Episode 7 – Genealogist Stan Lindaas On Oral Histories

podcast episode Aug 29, 2013

This week on Extreme Genes: Fisher reviews Chris O’Donnell’s appearance on “Who Do You Think You Are?”  Plus, the latest on the battle over the body of King Richard III. Where will he be buried for the NEXT 500 years? Then, genealogist Stan Lindaas joins the show to talk about oral histories. Next, Tom Perry talks preservation.

Transcript of Episode 7

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Bud Hols 

Segment 1 Episode 7

Fisher: Hey welcome back! It’s Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. I am your Radio Roots Sleuth Fisher. It’s all brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers preserving your memories for over 40 years. Great comments on our visit last week with Dr Scott Woodward a family history DNA pioneer who spelled out where we’ve been with his stuff and where we’re going, and where we’re going are just off the charts, ridiculous if you’ve heard the show, considering how it all started. And unbelievably exciting too for not only pointing the way around and through brick walls in our research but in illustrating exactly where our people have been and where over time. The Podcast is worth a second listen to or first if you missed last week show. You can find it at ExtremeGenes.com or subscribe to our Podcast on iTunes. And yes, Dr Woodward will be back here. He’s obviously a glutton for punishment. Want to read the best DNA find stories by the way? You can go to ExtremeGenes.com, keyword “DNA.” And by the way, final results from last week’s poll on DNA, 47% of us have done Autosomal tests already, 40% have done none at all, 27% have done the Y-chromosome test and 7% have done the Mitochondrial and I know you all have stories dealing with that. We’ve got a new poll up on Oral Traditions which we’re going to talk about in about 15 minutes. Do you have an Oral Tradition in your family, one that’s particularly difficult to believe, yes or no? I know I’ve had a few myself. This past week on “Who Do You Think You Are?” on TLC, big show for Chris O’Donnell, in fact, one of the better episodes that you’re ever going to see, and you know they’re all pretty good. He found his ancestor’s sword on the National Archives. He had an ancestor at Ford McHenry in Baltimore during the bombardment that inspired the National Anthem. So, he’s story was amazing and you’re going to see some of the video. We’ve got links on our website too so you can check it out ExtremeGenes.com. But first, big news from England! King Richard III is enduring another “War of the Roses.” Here’s a big update. Of course, you recall King Richard III was the hunchback king who was found under a parking lot last year. [Laughs] And a British High Court now has allowed a judicial review of a story to rebury the remains of King Richard III at either of two distinct locations. One would be the University of Leicester which has backed the unearthing and the analysis of the remains and has claimed them as their own. They’re planning to rebury the remains in Leicester Cathedral later this year with the support of the government. The British public however, they want their say as well and there’s like 27 000 plus people who signed the petition to get a formal hearing on where the final resting place of the king should be. You know, he’s only been dead for 500 years. Just what is a final resting place anyway? And according to 15 descendants of King Richard that final resting place should be in York! The northern city that formed King Richard III’s powerbase and gave its name to Richard’s family, so, there’s a lot of debate going on back there. Obviously they don’t have a lot of 21st Century things to worry about, but the judge says yeah the descendants can challenge the University of Leicester’s plans to bury King Richard at the Cathedral and so blah, blah, blah, it goes on and on and on.

And speaking of parking lots there’s a lot of family news that seems to be built around this. Hanna Grace Mary Pavlik of Yorkville was born 10 days early in a parking lot. This is near Chicago by the way and on Oswego gas station was on Saturday last week, almost 33 years to the day after her father surprised his own parents with an emergency birth in a mall parking lot in Joliet. Yeah, five days old now Hanna Grace Mary Pavlik of Yorkville may look like her mother but arrival style all definitely dad. [Laughs] She, the mom, thought that things were going along you know, kind of like they had for the first couple of children. Things moved very quickly and suddenly she said, “You know, we’re not going to make it to the hospital. She got on the phone with dad and said, “If you want to see your baby being born you’d better get out here right now. [Laughs] He didn’t make it. Dad wound up driving to the hospital with the police and the newborn baby in the front seat of the passenger car. By the way, dad runs around with a newspaper clipping from his own birth in the parking lot back in 1980. Unbelievable stuff! Also, imagine asking a guy to come into your yard to dig up a stump. What else does he find where you’ve been mowing your lawn? A tombstone of course! Yeah, the tombstone is from 1908 and they discovered it buried under an old apple tree stump in the backyard where this person has lived since 1976. I guess it was a lightning strike that kind of destroyed the tree and they got tired of mowing around the stump so they got a guy in to remove it and lo and behold he dug up this tombstone from somebody who passed back in 1908. It belonged to Sparrell T. Thomas who had been born in 1866. This is back in Virginia. So, if you have a relative named Sparrell Thomas, you might want to check out the article. It’s on ExtremeGenes.com. Lot of good stories out there this week. Then of course, everybody’s up on the whole thing about the baby that was named Messiah. You heard about that? The judge in Tennessee said, “No, I’m sorry, we’re not going to allow you to name the child Messiah because that’s a title, and only one person has ever earned that title in history. And of course, there’s the big debate about whether a court should be allowed to limit parents’ choice on such things. But there are a lot of names out there and there’s an interesting story, we’ve linked to it on ExtremeGenes.com

You can kind of check out other names and other countries and their rules for naming children. For instance, in many Western democracies the article says it’s not at all unusual for a judge to weigh in on the baby’s name. For instance, in New Zealand you can’t give your child a name that might cause offense to a “reasonable person.” For instance, Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii [Laughs] that’s the most famous name actually blocked by a judge in New Zealand. They also blocked Fish and Chips for a set of twins. Sweden is also notorious for its strict baby naming laws. They’ve blocked the names Metallica, Ikea and Veranda as well as Brfxxccxxmnptcccllmn it goes on and on. It’s pronounced Albin. In Norway they tossed a woman in jail for two days for naming her son Gesher which means “Bridge” in Hebrew after it appeared to her in a dream. And in Denmark parents have to select from 7 000 or so names pre-approved by the government and there’s room to appeal for special circumstances. Same for Iceland where a teen is suing the government to reinstate her name which means benignly “light breeze.” In Germany the child’s gender has to be immediately obvious by the first name, and the name selected cannot negatively affect the well-being of the child. What does that all mean? A judge in the Dominican Republic banned the name Dear Pineapple which is probably for the best. And Spain prohibits extravagant and improper names, whatever that means. So you can see there’s a lot of this stuff that goes around. You remember the story of the little boy named Adolf Hitler Campbell in New Jersey not long ago and the father lost custody in that particular case. So, there’s a lot of stories out there about name changes. You’ve got to be careful what you name them because a judge might have something to say about that somewhere around the world. Check out the links to all these stories on ExtremeGenes.com. You can find your keywords if you don’t find them quickly. By the way, there are a ton of great stories under the News tab on the site. And if you haven’t been there you’re certainly going to find a lot of interesting as well as entertaining reading, just kind of think of it as your “Drudge Report” for family history news. Good stuff. If you’ve got a great story of discovery we would love to hear about it on our “Find Line” 1-234-56 GENES. If you have questions or if you want to hear us talk about a certain topic in the future use the same line 1-234-56 GENES. It’s open 24/7. So, even though this show is only on for 1 hour a week it’s always waiting for your comments, your thoughts, your celebration, whatever it is that turns you on. And Bud Hols is on our “Find Line” right now 1-234-56 GENES. Bud, you’ve been looking for your parents’ marriage records for 30 years?

Bud: Actually, I guess it’s almost 40 years, but I’ve been searching for it since 1965 and had not been able to find the record. My sister joined me in that search and she was a professional genealogist and she couldn’t find the record either. And it was just this last January, I remember the day. It was on my Anniversary on January 17th. My wife and I were taking a class on Family Search family tree and we had them up on the screen, my grandparents. And I pointed to the date of their marriage which really had an estimate and I said I’d give just about anything to find that record. My wife pulled the keyboard over, started typing and 30 seconds later up it popped on a new database that had just been released by family Search. And we were shocked.

Fisher: Wow!

Bud: I wanted to say let’s shout in the class but didn’t want to disturb them.

Fisher: [Laughs] I think it’s your right though after all that time. Come on.

Bud: Yeah, it was pretty exciting. We started looking at the record and two things got me immediately. Number one, she lied about her age. She was older than my grandfather and I guess didn’t want people to know that.

Fisher: Yeah, they all do that though.

Bud: Her marriage licence, she fudged. And then the second thing, the amazing one, was they had been married for three years before they told anybody. And that just blew me away.

Fisher: [Laughs] Do you have any hint yet as to why that would have been?

Bud: I don’t know why they hid it. I don’t know what they were trying to accomplish or anything else.

Fisher: Was she still living at home with mom and dad those three years? 

Bud: No, no.

Fisher: Is there a baby involved here somewhere?

Bud: No, there was no baby involved, nothing.

Fisher: Huh! Maybe they just didn’t like your grandpa.

Bud: Yeah, it was a second marriage. I don’t know what she was trying to accomplish or anything else. But anyway, there it was. She had been married for three years. She notified the rest of the family in 1936 and said, “Oh, we just got married.”

Fisher: [Laughs]

Bud: But the record shows they were married three years earlier. 

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow. Thanks for sharing.

Bud: I found a few other newspaper clippings of her and other events taken in that three year period of time and it only referred to her by her first married name rather than the second. So, you know they definitely were hiding it for some reason. I have no idea why.

Fisher: It’s a shame you can’t find that out. Well, maybe you will someday talking to some cousins, one person who has that secret letter somewhere.

Bud: Well, I’d like to think so, but I’m the only living descendant of hers.

Fisher: Ah, that kind of narrows it down a little bit, doesn’t it?

Bud: Kind of narrow it down yeah, but it was quite a shock.

Fisher: Well, thanks Bud. I think a lot of discoveries close to modern times can be a shock for a lot of people. That number again by the way, for Extreme Genes Find Line if you have a story is, 1-234-56 GENES. And coming up next we’re going to talk to professional researcher and consultant Stan Lindaas of Heritage Consulting, a new sponsor on the show, about oral histories and oral traditions. They’re not the same but they often go hand in hand and he’ll have some great stories to go along with this, it’s coming up next on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com

Segment 2 Episode 7

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. Your Radio Roots Sleuth Fisher here. It’s all brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers, Preserving your Memories for over Forty Years. And this segment is brought to you by Heritage Consulting Genealogy Services, your Family History Resource. Call: 8775372000. We have Mr Heritage Consulting himself, Stan Lindaas, in the studio with us today, and we wanted to talk about a couple of things that are very similar but distinctly different, Stan. Oral tradition and oral histories.

Stan: Oral traditions and oral histories.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Stan: Yeah, sometimes the bane, sometimes the bonus. 

Fisher: Yeah! That’s true isn’t it? I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but let’s go through the difference just a little bit here. Oral tradition is?

Stan: Oral tradition is, “Hey, my family, we know that we had four of our ancestors come over, four brothers. They arrived. They all had a great time, and three of them married Indian princesses.” 

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Stan: Prove that for me please. 

Fisher: Okay. So the tradition comes down. How accurate would you say oral traditions are?

Stan: Well, it’s very, very, to be redundant, I mean some traditions are really bang on, others you have to dig for years to find out what kernel of truth is in that tradition. But regardless, that family tradition is part of the family tradition. 

Fisher: Right, part of the family history itself. 

Stan: The lore of the family. And so, you don’t just throw it out. There are things that can be discovered by virtue of how people view that tradition in that family. 

Fisher: Um hmm. Sure.

Stan: And it can vary from individual to individual within the family. 

Fisher: Okay. So we’ve got oral tradition there and then oral history on the other side, compared to it is what? 

Stan: Well, on oral history it would be for me to sit down and interview you and record one way or the other that which you have in your memory banks, that would be brought up through cues as you look at pictures. We could have pictures of you in your youth.

Fisher: And say okay, what was this?

Stan: Yeah, or what was going on here? Or, how did you feel about this?

Fisher: Okay. 

Stan: And again, it’s not necessarily totally accurate because you could ask my brother about an event that happened in our lives and he’d get it totally wrong. 

Fisher: Yeah that’s right, sure.

Stan: My memory is much better than his. 

Fisher: You’re talking about the annual Thanksgiving argument then, “No that isn’t the way it happened, Fred.”

Stan: That’s right.

Fisher: “No, that isn’t it at all.” [Laughs]

Stan: That’s right. But that’s half the fun of going to the reunion you’re going to see who can collect the most black eyes. 

Fisher: Yes. Yes. You know, I started collecting oral histories on cassette tapes back in the 80s when I was pretty young and still had some folks around who were quite old. And it was amazing. It’s great stuff to have because those voices have been long gone. My mother used to always say, and I quote it often, I love it and I’m sure she was quoting somebody else, that when somebody dies a library is burnt.

Stan: I think that is very accurate. And I have a graphic example of that before the 80s. 

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Stan: Back when the cassette recorder was just making its debut, and we’d ride around in our custom vans and we would plug these things in to the cigarette lighter kind of a thing.

Fisher: Sure.

Stan: I met with my great uncle who was my grandfather’s twin brother. My grandfather had died when my mother was five. And I spent four days sitting with him going through a chest of drawers full of pictures recording over music that I had recorded. It was not operatic I can guarantee. 

Fisher: Sure yeah. [Laughs]

Stan: At any rate.

Fisher: Grateful Dead.

Stan: This was before them.

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Stan: At any rate, so years later, I mean, I got fabulous stories. I mean, four days of stories, you know? Years later I tried to transcribe those and the quality was such that you could not retrieve any of the sound.

Fisher: Ugh.

Stan: And, you know so, that forest of memories had gone away.

Fisher: It’s burned.

Stan: Yeah. It’s very much like the sinkhole forest yesterday that I saw.

Fisher: Oh yes, did you see that? Oh, the video, that grove of trees just dropping into the ground.

Stan: And it’s the same way with the stories. For you to have those recordings is just incredible. Your children, your children’s children, are going to cherish them.

Fisher: And the challenge is to keep them up with the technology today. For instance, I’ve got my grandfather who was almost 90 when he died in 1975, and my mother interviewed him six months before he passed, and he talked about how the Indians used to come and knock on the cabin that he was kept in with his mom, looking for food. And, she’d see them coming and she would hide them under a piece of the foundation that had a hole in it, the kids would be hidden down there when they came, and then she would always provide them with the food. But to hear this first-hand story from a man who was around in the 1890s in the west, having that experience, you can’t, it’s irreplaceable if it were ever lost.

Stan: Mom could tell you the same story but it would not have the same flavour, the same colour.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: Just the emotion that he presented, because of his personal knowledge and experience of being there.

Fisher: And so, we had a cassette with it on there, and then of course at one point the cassette dries out and the tape that holds it on the little spindle has busted off. Now fortunately, we’ve got people like Tom Perry with TMC who can fix that, which he did. And then he created it for me, digital form, and now I passed that and now he put that, of course, up on the internet somewhere. And so, it’s all over the place but I think it’s also important that we transcribe those things in writing in the event you ever lose them. But you want to spread them around. 

Stan: If you were dealing with someone who, you know, the interviewee that is living, when you transcribe that, present that individual with a copy of the transcription and leave copious amounts of spaces between the lines, because while they are re-reading that which they had voiced, they will be prompted with more clear memories, more details, and they’ll provide them with room to write and add to it.

Fisher: Yeah, that makes sense, doesn’t it.

Stan: You can do that repeatedly, and for people who normally would say, “I don’t remember anything.” They will provide you with a rainbow of emotion and experiences.

Fisher: [Laughs] You know, I think about this, I’ve been researching for 30 some odd years, and it seems to me, of everybody I’ve ever run into that have any regrets regarding this stuff, it has nothing to do with not breaking down a wall or finding somebody, it’s not interviewing those who were alive when they were alive.

Stan: And even if that interview was, I should have asked them a question.

Fisher: Yes.

Stan: Invariably, you go to the funeral and somebody’s going to say, “I didn’t know that.” It’s a shame that we learn about people the most at their funeral.

Fisher: At their funeral, that’s right. [Laughs]

Stan: Yeah, when you can’t ask them a question. Of course, they don’t have to answer for anything at that point.

Fisher: Right, it’s pretty much over, everything kind of opens up then too. We hear a lot of things we might not have wanted to hear if were still living, that’s the way that works out. So, you know, I think about that, it’s like, you know, the dead are always dead. We can get at them at our convenience, typically. But the living are only here for whoever knows how long? Because you know, some people are taken from us quite young, I mean, I already have my kids starting to say, “Hey dad, I want to interview you.” And it’s like, “Oh.” Every time I interviewed somebody, they’d be gone within a year and a half.

Stan: Yeah, yeah.

Fisher: It’s like I don’t know what you want.

Stan: We can put this off another 20 years. 

Fisher: Yeah. “Don’t talk to me yet. You’ve got plenty of recordings of me.” [Laughs] Some various stuff. 

Stan: It’s interesting to me, though, those family traditions, too. You know, we were talking about this at one point.

Fisher: We’ll get back to that next segment. We want to revisit the family traditions and we can share some of the ones you’ve heard and some I’ve heard, and also how you decode them. Because the one thing about traditions to me is, it’s passed down generation to generation to generation, and we tend to think about lives being the way we measure time.

Stan: Right.

Fisher: You know, somebody lives 80 years, and they overlap and, I tend to now think in terms of generations. Like, just three generations ago was a hundred years. And four generations ago was a Civil War. It’s not that far back. So for stories to come down with a fair amount of accuracy isn’t too difficult. But, somehow along the way, just like when you’re copying a tape, the quality gets a little bit lost or the meaning gets changed and then you have to go back and try to un-jumble the code, and you know, I’m sure you’ve had experience with that, and we’re going to talk more about that coming up here in just a few moments on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. This segment brought to you by Heritage Consulting Genealogy Services, your family history resource. Call 8775372000.

Segment 3 Episode 7

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas

Fisher: We are back, Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. It’s Fisher here. It’s all brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers preserving your memories for over 40 years. And this segment is brought to you by Heritage Consulting Genealogy Services your family history resource. Call 877 537 2000. Stan Lindaas in the house today talking about Oral Histories and Oral Traditions. And Oral Histories of course we just went through, but I think to wrap that up it’s just really important to make sure that you get to these folks while they’re still around.

Stan: While they’re still breathing.

Fisher: And while you’re still breathing. It doesn’t work the other way either. [Laughs]

Stan: If you can get to them without breathing I want to talk with you.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes exactly. But the Oral Traditions are kind of fascinating. I have some, even though they passed down in writing I know that it was from what this aunt had heard. She was a sister of my grandmother. I barely knew her when I was young. She was like 90 when she died in the late ‘60s. And my mother, bless her heart, wrote her some notes and said, “Hey, would you write down what you know about the family? And she sent us like three sets of the same notes. And, as I got into this later in my life it was like boy, some of this is really kind of cryptic. 

Stan: [Laughs]

Fisher: And at first when you start out you take it all very literally. Don’t you think most people do that Stan?

Stan: Most people do, but remember the game, the telephone game when you were kids?

Fisher: Yeah.

Stan: Okay, when we were kids.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: I don’t know if they play that same game now.

Fisher: Well, if you’re not familiar with it fill us in.

Stan: Well, we all sat in a circle and somebody would start by whispering to the person next to them some message.

Fisher: Right, a phrase, maybe a sentence.

Stan: A phrase. A sentence. No more than that. And person B would turn to person C and whisper and it would progress all the way around until it got back to the originator of the phrase, and I guarantee you when it returned, had no resemblance to that which was sent out.

Fisher: [Laughs] No! Exactly.

Stan: And it’s the same way with these Oral well not Oral histories. 

Fisher: Oral Traditions.

Stan: Oral Traditions more specifically.

Fisher: Yes.

Stan: It’s easy for one, the memory to change and two, the context over the centuries, over the years to change the meaning 

Fisher: Right.

Stan: Look at our language.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: The English language is a living language, ever changing.

Fisher: Changing, breathing thing.

Stan: And so words that we hear in our traditions mean something different to us than were presented initially, if they are those words that were presented.

Fisher: Well, and just like the example you gave a little while ago, you know. You sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table and you try to remember with your cousins and your siblings and your parents and your uncles and your aunts, things that happened just 10 years ago, 20 years ago 30 years ago. Everybody remembers it differently.

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: So, if you go down now and you talk about, “Gee, it was only four generations ago that this story takes place, but you go down through three more to get to where we are now. It can be very different. And so the example of this great aunt of mine, she left the story about how we were related to a Lord Townsley in England and that so and so had walked on the farm and this was a sister of my great, great grandmother. And it’s like, “Wow! What farm?”  So I start researching him and I find out all the Towneleys, they have an estate in Lancashire.

Stan: Were you feeling grand?

Fisher: Oh, I was feeling fantastic!

Stan: [Laughs]

Fisher: But where are the records of the family in this town of Burnley?

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: And so I started researching then and I couldn’t find the Waldron family anywhere there. This doesn’t make sense. That was very early on.

Stan: Keep that in mind. It doesn’t make sense. Keep going.

Fisher: It didn’t make sense. And so, as we got through another decade or two, and the Internet came along and the Internet matured, it’s not just when it got here but when more and more stuff started coming up. I’ve started looking up this family. I wanted to see what more might be out there about Lord Towneley and his family. Well, it turned out that the Lord Towneley story was a 19th Century scam. It was put together by people who basically get money from lawyers to go take on this estate. And the story was that back in the early 1700s this Lord Towneley was angry at his daughter for marrying this guy or for getting involved with him at that time. They eloped. They came to America. He supposedly cut him out of the will and then he had a change of heart, but couldn’t get hold of them anymore. And so everything was left to this couple who were over here. But, when he died nobody knew where to find them and this estate then began to increase dramatically.

Stan: And there were those who didn’t want to find them anyway.

Fisher: Oh yeah, yeah that’s right, because you know, if you find them the money would have to go away and those who were taking care of it weren’t going to get their cut through the years. And so the story was by the 19th Century that if you were related to this family, you were going to get a piece of this action because they were going to go after the estate. It was now like a 150 years later and everybody was going to get rich. And so realizing that my great aunt had put this in the storyline, it was obviously something she had heard. She was born in 1878 so she had obviously heard this as a young child. “Well, we descend from the Towneley Estate. Isn’t that grand?”

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: And so she was passing that on to us, but you know I was able to decode that because thankfully the Internet. 

Stan: Exactly. That’s half of the deal is you won said, “Wait a minute. This doesn’t make sense.”

Fisher: No. 

Stan: And you have to run with that when you go, “That doesn’t make sense.” Try to verify what you’ve been presented to begin with. And then as you come to points that don’t make sense then you try to back up and you go, “Whoa!” 

Fisher: What could this mean? [Laughs]

Stan: Exactly. You have to be a little creative. No, a lot creative.

Fisher: Yes. 

Stan: And somewhat liberal minded in what the story actually is. You have to start looking into the history of that locality and what was going on. I have a friend of mine who says you need to know the “how come why.”

Fisher: The “how come why.” I like that.

Stan: “How come why.” Yeah.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: “How come why” did they move from here to there? Not just that they moved from Texas to California, but why did they go? You know, why was it your aunt was presented this story? What was it that drove that story? And with that you can often unravel the thread exactly.

Fisher: Money.

Stan: Yeah, money.

Fisher: Yeah. [Laughs]

Stan: That’s something that is pervasive and is the driving force in genealogical research family history research. Follow the money just like Deep Throat said out of the toast.

Fisher: Right. That’s really true. 

Stan: All records that we use in genealogy were created for purposes of economics.

Fisher: Yeah, that’s true, isn’t it? Because you’ve got to prove identity.

Stan: Identity, land records, tax records, probate records, it all has to do with money. And it wasn’t created because they knew that we were going to be interested in figuring who’s who in the zoo.

Fisher: Right. No, that’s right. [Laughs]

Stan: It’s we are using or abusing in some people’s opinion b these records you know, for our own benefit and liking.

Fisher: But I am intrigued by one thing she added to that story and that was she talked about great, great grandmother’s sister “walked on the farm with lawyer” is what she wrote.

Stan: And you figured that out?

Fisher: No, that’s what she wrote.

Stan: No, but I mean you figured out what that meant?

Fisher: Well, I am just thinking in my mind that a lawyer actually took her back over and showed her the estate as part of trying to get this family on board with contributing their money you know, to the efforts to reclaim the money.

Stan: And if that’s the case then she probably came home, if she came home, she should show up in a passenger list coming back into the country.

Fisher: Right. Sure.

Stan: There you go Fish. You get to go looking.

Fisher: [Laughs] And that’s the fun part. And then the other side of it is this kind of digs into a whole other topic for another day and that is the “scams” of the 19th Century particularly.

Stan: [Laughs] Yes, oh yes.

Fisher: That seems to be the big era for it and we’re going to have to delve into that. Tell us about some of the Oral Traditions that you’ve run into.

Stan: Oh, as I said before you know, the poor brothers coming over there are the traditions of Valley Forge you know. Everybody and their horse was at Valley Forge. So it was a grand thing, especially in the late 1800s, mid to late 1800s to attach yourself to some great historical event or person, okay and to be connected with George Washington was great. My wife has a great grandmother who really, really wanted to be high society and she was stuck in the middle of Texas.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: And she decided she was going to join the DAR so she created a tradition that she and hers were descended from another family. I think she was one of the originators of the concept of “cut and paste.”

Fisher: Aah!

Stan: Yeah, so she cut and paste information into a family bible, was granted membership into the DAR, but upon looking at the record she missed on one count. The family she chose weren’t Yankees. 

Fisher: Aah.

Stan: So, you know there are traditions that come out of the Orient, fabulous family traditions. But again, we get into instead of just being traditions in those societies as in Africa and with the Native Americans, it’s not just traditions, it’s the Oral History. It was and in some cases, still is the medium by which they preserve their ancestral history. And so, I’ll give a little more credence to those things than some of our Anglo Saxon Protestant Traditions about our families.

Fisher: Depending on where it comes from. Yes.

Stan: Because it’s about us.

Fisher: And you know though a lot of those things are really fun and I’ve gone and destroyed some of these traditions.

Stan: And that’s fun too.

Fisher: And that’s fun but the traditions still have to stay when you put the history together because they become part of the storyline. 

Stan: Yeah.

Fisher: Ultimately, somewhere along the line this story arose for whatever the reason was.

Stan: Yeah and there may be one grain of truth in that whole thing. But it’s fun to figure out what grain that is.

Fisher: Well, actually in my experience the one thing I’ve run across is that there is a grain of truth in every story that comes down. You just have to figure out what it is. It’s interesting stuff.

Stan: That’s the game.

Fisher: Stan, it’s so great to have you on and great to have you as a sponsor on the show Extreme Genes Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com, we’re going to be back with Tom Perry from the Multimedia Centers in just a couple of moments. This segment brought to you by Heritage Consulting Services your family history resource call, 8775372000

Segment 4 Episode 7

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back! You've got Extreme Genes, Family History Radio and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. And it’s all brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers, preserving your memories for over forty years. Mr. TMC, Tom Perry is back today! And Tom, you've brought some props.

Tom: Yeah. [Laughs]

Fisher: You realize this is radio.

Tom: That's right. So if you're driving, just listen. If you're at home, go look in your speaker and you'll be able to see what we're doing. I'll hold up my samples here right to the microphone. Basically what we're going to do today, we’ve had a lot of calls from the show with people wanting information about, you know, what disk can be repaired. "If my disk can't be repaired, what exactly the deal is." And so basically most disks may be resurfaced, especially CDs, DVDs, game disks, rewrite disks, car and track navigating discs, data disks, as long as it’s only the bottom part of the disk that's damaged, the polycarbonate part.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: So basically what you can do, you can take a disk and hold it up to a lamp with the label side towards the lamp and if you can see pinholes of light coming through from the top, you have data damage.

Fisher: Uh oh! That's one ugly disk you have there by the way.

Tom: Yeah.

Fisher: To paraphrase, you know, Rodney Dangerfield, "Oh, that's an ugly disk!"

Tom: And this one right here has been like, somebody dropped it on the corner or something.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: So you can actually take the disk.

Fisher: Oh!

Tom: And peel it in half.

Fisher: Wow! Now which is the good part though?

Tom: Well that was the good part till we peeled off the polycarbonate.

Fisher: [Laughs] And the rest is like a plastic protection over it.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: On the bottom.

Tom: That's exactly what it is.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: So basically most disks read from the inside out, and so if the edge of your disk is damaged, you can usually get away with it. But if it’s like a game disk, they jump all over with the information, because they don't know what level you're on, so it’s just all over. So it’s random. So if you have a damaged, some kind of a game disk then you're going to you know, be in a lot more problems than just being able to play it.

Fisher: What damages disks most commonly?

Tom: Well, a lot of, in fact, this other disk which I'll hold up to the microphone so all our listeners can see it.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Basically, somebody took this CD and wrote on it with a ballpoint pen.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: And they pressed so hard, it actually went into the layer that actually holds all your data. We can look at the backside of this disk and you can actually see backwards what they wrote.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And so it got into the dye part, which is where all your data is and reflector part and it actually totally damaged it. Then he came in and says, "Hey, why won't my CD play anymore?"

Fisher: Well, is it safe to use a sharpie?

Tom: Yeah, you can use sharpies. In fact, we tell people, sharpies are great. Just don't use the ones that have the plastic tips or the ones that are super, super thin and don't put too much pressure on them.

Fisher: Okay. So the pressure is really the key thing, not so much the ink.

Tom: Exactly. Right, yeah, because with ballpoint pens, you know, they're ballpoint because there's little pieces of metal at the end, even pencils. Pencils can damage disks if they’re really sharp.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: So as long as you use a basic sharpie, you should never have a problem. But make sure it’s a real sharpie. There's some off brands out there that can actually damage the disk as well just because the chemical makeup in the pen itself. But if you're using a standard sharpie, no problem, that's what we use all the time. And they make special markers for disks as well. And so either one of those are fine.

Fisher: So I would think storage and the device that you play these on can also damage them, yes?

Tom: Oh yeah! In fact, a lot of game disks that we get in is, we get more Call of Duty game disks in than any other disk.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And it’s like, "Hmm, I wonder why." Because they get, you know, crazy playing the game, they knock the player over and what happens is, the disk is sitting there spinning so fast that when it gets knocked over, it falls down on the platter and it’s still spinning, so it makes what's called a radial scratch. So as soon as somebody brings in a disk, I flip it over and look at it, and if it’s a radial scratch, it’s probably somebody knocked over a game player. And sometimes you have to be careful also when you shut them down. Make sure you always hit "stop" before you "eject" because some machines are smart enough that if you hit eject first, they will spin down before they drop the disk onto the drawer, but some of them don't. You hit eject and it immediately drops the disk and then it'll sit there and spin right on the shelf there, so when you pull it out, you've got these radial scratches that, you know, you can't buff out, you've got to actually resurface the disk.

Fisher: And that's doable? You can resurface these?

Tom: Oh yeah! Yeah, we do it all the time. Just bring it in to us. As long as it’s the bottom side, the polycarbonate side, because the way a disk is made up is, you have a layer of polycarbonate, then you have your dye and your reflective material, which is almost like a foil, like a tinfoil, and then below that is your polycarbonate. And on CDs, that's a really thin layer between the top and the dye. On a DVD it’s a little bit thicker. But so that's why you can damage a CD so much easier. But I have taken DVDs we had, in fact, we mentioned on one of the other shows that some kid in a shop class took one of the training DVDs to the belt sander.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And so it had gouges in it. But we were able to resurface it.

Fisher: [Laughs] To the belt sander!

Tom: Oh yeah! Yeah, and you know, it was amazing, but we were able to recover it. Whereas if you took something as small as a paperclip and scratched the top, the label side, you could render your disk useless.

Fisher: Ugh! And you know, we were just talking with Stan Lindaas from Heritage Consulting about this whole thing with oral histories and recording your people and your grandparents and getting their stories. And I just picture some of these disks getting damaged like that. I'm so glad that you guys can repair things like this.

Tom: Oh yeah! Oh absolutely, yeah. We can do that. And you just have to, you know, be careful with them, because there's nothing worse than thinking, "Oh, I've got grandma's story down, I don't have to worry about anything anymore." and then pulling out the disk and somehow it’s damaged or cracked.

Fisher: And light can damage it too, can it not over time?

Tom: Oh Yeah, absolutely. That's what a laser is, a laser is light. So if you left what they call an RW, a rewritten disk or a -R or +R on your dashboard, and it was face up. So the sun was shining on it all day and wasn't hot enough to warp it, it could still erase the data, because that dye layer is made up of zeros and ones, its binary code.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: And so the sun is basically erasing your disk. So don't leave them where it’s going to be in bright light. That's what' nice about which we talked about last week, the Mdisk. The Mdisk that they developed is actually made right into the polycarbonate.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: It actually etches the polycarbonate. So the sun won't bother a disk like that. Or if you bought like a Disney DVD at the store, they're actually stamped out. They don't have dye in them. So they will last a lot longer and they're a lot easier to repair.

Fisher: Can you ever get just a partial disk back, say, for audio? Its either all or nothing?

Tom: Yeah, pretty much it’s all or nothing. It depends what's damaged on them. Sometimes we've had people come in with disks that we couldn't play and we were able to make a duplicate on it to a Taiyo Yuden disk, and we could salvage enough off it that it would actually work again.

Fisher: Now you keep brining that name up and I'm not sure I even understand, you know, what the word is, Tiyuden?

Tom: Yeah, Taiyo Yuden. It’s a Japanese company. They work with JVC and they make a disk that as far as I'm concerned has the best quality of dye in it. Just like buying different grades of gasoline for your car. It has the best dye on it. That's why we can warranty all of the disks that we make, because we only use Taiyo Yuden. If it ever fails, we say, bring back your videotape, your audio cassette, whatever, we'll redo it at no charge. I've never had one to date come in.

Fisher: Wow! That speaks highly of it. Now you've been talking about repairing these though, and these are obviously worst quality.

Tom: Beyond repair.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah. And I can hear my wife's voice in the back of my head, "But really, how much is this going to cost to take it to Tom?"

Tom: Well, basically it’s not that expensive. It’s all relative. Usually disks cost about $10 to repair if you do one at a time. If you're a library or you're doing your entire library of disks, you know, we can give you discounts for sure. But so, if you have, you know, a game disk you paid $50 to $100 for, $10 is nothing. And then once you do have it fixed, if you ever have to bring it back again because you kicked over your Playstation, its only $3 every time after that you need to bring it in and have it resurfaced.

Fisher: And then going back to the damaging stuff, which is worse, light or heat?

Tom: Well, it depends how the light is. It’s kind of a catch 22, because the heat, once its warped, you know, the laser's not going to be able to read it. So I would say probably heat would be the worst. But the light damage would actually happen before the heat would happen. Like on the dashboard example we spoke about, the light shining through your window could basically erase your disk, but yet it hadn't got hot enough yet to warp. But once your disk is warped or cracked, it’s pretty much toast. And if you ever have, sometimes some of these cases the disks come in, they grab the edge of the disk and they pull it out instead of pushing that little button in the middle, and what it does is, it cracks the disk. And it usually starts right in the middle of the hub, which is not big deal, but then it expands, expands, expands. If that ever happens to you, get some clear fingernail polish and on the bottom side of the disk, put it where you've cracked it. And then just be careful. And teach your kids to push the button in the middle or kind of pull on the little prongs there when you take the disk out. Don't grab the edge of your disk and rip it out, because that's the best way to actually crack. And once its cracked, the data's separated, and if that place where the data is separated happens to be the instruction telling the DVD player or the CD player, "This is what you need to do with this disk." its toast. If it’s in the spot that just data, it might skip a little bit, depending on your DVD or CD player.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: You know, how well it oversamples, so to speak.

Fisher: Is this a good trick then to just hold it long enough to keep it from cracking further to get it down to you to make another copy of it?

Tom: Yeah, exactly. As long as it’s not a copyrighted disk, the best thing to do is bring it down to us and we can make a duplicate before it gets any worse. But once you get the little bullet spots in it like that one I just showed you that I just, basically tore the disk in half with just my bare hands.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, I thought you were a mighty man doing that.

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: It’s very impressive Tom!

Tom: I wish.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: But basically what happened is, this got dropped on the edge of a glass coffee table and it just made a little kind of like a hole like if you shot a BB gun at a window.

Fisher: Sure.

Tom: And you just get your fingernails between those two layers and you pull them and you can see how the bottom part is almost the same size as the top, but yet the top has a foil, it has the dye, it has all that kind of stuff. So most people think the data is at the bottom, because that's how the disks is read from a laser, but it’s actually at the top. It’s reading it through the bottom. That's why you want to make sure you keep some kind of a covering on your disk. Get good quality, like the Taiyo Yudens either come with a lacquer finish or a white finish, we call it a white flood that helps protect it. Plus, people who have minivans, we can sell them little bulletproof things like you'd put on your iPhone that go on top of the disk. So as your kids move their feet around on the floor of the van on top of their disks, they have a better chance of not damaging them.

Fisher: All right Tom. So great to have you back! He is a master! Tom Perry from TMC, The Multimedia Centers, looking forward to having you back next week.

Tom: Look forward to it.

Fisher: Well, that wraps it up for another week of Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. Of course, ExtremeGenes.com is there for you 24/7. Think of it as your Drudge Report for everything family history. We do have the new poll up about this week's question with oral traditions. Do you have an oral tradition in your family that is difficult to believe, yes or no. And as you've heard, I've got a couple myself. So check it out at ExtremeGenes.com. Also, of course, as soon as we get done with another round of “Who Do You Think You Are” this week. Cindy Crawford is on the show. I didn't mention that earlier. She'll be on this Tuesday night's episode of the show. So when we get to Wednesday, we'll have the summary for you. You can check it out there, and some of the video clips in case you miss it. Lots of new content up on the website this week as we keep track of what's going on over in England with that poor king found under a parking lot just a year ago. Where will he be buried for the next 500 years before somebody digs him up and moves him along? Yeah, lots of good stuff on there. Check it out, share it with your friends, of course like us on our Facebook page. You can go to Facebook.com/ExtremeGenes. And subscribe to us for the podcast. You can catch up on past episodes you've missed by subscribing on iTunes, or just pick them up on our website, ExtremeGenes.com. All brought to you by TMC, The Multimedia Centers, preserving your memories for over forty years. I'll talk to you next week on Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. A Fisher Voice Works Production!

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