Episode 55 - Family History Found In A Cookbook... and Working With Kelsey Grammer on "Who Do?"

podcast episode Sep 01, 2014

Fisher begins the show with the latest on what the body of King Richard III has revealed.  Found under a British parking lot just two years ago, the 500-year-old corpse is the scientists' gift that keeps on giving!  Fisher then discusses the latest on cemetery business.  With so many now reaching capacity they're now finding new ways to cash in on our collective demise.  Some may just surprise you!
Stan Lindaas is back from HeritageConsulting.com with some important advice for anyone on the family history trail... "Don't judge a book by it's cover!"  He once picked up a cook book at an estate sale, and wait til you hear what was in it concerning his family.  
Jenn Utley from Ancestry.com returns to talk about her experience as an expert guest on Who Do You Think You Are?  She played a key role in uncovering Kelsey Grammer's past and then sharing it with him on camera.  
Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com then gives a great lesson on how to shoot video in a way that makes it easy to edit when you're done.  
That's all this week on Extreme Genes!

Transcript of Episode 55

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 55

Fisher: It is like a 2013 flashback today, more news on the corpse of Richard the III. Hello Genies! Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. So glad you could make it. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and I’m always amazed at the stories we run into each and every week around here. When we started the show in 2013, virtually every week there was a new story concerning the battle over the body of King Richard the III. It is not every day you find the body of a royal under a parking lot. We’ll tell you the latest about that coming up in just a few moments. Our guests this week include Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com. He’ll be talking to us about not judging books or odd sources by their covers. You’re going to love the stories from the trail he’ll have in his segment coming up in about nine minutes. Then, and I can’t even believe I’m saying this. The entire season of “Who Do You Think You Are” is over! And they had some great episodes this time around. Jenn Utley from Ancestry.com will be back to talk about her role in the show this past season and her appearance on the program with Kelsey Grammer. We’ll find out how it was working with Frasier himself, and what she felt were the highlights of the 2014 edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Then later in the show, Preservation Authority Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com is back to give you a real lesson on how to do a great family interview video. You might actually be able to go to work for Universal Studios after this. So be sure to check it out later in the show. We have a new poll posted now on ExtremeGenes.com. The question this week is, “Did you know any ancestors who had false teeth?” Yes or no. You don’t see them much anymore. Both of my grandfathers had false teeth. My dad’s dad had a crazy story behind his. In the 1920s when he was in his 40s, the dentist discovered he had an extra set of teeth. So he said the only solution is to pull out your present teeth and let them grow in. So that’s what they did. And when they did, they all fell out! So starting in his 40s Pop Fisher wore false teeth. And by the way, when my dad and then my daughter got those same extra teeth, nobody pulled anything. Cast your vote on the survey now at ExtremeGenes.com. Hey, if you have a question or comment you’d like to share with the show or ask of one of our experts, you can always email me at [email protected], or call our toll free Find Line at 1-234-56-GENES, that’s 1-234-56-GENES, G-E-N-E-S. The line is open 24/7, you can record your comment or question and we will be happy to get back to you. It is time once again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. You know, you have to wonder how much information can be extracted from the remains of one individual. But in the case of Kind Richard III, found under a British parking lot in 2012, the answer seems to be, endless! First, we learned DNA and historical circumstances proved his identity. We’ve learned the truth about his so called hunched back, it was scoliosis. We now know how many wounds he suffered in his final battle and how he died. We learned he had round worms. A facial reconstruction based on 3D mappings of the skull was performed so we could know what he looked like.  He was a good looking king. His entire Gnome is being sequenced because well, they can do it. And even though he had no children, it’s been calculated that millions of us may be collateral relatives to him through his five siblings. What’s next? Burial of course, in Lester Cathedral, but that’s not until next year. In the meantime, his body has revealed more information. The British Geological Society and University of Lester, have researched the tooth and bone chemistry of Richard the III. As a result, we now know more about his diet at various points in his life, as well as where he lived at certain points in his life. The researchers looked for changes in chemistry in his rib, femur and teeth which all develop and rebuild in various times. The geographical info came from isotope measurements that have to do with diet and pollution. His teeth revealed that yes Richard had indeed moved from Farthingale Castle, that’s Eastern England before he turned 7. The teeth also show that he lived where it was rainier, the rocks were older and his diet was different. I mean, I’m not making this up. The femur study which covers the period beginning about 15 years before he died showed he enjoyed a diet associated with the highest aristocracy. The rib part of the study indicated that when he became King, he enjoyed fresh water fish and birds, as well as swan, crane, heron and egret. Oh, and he really liked wine. It’s an amazing story check it all out at ExtremeGenes.com. Bloomberg Business Week reports that by the end of the decade Green Wood Cemetery, the half million graves strong in Brooklyn, New York, one of New York’s largest will run out of space. That means they’re charging more for the remaining plots or mausoleums. Want a 756 square foot mausoleum? It will cost you just $320,000. That’s with no bedrooms and no bathrooms. Even basic plots are getting out of reach for the average Joe, and Green Wood isn’t alone. Many cemeteries in New York are in the same boat. Bloomberg says that the funeral industry as a whole is learning new ways to cash in on our collective demise. Green Wood for instance, is selling tickets for tours to history lovers. One has to do with the grave of a whiskey distiller of the 19th century. It already sold out at 30 bucks a pop. At nearby Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx where several of my ancestors are buried, they’re doing tours inspired by food, including a visit to the grave of Jerry Thomas an early bartender. Other places are hosting concerts and readings of poetry, there’s now a smart phone app for visitors to Arlington Cemetery so you can find the graves of military vets. In Hong Kong, they found plenty of space for burial, floating off the coast. Yeah, this is a really fun article, find the link and read all about it at ExtremeGenes.com. And that’s your family histoire news for this week. And coming up next, it started with a simple enough find at an estate sale, but amazingly as is often the case, it turned into genealogical gold. Our friend and Research Authority Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com will tell you about this family research adventure that happened while researching his own family, and give you some thoughts on how to avoid judging a book by its cover when it comes to your research. That’s in three minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 2 Episode 55

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my good friend Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com. Welcome back Stan. Good to see you!

Stan: Thanks Fish. Good to be here.

Fisher: And every time Stan comes he’s got some bizarre story and interesting stuff.

Stan: Bizarre?

Fisher: Well, yes! 

Stan: Harper's Bazaar.

Fisher: Harper's Bazaar. And this week is no exception because we were chatting a little off-air and you wanted to talk about unusual places to find your family history, and you’ve had another one.

Stan: Yeah. It’s kind of the, you know, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ kind of a thing. 

Fisher: It’s funny how that works sometimes in this realm.

Stan: Yeah. And I’m quick to do that I’m afraid. I’ve got a second great grand uncle born 1860. My mother knew the man and just adored him. But the pictures that I’ve seen of him, to be quite frank about it, he looks like a double for Al Capone.

Fisher: Oh really? [Laughs] 

Stan: Yeah. 

Fisher: Big round face?

Stan: Yeah, big round face.

Fisher: And a cigar chomping guy.

Stan: Well I never saw the cigar but he’s always got a scowl on his face. 

Fisher: Hmm.

Stan: And I’m thinking you know, this is not the guy that I would have wanted to raid his apple trees or something, you know?

Fisher: Right. They’d find you under the apple tree. 

Stan: Yeah, buried one of the two, or in the mash bed or something.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: But I’m not sure. But I was digging around in my family history a couple of months ago prior to my mother’s birthday, trying to find something for her. And I came across an obituary for William H. Pile, Belvidere Illinois. A grand and glorious obituary as all obituaries seemed to be. I’ve yet to read about a scoundrel in an obituary.

Fisher: [Laughs] No they were all fantastically well loved people no matter what.

Stan: Yeah. They’re all saints, every one of them. Bless their hearts. At any rate, I find obituary and in the obituary there’s a reference to an article, a full page article that had been published in the Saturday Evening Post.

Fisher: Wow!

Stan: Which for you and I and many people in the audience, Saturday Evening Post was big time. 

Fisher: Big time for a long time. They’re gone now though.

Stan: No, they’re actually still around.

Fisher: Really?

Stan: Yeah.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: I know because I spoke with them. 

Fisher: Oh okay.

Stan: Either that or I’ve become clairvoyant. 

Fisher: Umm hmm.

Stan: At any rate, so I thought, this will be great. Nobody knows about this. Nobody living in my family knows about this. And since my mother loved this guy I will see if I can get it. Well, I dug and I dug and I dug, said several years before his death.

Fisher: What does that mean?

Stan: Yeah exactly. Does it mean two years? Does it mean five? At any rate, so finally, after not being able to find it, I got online and I found the phone number for the Saturday Evening Post. And I called and got this fine young lady, I believe she’s from Romania, but she was enthralled by this whole thing and she took it upon herself to start digging and after a few days she contacted me and she said, “I found it!” 

Fisher: Wow!

Stan: And sure enough, here’s this wonderful picture of this man.

Fisher: Uncle Bill.

Stan: Uncle Billy. 

Fisher: Hmm.

Stan: Which harkens back to a movie, I think, “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of a thing.

Fisher: Right, yeah. 

Stan: At any rate, this Uncle Billy was out in front of his store with probably forty five employees, and as it turns out, on the far right of the picture was my second great grandmother whom I’d never seen a picture of. I found this out after I sent it off to my mother. But in the article, it talks about Uncle Billy in the early 1900s in a town of seven thousand people earning over almost a million dollars. I can’t remember the exact number.  

Fisher: Whoa!

Stan: A year.

Fisher: Wow!

Stan: He would sell so much merchandise, he would order flour and the sugar and the coffee by the box carload, and he would sell two box carloads a month. There were people coming from thirty, forty miles around to his store. Across the street from his store and immediately next door to him were two other grocery stores. They were chain stores. And when Uncle Billy died, the article talks about how the entire town shut down. Even the competition closed their doors so that everyone could go to Uncle Billy’s funeral. 

Fisher: What year was this?

Stan: This was in 1939 when he died. And they said that there were so many people that they could have filled the church four times. They were standing around outside and they had like town criers who were yelling out funeral services to the crowd.

Fisher: [Laughs] That’s the kind of funeral I want. That’s awesome.

Stan: Yeah. I thought it was a good thing he wasn’t Irish or the wake would have sunk the entire county. 

Fisher: Right.

Stan: So looking at Uncle Billy’s picture, really, I did him disservice. Obviously he was a well loved man. I had another experience some years ago.

Fisher: Let me ask you before you go anywhere with that.

Stan: Oh yeah.

Fisher: Did you get an original of this or did they send you a scan?

Stan: Well they didn’t send an original. They had the means to send like a galley copy. 

Fisher: Oh.

Stan: The thing was huge. I mean it’s like thirty five inches tall, like something you’re going to put up for the circus coming to town.

Fisher: Because I was going to say, if you only got a scan, you could easily go on eBay and set it up so that basically you would get an email if one of those from that issue became available. 

Stan: Right. Yeah. That’s a great idea. I hadn’t even thought about it. I think that would be terrific. I know my mother would love to see the actual magazine, you know?

Fisher: Yeah.

Stan: With the other articles that were surrounding it. You had a magazine story Fish.

Fisher: Yeah I did actually, back in ’06 I had a third cousin that I had been in touch with over the years and he said, “Hey, there’s this New York magazine that I just love and it came in and it has this photograph of an apartment at the Dakota.” You know, this is where John Lennon died in New York City. And it features this incredibly ornate gorgeous bookcase that had been built in 1829 and signed underneath one of the book shelves, “Robert Fisher 1829” he said, “Could this be our Robert Fisher?” And I said, “Well, he was a cabinet maker, and he was there in 1829. And he was the only one. So yeah, that’s our guy!”

Stan: Wow!

Fisher: And so eventually, I did wind up getting an original magazine of that with it featured. It was Lenard Bernstein’s former apartment and the people who bought it after he passed away had the bookcase. And as a result of that, we learned that it had actually been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts back in 2001, 2001.

Stan: As a prominent piece of furniture?

Fisher: They were showing furniture as art from that particular era in New York City and they had a few of these and this was one of the featured pieces. 

Stan: Wow. That’s amazing!

Fisher: It is. Who would ever know that you could find something like that relating to you family like you say in a magazine.

Stan: Yeah. It’s incredible. 

Fisher: Follow the leads.

Stan: That yeah, all the way out.

Fisher: All the way.

Stan: Yeah, that’s right. 

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: You don’t just blow past something in an obituary. 

Fisher: That’s right.

Stan: If there’s a little clue, chase it. You’re going to have fun.

Fisher: I always maintain that if you can give me just a little bit of fur at the end of the cat’s tail, I can bring in the whole cat. 

Stan: I’ll let you have it. I’m allergic to cats.

Fisher: [Laughs]    

Stan: There are other rather unique places where you can find information, again, by not judging the book by its cover. Some years ago I bought at estate sale back in Rochelle Illinois a cook book that was published in the 1890s and the recipes were wonderful. I like cooking and so that is why I bought it. And it had the surname of one of my step grandparents’ families.

Fisher: Hmm.

Stan: And I thought, “Ah, maybe they’re related.”

Fisher: What do you mean “It had it” was it the author? 

Stan: No, no, no, inside the front cover was the surname, it was Mrs Vogel, is what it was.

Fisher: Oh! So someone had written it in there. That was the owner. 

Stan: Exactly, as the owner. And so I bought it. And I’m reading through it and you know, loving these recipes and I stumbled across several items that were stuck within the book. There were small pieces of paper that had recipes handwritten and on these recipes it would say “Aunt Tilley” or “Cousin Matilda” or “Sister Betty Sorensen” or whatever. And some of these names I kind of recognized as being family names but others I did not know. And by following out and doing research I discovered that some of these people were women who were sisters to my step great grandmother. And I had no idea that they even existed. So not only did I have their given name, but I had their married name now and thereby was able to expand the family tremendously. Also stuck in the book was a tremendous page that was torn out of a magazine. It was instructions for women for travelling on the trains of the day.  

Fisher: Oh!

Stan: And we’re talking about coal fired trains.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: And you know, we see in the movies these grand and glorious outfits that these women wore. Well, it’s a great way to start a fire. Because the cinders would blow back and it was hotter and get out in the train cars. So they would have the windows open so the cinders would fly in and land on these really frilly dresses and poof!

Fisher: Oh no!

Stan: So they were advised not to wear this stuff you know, and to buy a rain slicker to wear while you’re on the train. And I’m thinking, “Let’s see, 90 degrees, 95% humidity, and a rain slicker.” 

Fisher: Wow!

Stan: Oh yeah, I want to be riding on this train. The good old days.

Fisher: Not quite like the movies huh? 

Stan: No. So my point here is look at all those old weird things you know? If you have even a spark of an interest in a book that you see in an estate sale or in your grandmother’s house or something, pick the thing up! There may be notes in there. If you like it, chances are grandma liked it or she wouldn’t have it on her shelf to begin with. And back then, they made notes in those things and so you can find all kinds of wonderful things.

Fisher: And this really harkens back to our visit with Joy from JustaJoy.com the website where basically you put in the surnames that you’re looking for and as antique dealers and other people stumble upon things that relate to old families, you might be able to acquire that from family bibles to whatever, old photographs.

Stan: Yes. And I exhort you that even if we buy something, it doesn’t have something about your family, put the information out there. It applies to somebody’s family and they may not even know they’re looking for it yet. But the day will come when one of them will go, “Ooh that looks like it belongs to my family.” And the joy that you had in finding things about your great grandparents, or your great, great uncle, can be shared with so many people.

Fisher: Pay it forward. 

Stan: That’s right, over, and over, and over again. 

Fisher: All right. Great advice, great stories from Stan Lindaas as always from HeritageConsulting.com. Good to see you again Stan. Thanks for dropping by.

Stan: Thanks Fish.

Fisher: And coming up next, she research for “Who Do You Think You Are?” and actually appeared on a show this past season. We’ll talk to Jenn Utley from Ancestry.com coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. 

Segment 3 Episode 55

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Jennifer Utley

Fisher: Hey, you found us! It’s Extreme Genes, Family History Radio ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here your Radio Roots Sleuth with Jennifer Utley our good friend from Ancestry.com and one of the researchers for Who Do You Think You Are? And Jenn, I can’t believe the season is over already. How does that happen?

Jenn: I know, like it went really fast this year.

Fisher: Yeah, I mean there were only like six episodes. Isn’t that like the shortest year ever?

Jenn: It could be. It could be, yeah.

Fisher: Why is that?

Jenn: You know, usually there are more people on the docket, but sometimes really it’s the people who do the scheduling complex.  

Fisher: Oh, OK, they become Superheroes; they get the big movie shot.

Jenn: Exactly.

Fisher: Yes. 

Jenn: It happens every now and then.

Fisher: Exactly. And you were actually on an episode this year yourself. I remember last year you were telling us about emailing with one of the stars and you became a hero with your kids.

Jenn: Right.

Fisher: And this had to send them just through the roof to have you actually on the show!

Jenn: You know, I think he was more impressed last year than he was this year.

Fisher: [Laughs] How come? Why do you think?

Jenn: Well, so the person I got to email back and forth with last year was Jim Parsons.

Fisher: Right

Jenn: And he is a big Jim Parsons fan. 

Fisher: Um hmm.

Jenn: I think he got pretty excited when he realized that Kelsey Grammer, whom I got to meet this year, was in the X-Men movies.

Fisher: Got you. All right, well let’s talk about the season. It was only six episodes here, and what was your involvement with it all?

Jenn: I managed the research teams from the Ancestry side. There are two teams. There’s the Ancestry side and the shit side, and I get to manage that research from the Ancestry side.

Fisher: All right. Now, what was the other side you mentioned?

Jenn: So, we work with the production company and they have a team of researchers as well.

Fisher: Okay, now how does that work?

Jenn: Well, we make sure that we talk a lot. We have weekly meetings and we communicate. And the best thing we do is take really detailed notes and keep task lists so we can divide and conquer the research work.

Fisher: Right. So it’s got to go pretty quickly to do an entire season, doesn’t it?

Jenn: It does, though it does take between six to nine months to finish a tree.

Fisher: So you’re already starting on next year?

Jenn: We would like to.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Jenn: [Laughs]

Fisher: If you knew who was going to be on it.

Jenn: That’s right. And the faster we can know who’s going to be on it the sooner we can jump right in.

Fisher: Exactly. All right, so what was your favorite episode this year?

Jenn: My favorite episode to watch was probably the Cynthia Nixon episode.

Fisher: That was right at the beginning, wasn’t it?

Jenn: Yeah, it was the first one of the season and it really resonated. I mean, we found an amazing story of this woman, Cynthia’s great, great, great grandmother. We found her in jail.

Fisher: That’s right. I remember. Missouri, right?

Jenn: That’s right. And she had actually killed her husband with an axe, which sounds really terrible, until we actually found there was a newspaper account she talked to a neighbor. Her husband had pretty much said to her, “Make sure you say your prayers today because you’re not going to see the sun go down.” And at that point she had to make a choice. She had children and she chose that she was going to survive, and he wasn’t going to.  

Fisher: Wow!

Jenn: Well, someone who was facing hard times and took matters into their own hands and as a result she ended up at the Missouri Penitentiary. At the time, she was only the second woman ever sent there.

Fisher: Unbelievable. Now by the way, just for people to understand, the series is over as for this past Wednesday, but you can see the entire series again and that’s a great way to do it, you know, just to spend a nice Saturday or Sunday or something, watching all the episodes. They’re available. Was it TLC.com Jennifer?

Jenn: Yeah, TLC.com has full episodes that are streaming online for free. And if you want to own the, I’ve seen them. They’re at iTunes for download too.

Fisher: Oh that’s great. Okay, let’s talk about the Kelsey Grammer episode because you were actually on it and actually worked with him. You got to meet him I assume?

Jenn: Yes, this is the first time that I was asked to be on the show. It was kind of exciting.

Fisher: And what was that experience like, because I hear he’s a pretty good guy?

Jenn: He is. I’ll tell you a quick story about when I first met him. I went up to him. I always introduce myself as Jennifer, because Jennifer is easier to explain because I go by Jenn. I said, “Hi, I’m Jennifer.” He turned to me and said, “No, you’re Jenn with two n’s. And I spell my name with two n’s. And he had paid attention to his briefing documents so much that he knew I wasn’t just Jennifer. I was Jenn with two n’s. 

Fisher: Wow!

Jenn: And that was really indicative how professional he was the whole time. He knew the names of everyone on the crew; called everyone by name. I really felt like I was working with someone, a real professional who knew what they were doing.

Fisher: Isn’t that something? And he enjoyed the process I assume, and all the things he learned?

Jenn: I think so. I don’t think he knew what to expect. He said later on in the episode that he thought he came from a small family. And if you know anything from Kelsey’s background, he has gone through real tragedy in his life.

Fisher: Yes, right.

Jenn: And the first part of his episode is kind of sad because he saw some of his ancestors who went through some hard times and maybe didn’t make the right decisions as they went. But I think that he really got something from that in learning about their stories. But as he went further back he came across people who walked the Oregon Trail and came from Illinois all the way to Oregon with twelve children in hopes of being able to claim some land of their own. So I think ultimately, it was pretty inspiring for him.

Fisher: Well, and certainly now he knows that he doesn’t have a really small family. He has tons and tons of cousins out there.

Jenn: That’s right. 

Fisher: And so how did he react to this because he is a very emotional guy?

Jenn: He is. And you know, the other thing is he’s super well spoken. He’s really eloquent.

Fisher: Right.

Jenn: I saw him on an interview two weeks ago where he was quoting Chekhov, but there’s a part at the end of his episode where he’s really summing it all up. And he said something like that there’s all these names that are kind of alive and flickering in his imagination. And it was really the way he summed up how he feels a sense of connection to these people. The first time I watched the episode I actually went back and re-watched his summing up of the episode like five or six times because it was so beautiful.

Fisher: Umm hmm. Oh, I bet it was. And that really is part of the fun isn’t it, seeing people internalize all this new information? This is what we all enjoy doing in family history.

Jenn: Well, it’s the best part of family history. I think learning that people had hardships too, it’s strengthening for us today.

Fisher: So what part of Kelsey Grammer’s family tree did you help discover?

Jenn: I was actually the first expert that he met along the way, so it was my job to take the questions that he had about his grandma who he called Gam in the episode and kind of introduce him to her family. So we sat down and we found her in the 1910 census and the 1920 census and then he didn’t know the name of his great, great grandfather, so we used some newspaper records which pointed us in that direction and from there he had the names and dates and places that he had so he could continue on with his journey. 

Fisher: Now, has he done any of his own research?

Jenn: I don’t believe that he’s done any at all.

Fisher: It seems to me that a lot of these celebrities now are starting to talk with one another and saying. “Hey, you’ve got to go on this show; you’ve got to have this experience. So are you seeing some of that, or hearing that?

Jenn: Oh, of course we are. So in the first seasons we had to approach celebrities and in some cases we did some mini trees to get them excited about what we could find, but these days we’re really finding that the celebrities are talking to one another, you know colleagues that they’ve worked on shows or movies with. And honestly, there are a lot of people coming to us because they want to be part of this.

Fisher: Now you say you have no names for next year, but you might be working on something because I know how you are. You hold back. You’ve never told me everything Jenn and we’ve had a long relationship here now.

Jenn: [Laughs] That’s right.

Fisher: [Laughs] You’re working on something next year. You must be.

Jenn: You know we’re always working on something and even when it’s just finishing up some of the names that we didn’t finish in time for this season. We’re always moving forward.

Fisher: All right. Now did you get an autograph from Kelsey by the way, for your son?

Jenn: I tried really hard not to be too nerdy and fan-girl with Kelsey.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Jenn: But I was a fan like, “I’ve seen all the Frasiers and all the Cheers and I think he’s really terrific, so I took an extra census record with me and I asked him to sign it, which he was more than happy to sign for me.

Fisher: Well, that’s nice. Have you got it framed with a picture somewhere? There must be a photo with you two.

Jenn: I do have a small, little photo on my phone that I pull out when people really want to see it.

Fisher: [Laughs] All right. Well congratulations Jenn on another great season. It’s on TLC.com. People can watch it whenever they want. There will be another season next year I assume?

Jenn: I sure hope so. I haven’t heard anything else since, but that’s what we’re all hoping for.

Fisher: All right, she’s Jennifer Utley. She’s Family Historian at Ancestry.com working on “Who Do You Think You Are?” Thanks for joining us again Jenn with two n’s

Jenn: Happy to be here, thanks.

Fisher: And coming up next, it’s Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com with some more great ideas for preserving and sharing your past, next on Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 4 Episode 55

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes Family History Radio, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. He's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. How're you doing, Tom?

Tom: Tanned and ready to rock and roll!

Fisher: All right! We've got an email sent to [email protected], from Jeff Dooley in Houston, Texas. He said, "Tom, thanks for the tips on shooting video about framing and lighting, but I'm having trouble keeping track of all the times I turn the camera on and off and where I find stuff. Is there a way to deal with this?"

Tom: Oh absolutely! One of the methods I really try and hammer across in the videography class I teach, first thing is, whenever you're starting a new shoot, whether you're using a tape or a hard disk drive or an SD card or whatever, I suggest you slate your video by laying down ten to thirty seconds of black for a pre roll, in order to edit. You're probably going, "Well, what's a slate?"

Fisher: Well, yeah. Slate and pre roll, talk about that. What's that?

Tom: Everybody that's watched a movie, how they make a movie, they see the little clapboard that they call them. 

Fisher: Right.

Tom: They go [Clap], clap like that, and it shows the numbers going across and says what the name of the video is. 

Fisher: Yes.

Tom: Most people don't have that opportunity, so what I suggest you do is, most cameras now have what they call "color bars". You can go and flip on your color bars, which in like the old days you'd see the color bars at the beginning of shows.

Fisher: Yes.

Tom: And lay that down about ten to fifteen seconds, and while you're laying that down, say, "Hey, this is January 14th, 2020, and we're going to be interviewing grandma." So you've done what we call slating it. Now this does two things. Not only does it help you keep track of where your cuts and edits are, it gives you some time to pre roll. We have people coming in that they start shooting a movie instantly, whether it’s a music video or whatever, that isn’t experienced, and then they want something that first five seconds on the tape. You can't do that. The camera has to get up to speed before the editors can kick in and you can start editing. So if you don't have any pre roll, basically your first ten seconds that you shot are of no value, you can use them anyway.

Fisher: Really? I had no idea!

Tom: Oh absolutely! That's why I say, open up the color bars. Another good thing about the color bars is, you might go out and shoot this same segment, like three different times on three different days, and you get into Adobe Premiere or whatever program you're using and you're going, "My colors don't look the same." By having color bars which are always the same, when you're editing them, you can set them up, then when you do the next shot, go and adjust your colors to match the color bars that are permanently set again, and when you do that on every scene, you can edit from different days, different times, and all the colors are going to look the same. It’s not going to be, this truck one time is kind of off red, the next time, it looks bright red, the next time it kind of looks pink. It lets you set up your color editor, so all the color will be consistent through your edit.

Fisher: Boy, that's great advice!

Tom: Oh, it helps a ton! And then after the color bars, either just put your camera lens on so its black, either totally cover your lens or go to a black section and lay down about ten seconds of black, too, so that gives you that much more pre roll before you start. And then another thing that I really like to do is, if you're shooting grandma and grandpa and want to take a break for lunch or something like that, lay down some black again. And then you can say, you know, this is segment two. So if you're not changing your scenes or anything, you don't need to lay down color bars every single time, but lay down a black slate with you talking, saying, "We're going to be interviewing grandma and grandpa. This is section two." You know, take three, or whatever. And then when you go back and searching through it on your computer, you find these black areas. They're really easy to find. "Oh, here's a black area." Then you listen to it and say, "Oh, this is segment two. Oh, well I'm looking for segment one." So you fast forward it so you're not sitting there listening to the interview, going back and forth, thinking, "Did they talk about the green herring before they were talking about the red hell, or which one was first?" You have all these black sections that are really fast and easy to find. So on most editing programs, you'll have the thumbnails up on the top of your screen.

Fisher: Yes.

Tom: So you see, "Oh, there's black. That's the beginning of a segment." Take your cursor back there and you can listen to what your title is. Go to the next one and find out what segment you want. Because a lot of times when people are telling stories, they tell them out of order. And so, this way you can say, "Okay, I want to start with segment three, then go back to segment one, then go to segment two." And they're just so easy to find when you've laid down these sections of black.

Fisher: All right, that's great advice. And thanks for the question, Jeff. And once again, if you have a question for Tom, you can always [email protected]. And when we return in three minutes, what are we going to talk about?

Tom: Some more video tips to make your video look better and more consistent.

Fisher: On Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 55

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: You have found us, Extreme Genes Family History Radio, America's Family History Show. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is the Preservation Authority. Tom, we've been talking a lot about the interview process. This is a great thing to do. Obviously, the older your folks are, the less time they have, no matter what, you know, we all have less time as we get older, but when they get up there. You'd better get on it, because as we've often quoted, "When somebody dies, a library is burned."

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And one of the things that I think is important in this process of preservation is editing. And a lot more people now doing their own editing, they're comfortable on computers, and if they're not, they can certainly learn from people like you or someplace in the neighborhood which will offer a course in video editing, but there have got to be some important tips to this.

Tom: There are such great tips out there to help people. So many people out there are doing it themselves. Like I remember back when I used to do music videos and professional stuff, it was like a sixty gigabyte system was like $30,000.

Fisher: [Laughs] That's right. It was just crazy.

Tom: Oh it is!

Fisher: Nobody could afford that. It was all professional.

Tom: Oh it was, totally! In fact, you can go buy a Macbook Pro now or even an AirMac for just over a thousand dollars. It has all the editing equipment you need. It has a solid state hard drive in it. It’s just absolutely incredible what you can do for under two grand now. It’s amazing! If you make bad videos, people aren't going to watch them. So, part of preserving is not just having the stuff there, but having them so people are going to enjoy them and they're going to want to watch them. And editing is one of the biggest things that a lot of people don't understand and can make some major mistakes. Like we've talked in the earlier segment about laying down five to ten seconds of black, that helps you avoid what we call in the industry a "jump cut." So basically what a jump cut is, if you're shooting Ronnie running across your screen from the right to the left and you all of a sudden cut to another frame and he's running the other direction, it’s like, "Whoa! How did he start going in that direction?" And its joined and doesn't make sense, but if you have black where you can fade to black and then fade back out from black, then it doesn't, you know, have that jump cut. Plus you can kind of what we call cheat a little bit, like take some time out, like your kids are on a skateboard or whatever, you can take these things out so it doesn't look like it’s so long, or grandma talking about, you know, the red truck that she grew up in and she just keeps going and talking about all these things that are of no value. If you fade to black and then fade back up to grandma, you can take out that ten minutes of gobbledegook, so to speak, but it feels natural, it doesn't look like something was just cut out. Another thing that's really important to know is, when you're shooting, you want your colors to look good. Like if you've ever watched some TV news shows and they're filming somebody inside of a building and you can see a window and the window looks blue, and you're going, "Why does the window look blue?" Well, basically light to us looks white, but to a camera, it sees what the true colors are, and outside, things are blue. So if we're shooting something inside and we want to show the panorama mountains in the background or whatever, what we would do is, we would set up a few lights, which we talked about three or four weeks ago, and we put what's called a "blue gel" in front of them, which you can pick up really cheap at any, you know, theatre store. And so, we'd make everything blue, then we would go and turn our white balance on our camera to manual, get a white piece of paper that now looks blue to us and tell the camera, "This is white." And then you would manually white balance, then everything you shoot is going to look perfect. The new cameras that do white balancing automatically, it’s amazing what they do. For instance, if you're shooting in grandma's basement and she's got really old fluorescent lights, they're going to look green, and everybody's going to have this pasty green look to their face.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: So what you want to do is, get a white piece of paper and hold it up in front of grandma or a white wall or anything if you're shooting outside, a white car, pushing on it really tight or as they call it nowadays "zoom in" on it really tight and set the manual white balance. So what that's going to do is, that's going to tell the camera, "Hey, this light green is really supposed to be white.

Fisher: You know, what you're telling me is, we've got to learn our cameras a little bit more than we generally do.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Because afterwards, it’s very difficult to correct.

Tom: Oh, very difficult, time consuming and expensive if you hire somebody else to do it for you.

Fisher: All right, thanks for joining us, Tom!

Tom: I just love sharing these tips. If anybody has questions, you know, you can email me at anytime at [email protected] and I'll get back to you just as soon as possible, and maybe read your questions on the air.

Fisher: Thank you, Thomas, and thank you also to Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com, Jenn Utley from Ancestry.com, talking about, “Who Do You Think You Are?” Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

Subscribe now to find out why hundreds of thousands of family researchers listen to Extreme Genes every week!

Email me new episodes