Episode 64 - What Do Mortuaries Have to Offer You for Halloween Weekend?!  Plus Pinterest and Family History

podcast episode Nov 03, 2014

Fisher opens the show explaining the complications of having been born on Halloween.  He then gives poll results on whether or not you or a family member have ever had a deceased family member pay a visit.  It may surprise you!  In Family Histoire News... a family history researcher in Ireland has become somewhat obsessed with photographing graves in one particular county.  You won't believe how many he has posted.  Anderson Cooper of CNN recently did a lengthy video piece on his family history.  But not so much the Vanderbilt side as you would suspect.  It was his father's.  It's a great piece that any geni can appreciate.  Check it out at ExtremeGenes.com.
Fisher then talks to first guest Craig McMillan of Lindquist Mortuaries in Utah.  Craig gives a history of the industry, talks about embalming... how long does the preservation really last... and what records you might expect to find at your local mortuary.  It's dead on (pun intended!) for Halloween!
Then listener Sigrid Olsen from Salem, Oregon talks about how she uses Pinterest to remember her late mother, who died when Sigrid was a young woman.  It's another great way to go for many people looking for a way to share their memories.
Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority returns to talk about how to repair your damaged disks... CDs, DVDs, etc.  Yes, sometimes they are salvageable!  Tom will explain.  He also talks about how you can repair damaged videotapes at your home as well.
That's this week on Extreme Genes... America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 64

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 64

Fisher: Hello Genies! Hope the ghosts of your undiscovered ancestors have been cheering you on to find them this week. We’re here to help you do just that, and get their stories. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and this is Extreme Genes, Family History Radio, America’s Family History Show. You know, I was actually born on Halloween and I can’t say it’s been much different than being born on Christmas really. As a kid, all anybody ever wanted to do was trick or treat, no party at Fisher’s house, except once. And a couple of kids’ brothers had eaten so much candy trick or treating before the party, the cake and everything else was just too much and they got sick right there in front of everybody , and that was the last time my mom tried to hold a party for me on the day of my birthday. And I was okay with that. [Laughs] That is a story that I’ve written in my history for sure. Hey, I’m excited for this week’s show! We have some great guests. The first, in keeping with Halloween, is Craig McMillan. Craig is a general manager for a chain of mortuaries in Utah, and we’ll be talking to him about the history of his business, records of mortuaries and funeral homes may have for us to find in research, embalming, I mean, you name it we’re going to cover all of that, it’s in about 9 minutes. Then later in the show, we’ll talk to a listener in Oregon who’s taken to Pinterest to share some family history with other family members. That’s a place I’ve never gone to, or thought of for what we do, but Sigrid Olsen has some great ideas to share on that. Hey, as you know I’ve found family history on YouTube and eBay, so why not Pinterest? Sigrid will be here later in the show. And of course Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority will take up the backend of the show, talking today about figuring out the lengths of your old home movies and videos, so you can get estimated prices when you go to have them digitized.

Hey, this past week our Extreme Genes poll asked the Halloween themed question “Has a deceased relative ever paid you or a family member a visit?” Now, I can’t say that’s ever happened to me but it did happen to a friend of mine. His mother had passed when he was a young man and he was having a very difficult time with it. His wife had gone to bed early and he fell asleep in the basement, when mom appeared and woke him up. She was all dressed in white. He was so terrified he couldn’t even move. When he could, he ended up dashing upstairs and into bed with his wife, shaking all over. So, while I, like you, really like finding my deceased relatives, I can’t say I’d really be too excited to have one of them find me, if you know what I mean? Interestingly, 57% of you answered “yes” to this question. You or a family member have had a deceased relative visit, and like last week, that’s a lot more people than I would have thought. We would love to hear about some of those experiences. So please feel free to share them with us on our Extreme Genes Facebook page, and please give us a like while you’re there. This week’s ExtremeGenes.com poll question asks, “Have any of your ancestors been named after someone famous?” Cast your vote now at ExtremeGenes.com. Just a reminder if you haven’t done it yet, you can download the free Extreme Genes podcast app from your phone store. It’s available for both iPhone and Android, and it’s a great way to catch up with any past shows you may have missed. It is time again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. We start out with a story Joe Maher of Kerry, Ireland. Now he’s 63, has been working his own family lines for the past decade, and came to realize that with Ireland’s records being so fragmented he found more information in local cemeteries than anywhere else. Joe, probably not knowing much about Find A Grave and Billiongraves.com, decided he would go about photographing graves from his area, and started his very own site, kerryburials.com. What makes Joe’s efforts particularly unique is that in a year and a half Joe has been on this. He’s photographed some 50 thousand graves. He sometimes arrives at a graveyard at 8 in the morning and doesn’t leave until 10 at night, sometimes taking as many as 2000 grave photos in a day. Joe admits it’s something of an obsession now. He says he’s begun photographing graves in Cork and has made plans to photograph all the graves in Munster, Ireland eventually. Once again, if you have Irish ancestry from the area of Kerry, Ireland you can see Joe’s work and maybe one or more of your ancestors graves at kerryburials.com. CNN recently presented a week long series called Roots: Our Journey Home, where their news anchors all did stories on their own ancestry. Of course, no anchor has a more unique family history than Anderson Cooper, whose mother is Gloria Vanderbilt, an heiress and socialite, and a descendent of the renowned Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. Cooper does a great piece on his discoveries, focusing more on his father’s side which came through the South. His report takes us through weed covered cemeteries, deep in the woods of Mississippi and Alabama. He also reports on how two of his ancestors, one from his mother’s side, fighting for the Union and one from his father’s side fighting for the South nearly met in the same battle in 1864. Since Anderson Cooper lost his father when he was only 10 years old and a brother to suicide in the 1980s, it’s a particularly touching piece. And anyone pursuing their own ancestry will appreciate the journey of CNN’s Anderson Cooper. Find the links to both of these stories and the video now at ExtremeGenes.com. FamilySearch.org has announced that entertainer Donny Osmond will be one of the keynote speakers at this coming year’s Roots Tech Conference in Salt Lake City. February’s conference will be combined with the 2015 Federation of Genealogical Society’s Conference. If you want to find out about the latest innovations and technology in family history, you’re going to want to be in Salt Lake City, February 11th through 14th. Extreme Genes will be there, and I hope you will be too. And coming up next, I’ll talk to a man who’s the General Manager of a group of mortuaries in Utah. We’ll find out about funeral homes and mortuary records and what they might tell us. Little history on mortuaries as well as embalming and a whole lot more. I’ll talk to Craig McMillan from Lindquist Mortuaries, coming up in 3 minutes on Extreme Genes, family history radio and ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 64

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Craig McMillan

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio ExtremeGenes.com America’s Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and one of my guests today Craig McMillan he is the general manager of Lindquist Mortuaries, and you operate in Utah, yes?

Craig: Yes we do.

Fisher: And Craig, how far back does Lindquist go in Utah?

Craig: Niles Lindquist a Swedish convert to the LDS church came over here in 1867. He was a furniture maker and was immediately sent by Brigham Young to Northern Utah. He initially went to Logan. A few years later came down to Ogden and we’ve been in Weber and Davis County most of that time.  

Fisher: Back in 1867. How do you think the business has changed since then?

Craig: [Laughs] Well, the term undertaker originated from the description. A person would undertake responsibilities that were once assumed by the family.

Fisher: Really?

Craig: Yeah. That was where the term came from, and initially, furniture builders became the undertakers. Out the front door they would sell kitchen tables and chairs and it would say on top of their shop “Furniture” under the title of furniture in small letters it would say ‘undertaker goods’ and out the back door they would sell coffins.

Fisher: Ha! I had never heard that. So was it the responsibility of the family in the past to dispose of their loved ones bodies?

Craig: Yeah. I mean if you’re talking rural America for the most part and from the earliest beginning, when someone passed away the family found that they had an immediate need. That was the disposition of this body which was probably near and dear to them. And so they had that responsibility. But as the communities began to grow and we became more urban and more developed, individuals rose up and they were called undertakers. They undertook that responsibility.

Fisher: When did embalming begin for modern purposes?

Craig: Probably it recognized getting its real start was during the Civil War. There were so many soldiers that were killed on the battlefield and yet the families had some interest in bringing those bodies home. Now we have huge battlefields, you go back to Gettysburg and other places.

Fisher: Yes.

Craig: But there were a lot of families who wanted them to come home to the family cemetery. And so they began to do the arterial embalming, which had been developed in Europe. Where recognizing that the softest tissue of the body was the blood and that the replacement of the blood would slow down the decomposition and allow us to do that kind of shipping. And so simulating the heart, they would use pumps, they would inject chemicals, mostly a formaldehyde base, but they had arsenic and there’s humectants and emulsion and other things that would go into it but it would replace the blood and thus delay or detour the decomposition of the body sufficiently as to allow them to be shipped home.

Fisher: Now that’s interesting because back during the Civil War the government didn’t even take responsibility for taking care of the bodies of the deceased and getting them back to their families. That kind of came as a result of the Civil War and I never would have thought that embalming would have been the result of that as well. Once someone was embalmed at that time, how long could the body remain preserved so it wouldn’t be a health issue for other people around it?

Craig: Well, there are a lot of factors that enter in. First of all, the amount of embalming that is attained is disrupted in bullets and cannons, and very difficult sometimes for us to do a thorough job. And yet at the same time there is no real answer. Because it varies from person to person, but the goal was never to preserve the body for long terms. If funeral directors wanted to do that then we’d duplicate what the Egyptians did and we’d mummified people. The reason that we have embalming today is for sanitation reasons.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Craig: So people can come to a public viewing and not worry about contagion. So it’s complying with health codes and laws and rules.

Fisher: So, how long might a body last if you were to view that body again sometime later, how long might it be preserved?

Craig: Well again, there’s a lot of factors that enter in. There is no real study that we do. We don’t disinter people on a regular basis. A month, a year, two years later and say, “Well let’s see.”

Fisher: Right.

Craig: Now I have had the occasion for one reason or another, legal reasons, families wanting to move a loved one because they’ve moved and they want the person closer to them in a local cemetery. So I have seen people disinterred. We’ve had to take them out of caskets and I have been surprised that many of them sometimes after a year or two or three looked very good. Now again, we don’t do case studies so there’s not a real answer for your question.

Fisher: And part of the reason for the question is I recall hearing about how Lincoln was disinterred back at the early part of the century and was quite recognizable and it was forty some-odd years, maybe fifty, after he had been shot.

Craig: Yes, absolutely. If all things worked as they should, that should be the case. Some of the casket manufacturers actually have a warranty, say a fifty year warranty I think. I’m not even going to tell the consumer about that because that’s so silly. Who’s going to check on it fifty years and see if in fact it met that qualification?

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Craig: But I guess what they’re trying to say is that there is a scrutiny that they go under for them to be able to claim that warranty. But there are those who history will show, have disinterred after decades, that still could be, with very little make up, reviewed.

Fisher: Isn’t that something? Now, how far back do funeral homes go? Did they have them in the 1700s or the 1600s?

Craig: Well again, they weren’t called funeral homes. They really existed initially just to provide specific cares like the transportation of the body or the care of the body, but they always used homes in rural America where it wasn’t unusual for the neighbors to come into the parlor. The body would be on ice if it hadn’t been embalmed. If it had been embalmed, ice wouldn’t be necessary. Churches were used, synagogues, different religious facilities. Funeral homes themselves probably is more of a 19th century, probably the earliest, may have been a few in the 18th.

Fisher: Let’s talk about some of the records that you keep. And speak in general terms about mortuaries around the country. How long do you maintain your records of those who have come through – now you have been around since 1867, how far back do your records go?

Craig: 1867. We have records and we have people who contact us. We have a lot of people who are family history buffs that would frequently call us and want to know if we had some records. And we’ve been able to help a lot of them. We keep records back to... some of them are not detailed, we may have a name, we may have a burial location. I’ve been here thirty nine years and beyond that by decades, we have detailed records.

Fisher: When you say detailed, what does that mean?

Craig: Well, we would have the birth information. The information would be on the death certificate, parents’ names, location, those sorts of things. It would also tell us when the services was held, what sort of a casket, where the burial was, if they used a burial wall what kind it was. Other information that the family may choose to put it an obituary that would have to do with family history, accomplishments those sorts of things.

Fisher: Do you ever have an obituary in these files?

Craig: Oh absolutely. Long before I was here, and I’ve stayed long decades. I’ve looked through the records and my grandfather died twenty years before I started here and his obituary was in there listing all of his survivors, so yeah.

Fisher: Is that general for most funeral homes? I mean I know that the names have been kept the same for over a century, although I’m sure that the ownership has changed over time and that’s probably because they’ve become part of a community.

Craig: Not so much. It would be surprising perhaps for you to know that there are only three mortuaries in the state of Utah that are owned by a national conglomerate all of the others in the state from north to south, east to west are owned by families, and those families for the most part would probably be the original founding families. We’re certainly indicative to that. We’re sixth generation now.

Fisher: Do you ever see the day where funeral homes or mortuaries would digitize all their records and maintain that on their websites?

Craig: Oh Absolutely. We’re trending that way ourselves, but as old as we are it’s an undertaking, but absolutely.

Fisher: Craig, let’s talk a little bit about cremation. Now that seems in my mind anyway, to be more common today than it was when I was a child or when I was a young man. Are you seeing that as well?

Craig: Oh absolutely. When I started here in 1976 I think the percentage of cremation was seven or eight percent, and now we’re doing over twenty percent, maybe twenty two percent cremations.

Fisher: So it’s triple?

Craig: Yeah absolutely. And Utah has one of the lowest percentages in the nation with regards to people that choose cremation. Some states are eighty and some states seventy, eighty, ninety percent cremation.

Fisher: Wow! So this is of course about saving space and being more green. I think, a conscientiousness of that, yes?

Craig: Well it’s a combination of things. It’s different for each person but someone once suggested that there wasn’t enough land and somebody quickly took out the calculator and said, “You could bury everybody in the world in two counties in Utah using traditional grave spaces. So that is not an issue.

Fisher: Really?

Craig: Yeah. I think that the reason or number, number one cost, however, cremation itself is nothing more than a form of final disposition. Meaning some people don’t want to be in the ground but will still have a complete traditional service. We’ll have a rental casket and we may have a funeral at a church or a mass, we may have everything, a viewing, and then instead of going to the cemetery we go to the crematorium. There is no savings financially if you do that. The difference in financial would be if someone chooses to have what we call direct cremation. Meaning no services, no viewing, and then may have a memorial service that follows. The difference between a funeral service and a memorial service is that a funeral service denotes having the body present. A memorial service means no body present. So those who choose direct cremation may or may not choose to have a memorial service. But if you’re not using a casket, if you’re not having embalming, if you’re not having a viewing, just the funeral, then the services cost is going to be much less. So that is a factor for some.

Fisher: Well Craig McMillan, it’s been a delight talking to you. Thank you so much for all your insight on what happens to us and has happened to our ancestors and what records are available through mortuaries such as your own. We appreciate you coming on.

Craig: Thank you very much.

Fisher: And coming up next, you know I’ve told you about how I found family history on YouTube and eBay! Well someone else is making family history available on Pinterest! What is she doing? We’ll talk to Sigrid Olsen from Salem Oregon, coming up in 5 minutes on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 64

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Sigrid Olsen

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio, ExtremeGenes.com, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And you know, we're always asking you to check in with us. You can use our toll free Find Line at 1-234-56-GENES. That's 1-234-56-GENES, to tell us whether you're needing an answer to a question or you have a comment or a suggestion. And we have Sigrid Olsen on the line with us from Salem, Oregon. And I've checked out what you've done, Sigrid, on a site called Pinterest, and of course women especially are all over this site. And you're doing some great family history things there. First of all, welcome to the show!

Sigrid: Oh, thank you, Scott. I'm thrilled to be on Extreme Genes.

Fisher: And you've got this great site going on, Pinterest, saluting your mom who passed away many years ago, what, in the '80s when you were like twenty two years old.

Sigrid: Right. I thought I didn't have a lot of memories about her, but I did. I noticed that I would have memories of her that would come up during the day. And I often thought, "I need to write these down." But some of the memories were fairly simple, about how she ironed her clothed, things she taught me about folding sheets, putting things on clothes line, but I never really had a place to put them, until I was introduced to Pinterest.

Fisher: That's true. I lost my dad when I was seventeen. And there were many things that I didn't recall until I started working on his history over a very long period of time. And its, "Oh, I've got to fit that in! Oh, I've got to remember how I'm going to put that in there!" But Pinterest is a great place for this.

Sigrid: That's right. What happened is, I was introduced to it, and so I started using it for just what a lot of people are using it for, domestic things, cooking, gardening tips, decorating tips, and then I started using it. I'm a history teacher from a history classroom. And then one day I thought, "I'm going to create a board just for my mother." I called it Pearl Marie's Taste, and pretty soon, I was adding everyday three or four memories that came up. As I started to add more memories, then more went on. And Pinterest is a great thing, because there's pictures about everything. And you have a limited amount of space. I think 500 letters, so you're kind of disciplined to just write that short memory down. And then you can find a picture online, they've got pictured for everything, and just attach the picture. And pretty soon, I started to accumulate a lot of memories, and my children and my grandchildren look at it, other relatives too.

Fisher: You don't sound old enough to be a grandmother.

Sigrid: I am a grandmother. [Laughs]

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Sigrid: And it’s for them I did this.

Fisher: Sure.

Sigrid: Because I want them to remember the little things about my mother. And those are really precious memories. And a journal or writing a family history isn't necessarily the place you're going to put those things.

Fisher: Right. And a lot of people aren't going to read a lengthy family history, you know, because it just takes too much effort, but these little things, it’s of course visually, it’s beautiful what you've done.

Sigrid: Right. And there's pictures for everything. So, for example, a few things, I can remember my mother taking a brush out and sweeping the dust from Mount St. Helens when it erupted, and putting it into glass jars. And I just post that memory and it’s there for posterity. The simple things, that's what we love about our family members. I even have a sad memory when, I can remember she always kept the birdbath full, and then I can remember, after she passed away, I came home for a visit, and the birdbath was empty. And that is poignant memory, and it’s something I want my kids to know about life moves on and there is a cycle. But not all the memories have to do with little things. Some of them have to do with things, you know, major world events or things that were on the national stage. I can remember her coming in and telling me to pray for the Apollo 13 astronauts.

Fisher: Interesting!

Sigrid: Yes.

Fisher: Yeah.

Sigrid: I was just probably, you know, twelve years old or ten years old when that occurred. That's when it came out to the news that they were in trouble. I remember right where I was, but everyone has those memories. It’s just, you don't recall them and you think, "Are they important enough to put into a life history?" But pretty soon, as you start to remember, you do realize that a lot of our lives are made up of little, simple things.

Fisher: Don't you think when you're a kid you think of history as something that came before you only and not something that may be happening while you're alive, while you're moving on in your life?

Sigrid: Oh yeah!

Fisher: I thought that way.

Sigrid: Right. And history, you'd be amazed at how far back history can reach. My dad, I even put up some memories of my dad. And I need to open up other boards for the relatives. I've been asked to do that, so that other people can put on their memories too, but my dad, when he was a little boy, he had a neighbor, this old woman, who told everyone, when she was a young woman, she had danced with President Lincoln.

Fisher: Um hmm.

Sigrid: Now, was that true? Maybe not!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Sigrid: Maybe it was true. But what mattered is, there was an old lady in the neighborhood who had lived that long to maybe have done that.

Fisher: That's right.

Sigrid: You know, there's that reach back, not just your parents, not just your grandparents, but way back into history, which makes it a life for our posterity.

Fisher: I remember my oldest uncle telling me once that he as a child had actually watched Civil War soldiers marching in the veterans parades.

Sigrid: Oh yes.

Fisher: And I'm thinking, "Wait a minute! You saw people who fought in the Civil War??" [Laughs]

Sigrid: Right.

Fisher: It’s incredible. And you're right, there is that tie back. It just doesn't go that far back when you put it in those terms.

Sigrid: No. And that thing about Pinterest is it’s so easy to put that memory down. Literally you can do it in five minutes. You write it up and then you go online, or right there you'll put in a Civil War picture and you'll be able to pop it on. And that memory's preserved. And pretty soon, you start accumulating many, many memories. Now, Pinterest has the ability to have a board. If you want to keep it private, you can keep it hidden, just for your family members to access. But I had mine public, and I have had many, many people say to me, even from as far away as Holland, "This is a great idea. I want to do this for my relatives." And the nice thing about it is, you're not bound to having, I mean, I don't have a black and white picture of my mother putting pin curls in my hair.

Fisher: Right.

Sigrid: Like that's a full memory. I can remember her, you know, when I sit my head down. So I just pop up a picture of someone with pin curls in their hair.

Fisher: Sure.

Sigrid: You know, you're not bound by those black and white photos. And in some ways, I think that's good, because then you make it more universal, you know.

Fisher: Yeah, I think you're right.

Sigrid: For example, just a few days ago, I was teaching about the Spanish influenza of 1918, and I remembered my grandmother telling me, and I remember just sitting at the table with her and my mother that they had to stay in. This is all due to the Ebola scare.

Fisher: Right, right, we're having it in that context, sure.

Sigrid: Exactly! And I had forgotten that. And then I recalled it. I recalled right where we were. And it wasn't that I remembered who had it, I remember my grandmother saying, "We had to stay in." And that would have been in, what, 1918?

Fisher: 1918, yeah. I actually lost a cousin from that influenza that year. It’s unbelievable.

Sigrid: Right. And you know what, you may not know much more about that than the fact that you lost a cousin, but when you pin that, it is actually interesting, and the people read it and they go, "Oh yeah, my cousin said a cousin died of it." And it kind of spreads an ownership of all our common memories. And like most of us, we find little things very interesting. And the lore, okay, there's a great word, lore, L O R E. I call it daughter lore. And things that my mother passed down to me are very precious.

Fisher: Well, of course, and that's what makes us all human as well are the little things that make us each unique individuals.

Sigrid: Right.

Fisher: There will never be another person like your mother.

Sigrid: Yes, that's true. And some of these memories are very personal and sometimes, the Pinterest site’s great, because you don't need to get in all sorts of details, family drama, family unks. But sometimes I'm not always, you know, I can be a little critical of my mother and I put maybe a blurb about that. For example, I remember growing up, she always wanted to have "help" and that was very common, I think, in the 1950s, 1960s to get someone in for help. And one thing I realized is, I was reviewing these memories, a lot of the help she had when we were living in Arizona, they were all minorities. And I'm a little bit critical of my mother. That represented the time, but I think we've gotten much more progressive now.

Fisher: Well, Sigrid, this is a fascinating idea and one I hadn't heard of before. And having checked out your site, it is absolutely unbelievable what you're able to do to honor your mom. And of course, involve your children and grandchildren in the whole process. So, thank you so much for sharing that.

Sigrid: Well, thank you. And I hope more people will take advantage of it. It’s not just decorating, cooking or gardening. There's a wonderful opportunity to share memories of your relatives. Thanks for having me on!

Fisher: Great stuff! And coming up next, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority, answering a listener question about how do you determine how many feet and how much time is involved so you can price your digitization of old family movies and videos. He'll tell you how to get those formulas, coming up next in three minutes on Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 64

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio, ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here and our Preservation Authority, Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com is in the house. Hi Tom, good to see you again!

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: We have a question from Estaphan Montoya in New Mexico who's asking today about home movies. He says he's got a lot of home movies dating back to the '60s and the '50s. He says he's got the little, tiny reels and he's got some larger ones and he's trying to figure out the cost to digitize them and he can't figure out the times on these particular things. Is there some kind of method by which you determine how long these films will run?

Tom: Oh absolutely, there is! In fact, I'll give you a basic formula, and also, just go to our website, TMCPlace.com, and click on our link which goes to our online store, and they'll have all kinds of formulas. It’s called "film and video tape data charts." Go to there and it'll tell you how to figure out all the times. Most of the small reels that you have that are the home movies, whether its 8 or super8, are usually 50 feet each, and each one runs about 4 1/2 to 5 minutes. So that's a basic starting point. Then they also have 100 foot reels which are kind of rare. They have 200 foot reels which are more prevalent. And then they also have the larger 400 foot reels. So generally, people have 50s, 200s or 400s. So just remember, a 50 foot reel is about 4 1/2, 5 minutes and they're about 50 feet each for the 3 inch reel. So a 400 foot reel, you can get eight of the small ones, okay?

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: And so, each one of those 400 foot reels is approximately thirty minutes. So, two of those 400s is an hour. So, four of those would be a DVD.

Fisher: Oh boy, I'm so bad at math!

Tom: Okay.

Fisher: Really! Okay.

Tom: So that's the easiest way. Just remember, the little, teeny ones are 50 foot. They're about 4 minutes. So whenever we go through your 50 foot reels and clean them, we automatically splice them onto 400 foot reel, because they're easier to keep track of, they're easier to keep. They take less room in your closet. So those 400 foot reels are about 30 minutes. And if you have two of them, that's an hour. If you have four of them, its two hours, which would fill a DVD, or if you decide you want to go to a BluRay, BluRays are usually 3 1/2 hours if you go high definition. And pricing depends on whether you want high definition, if you want standard definition. If you want to go the best, which is high definition, it runs about 22 cents a foot to transfer your film. So take how many feet you have, multiply it by 22 cents, and that will tell you what the transfer cost is, which is splicing it, cleaning it, putting it on a big reel, then you only have the cost of your DVD and your BluRay to figure. We could do thumb drives for you, we can do hard drives for you, we can do BluRay, DVD, we can do the M-Disks, and hopefully one day we'll be doing quartz disks. And just remember, if we do thumb drives for you, the capacity is smaller on them. And immediately, put it on a hard drive! You do not want to use a thumb drives, because of volatility of the media. It just doesn't last very long. These so many things that can go wrong with it, and other options you can choose from also is, we can do MOVs. SO if you're a Mac guy, most people want MOVs. If you're a PC guy and have good software like Power Director, you can also use MOVs. If you're old school PC, you probably want to go to an AVI.

Fisher: All right. And it’s important to know that all these formulas are on your website, TMCPlace.com.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: Whether you use Tom or you use someplace more local to you.

Tom: They're there for your benefit. Please use our website, it’s for everybody, or if you want to go to one of the new locations we announced last week, Going Postal is going to be drop off points for us and actually do some of the work, and they'll be able to help you.

Fisher: And coming up in our next segment, Tom's going to talk to you about other references you can find for free on his website, TMCPlace.com, concerning digitizing slides and audio. That's in three minutes on Extreme Genes, family history radio and ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 64

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back, final segment of Extreme Genes, family history radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is the Preservation Authority on the show and always answering your questions. Now Tom, what I really like about your website, TMCPlace.com is that you have so many standard references for people to use when they want to digitize and preserve all kinds of materials. Now we were just talking a few minutes ago about home movies. What about audio and slides?

Tom: Yes, that's very important as well. So like I say, if you want to do your own transfers, you can still use our website, you can still call us if you have questions concerning it. Like a lot of people do audio transfers and they want to know what kind of audio can be transferred? We get calls every single day of the week that says, "Hey, I've got an old vinyl record, can it be put on CD?" Almost anything out there that's analogue, there's a way to transfer it. In fact, we just had a customer come in the other day that had a Dictaphone, and she called and said, "Hey, I've got a Dictaphone. I need to get these transferred to CD."

Fisher: Wow! What era are we talking here?

Tom: We're talking about probably '50s, maybe some in the '60s, but the thing that was real clinker to this is when she first told me that, I said, "Oh, that's fine. We do Dictaphones all the time. Just bring in the tapes, we're happy to do them." She goes, "Well, these aren't Dictaphone tapes. They're little disks." And I go, "You mean like a floppy disk?" She says, "No! They're just, the only time I've ever seen them is they're used on this machine." And so we said, "Well, do you by chance have an old machine that you actually recorded it on?" She said she did. So what she did is she brought in her machine so we could look at it and see how the machine worked. And we were able to tie her machine into our system. Even though it’s a very, very rare piece of equipment, we were still able to transfer them for her by tying it into our system.

Fisher: And what kind of sounds were on this tape?

Tom: Just people talking, phone conversations, just all kinds of stuff. But the little round disk, but they're like a floppy disk, but they're not in a casing like a normal disk is.

Fisher: Interesting.

Tom: Now I thought I'd seen everything.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: But I had never seen one of these before. And thank heavens she happened to have a machine! And so, if some of you guys out there have this same thing and you've not been able to find somebody to transfer them, I know a lady that will let us borrow it, so we can transfer yours.

Fisher: [Laughs] That's unbelievable! And the quality was good?

Tom: Oh yeah, oh yeah! The quality's good. And it all depends on how you store things, which we've talked about a lot. You want to keep them away from humidity. You want to keep them away from heat. You want to keep them in a good ventilated area, or a lot of times like I said, if you live in places like Florida where it’s very humid, save those things when you buy a new television or get a new piece of electronic that says, "Do not eat this!" and keep those in with it in a Ziploc bag, or as we've talked before, "uncooked rice" you can out that in a little piece of cheesecloth, that'll absorb the water. And just, when they start getting soft, throw them away and put a new one in. And that's the best way if you're in areas like that. And also, people have wanted to know "How much time I can actually get on a CD?" They make several different kinds of CDs. A standard data CD usually will hold about seventy minutes worth of content, but we usually keep it down to sixty, because sometimes we cut the segment into several tracks, and that's going to take up data room. Even though there's still sixty minutes, every new piece of data you take up takes away from some of the 700 megabytes. So we tell people as a general rule, keep them about sixty minutes each, which works great, because if you have audio cassettes, most audio cassettes are either 30s, 60s 90s or 120s. So if you have a 30, you can get two cassettes on it. If you have a 60, you can get one cassette on. If you have a 90, what we usually do is, we break it up, we put side A on one CD, side B on a second CD. So you have 45 minutes on each side, versus 60 on one and 30 on the other, it makes it easier. The 120s, same thing, two disks, one for side A, one for side B, and that way, you're not stuffing it in too tight, because so many times, people get almost done with the program, "Oh, I've only got another minute, another minute!" And the CD kicks off.

Fisher: Well, and as we're always reminding you, those tapes are deteriorating everyday that they exist. You want to get on that and make sure they get digitized or you're going to lose grandma and grandpa's voice.

Tom: Oh absolutely!

Fisher: From back in the '70s.

Tom: Every day they were out. Absolutely, every day!

Fisher: All right, thanks, Tom. That wraps it up for this week. And thanks to our guest, Craig McMillan, from Lindquist Mortuaries in Utah, for sharing information about what records Mortuaries and funeral homes around the country may have and other interesting ditties about the deceased, and Sigrid Olsen from Salem, Oregon, for telling us about how she uses Pinterest to remember her relatives. 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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