Episode 68 - Two Brothers Talk About Their Two Uncle Who Died on the Arizona in 1941

podcast episode Dec 08, 2014

Fisher opens the show with an exciting announcement that FamilySearch.org and Roots Magic are now utilizing MyHeritage.com's laser sharp technology to find matches on your family tree automatically.  You will love what it does!  Plus, paternal DNA research on the body of King Richard III shows that, perhaps, there now may be a problem with who sits on the throne of Great Britain!  What's going on?  Give it a listen!

 Then, Tennesseans Charles and James Allison visit with Fisher about their two uncles who both served in the Navy and both wound up on the USS Arizona.  Both were killed that fateful day of December 7, 1941.  One of the men wrote a letter home just two months before the attack that was only recently found.  It's content was a shock to the family.  Hear all about it!
Then DNA pioneer Dr. Scott Woodward joins Fisher to talk about the history of DNA ancestral research and how today's techniques of matching populations around the world began.  It will give you a real sense of how far we've come in just a decade and a half.
Then, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority, joins us to talk about family history gifts for the holidays that you can still put together in time for the holidays.
That's this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 68

Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Mike Booth

Segment 1 Episode 68

Fisher: Hello genies, and welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the show where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Hopefully you’ve had a productive week of digging up new ancestral stories, photographs and information. This past week, I obtained what I believe to be a photo of my grandfather’s older half brother, never saw one before. He was born in the 1860s and was a brother from the same mother as my grandfather, who was born in 1880. Until recently, I was unable to trace this great uncle anywhere. He and his wife had no kids, but by tracking down descendents of his wife’s sisters, I found a woman in Missouri who supplied me with a picture of the man she believes to be my great uncle James Moore. When I saw it, I knew she had to be right because he bears a striking resemblance to my grandfather. There’s still more work to be done on this one but you can see the pictures side by side on our Extreme Genes Facebook page, so check it out and give us a like. This weekend of course marks the 73rd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that led to our involvement in WWII. On the USS Arizona two brothers were killed that morning, both of them young uncles to two other brothers now living in Tennessee, Charles and James Allison. Well, Charles and James recently dug up some documents relating to the deaths of their uncles and even contributed some of the materials to a museum. We’ll talk to the brother’s about their uncle’s story, how and why they joined the military, how they wound up on the Arizona, and the impact their deaths had on their family, coming up in about seven minutes. Then later in the show, I’ll be visiting with a true pioneer in DNA family history research Doctor Scott Woodward. We’ll be talking about the early days of this unique type of research, how it developed and where we are now. I know you’ll find it interesting. Our ExtremeGenes.com poll last week asked about, “What you thought about most when celebrating Thanksgiving?” The number one answer, the family gathering, was 63% next were the blessings, 26% followed by the food, 11%. No one thought most about pilgrims, football or shopping, so there you go.

This week’s poll asks, “Is there a favorite family Christmas story that’s repeated every year?” cast your vote now at ExtremeGenes.com. Just a reminder, our free Extreme Genes podcast app is waiting for you to download to your iPhone or Android right now! So just go to your phone’s app store and look under “Extreme Genes” you can find and catch up on all of your past shows, easily and quickly on your phone, you can hear all the experts with their tips and ideas that can help you learn more about your ancestors. It is time once again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. And we start out with a very important announcement that came down on the last week about MyHeritage.com and Roots Magic software coming together to integrate My Heritage’s amazing record matching software with Roots Magic databases. Mike Booth, the technical vice president of Roots Magic is on the phone to tell us about what this means for you and me. Hi Mike, how you’re doing?

Mike: Great, how are you today?

Fisher: Awesome! This is great news we’re hearing about the technology for MyHeritage.com coming over to Roots Magic, explain how this works.

Mike: That’s right. Well, last week we released a new version of our software Roots Magic 7 and one of the neat new features is called “Web Hints” and what this will do is as you’re looking at your pedigree or your family there on the main screen, it will go in the background, it can search My Heritage and also Family Search and look to see if there are any historical records on there that match the information that you have on your file.

Fisher: Wow. So this is a lot like the records matching that goes on with My Heritage?

Mike: That’s right. It’s built into Roots Magic. It works really well. If there’s a match you’ll see a little light bulb appear next to the name, you just click on it and it will take you right to the My Heritage website. You can see the records if there’s any information that you’re missing. It will tell you, “Oh hey, we can add this information that you don’t have or we can improve on this date or this place, as you have it in your file.”

Fisher: I love that about the technology with My Heritage. For instance if you wound up with extra names in a census record, you didn’t have in your group, all you have to do is click and it adds it to your record. How unbelievable is that?

Mike: Yeah, it’s pretty slick. And the matching algorithms that My Heritage uses are really, really advanced. I know as a programmer when I wired in the Web Hints for the first time and just kind of watched it appear there on the screen. All these little light bulbs started appearing next to the names, I clicked on them and I found newspaper articles involving my great grandfather, just all these records and things that I’d never seen before. And I’m pretty computer literate. I know my way around these websites and I’ve looked for stuff before, but I was able to find some real surprises, some things I’d never known were there before.

Fisher: You know, I love technology that actually does the work for you while you’re sleeping. It’s a great way.

Mike: Yes, exactly.

Fisher: All right. Well, Mike, thanks so much, and congratulations! Sounds like a nice move forward for Roots Magic along with the help of MyHeritage.com.

Mike: Yes! Thanks for your time.

Fisher: This software is a game changer; you have got to check it out. Also in the news this week, more information on the DNA of King Richard the III, you wouldn’t think anymore could be learned from one 500 year old corpse, but that is not the case. The BBC is reporting on another DNA study of King Richard’s remains and it has everything to do with the royal bloodline. Now, maternal side DNA samples match those of living relatives, but paternal side DNA does not. Scientists say that doesn’t mean the body wasn’t Richard’s. There’s too much evidence to deny it. But what it does likely mean is female infidelity occurred somewhere down the line. The story’s a little complicated but it matters for a big reason. It brings into question the legitimacy of the Tudor claim to the British throne or eve Richard’s claim to the throne. No one is expecting Queen Elizabeth will be vacating the throne over this, but it’s still a fascinating study in DNA genealogy. See more of the details at ExtremeGenes.com. And coming up next, I’ll be talking to two brothers from Tennessee, about their two uncles who both died on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, 73 years ago. That’s in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 2 Episode 68

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Charles and James Allison

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth with two guys from Tennessee Charles and James Allison in Jackson, how are you guys?

James: We’re doing fine.

Charles: Doing fine.

Fisher: Well I’m so excited to have you both on because you both have an amazing family history and I found out about you guys through a newspaper story that was posted about your son James Christopher and his wife Susan, making a presentation to a local museum of a Franklin Roosevelt letter or certificate having to do with two of your relatives being killed on the USS Arizona in the raid at Pearl Harbor. Can you tell us about the certificates?

James: Yeah. They were posted some time after the December 7th attack and my grandmother and granddaddy Kennington would have received those certificates. Mother wound up with them and then later before she died she gave them to me, and also gave me letters that had been sent from one of the boys. I just put them in a drawer upstairs and forgot about them. And then over the years the grandchildren that came along, I would take them upstairs and we’d get them out and let them look at it, see what their reaction was, and I never really got much reaction from any of them other than Chris and Susan’s daughter Ashley. She seemed extremely interested in it. So, I’m in my seventies and I figured that a good thing to do would maybe to give her the certificate plus the letters plus one of the purple hearts. Charles has the other Purple Heart. That’s what I did and Susan took it all up, put it in to a real nice frame with a picture of her son. A friend of theirs was over one night, he and his family for a dinner party, and he saw it and said, “Wow, do you know what you got here? I know somebody who’d be real interested in that.”

Fisher: Tell us about the two brothers now. These were uncles of yours right?

Charles: Yes. I’ll get in here. I live in a little town now just North of Jackson called Humboldt, and as it turns out, there’s a man who’s still alive up there who was a veteran of WWII and he was in Europe and he went through a lot of things over there and one of them I think was the Silver Star and so forth. But anyway, he knew Milton and Cecil in high school, and as it turns out, both of them were football players. And one of them were much bigger than the other and he had a nickname, I can’t remember but it’s kind of like big you know? But I believe both of them or at least one of them, left school at the end of the eleventh grade. He didn’t complete high school. But during the summer I found this out from another fella in Humboldt who was related to them. They worked on a local farm earning money because the family didn’t have a lot of money, and that’s when they enlisted. Now one of the letters that I found recently, and it just kind of blew my mind, I don’t know why I missed it. Milton wrote a letter to my mother dated October the 9th 1941 and he was telling her about what they were doing and so forth and about going on into Honolulu and so forth. But he mentioned in there, “We will not be attacked by these Japanese. We’re too strong for them to attack us.” He might have predicted that and less than two months later he was dead.

Fisher: Wow! Isn’t that something? And you just found this recently?

James: Yeah. There were a lot of things that mother had that we’re going through them and going through them, we’re still finding things.

Fisher: And isn’t that the joy of family history, to experience that connection with those who have gone before and of course trying to put yourself in their shoes and what they thought and what they felt and what really was.

Charles: Well I have another thing that I remember. I’m a little bit older than James so I can remember some of those things during that time. I do recall as a young boy, I must have been about five or six, this was after their deaths, I can still see my mother standing at the sink washing dishes and crying and saying, “Oh Milton, oh Cecil, I miss you so much.”

James: Very tragic you know. It’s hard I think for us to put ourselves in their place. This family of Kennington with fifteen children in that family, two of the children died young, thirteen of them lived till adulthood. The oldest of the fifteen was killed in the First World War and he was decorated. Got the, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this French name...

Fisher: I think it was The Croix de Guerre.

James: Yeah it was The Croix de Guerre, and I had the certificates. I gave that to my second son with a picture, a big picture of the son, his name was Lloyd, in his army hat and uniform. Also, I had the letters that he had written from when he was in the trenches during WWI, talking about what was going on. He said tell one of his sisters that her friend so and so was killed yesterday. Sort of like you were there type of thing.

Fisher: Yes.

James: So the family history that starts with that oldest brother then comes down to the two youngest that were killed at Pearl Harbor.

Fisher: On the Arizona. Isn’t that something?

James: On the Arizona.

Fisher: Is there a long military history within your family? Did you have people in the Civil War?

Charles: Yeah. It will be hard to tell you all of them.

Fisher: [Laughs]

James: Yeah. We’ve got a lot of them from this area and not have had people in the Civil War. Now I will tell you that not all of them were in the Confederate army though. My grandmother Kennington, the mother of these two boys, her father actually was in the union army and she was a republican. And this would have been back in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and there probably wasn’t six republicans in all of West Tennessee. [Laughs] There just weren’t any republicans but she was a republican.

Fisher: [Laughs]

James: That would have gone back to the Civil War.

Fisher: Interesting. So you literally had the brother against brother scenario in the Civil War.

James: Uh huh.

Fisher: Well tell us about the boys. Now the boys on the Arizona, you didn’t know them obviously or you were very, very young, especially you Charles, you might have some memory of them. What stories, what were they like and how is it that they wound up in Pearl Harbor?

Charles: Well, I studied that and what happened is that they both joined the Navy. And for a period of time they were on the East Coast aboard the Arizona. And then, for whatever reason, they decided to move to Arizona to the Pacific. And so they told some stories about the ship sailing around by South America and winding up at Pearl Harbor. Now they spent a lot of time on military manoeuvres, practicing, warfare and all that sort of stuff. But at this particular time, they along with many others were docked of course in Pearl Harbor. And by the way I want to ask you, have you ever been out there?

Fisher: Yes I have. And it’s a very sacred place.

Charles: Well, I might cry... I was in the Marine Corp and we came back and stopped in Honolulu and some of them had decided to go out there, and what caught me were the people were just chatting away before we got on that little boat to go out there to the memorial. The one that’s there no wasn’t built at that time. But as soon as we got to the memorial, dead silence, out of respect for these young men that died there. I don’t know if you experienced that?

Fisher: It was a very similar experience yes.

James: Now one of them joined the Navy a year to two years before the other one. Got rich, and then later they were not on the Arizona together. The one I think that joined earlier, he was on the Arizona and then they started working to get the other brother on the Arizona so that they’d be together. I think they were on the Arizona together for probably about a year before they died. Of course we’re talking about the 30s when they joined the Navy and there were a lot of young men that joined the military, in particular, 39 and 40 as things began to heat up. These families were involved, they were in the depression, they had large families and they had no way to feed them. So the military was a way to have food, it was a way to have shelter and it was also a way to have some money. I know in some of the letters that they wrote home and talked to my granddaddy Kennington, about the fact they had sent him a cheque. Evidently he and grandmother Kennington set up on an allotment so they got a certain percentage of their wages so they could support the rest of the family. The South really did not begin to come out of the Civil War economically until WWII.

Fisher: Wow!

James: Everything was so destroyed after that war. The economy, the way of life, consequently, economically you had sharecroppers, you had a few people who had a lot, you had most people that didn’t have anything.

Charles: I’m going to go back a little bit to their high school years. Of course both of them played football on a local high school football team. One of them was much bigger than then the other one, I think he was a linesman and the other was in the back field. And they apparently enjoyed it. Unfortunately they didn’t have any money in the family so they left school and joined the Navy.

James: There was one other thing that Charles found out later, was that Milton played trumpet in the band in high school. Then when he was in the Navy of course they found out about that so they had him playing the bugle on the Arizona.

Fisher: Isn’t that something.

James: What I’ve read, they used people with bugles to call people to general quarters or taps reveille all those different things. So he was one of those. So it was very difficult to get those children to be in up in their 70s, 80s, 90s. There was a brother there that after they were killed, he went in to the Navy. There were nephews, cousins; either went in the army or Marine Corps. One of their nephews was a marine over in Yorktown but he got shot all to pieces.

Fisher: Ugh.

James: So you git all that military history but as far as beig a military family, I don’t really look upon us as a military family.

Fisher: Well I don’t know how you can think not though James. It’s amazing. You got the Civil War, you got WWI, you got WWII, you probably got the Spanish American war in there too somewhere. [Laughs]

James: We have the American Revolutionary War, that’s all docket.

Fisher: Well it sounds like quite a family history gentleman, and I think it’s a great thing you’re doing and sharing some of that with the museums, and sharing your stories with us today and we sure appreciate it. And of course the sacrifice your family has made over mnay, many years. Thanks so much for your time.

Charles: Thank you Scott.

James: Thank you Scott.

Fisher: And coming up next, he’s a pioneer in family history DNA research, he’s Doctor Scott Woodward and he will fill you in on how it all got started and the benefits his seen since his early vision on how to unlock a family history from within our own bodies. That’s in five minutes on Extremes Genes, America’s Family History Show.          

Segment 3 Episode 68

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Dr. Scott Woodward

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth, Fisher, along with my special guest, Dr. Scott Woodward. I guess I’d call you a pioneer, Scott, in DNA, because the first time I met you, was many years ago and you would never have any recollection of this, you drew my blood to get DNA. What year would that have been, roughly?

Dr. Woodward: That was at least a decade ago.

Fisher: [Laughs] At least.

Dr. Woodward: At least. And we’ve moved a long ways from that, but, when we started, a decade or more ago, trying to connect genealogy with the sciences of DNA and genetics, it really was a pioneering effort, I think. There weren’t very many people out there that were really looking at that, but since that time, there’s been a tremendous amount of growth in both our ability to analyse that DNA, to collect that DNA. We no longer collect blood.

Fisher: Yes. [Laughs]

Dr. Woodward: We can do it from a cheek swab, spit saliva, yeah. A lot of different ways to be able to analyse DNA, and, we have literally tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people now that have been tested with various DNA tests that can be connected and looked at for connections.

Fisher: Well, I do remember back in those times, when the story was brand new, it was like wow, we can take your blood, we can tell, maybe where you’re from, maybe who you’re tied into, but it was a long time before we heard anything back about anything, because you were still getting a certain level of samples together to begin to come to certain conclusions, and that wasn’t that long ago. And from where we are now, with analysing clades, and all these backgrounds and movements and populations, it’s astonishing.

Dr. Woodward: You’re right. It needed a certain critical mass to be able to get some data back to the individual.

Fisher: I’m realizing I was a pioneer. I was a part of that.

Dr. Woodward: Absolutely.

Fisher: He was sucking my blood to figure this out.

Dr. Woodward: [Laughs] You were a pioneer. And that’s what we told this people when we started out.

Fisher: That’s right.

Dr. Woodward: A decade ago. You know, we’re not going to be able to give you any results back right now, because there aren’t any results to be had.

Fisher: You had a certain number you were going to hit, I remember.

Dr. Woodward: A hundred thousand.

Fisher: That’s right.

Dr. Woodward: We were after a hundred thousand individuals. We met that goal, but it was long before 100,000 people that we realized that this was going to work. At the beginning, we thought we were going to need a hundred thousand people just to see whether or not the process would work.

Fisher: And these were folks all over the world, as I recall.

Dr. Woodward: Yes.

Fisher: So you were going to different populations and different continents, and different regions within those continents, to try to identify what moved to where, potentially, right?

Dr. Woodward: Yes, and it wasn’t just that, but we also had some very strict requirements on the individuals that we collected for the database. We needed them to donate their DNA, but we also needed additional information from them. We needed genealogical information.

Fisher: Right.

Dr. Woodward: We needed parents, grandparents, great grandparents.

Fisher: But you needed places, even more.

Dr. Woodward: Places of birth of those individuals, so that we could place the genes that we could get from your DNA into the various places in the past, so that when an unknown person came in, that didn’t know anything about who they were or where they came from, we could compare their DNA with these pools of DNA that we had collected, and say, where do they best fit in. And that’s what needed the hundred thousand or so to go.

Fisher: Right.

Dr. Woodward: But we realized, by the time we reached twenty thousand that hey, this is going to work.

Fisher: This is happening, yeah.

Dr. Woodward: And there were some populations that we could answer questions for right then.

Fisher: Well, as I recall at the time, in talking to others who were interested in doing this, you know, we knew you were coming by, you were going to do these sampling, people are going to take my DNA, I mean, what are they going to do with that? I mean, there was a big privacy concern then that I just don’t see people dealing with now.

Dr. Woodward: That’s correct. There was, and you know, there needs to continue to be a very strict privacy and confidentiality requirement placed on these DNA samples. But, as people became more and more educated about what we could and could not do, with your DNA, people became much more amenable to the idea of collecting their DNA, putting them in data sets and databases, and to be able to reconstruct genealogy. So today, there’s not as many concerns as there were early on. But, we still maintain and try to maintain that level of security and privacy and confidentiality of your samples, because we realize that it’s a very valuable piece of who you are.

Fisher: So let me ask you this, then. We see those numbers up on websites. Those are not things that you are concerned about, obviously, for privacy, because, pretty much anybody can see these long lists of who you match up with, with names. That’s not the kind of privacy you’re concerned about. Yes?

Dr. Woodward: That’s correct. All of the people who are participating in DNA for genealogical services are looking for matches. They’re looking for people who connect with them. Those numbers that you see that are up on these websites are good numbers, good DNA pieces that can be used to connect people together, but they don’t give you much information about any medical stuff.

Fisher: Exactly.

Dr. Woodward: Medical pre-dispositions or anything like that, and so, those are left out. Those aren’t public knowledge.

Fisher: Is there anybody who could actually come along and look at those numbers and say, “Aha! He has a seven in this position, therefore, this is a person with an inclination towards, you know, whatever it is.” There really isn’t any concern about that, is there?

Dr. Woodward: The easy answer to that is no. Then you have to condition that because I’m a scientist that says, well, maybe there’s some infinitesimally small possibility that someone could derive something from that, but that would be extremely rare.

Fisher: So from that very early study that you were doing, it is a thrill to see the communities that are out there that have developed around this science, including professors and doctors like yourself, who are actually there to just kind of consult, and they love kind of visiting with people and sharing their insight on what they see in their numbers.

Dr. Woodward: A little more than a decade ago, in fact, this started on August 11th of 1999, at least, my involvement with this, so we’re fifteen years out. This discipline didn’t exist.

Fisher: Right.

Dr. Woodward: It just didn’t exist. And so we’re talking 15 years to build this community, or sets of communities throughout the world now that are actively engaged in searching for ancestors and connections, using genetic information.

Fisher: Can you give us a story or two about a connection that interests you?

Dr. Woodward: There are literally dozens of them, but one, just with my wife, there’s always been the family story that there was African American heritage in her lineage, and that’s just been a story, because we’ve never been able to find any documentation that would support that story. But we had some suspicions about where on the line that may have been.

Fisher: And did you have photographs?

Dr. Woodward: No photographs until just recently. But the photographs actually came after the fact of what I’m going to tell you. But there were some names and some possibilities. My wife is from Missouri, and we thought we knew where this African American may have come in. There was a story of perhaps a Malotle that was in this line. But, I mean, we’d completely hit dead ends as far as documentation and what might be going on there. And so, when we looked at her DNA and her father’s DNA, which then matched on certain parts, using autosomal tests, it was very clear that both in her father and in my wife, there were the percentages of African American alleles of autosomal genes that were present that would suggest exactly the correct generation that we thought that this person was half African.

Fisher: Wow.

Scott Woodward: And it fit almost too good. Almost like Mendel’s Peas. I mean, you look at those numbers and you say, you know, “This is a set up.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Dr. Woodward: Someone set this up. But that’s exactly what it was. And so, we now have a lot of supporting evidence from the genetics that say, yes, the family stories in fact were correct. Let’s dig those out of the closet. Let’s look a little more closely at those and see where that leads us. Since that time, we have found the pictures. We have found other documentation that would suggest that we’re correct and we’re down the right line.

Fisher: So, as a scientist, though, it’s very hard for you ever to say, “This is it, this is correct. This is the person.” But when you look at it as a genealogist, because obviously you are, you take that as just one piece of the evidence, right, and then you put it all together, and you get the story, and you kind of realize, this couldn’t fail to be that person.

Dr. Woodward: It’s very difficult for me to say absolute.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs] In anything you do.

Dr. Woodward: But I would go to 99.8 on this one.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well that’s pretty extreme for you. I like that. Extreme Genes right there. Scott, it’s always great having you on the show, thanks for coming by. Coming up next, it is Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority, on family history gifts you could throw together fast, when we return in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 68

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: It is time to talk preservation on Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. Tom Perry is back from TMCPlace.com. Hi Tom, good to see you!

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: You know, I was talking to some friends the other day and they're already thinking about next year and family reunions.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And I thought, you know, this might be a good time to talk about it, as people are making plans for that. Talk to us about how people figure out, for instance, how to exchange old photos and documents at places where they gather?

Tom: Oh yeah. One of the best things to do is, when you're planning a family reunion, whether it’s on Mount Rushmore or Yellowstone, or you might even do your family reunion at RootsTech. That would be an awesome place to have a family reunion, because the ones that are interested in RootsTech stuff, go to RootsTech, ones that want to do family history, go to family history library, the ones that want to go deer hunting, can go deer hunting There's so many  different things that are going on out in Salt Lake.

Fisher: Oh, skiing.

Tom: Yes, skiing. And there's a lot of places across the country that have do it yourself help, because with photos, usually everybody wants them. But you have a video tape, and you can have a two hour, like say, a video 8 tape or VHS tape, everybody doesn't want all that stuff.

Fisher: Snippets.

Tom: Yeah, exactly! That's what they want is snippets. And so what we have at our new Garland locations, we have like six little workstations where people can come in and queue up their video tapes. They can transfer them to digital formats, their audio tapes. They can actually take their old 8mm and super8 film, we have a little crank machine, so it won't damage the film, because a lot of times, people get old film, pop it in their projector, flip it on and it shatters your film because it’s so old and brittle

Fisher: Oh! Right.

Tom: And that, uh! That just scares me. So we have a little crank machine with a little light bulb, that if for some reason, you take a lunch break and forget to turn the light bulb off, no big deal. It’s not going to melt your film. And you just go through it. We'll show you how you can sit there and edit out the stuff that you don't want and put it in a separate bag.

Fisher: So you do lessons on that?

Tom: Oh absolutely!

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Oh yeah! We'll sit right down there with you and do it. So you're sitting there going through. We'll show you how to cut it We'll show you how to splice it together, pick out what parts you want, because what we've had some people do is, they come and say, "Hey, I want to make reel for the family, but this stuff of Jenny out of college, none of us are really interested in, but she'll want it. So let's splice that out and start that on a new reel." So they bring in like 150 foot reels, and then they break them into family stuff. And then they can break it in these different reels. So then once we've transferred it to DVD or BluRay or a thumb drive or whatever they want, they've got separately ones for each person.

Fisher: That's already been edited to a great extent.

Tom: Exactly, yeah! It’s been edited, same thing with slides. They can come in and scan all the slides. We'll show them how to put them into different folders. They can put them by years. They can have subfolders within the years that says, "Jenny's first day at camp" or "Tommy's football games." And then they're broken down into smaller and smaller things. So if somebody wants to look at their old football highlights, they don't have to dig through all this other stuff. They've got these different levels within the folders they want. And then if they get something Heritage Collectors which we've talked about a few weeks ago, they can get that software which would tie into all the folders and make searching a snap. It makes it really, really easy and fast.

Fisher: That's where you like highlight an individual on a photo, and it will bring you a drop down, and you can click on audio and hear from that person.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Or read about their statistics or read about some of their history, or lead them to other photos.

Tom: Oh absolutely! If you're coming to RootsTech or any place that's near any of our locations, you can schedule a time to come in, and we can sit down with the whole family or individuals and work on getting all your pieces put together. Then you can take them home and transfer them if you want to yourself. You can leave them with us so we can transfer them for you, or fine, wherever you're going, make some phone calls and see if there's some do it yourself centers there that you can go and basically do it yourself.

Fisher: I think this would be a great way to do a family reunion, because there's so many things to do in a reunion center.

Tom: Oh yeah!

Fisher: Its entertainment for the kids, as well as all this for preservation.

Tom: It’s the absolute best way to do a family reunion. We've done family reunions where I remember where everybody went to one place. There was one thing to do. Some people had a blast, some people were bored. They were just there for the family. If you plan in around some other activities so everybody's taken care of, so all the family's happy, you get together in the evening, show all the stuff you've worked on, and you have the greatest family reunion ever.

Fisher: All right, coming up next in three minutes, what are we talking about?

Tom: We're going to talk about why do high def for film and not do high def for video tape.

Fisher: All right, we'll get to that in three minutes on Extreme Genes, family history radio, ExtremeGenes.com.

Segment 5 Episode 68

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: We are back, Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, the Radio Roots Sleuth. That's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. And that was great stuff on the family reunions earlier. What do you have now?

Tom: Okay. We have a lot of people come into our store, drop off at some of our drop off centers across the country, and they say, "I want to transfer my film. How's the best way to do it?" So we show them several different options. We show them what high def looks like, what standard transfers look like. And I always like to go high def with film, because we do it in the full 16x9 so you see the edges. The edges aren't cut off.

Fisher: That's right.

Tom: If you do it in standard format, the edges are going to be cut off, and there could be aunt Margret there that you're never get to see her, or your mom or somebody that's passed away in your family that you never got to see, because they were too close to the edge of the frame. So we do high def. And they say, "Oh, okay, I want to do high def. And I have this stack of video tapes and VHSCs and these different things and I want them done in high def also." Well, you don't want to do high def in video tape. There's no real reason to do it, because video tape is electronic format. So it is actually being changed from the electronic format into binary code, which is zeros and ones, so there is no high def. The only thing you can do is, you can go in and take the electronic signal, and if its waving a little bit, sometimes you can stabilize it, or if the colors are off, you can go through a color process or what we call a procam, and kind of adjust the colors that have kind of faded over playing your tape for so long, but high def doesn't make any difference. And also, everybody knows BluRay hold more information, so BluRay is high def, thinking that a BluRay disk is actually better. It’s not the disk that's better, it’s the way its interpolated by the DVD player. So you can take a regular DVD that was made before they even had BluRay, but yet, play it in a BluRay player and it will automatically up convert the signal, make the signal stronger, so it actually looks better.

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Yeah. So there's no purpose. People come in and say, "Oh, I want my video tapes on BluRay so they'll look better." Well, no, they won't look any different. And so I tell them, just go to DVD, because people in your family aren't going to have BluRay machines.

Fisher: Yeah. Right, some won't have them.

Tom: Right. So this way, the DVD can play it. If you want yours to look better, if you've got a nice BluRay system, play that DVD in your BluRay, and it'll up convert it. But then when you want to go into high def film, it’s totally different. You DO want to go to BluRay, because it’s taken your film. It’s actually, the light is penetrating through the film. And so, the better the pixel count, so to speak, is, just like when you're doing printing.

Fisher: Yes.

Tom: The more pixels, the better it’s going to look. That's the same thing with the film is, you have this CMOS or CCD chip that is picking up the light as its going through the film and its saying, "Okay, this is this color. This is this color. This is how much this is." So it’s taking all this information and making it look better. So that's why you want to be really, really careful. Wherever you get your film done, make sure they scan your film, that they're not projecting it on a screen and then shooting it, because when it goes through the projector onto a screen, it’s going to be diminished by what kind of screen.

Fisher: Of course.

Tom: Whether it’s a glass screen, a white wall, whatever, and then the CMOS or chip has to pick up the reflection off the screen.

Fisher: Right. So you're automatically going to lose quality.

Tom: Oh absolutely!

Fisher: Easily. In fact, depth I would think.

Tom: Oh yeah! There's some people that do it in their backroom. And I've had people come in and show me stuff that I mean was hideous! It was actually keystone, which means it was shaped like a V.

Fisher: Right. Yeah. [Laughs]

Tom: Because it didn't have the camera lined up just right, because if the camera’s a little bit over from the projector, in order to get them to line up better, they 're going to have to move farther and farther away from the screen so there's not the depth of field problem.

Fisher: And yet, we should mention that that's not a bad way to go if you're trying to capture a photograph off of a television, right?

Tom: Exactly! The way that we transfer it, we actually scan the film. The light's going through the film, it’s going to a CMOS chip inside the camera and it’s immediately being transferred. That way, we can give you jpegs for every frame of film.

Fisher: Unbelievable! And of course, that does some great things, because it means you can get photographs from a single frame of film. We're out of time, Tom, great to see you again. We'll talk to you again next week.

Tom: Sounds good. See you then.

Fisher: Thanks once again to our guests, Charles and James Allison, from Tennessee, for sharing their stories of their two uncles who died on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor seventy three years ago this weekend. Also to Dr. Scott Woodward, for taking us back to the beginning of DNA family history research. Whatever you missed, you can catch on our podcast. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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