Episode 73 - More SWEDES!  The basics of Swedish research.

podcast episode Jan 23, 2015

Fisher opens the show with the latest on the strange case of Paul Fronczak, who grew up believing he had been kidnapped as a baby and then returned to his parents in Chicago.  But, a 2012 DNA test revealed that Paul was not his parents' natural child.  Two years later, Paul's advocates are coming close to identifying at least one of his birth families.  That in itself is a strange tale!  Here all about it with Fisher's Family Histoire News!

 Fisher then keeps his promise to a listener who was wanting information on researching Swedish ancestors by bringing on professional researcher Kim Melchior.  Kim talks about the various records available, getting your ancestors "across the pond," and historic information on points such as why so many Swedes immigrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Kim will give you some great insight.
Then Fisher visits with a couple from North Carolina, Clarence and Carolyn Jennings.  The Jennings recently discovered a 150 year old letter that revealed the fate of a family member in the Civil War... information long sought after by many Jennings researchers.  Hear the authors touching words as he describes to his mother the death of his brother on the battlefield.
Finally, Tom Perry of TMCPlace.com reveals a new version of a long established software that helps you to eliminate background noises from your audio recordings.  It's great news especially if you have old recordings that have distracting sounds in them.
That's all this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 73

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 73

Fisher: And greetings Genies from sea to shining sea! Welcome to Extreme Genes, family history radio and ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. You know, earlier in the holidays I got an email from someone who wrote, “Swedes! What about the Swedes? We need to know about the Swedes.” So I realized at that moment how neglectful I had been to Scandinavia, especially considering I have a googly amount of Swedish blood and some Norwegian myself. So Cathy, today you get Swedes! Professional Swedish researcher Kim Melchior joins us in about ten minutes to talk about researching your Swedish lines. What records are easily found there, what about translating? Getting them across the pond and a whole lot more and of course much of what he’ll have to say will apply to the Norwegian, and the Finnish and the Danish. So get ready for that. Then later in the show, a great couple Clarence and Carolyn Jennings of Camden, North Carolina will join me to talk about their recent discovery of a 150 year old letter that finally spilled the information the Jennings family has been looking for, for generations. Just what were the circumstances of the death of their Confederate soldier family member? When did he die? How did he die? Where was he killed? They’ll talk about the thrill of discovery and just what was on that yellowing page of paper that finally closes the door on a missing piece of their family’s history. It’s a great story. Okay, it is time for me to come clean. You know, I’ve talked about our free Extreme Genes podcast for Android and iPhone, for some time. The fact is, it isn’t really free. I mean what is? I pay for it. It is my gift to you so you can catch your favorite past episodes on your phone. Of course if you don’t download it from your phone’s store at no cost to you, then my gift has been well for naught. So please accept the gift. I promise it won’t track you libraries, archives or other research centers. So, you’re welcome.

All right, it is time for another question from “Ask the Roots Sleuth” Tulina Makanahay writes, “My husband has a diary kept by his grandfather in 1912. It is a tiny book, just 2 and half by five and a half inches with yellowed pages. In it Grandpa Philips where he worked that day whether Hallingwood, shearing sheep, etc, how many sheep he sheared, and some financial expenditure. It also contains interesting personal information like height, weight, clothing sizes. It shows a hard working man which is a strong part of my husband’s family culture. Many members of the family would like copies of the journal. Most of it is written in pen, some in pencil and very faded in just a few places. You have advice for me about how to go about reproducing it and getting the best copy results without damaging it?” Well Tulina, what an awesome piece you have! And in my opinion there are really only two ways to do it. One is to gently press it onto a scanner, and digitize it at a minimum 1200 DPI. Now, that’s only if you feel the binding can handle that. If so, that’s certainly the best way. By doing this you’re not going to cause further fading of the ink or pencil, one scan just won’t do that. The other way to do it, if the binging is too fragile, hold the book open at each page as far as you safely can and photograph the pages at the best images circumstances allow, and call it good.

It’s funny how often risk reward comes into play with these fragile treasures. I’ve had to make those choices many times myself with daguerreotypes and electrolysis to old books like Tulina’s , even with loose papers that I just didn’t dare flatten in a scanner because I thought they might crack. I hope that helps. Good luck with it Tulina, and thanks for asking the Roots Sleuth. If you have a question just fire me off an email at Fisher@ ExtremeGenes.com, and be sure to visit our Extreme Genes Facebook page. Give us a “like” and become part of our growing community of genies, there’s a lot to learn there as well. It is time once again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. just one story this week and it’s a big one. Remember the story of Paul Fronczak from a few years back? He was the man raised in Chicago, believing he had been his parents’ kidnapped baby. But a DNA test in 2012 proved that he was not their biological child. Paul had been found abandoned in New Jersey and presumed to be the missing boy from Illinois. The parents joyously brought him into their home and since it couldn’t be proven that the baby was their child and no one else had claimed him, they adopted him just to be sure. Well, now after nearly three years of DNA research, the man who doesn’t know when he was born, or what his real name was, or what happened to the original baby Paul Fronczak, is inching closer to at least knowing who his birth family was.

Last year an Ancestry.com DNA hit tied Paul to a New York man named Allen Fish, who the test results predicted was a second cousin. Unfortunately, Allen was also adopted and also didn’t know his birth family and it gets weirder. Allen died unexpectedly and a woman named Amy Ghaly got involved with Allen’s family to help them find his birth parents. She then learned that she was related to both Paul and Allen. I mean, you can’t make this up! Recently, Amy miraculously found Allen’s birth father who tests as first cousin once removed to Paul. Amy and renowned researcher CeCe Moore are now working to identify the most recent common ancestor of Paul and Allen’s father, at which point they’ll do work to identify their descendents, among whom will be a birth parent of the man who over fifty years ago became Paul Fronczak. But the question remains, will these family members be willing to take the test that will reveal either themselves or a relative as a parent that may have abandoned a baby in New Jersey in 1964. Big news could be coming in the case in 2015. And that is our family histoire news for this week. See the link to this story and much more now at ExtremeGenes.com. And coming up in three minutes, professional Swedish researcher Kim Melchior joins us to talk about what you can find on your Swedish ancestors. So, wave your Swedish flags for a few minutes Svenskas and we will be right back on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 73

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Kim Melchior

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio ExtremeGenes.com. It is America’s Family History Show, I am Fisher. I’ll tell you I’m beholden to my audience and not long ago I got an email from somebody who said, “Hey, what about the Swedes? We don’t hear enough about the Swedes.” So I promised after the first of the year we would get somebody who could talk about Swedish research a little bit. We actually found a guy who is, let’s see, you’re part Swede, Cam Wright, you’re part Finish, what else?

Kim: I’m mainly Danish but part Swedish, but when it comes down to it my lines are tying back to twelve, thirteen different countries so, I’m Heinz 57.

Fisher: [Laughs] You are very much so.

Kim: Even though I’m an immigrant to the U.S.

Fisher: Yes, right. I mean, you’re a very complicated man. You’re probably constantly at war with yourself.

Kim: That I’m not so sure about.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Kim: If I’m at war with anybody it will probably be the Swedes.

Fisher: Well, we’re talking to Kim Melchior; he is a professional research in the Scandinavian research, so for my friend who’s looking for Swedish information, we’ve got the guy right here. Kim welcome to the show, nice to have you along.

Kim: Thank you.

Fisher: First of all, how long have you been researching?

Kim: I’ve been doing genealogical research for approximately thirty five years, thirty of them professionally.

Fisher: And have you done a lot of that back in the countries themselves, or do you a lot of it from here?

Kim: I’ve done research both in Denmark and in Sweden, and then I’ve been doing it here in the records. And in this day and age with the internet access I would say it’s as easy, if not easier to do the research here as it is over there.

Fisher: Yeah I would think so. You think about the cost of getting certain websites doesn’t nearly match the cost of what it would be to travel to these places constantly, you know?

Kim: Exactly.

Fisher: I should do a disclaimer here first of all and explain that I myself am three eights Swedish. My grandmother’s side and half of my grandfather’s side Swedish, and so a lot of research was actually done before I even got started in all this stuff, but I’ve had a chance to do a little bit of it and I find that Swedish research is very interesting. First of all of course you have to break through the language barrier. Let’s talk about that just for a moment. As people find Swedish records, how might they go about doing some of the basic translating? What’s the best way?

Kim: You know there are several translation websites but I’m not a big supporter of those because the translation is usually terrible.

Fisher: Yeah, like Google translate.

Kim: Exactly. One thing that I have found is kind of confusing to a lot of Americans with regard to Swedish research is, you are used to a surname, the same surname goes back generation after generation after generation.

Fisher: Right.

Kim: In the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and actually also in Iceland, they used what they called patronymics, where a child’s surname was created from the father’s first name by adding either a son or daughter to the name. So for example, the daughter of Neil’s would be Neilsa or Neil’s daughter and the son of Neil’s would be Neilson. So that can be confusing and you get in to an area where certain names are used a lot so you find a tremendous amount of people with the same names who are not related in any way, shape or form.

Fisher: Right. There are so many people named Lars Larson, Neils Neilson, my immigrant ancestor was Hans Olson, he was the son of Ollie Anison and that’s where the Olsen name came from.

Kim: Exactly. And then to confuse matters even further, in the late 1800s, what the Swedish government tried to do was encourage people to find a name and change from the patronymics so they got rid of all of these Olson, Neilson, Jenson and Hansons. And there is no rhyme or reason how some of these names have come about.

Fisher: [Laughs] Now why did they do that first of all, Kim?

Kim: I think one; you had so many people by the same name that it could be very confusing when you talk about Neils Neilson, who is Neils Neilson when there’s twenty five of them in a parish.

Fisher: Sure. So the new names that were taken on, did they do them as has been typical in other cultures where they took it from their occupation or from where they lived? How did they do it?

Kim: They could literally make up names. Another thing that we also find in Sweden is what they call soldier names.

Fisher: Yes.

Kim: In Sweden, every parish had to supply a certain number of soldiers, and instead of sending out their sons, they may have set up a little piece of land aside and they hired a soldier to be the representative that had to go when they were called out. Very often a name land where you could have Peter Luncrest, and he was Peter Luncrest as long as he lived there. And his children may have taken the name Luncrest. Then when he got old and retired or if he died or moved on, and the new person that came in that spot, could be Neil Jenson but when he moved in to that particular farm or house then he became Neil Luncrest, and then his children could also get the name Luncrest. So now all of a sudden you have all of these Luncrests who are not related to each other.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! What’s the solution then Kim, if you’re researching in to this how do you sort them out?

Kim: Sweden, they have very good records.

Fisher: Yes they do.

Kim: Since they had the church records they have what we call a clergy survey or a month of length which is basically like a household record. It was a record that was kept a lot by about a ten year period. And at the beginning of this period, the whole household would be written up. Names, birth dates, birth places and so on. Then, if any kind of changes took place within that five or ten year period, like a child was born, that child would just be listed with a name and then with a birth date in the family. If somebody died they would be crossed off, but there was a column you could write in the death date. If you moved from one town to another, you’ll be crossed off on the farm where you moved from and you’ll be written in on the farm where you moved to. And again, if the record was kept like it was supposed to be, there would be a reference from page number this, to page number that, which could make it very convenient trying to follow people around.

Fisher: Except for the language barrier.

Kim: Except for the language barrier, yeah.

Fisher: Right. And that’s where people like you come in, thank goodness. You know speaking by the way of the soldier name changes, I had a great grandfather named Otto Monsted, and he became a Swedish soldier, and went in and obtained this trunk, the story goes, and the previous owner’s name was on there, which was the name of some kind of armament, it was a spear which translates of course to Spewt. And that is how Otto Monsted became Otto Spewt, and then he came to America and now all of his decedents have that name, the Swedish word for spear. Is that pretty common?

Kim: It was very common. You know, the immigrants, when they came to Sweden, a lot of them did take those names with them. And then according to American naming tradition, they went ahead and kept the surname, so yes, I would say it was a common thing.

Fisher: Not unusual. So if somebody wanted to get started on their Swedish ancestry, obviously one of the hardest things to do in any kind of research from any culture, is how you cross the pond. What advice would you give people, Kim?

Kim: They have relatively good immigration records from Sweden so if we can follow the family, we can find out when they came to this country. We may be able to get in to the Swedish immigration records and find them leaving, and if we can go from there and find them in there, it may literally give a reference back to the parish they came from and we can very often find them in this clergy survey that I mentioned a little earlier. I will generally say, if we can get them across the pond, 95% of the battle is won. Get them in to the Swedish records.

Fisher: Yes. You know, I think it’s easier for Scandinavian records and Swedish in particular, than it is for English records.

Kim: That is the impression that I have been getting from other people that have been doing British research, American research. Whether you’re doing Danish or Swedish, which are the two areas that I specialize in, it, is amazing how far back we can track them.

Fisher: Yes.

Kim: Very common to track them back in to the 1700s sometimes even back in to the late 1600s.

Fisher: How about the histories? How about getting the stories? Is there a good source for the stories to go along with the names and the dates?

Kim: The stories, they can be a little hard. Family stories are always great. Whether there’s any truth to them or not, that may be a different story.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well I’m thinking more of the historical record, what we can pull out of those, what we can extract from. Historical settings, what was happening in certain places at the time, what they may have participated in, what their occupations were, can that all be gathered?

Kim: Occupation is very often listed, but when we’re getting in to the towns they had trades, they are often listed. But the majority of populations, it was a rural community. They were farmers. And coming back to the immigrations, the only way you could secure yourself in to old age was by having children or families that would take care of you. So they very often had large families because quite a number of children did not survive to adulthood. And a piece of land could only be divided so many times, it got smaller, and smaller and smaller, and smaller and eventually got to the point that it could not support a family anymore. So what do you do? In the mid 1800s, people then began to immigrate and there was a heavy push in the immigration in to the 20th century. It is believed that about 1.3 million Swedes left Sweden for the United States, basically from 1850 to about 1920.

Fisher: Wow.

Kim: And the main pull for that was the availability of the high quality farm lands over in the Midwest.

Fisher: So you’re talking Minnesota a lot and Chicago area.

Kim: Chicago, Minneapolis, and so on. You know, there were of them. Another thing was the change from where early settlers that came over here, they were writing letters and told them how nice it was over here and you could get land for next to nothing, sometimes even for nothing as water. And so they arranged to bring family members over and extended family members and extended family members. And there were little re-communities in Sweden that got practically depopulated and reassembled in the Midwest.

Fisher: Well Kim this is all amazing stuff and I’d like to talk to you more down the line about Norwegians and the Danish people, because I really don’t want my listeners getting on my back about skipping them. So we have to make sure we get back to you at some point. How can people get hold of you by the way if they have questions about Swedish research?

Kim: I have a website ScandinavianGenealogy.com should be relatively easy to remember.

Fisher: Yep, ScandinavianGenealogy.com. Perfect. Well thanks so much Kim Melchior. A professional researcher in all countries Scandinavian and we’ve just been talking about the Swedish culture and all the things that come with that. Thanks so much Kim. And coming up next, we’ll talk to a North Carolina couple who recently discovered a 150 year old letter that solved a long standing family mystery, when we return in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.    

Segment 3 Episode 73

Host: Scott Fisher with guests Clarence and Carolyn Jennings

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio and ExtremeGenes.com, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and very excited to have on the line from Camden, North Carolina, Clarence Jennings and his wife, Carolyn, who've had a great discovery recently. And, welcome to the show, Jennings.

Clarence: Thank you

Fisher: I was very excited to read your story here. And you know, I'm always searching for people who are having amazing experiences. And you recently had one after the passing of one of your relatives. Fill us in on what happened.

Clarence: My aunt, Ima Jennings passed away in 2011. I was the administrator of the estate and we were selling the whole place. And we had to clean it out. And so, all the nieces and nephews would gather and we'd go room by room and everybody would pick out what they wanted. And kind of got to the end and stuff was left over. And we decided to donate right much of it to the church. And there's this box left that was sitting on a buffet on the hall. And my wife, Carolyn said, "I'd like to have that box." I said, "Well, take it." And as she was going through that box the day we were sorting things out, we found letters that my grandfather had written back to my grandmother before they were married, and then other odds and ends and things. And it was pretty obvious to us that the box actually had contents that my grandmother had put in. The box had been sitting on this bureau around sixty some years old. And as long as I can remember, the box sat in that same location. But as we were going through the letters, we came across this Civil War letter that my great grandfather, James Jennings, had wrote back to his mother.

Fisher: Oh wow!

Carolyn: And in the letter, he is describing actually the death of one of his brothers, because there were three brothers, James Jennings, William Harney Jennings and Decader Jennings, and they all served in the Civil War together in a group called, The Pasquotank Boys.

Fisher: Yes, Pasquotank County, North Carolina.

Carolyn: That's yes.

Fisher: And so, this was one of the confederate units. And what battles did they fight in?

Clarence: They fought in Plymouth and they worked their way up through Weldon and they went where?

Carolyn: Bottom Ware church in Virginia, near.

Clarence: Petersburg.

Carolyn: Petersburg, Virginia.

Fisher: And is this where the brother was killed?

Clarence: Yes. And he was buried around Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Fisher: Well, how did you feel when you found that letter?

Carolyn: Goosebumps! [Laughs] It was really like history coming alive. And we knew we had something really precious for the family, because in 1970, they had a big family reunion, and at that time, we were each given a genealogy book. And in the book, they did not know when William Harney had been killed. And for us to discover a letter that gave us the official day and how he was killed and how they wrapped him and how they marked the grave and all of those things, it just means a lot sort of closure for the family. When we took it out of the envelope, it was so old that it had already started to crack a little bit. So we decided that we would just keep it in the box until we could have it preserved in museum quality glass.

Fisher: Right.

Carolyn: So that it would be here for the future. And I surprised my husband and gave it to him for Christmas. And so once we did that, we decided that we wanted to share it with all the Jennings family. Clarence, you want to tell them about how your…?

Clarence: My great grandpa, James Jennings, who wrote the letter we have, was married four times and had children by three wives.

Fisher: Wow!

Clarence: When my grandfather was born, James Jennings was fifty years old. I have to look at the family tree, but he had children that were at that time that were probably in their thirties.

Fisher: Oh boy! So it’s really complicated to tell who's who, isn't it?

Clarence: Yes, it’s a big family. He outlived his last wife by ten. And he made a statement at one time, and it’s passed down in the family, that if he had known he was going to live so long, he would've gotten married again.

Fisher: [Laughs] Could you actually read some parts of the letter that you just found, especially some of the details?

Clarence: Carolyn, if you can?

Carolyn: Yeah, I can. I'll read some of it to you. It says, "Camp of the 56th regiment, North Carolina. Weldon, North Carolina, May the 26th, 1864." And it says, "Dear Mother, it is with heartfelt sorrow and deep regret that I have to announce to you the death of brother Harney. He was pieced by a bullet on Friday evening in the charge. He was struck over the right eye and under the eyebrow. And I think he died instantly. Decader took charge of the effects he had about his person. And he was snugly put away, considering, with a headboard on which is written his name, company regiment, to the place of his birth. I'm telling you what day he was killed. I neglected to mention that it was May the 26th. The 56th suffered very badly. The company was cut up pretty bad. There was not any more kills from that county, but wounded, there was Lieutenant Bray, Sergeant Jackson, Seth White, Newton Spence." And then it goes on.

Clarence: There's a local historian that has a roster of the Company C, and as we got looking, the Jackson's name was Lemuel Jackson. And my Carolyn had done research, and then said, "I think your great, great granddaddy was Lemuel Jackson." And it was. And that was my great, great grandfather. Lemuel Jackson was wounded in the same battle that my great grandfather's brother was killed in.

Fisher: Isn't that something! And you found that they, well, it’s not unusual though when you think about it, because many of these units, both on the north and the south, were put together from the same communities, which is why sometimes communities lost all their young men, a whole generation.

Clarence: That's the sad thing. We lost almost a whole generation in that timeframe in a lot of local communities.

Carolyn: And the other interesting thing to me, because you think about it when it was written May of 1864. He writes, "There's been a great deal of hand fighting, but we have been successful. Though we have to acknowledge a heavy loss, but this is bound to be when there's so much hand fighting. The prospect is still bright for more hand fighting, but it is believed that we will whip them. And I will wind up on this subject." And then I would have thought by 1864 the South kind of knew that they were being defeated. So I was surprised that he was so optimistic.

Fisher: Yes, I would be too. Now, where was this battle fought exactly?

Carolyn: The battle that the brother was killed in was Bottom Ware, Virginia. And the troops after that battle moved back to Weldon, North Carolina. And that's where he's writing this letter from.

Fisher: Now this is interesting to me, because this is the very time that Sherman is marching through Georgia.

Carolyn: Right.

Fisher: So you've got the Confederate soldiers fighting, trying to get north, while Sherman's trying to push through the south.

Carolyn: Right.

Fisher: Very interesting. Well, what a find! And I'm sure it’s touched your hearts and touched your lives to have this letter and to be able to share it with the members and people in your community.

Carolyn: Exactly!

Clarence: Yes, yes.

Fisher: Well, we hope you enjoy that and thank you so much for sharing your story with us and giving us your time and sharing some of that letter. It’s fascinating! It gave me Goosebumps too, Carolyn, by the way.

Carolyn: Yes, it really does when you hear it in that personal, you know. It makes the war really come alive for us.

Fisher: Well, and that's the beauty of family history too, it really personalizes history. It’s not a history book with just, "Well, then these guys did this and those guys." No, it’s "This individual. And this is what happened to this person." And that's, I think, the beauty of it for me, as we can relate to our people and really get to know them.

Carolyn: Right.

Clarence: Yeah.

Fisher: Well, good luck Clarence and Carolyn. And thank you so much for your time.

Clarence: You're welcome.

Carolyn: Thank you.

Clarence: And thank you for giving us this opportunity to talk about our family.

Fisher: You betcha! And coming up next, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority from TMCPlace.com with new technological innovations you're going to want to hear about, in three minutes on Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show.

 Segment 4 Episode 73

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. How are you, Tom? Good to have you back.

Tom: Super duper!

Fisher: All right. Now you found some new software, and this is going to be a big deal for people when they're doing recording. Are we talking video or audio only?

Tom: This is pretty much for audio. I mean, anytime you have audio following video, you can always go in and edit the audio. It’s really a lot harder to do stuff like that. This is primarily for people that are getting family interviews and doing just the audio portions. They're not doing the video. Like I say, it fits for video too, but this is mostly for the peers that are out there just getting audio.

Fisher: Well, and you know, there's a great place for that in my mind. It’s a lot easier to set up typically than the video. And like you mentioned, it’s easier to edit as well.

Tom: Oh yeah! If you bring it in to us too, it’s a whole lot less expensive, because you can go in and edit audio pretty seamlessly. When you start mixing with video, if you get just a 6th of a second off, it starts looking funky, because you're looking at people lips.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: And even though you're not lip reading, you're still looking at their lips and it’s not matching what the words are. And so, even though you don't know how to lip read, its still, it’s like something's wrong there.

Fisher: It can be distracting, can’t it?

Tom: Oh very much so!

Fisher: And actually, often eliminates the real use of video when it’s distracting like that.

Tom: Exactly! In fact, we have people that have tried doing their own recording live to their computer. And people think it’s easier, but it’s not. Computers were never meant really to record video. There's big high end computers that are meant to do that. But you go and buy a computer off the shelf, it’s not really setup to like take analogue video, turn it into digital and such as that.

Fisher: Yep.

Tom: Because you're going to have timeline problems. So it’s not made for that. So the best thing to do is, just do the audio. We have people bring it in to us, and we say, "Hey, do you really need the video part of it?" and they go, "Well, not really." So if we just rip the audio off, it’s going to cost them a whole lot less. And then they can put in like a slideshow or something like that to it that doesn't have to be lip synced.

Fisher: And I like that idea too, because you can often illustrate the conversation better with still pictures, than just a shot of somebody speaking.

Tom: Oh absolutely! Otherwise it’s just a talking head like on the news, and it can drive you nuts, but when you have different pictures going of their old cabin or their cemetery headstone, different things like this going on, it’s telling a visual story while you're listening to the audio, instead of just a talking head.

Fisher: So, what software have you discovered and what does it do?

Tom: Okay. The real neat thing first of, it’s by Adobe, which is awesome, because Adobe makes software for both Mac and PC. So no matter which side of the road you're on, you'll be able to use this. And this one's actually called, Adobe Audition, which means you can buy it individually or you can buy it as a package or you can buy it through a cloud service, which you get all the Adobe stuff.

Fisher: And by the way, we use Adobe Audition to produce this show, so its top quality stuff!

Tom: It’s awesome! And it’s not really that expensive, but the neat thing about it, it’s so easy to use. Here's where the innovation comes in. When you're trying to get distracting noise out of the background, whether it’s a refrigerator running or somebody set off their car alarm, it makes it really, really tough. And in the old days, we would have these kind of waveforms. You're looking at your computer and all it shows is amplitude. And you think, "Okay, well this is loud, maybe if I take off this top part that will fix it." And then what it’s really doing is cutting off Aunt Martha telling her story at the top.

Fisher: Yeah.

Tom: And gives more bass into her voice, so it sounds really kind of funky. With this new software from Adobe, which is Adobe Audition which we mentioned, you go into the spectral frequency view of it and feather it, so it doesn't totally take it out, but it softens the edges. So Aunt Margret, when she's talking, she sounds exactly the same. And you can physically see each one of these lines where the frequency is of the car alarm or the refrigerator hum, so it’s not just kind of a blur and you're kind of like, you know, shooting with a shotgun. You can go in and precisely take out just that one spot or go and reduce it so incredibly that it’s going to be absolutely awesome.

Fisher: Wow! It is always amazing to hear the new progress we're making with new technology. Tom, we're going to take a break. And when we come back, let's talk about where people can get this stuff and some other features of new audio software, when we continue on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.






Segment 5 Episode 73

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back, final segment, of Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, he's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. And he's just made the discovery of some amazing innovations with Adobe Audition. And if you're looking to do any interviews with people, this is a great way to go, because it can clean up any problems you may have. Let's talk more about this. Where can they get it, Tom?

Tom: Okay. You can get Adobe Audition. You can get it online from Adobe site. You can go to eBay and sometimes people are selling older editions, you can save a little bit of money. There's a lot of different ways to get it. One thing I would recommend if you do purchase it, we mentioned these guys before, there's a great magazine out there, it’s both online and in print, it’s called Video Maker. And if you go to VideoMaker.com/courses, they have all kinds of free courses you can take. And they have about a twenty minute course that actually talks about Adobe Audition. They'll take you through step by step over twenty minutes and give you an understanding of how to use this software. It’s pretty straightforward. It’s easy to understand. And if you've used any kind of an art program or any basic programs on a computer, you'll be able to do this. It sounds daunting, but it really isn't. It’s very simple if you watch this twenty minute tutorial. And it will just be amazing how quickly you'll be able to make your audio sound so much better that people will be able to listen to it more. It won't drive them nuts because of all the clicks and bangs. And you want to go to VideoMaker.com/courses, and look under Adobe Audition and it will say "Spectral Frequency Editing" go into that, do your editing, then you'll be all set on that. Now remember, once you format your audio, you want to usually do it in several formats. I suggest people do it as a WAV, do it as MP3s, do it as a couple of different programs. People in your family are going to want to use it for different things. And if you do all this at once and then you put it on your Dropbox account or email it to people, they'll be able to have the file type they want that's going to best take care of the things that they're looking for. So that's the best way to do that. And then just always remember, we told you a million times, whenever you're recoding audio, make sure you have headphones or earplugs in so you can actually listen to the audio that's being recorded, to save a lot of these steps, but this will take you to the next step.

Fisher: Tom, once again, what is the address to get that course?

Tom: Okay, of course, just go to VideoMaker, that's V I D E O M A K E R.com, and then /courses. And you want to look under Adobe Audition spectral frequency editing and just click on it. It’s a twenty minute tutorial and it’s just really awesome, very well done.

Fisher: All right, Tom, what other new technologies are out there to help us with audio?

Tom: Okay, there's a couple of things that are real cool. We've had the people from Easy Photo Scan on before, you can actually buy from them these barcodes now and you can put barcodes on your calendar, you can out barcodes on photo books, anything you want. And then when somebody scans it, it will actually play the audio.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: So for instance, like my sister's really into doing calendars. Every Christmas she gives us all one of these giant, huge calendars that have everybody's birthdates on it, you know, anniversaries, but now she can get these barcodes from Easy Photo Scan and put it on like say, my birthday for instance. And then on my birthday, I take my Smartphone, scan the QR code and its them singing happy birthday to me or my kids singing happy birthday to me.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Or whatever you want. It’s just so totally cool! And they're very inexpensive. Just go to EasyPhotoScan.com and tell them you want some of the sticky QR codes and they'll send you a package of them.

Fisher: All right. This is great stuff! I mean there's always new things coming out and you're always finding them for us, Tom, that's why you are the Preservation Authority!

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: And if you have a question for Tom, all you have to do is email him at [email protected]. And you may be hearing your question answered on the air on Extreme Genes! Thanks Tom.

Tom: Talk to you next week.

Fisher: All right. Thanks once again to our guest, Kim Melchior, the Swedish researcher giving us a little advice on how to go after our Scandinavian friends. And to the Jennings, Clarence and Carolyn, talking about their discovery of the Civil War letter that finally revealed the death of one of their relatives back in a great battle in the 1860s. Great stuff! You can catch it of course on our podcast later this week. And don't forget, we have a free podcast app waiting for you. We pay for it! All you have to do is download it from your phone's store, for iPhone or Android, just look for Extreme Genes. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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