head of the table in the clouds.

Gordon: Yeah. He was called Odin the All Father. Father of everything.

Fisher: [Laughs] 

Gordon: So anyway, yeah he was a pretty powerful guy.

Fisher: And so they would link back from the earliest guy they agreed on.

Gordon: Yeah.

Fisher: And then try to figure out how this connected back to Noah? 

Gordon: Well, what they did was, they invented generations between Odin and Noah which included in some accounts a son that was born on the ark who wasn’t in the Bible. 

Fisher: [Laughs] 

Gordon: So they conveniently got around the Bible thing of three sons of Noah by inventing a guy who was born on the ark. And because I guess it just wasn’t written down, but these guys figured it out. I don’t know. But they all agreed on it. 

Fisher: Right.

Gordon: They all lived. 

Fisher: They all lived. They survived. [Laughs] 

Gordon: Yeah. So this was written down in chronicles, I don’t even want to call them documents, it was just written down. It was all tradition. It was all based on...well, the reason why they wanted to know this descent was because when they came in to greet their subjects and their barons and everything, their ancestry would be sung out by these guys, “Son of so and so, son of so.”  

Fisher: In song, for generations.

Gordon: Yeah. And it would establish their kingship. 

Fisher: Was their singing voice a part of the job requirement?

Gordon: It had to be, apparently. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] 

Gordon: But anyway, the point is that this was written down and it was accepted as the descent of the Anglo Saxon kings. 

Fisher: Okay.

Gordon: And the Anglo Saxon kings were, after the Normans invaded. William the Conqueror was from France invaded it. They married into that line. So the current kings and queens of England do descend from those early Anglo Saxon kings way long back. 

Fisher: From the 800s then at that point?

Gordon: Yeah. Oh yeah. And so basically, if you look at anybody whose ancestors goes into the royalty of England, it will eventually go back to the Anglo Saxons, and from the Anglo Saxons that’s where you get this line to Adam. Now, it isn’t that tough for Americans to have a descent from royalty. 

Fisher: Right. Many New Englanders are, what do they call those? “Gateway ancestors.”

Gordon: Gateway ancestors. I’ve got a couple of gateway ancestors. 

Fisher: As do I. Yeah.

Gordon: I think the thing for people to remember is whether you descended from royalty or whether you can prove a descent from Adam, it doesn’t make you any different of a person.

Fisher: No. [Laughs] 

Gordon: And especially putting that descent from Adam down on paper doesn’t make a lot of difference. 

Fisher: No. It really doesn’t. Now, I remember hearing once that they wanted to link in to the bible lines but the Jewish fathers at the time of the bible when those lineages were in there, if they didn’t like an ancestor, they were out. Is that correct? 

Gordon: Maybe so, maybe so. I’m not a biblical scholar.

Fisher: All right.

Gordon: I don’t pretend to be that. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Gordon: But I do know my history. I majored in English history and this is one of the things I studied were these Anglo Saxon chronicles and so forth. And I learned very early on that the earlier you go the more it’s based on tradition and wishful thinking and staying alive.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs] Wow! All right, so what about these charts now? I mean those charts are everywhere. You see people with the line you connect back to this person, and voom. And there are many different branches, are there not by now? That’s mostly because of the royalty branch.

Gordon: That’s the royalties. In most cases the people that want to claim descent or claim descent from Adam on paper who hook into these royal lines, it’s readymade for them. It’s going to be out on the internet. You know?

Fisher: Sure. Yeah. 

Gordon: And I’m sure that if you are genealogically savvy and you go to the internet you can find all sorts of things that tell you this is not right. But there’s some people that just see that, and they, you know?

Fisher: Well, if it’s on the internet you know it must be true.

Gordon: It’s got to be true. Yeah. They just see that and they say, “Oh wow! I have a descent from Adam” And I say so does everybody. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Gordon: But the thing is a matter of documentation.

Fisher: Sure.

Gordon: Because documentation doesn’t exist. First of all, these oral histories that were written down eventually started out just as songs and traditions. So you have no documents to back them up. They are just names that were repeated and repeated and repeated in long lines. So, there’s going to be no paperwork back then that’s going to prove what these guys said was the case. 

Fisher: What percentage of Americans do you think right now are descended from English royalty?

Gordon: Oh, I have no idea. 

Fisher: It has to be a large percentage.

Gordon: Well, you’ve got to calculate in there how many people have lines that go back to colonial New England, because that’s the gateway.

Fisher: Right.

Gordon: Most of the royal descends from this country come out of colonial New England ancestors who came over. 

Fisher: Um hmm.

Gordon: There was also some that came to the colonial South but their documentation back to England isn’t as good as the New Englanders. 

Fisher: Wow. So, it’s been a long going tradition though for a lot of people to link in. The royalty is the big thing, which to me is kind of surprising because of the fact if you really look at it on the history of the royals, it isn’t really pretty. A lot of death. 

Gordon: Yeah.

Fisher: A lot of really bad marriages. Ask Henry VIII. That ended badly for a lot of people. And yet we think we’d like to tie in with them. I suppose because they’re historic figures more than the fact that they were really swell guys and gals. 

Gordon: Yeah. Well, they were you know, the only people of that time where there’s any documentation.

Fisher: How reliable are the royal lines that obviously must be right now to Queen Elizabeth all the way back to a certain point, are pretty reliable to when would you say? 

Gordon: I’m going to say probably to about maybe 700 or 800 AD. Because beyond that, in the Anglo Saxon lines, beyond that is when you begin to have this tradition. The Anglo Saxons came from Germany, what is now Germany in that area, to England about 400 to 500 AD. And there are reliable chronicles that talk about who was there at that time. They were kept by monks at the time. The only educated people around that were keeping records, reporting on these are the people in charge, you know? But before that, a lot of it is just tradition. 

Fisher: And then this comes from these people you were talking about working to keep their jobs?

Gordon: Right.

Fisher: By proving the lines. [Laughs]

Gordon: That’s right. Proving and quotes. 

Fisher: Exactly. So there you go. This is an education. I know there’s got to be people listening right now who are going, “Oh no! Aunty Bessie is just going to be devastated.” 

Gordon: Well, you know you’ve got to realize that it’s not always the best thing in the world to start your genealogy finding out things you don’t want to know. 

Fisher: [Laughs] 

Gordon: But I say thankfully it’s just this bogus stuff back a thousand years ago and not something about your grandfather. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yeah, that’s true. Although there is always something about grandfathers too, isn’t there? 

Gordon: Oh yes.

Fisher: All right, great stuff. Now, this is just one part of the fake line business that is always out there waiting for new suckers basically to come along.

Gordon: Right. Right. 

Fisher: There are other areas, which are?

Gordon: Well, heirs to estates. 

Fisher: Oh yes! I descend from the Anarchy gens. 

Gordon: Oh, you’re one of those? 

Fisher: Yes. 

Gordon: Probably one of the most famous ones.

Fisher: Probably so. And if you’re not familiar with it, it was basically, she had a piece of dirt in Manhattan Island by her first husband. And then he died. She married the second minister among the Dutch. A guy named Everardus Bogardus.

Gordon: [Laughs]

Fisher: And it was just one of the great names ever given to anybody. He Latinized his name when he came over from Holland.

Gordon: Right.  

Fisher: And then, when they passed, the land was distributed among her children. But one of the children was not represented in the transfer and it was discovered about seventy five years after her death. And one of the descendents said, “Hey, wait a minute that land is now valuable.” Because New York was turning into a thriving city. This old farmland which was on a swamp wasn’t worth anything back in the day. So they started battling to gain control of that, and that battle went on I’ve heard as late as the 1950s. Lawyers were approaching people going, “Hey, it’s worth billions now. We can make you a lot of money.” 

Gordon: Yeah, and actually though one of the courts in New York had actually already settled that by that time saying that it was so long ago and the records were so bad you know, there’s no way we can figure it out, even if it is true.

Fisher: Well the lawyers said otherwise.

Gordon: That’s right. Well, they always will.

Fisher: They always will.

Gordon: Yeah.

Fisher: And they were the only ones who ever made money off the Anarchy gens property in New York. All right, we’re going to take a break.

Gordon: All right.

Fisher: We’re going to come back and we’re going to talk about the Coat of Arms.

Gordon: Right.

Fisher: Because that’s another area where a lot of people kind of get...shall we say befuddled? 

Gordon: Right.

Fisher: And we’ll have more with Gordon Remington from ProGenealogists coming up next on Extreme Genes.                     

Segment 3 Episode 5

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Gordon Remington

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes. Fisher here. Check out our website ExtremeGenes.com. By the way, we do have a poll up there asking you if you have a chart that takes you back to Adam and Eve. We want to know how many families are actually involved in that and have such a chart as we were talking about in the last segment. It’s all brought to you today by TMC, The Multimedia Center in Salt Lake City, preserving your memories for over forty years. Gordon Remington, my guest today from ProGenealogists, the official research firm of Ancestry.com. And one of the things other than the line back to Adam that seems to be a big problem for a lot of people who first get into this, is this whole thing with the family crest, or the shield. And, many people wind up and say, “Oh yeah, I got the line back to Adam and I got the shield, or the crest.” Tell us about crest and the legitimacy and illegitimacy of them as it has to do with American family history.

Gordon: Well actually, Scott, the shield is what is called the Coat of Arms and the crest is the device or the animal that is on top of the Coat of Arms, because there’s always something on top like a helmet or a fish or something like that.

Fisher: Right. That would probably be mine.

Gordon: Yeah. I didn’t think of that. Yeah. And, the thing, the difference between here and the descent from Adam is, the only people making money off the descent of Adam are people that are selling charts.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.

Gordon: You know? And it’s free on the internet, nobody sells much of those anymore. They just have these nice wall charts. But, the Coat of Arms is another thing. I’m sure everyone’s seen those kiosks in the malls, of you know, here’s your family coat of arms, and you go up there.

Fisher: You get them on t-shirt.

Gordon: You get them on t-shirt, you get them on a coffee mug, you know, all sorts of stuff. And the problem there is that there is no coat of arms for your specific surname. There is no Remington coat of arms. Yeah there’s actually about five of them, but not for my family. Because you have to descend from the person who was granted that coat of arms originally, back in the 14 or 1500s, or whenever those started, and have a line of descent that proves you’re the heir, like a piece of land, to that Coat of Arms, in order to legally display it. Now in this country, in England, it used to be a big deal because it was actionable in court.

Fisher: Wow, really?

Gordon: Oh yeah.

Fisher: What was the value of that Coat of Arms then? It was a status thing?

Gordon: Very much a status thing.

Fisher: Or wealth, or just status?

Gordon: Very much a status thing. The Coat of Arms were originally granted to, actually they were adopted by knights in armor. A coat of arms was what you’d wear on your armor when you were in a joust, to identify who you were, because your head was in a helmet.

Fisher: Sure.

Gordon: So it’d be all sorts of colours and designs and everything. And that was your Coat of Arms, and the transfer onto the shield became a status symbol, as the, in terms of the connection to the nobility or connection to just a better class or people.

Fisher: Well now as a knight, knights weren’t necessarily the lower class, either.

Gordon: No, no, no.

Fisher: They were higher ends.

Gordon: That’s right.

Fisher: So there was, obviously, this was something they earned from serving in protection of the king and service to the king.

Gordon: Well, and after a while they could buy it.

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Gordon: There was one of the kings who just needed some money, and he went in to this kind of a, you know.

Fisher: So he went into the coat of arms business?

Gordon: Basically.

Fisher: He had a Coat of Arms shop there at the base of Buckingham Palace?

Gordon: They didn’t have Buckingham Palace back then. It was one of those things where you could, and it’s still possible today, if you really want your own Coat of Arms, you can pay the money and go to apply to the College of Heralds in England and get one. It’s just awfully expensive. I don’t know how much they cost, but it is possible to get one if you really want one. The people in this country don’t really seem to care much about whether or not they deserve to wear it or they’re entitled to wear it, they just like to have it. 

Fisher: Because it’s a name and a piece of art that’s kind of old.

Gordon: That’s right. And the thing is, you have to prove your connection if you really want to display it. You could prove that you’re descended from the guy who originally it was granted to, but unless you’re that direct line of descent, you would be the heir to that Coat of Arms, it would be your property, like a piece of real estate that passed father to son, then you really shouldn’t be displaying it. 

Fisher: But that’s based on the English tradition?

Gordon: That’s right, that’s right.

Fisher: Over here, it’s more of an artistic thing. Like you say, it’s a kiosk gig.

Gordon: That’s right, that’s right. And so, yeah, I mean, if you have a surname that has a Coat of Arms, well, you know, there’s no law that says you can’t display it, and that’s where the money comes in, these companies just mass produce them. There’s no law that says you can’t display it, but if you’re seeking some kind of status or legitimacy in the genealogical world, you know, everybody knows, I mean, about coats of arms being basically bogus.

Fisher: Pretty much anyway. 

Gordon: We have a link on our website to an article about Coats of Arms.

Fisher: Progenealogists.com.

Gordon: Progenealogists.com/coatofarms.htm. And it’s all about the history of coats of arms and whether or not you can really use one. It also talks about surname origins and all sorts of good information that are just beginning and want to have the basics. You know?

Fisher: So, if I wanted to have a coat of arms, let’s just pretend that I’m not even worried about the English thing. But, I’d like to have something, you know, the Fisher coat of arms, it can be created new?

Gordon: Well, yeah, for a price. Or, the other thing is, there are heraldic artists in this country that will create a coat of arms for you for their artistic fee.

Fisher: Okay, wait a minute, heraldic artists? Now is that a title in and of itself? Does that come from England, or is that kind of a self appointed?

Gordon: Well, it’s not a title. It’s more of a description. There are certain rules to heraldry, about what kinds of things go on the shield.

Fisher: Like the fish or rabbit. 

Gordon: Yeah. Well, there are all sorts of designs, geometric designs, like triangles and diamonds and stripes and, depending on which way the stripes go. You know, there used to be something, a black stripe across the shield was called the “bar sinister.”

Fisher: Ah.

Gordon: And that was supposed to mean illegitimacy. 

Fisher: I remember Simon Bar Sinister. What was that?

Gordon: Yeah, he was an underdog.

Fisher: Underdog? 

Gordon: But he was a bad guy.

Fisher: Yes, yes. He was. He was always tying up sweet Polly on the train tracks.

Gordon: That’s right, that’s right. And that was an in-joke among the creators of underdog, because bar sinister basically meant illegitimate.

Fisher: [Laughs] I did not know it.

Gordon: Yeah, yeah. But that bar sinister is actually, it’s actually bas sinister, it’s French, b-a-s, but it became corrupted to “bar sinister”. That’s one of these heraldic designs that you could put on the shield, you know. And, so, stripes, and you often see shields that are divided into four sections. Those four sections each represent a part of a person’s ancestry. So if two people from families with coats of arms marry, they could put the husbands on one side and the wives on the other. And then eventually their children could have four different shields, you know. If you look at the coats of arms of the current queen of England, you’ll see that it’s quartered, and in those different quarters, there are different arms that came from ancestors more remote, from different royal ancestors they had. It’s one of those things that…so what I’m saying is, these heraldic artists, you know, you can tell them basically what you want.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Gordon: And they’ll take the rules of heraldry about the different colors you can use and different designs, and they’ll create one for you.

Fisher: Now, are these people, would you call them fakes or frauds and what they do or do they represent themselves accurately, or do they try to create this idea that they have some kind of authority from.

Gordon: No, no. The ones, the people I’ve known, just have an artistic flair, and, they like doing this sort of thing, and they know very well that legitimate coats of arms are not very common for people to have, and it’s, they will tell you, we can do this for you, it doesn’t have any standing with the coats of the College of Heralds in England, but, it’s something you might want to display, you know? You’d be the first one to bear it.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] Yes, you would. Do we still today have battles over coats of arms over in England?

Gordon: I don’t think so. I think, the last one I read about, it was a dual in the middle 1800s that I heard about, between somebody who was displaying someone else’s coat of arms on the side of his coach, and that was the last. I read this a long time ago in a book about genealogy in general, and I don’t think it’s… it was probably thrown out of court as a frivolous suit. 

Fisher: A frivolous suit today?

Gordon: Yeah.

Fisher: Okay. But it does continue on. Would the queen be able to do these, or does she continue to do this today?

Gordon: Well, it’s not the queen. There’s something called the College of Heralds. It’s not a college like a university, it’s a group of people that, that’s their job, to keep track of who deserves the coats of arms. They have the records of who got them way back to the Middle Ages, so you can actually, if you want to find out if-

Fisher: Probably the genealogies that goes with it, right?

Gordon: Oh absolutely.

Fisher: And big books. Heraldic books?

Gordon: Well, books and manuscripts even, back before books, things written down on sheepskin and things like that. With all the stuff painted on and all the pictures. And you can have them do research to see if there’s a coat of arms for your family. It costs money, though. I mean, the College of Arms.

Fisher: How much?

Gordon: That [Laughs] it was a lot of money the last time I tried, you know. And it wasn’t for me, it was for a client, they wanted to know, you know, what can I do? 

Fisher: Okay. Last time you tried, how much was it?

Gordon: I think it was at least 90 to $100. Just to get them started. 

Fisher: Okay.

Gordon: And that was a while ago. 

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs] You never know. Right, so a lot of fraud out there. We’ve just learned about two of these areas of concern from Gordon Remington, at ProGenealogist. The line to Adam and Eve. Be sure to take our poll at ExtremeGenes.com. Do you have one of those? We found out of course that there were some folks on there that didn’t likely really exist, and of course, this whole thing with the coats of arms, the crests, the shields. Fascinating stuff, Gordon. Thanks so much for joining us.

Gordon: Hey, thank you, Scott. 

Fisher: And coming up next on Extreme Genes, from TMC, The Multimedia Center, Tom Perry, he’s going to be in, talking about how he can rescue some of your damaged stuff, the stuff that was melted in fires and perhaps damaged by water, interesting ways to preserve and bring back life to some of your great memorabilia, coming up next on Extreme Genes.

Segment 4 Episode 5

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. It is Fisher here. It’s all brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers in Salt Lake City. And here is Mr. TMC himself! Mr. Tom Perry!

Tom: Hey! Good to be here another Sunday.

Fisher: Oh yes! And you know, earlier on the show, you heard about the firemen.

Tom: Um hmm.

Fisher: Who's grandpa's material all disappeared because he married another wife, and she just didn't think that it would be of any value to anybody, it certainly wasn't to her, so after he passed, she threw everything out. He had no pictures of his fireman grandfather. And so, this was kind of a disaster, until he actually found a photo recently of him actually working a fire in 1945 in a picture from the historical society. And you must run into this all the time with people who lose stuff in either disasters, like fires or perhaps flooding. What do you do in these circumstances? And tell us some of the stories and how you've recovered these.

Tom: I've got a really sad story. One story, never assume grandma has the stuff or Aunt Martha has the stuff, you'll get a copy when she passes. We had a customer come in the store that told us about a situation that he was living in Salt Lake and his sister lived in another state, his mother had all this genealogy. She was major into it, he loved it, his sister hated it. And they kind of didn't get along. And so, as soon as mother died, before he had a chance to fly back there, she went and took files and files and files and threw them in a dumpster. It was all gone! All the genealogy that had been together forever. And he just assumed, "When mom died, I'd get it." Well, sister who had some conflict decided she didn't want him to have it, and so she destroyed it all.

Fisher: So what happened?

Tom: He's without it. And so, hopefully, you know, somebody can find some of the other stuff, just like the fireman story and find stuff. We've had some things that could have been tragedies turn positive. We had a gentleman that just stopped in the store one day and says, "Hey, I saw your sign out front that says you repair tapes and disks. I've got a tape that my two year old put into the oven of our wedding.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And my wife didn't know it was in there. And she turned on the oven to preheat it to make some cookies, and then all of a sudden started smelling something."

Fisher: Didn't smell like chocolate chip.

Tom: No. [Laughs] No.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: Burning videotape does not smell good.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And so she opened it, saw it there and you know, just bawled. But she took it out. And the neat thing is, they hung onto this for like, I think it was four or five years.

Fisher: Just couldn't part with it.

Tom: Couldn't throw it away, couldn't throw it away. So he asked me about it and I said, "Yeah, sure. Bring it in. We'll see what we can do." And we were able to recover the entire tape.

Fisher: Really? Now what did you, you probably had to take it out of the casing, reestablish it in another one.

Tom: Oh yeah. It was totally melted together. We had to actually surgically cut it apart.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: You know, get out some Xacto knives and things and just very carefully cut the case away from the tape, because the tape has a lot higher flashpoint than the actual plastic it’s in.

Fisher: So did they name their first child after you?

Tom: They should have.

Fisher: [Laughs] All right, what else can people recover from?

Tom: Well, other things too. Something now that seems, well, you know, that's crazy, we had a little girl that had some little, teeny or her parents had some little VHS tapes, the little, teeny ones and put them on top of a lamp and it just melted. And those ones are worse, they just, they almost turned into a ball of glue type thing. And we were able to recover those also, but it took a lot of work. I mean, it was a lot of work to do something like that. We've had people that have been ground down. We had a teacher at a high school that one of his kids took one of the training DVDs and took it to the band saw and just scratched it up, and he figured it was toast, but he thought, "Ah, I'll bring it in to Tom and see if he can do anything." And I was actually surprised on this one. We were able to totally resurface the disk and it worked.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: It really worked.

Fisher: And so you were able to digitize that and then save it to something else.

Tom: Exactly. What we did is, we resurfaced it and made the disk so thin, it was still readable, but you know, you don't want to play with it. So then we went in and duplicated it and made a new master on a good Taiyo Yuden disk, which is important for people to understand, all disks are not created equal. You can go to some warehouse stores or even some electronic stores and buy cheap CDs and cheap DVDs and there's a reason they're so cheap.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: I had an incident where we had an actor that did some work with us before and he had finally got a reel made of all the different movies he was in, TV shoes, everything, and about three years later, he went in for an audition and he popped it into his DVD before he left before he's going to take it in, nothing! He brought it in to us, we tried it in every machine we had. We couldn't get anything off of it. So it’s totally irreplaceable.

Fisher: What happened to it?

Tom: It’s just the dye breaks down, because most DVDs and CDs that are what we call a one off disk, a +R, an RW, a -R, they have organic dye in them. And if you like left one upside down on your dashboard in your car, even if it wasn't hot enough to melt it, just the rays of the sun basically erases all the information, turns all the zeros and ones back to zeros. And so the dye breaks down. We will only use Taiyo Yuden disks. I get every manufacturer sends us free disks to try to get us to use theirs, I will only use Taiyo Yuden disks, because I have never, ever had one problem with any of them.

Fisher: There is hope then.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: For people who have had a disaster. And I know a lot of people would be like that where they don't want to throw away something that is treasured. They know it’s not functional, but nonetheless, if they bring it to you, you might be able to help them out.

Tom: Yeah. Quite often we can recover the information. But to start off, use a Taiyo Yuden disk. You know, start off with the best. Your chances are better for survival. A lot of people, they take photos with their SD cards, they put them on their computer, burn a  disk and then erase them, burn a disk and then erase them, burn a disk and then erase them. If they're not using Taiyo Yuden disks, their disk could fail in three years and not work anymore. And then we also, which we mentioned in one of the shows before, the millennial disk. We can put them on a millennial disk. And they don't use dye, they actually is engraved into the polycarbonate, so they pretty much last forever.

Fisher: And these are the ones you talked about and said 500 years from now you could.

Tom: Oh yeah!

Fisher: Take them out of a hole in the dirt.

Tom: Yeah, absolutely.

Fisher: And they would work if you had the proper machine to work it with.

Tom: Exactly. It doesn't have your traditional dye or organic dye that can break down. It’s pitted right into the disk itself.

Fisher: Now is this the kind of thing they use on the gravestones now?

Tom: Some people use stuff like that. They also use ones that are like laser engraved that they take their Smartphone up and then they hit it with their Smartphone and it brings up photos or pictures or stuff like that. That's a little bit different technology. That uses the internet and it also is actually laser engraved on usually a piece of metal. So the millennial disks are still a polycarbonate, but it’s kind of engraved, the same type, but it’s done in a burner, a special millennial burner, which used to be very expensive. And now they're working with a manufacturer to get the prices down so people can buy them themselves if they have a lot of stuff to archive or bring them in to us and we can put them on the millennial disk for you.

Fisher: Wow! And how expensive are they?

Tom: Right now they're about $15, which is kind of pricey, but the price is coming down. And if you have a whole bunch of course you'll get quantity discounts.

Fisher: And the size though, I mean, has to make it worthwhile.

Tom: Oh absolutely, absolutely.

Fisher: Now how much space is on this?

Tom: Its 4.7GB, just like a standard DVD, it’s the same size.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: But you can get a lot of data. If you do MP3s, you can get a ton of MP3s. So it just depends how big you data is, how much you want it compressed and stuff.

Fisher: All right. Now getting back to the little medallions they put on the tombstones now.

Tom: Uh huh.

Fisher: Is that technology likely to last any period of time?

Tom: Oh it will. And that's another thing you have to be careful. There's a lot of people that have sprang up and are doing those things that don't have the technology that could be gone in a year or two. The company that we use is out of Pittsburg. He's the one that actually invented the technology. It’s called Memorial Medallion. And he developed the technology, and its setup in perpetuity, just like it is at a cemetery. So a certain part of the money goes to keeping this forever. And so, they guarantee they'll last forever. If something happens with it, they'll replace it, because they actually have a laser. It’s a very expensive laser. I've seen it, that engraves into it. Once you buy it, it’s yours forever. You have the password. You can go in and change things. You can update it. You can do anything. It’s a living type thing. So you can put all these photos.

Fisher: So this is just a trigger then basically to get to the website.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And so you're saying that would be able to endure extreme weather, harsh sun, winter. [Laughs]

Tom: Oh absolutely.

Fisher: That's unbelievable.

Tom: In fact, they were picked back at 9/11 where they have the monument for the fire fighters and the police department, they have a large monument with all their names, and next to one is a millennial medallion, next to every single one. And so, you can scan it and it will come up and say, "Oh, this was a fire fighter. He's twenty one. Right out of the academy. He left a wife and three kids." And it makes those names come to life. It makes them, you know, personal. And you can go to our website, TransferDuplication.com and click on the millennial medallion and it'll take you to the site and give you all the information about it. And I think they’re on sale right now for only like about $50, so they're pretty inexpensive.

Fisher: Well, there's so much you can do and are doing to help people preserve their memories. As we say every segment, preserving your memories for over forty years. And here's another great example of great stuff that people ought to check out, even if they just want to drop by and see you, Tom.

Tom: Oh yeah, they’re welcome in, talk to us about different things. We do classes and stuff, teach people how to do this kind of stuff, do webinars, and most of them are free. But the biggest thing is, don't assume Aunt Martha has backups of the stuff.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Get a copy yourself, insist on it.

Fisher: All right Tom. Thanks for coming by. See you next week.

Tom: Sounds good. We'll see you then.

Fisher: Thanks to Kyle Lavender, the fire fighter for Salt Lake City, Utah, who was on the show earlier. By the way, if you want to see the picture by which he found his grandfather, we've got it posted on the website, ExtremeGenes.com. Thanks also to Gordon Remington from ProGenealogists and ProGenealogists.com, talking about the Adam and Eve problem. And of course, if you want to take our poll, you can answer the survey at Extreme Genes, "Do you have one of those lines that goes back to Adam and Eve?" A quick throwback to last week, got an email from Susan Colton, she said, "Fisher, awesome visit with Fred Moss on federal and state governments looking to further limit access to birth, death and marriage records. How do we know if our state or the feds are looking into changing the laws?" Susan, most of the state legislators have websites where you can enter a keyword that will take you to any legislation that would contain that word and you can also contact your state representative or state senator to find out more about that, then you'll know what you need to do. Take care. We'll talk to you again next Sunday night at 6 on Extreme Genes. A Fisher Voice Works Production!

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