Episode 74 - One Aspect Of Your Ancestors' Lives You Should Pay More Attention To!

podcast episode Feb 02, 2015

Fisher opens the show with the story of a man who the government refuses to allow to pay his taxes.  Why?  It has everything to do with a record family historians are more than a little familiar with.  Listen to the first segment to hear what it is.  Fisher then reviews a list recently published by MyHeritage.com about surnames that have or are going extinct!  Is one of your family names on the list?
Stan Lindaas of HeritageConsulting.com then joins the show with a remarkable illustration of how knowledge of an ancestor's occupation can change your entire perception of what his or her life was like.  It will take your breath away.  Stan then goes through a remarkable list of now-extinct occupations.  His runs Fisher through the wringer seeing what he knows of these things.  What do you know?  Give it a listen! And by the way, this is the website he refers to:  http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/
Fisher then visits with North Carolina's Connie Fowler.  Connie recently played detective to track down a remarkable family Bible.  The discovery has since led to her development of an vibrant family organization, complete with committees for family history, cemetery restoration, reunions, and who knows what else.  Connie's got something for all of us to learn from... check it out!
Then Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, our Preservation Authority, talks about recorded music performances that are now in the public domain for our free use.  When putting together a wedding or anniversary video, this is great stuff to know.  That's this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 74

Host: Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 74

Fisher: Ah, here we go again! It is another round of Extreme Genes, family history radio and ExtremeGenes.com. America’s Family History Show. My name is Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth, on the show where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. You know, I got a call the other day from a friend who wanted to know, “Just what is all this RootsTech talk?” She really wants to learn how to get going on her family lines and is afraid that all the online RootsTech classes will be way over her head. And I told her, “Whoa! Most of the classes are actually aimed at beginners or specific places or types of records. It’ll be a great thing to be a part of whether you participate in person in Salt Lake city, Utah February 12th through the 14th, or you follow along through live streaming from wherever you are in the United States or around the work actually. But, you’ve got to sign up. It’s easy to do just go to RootsTech.org. And of course former first lady Laura Bush and Donny Osmond will be among the keynote speakers this year. And by the way, if you’re a little more advanced at this stuff you can also select from classes offered by the Federation of Genealogical Societies which is holding it’s conference at the same time, sharing the same hall in Salt Lake City, Utah’s Salt Palace Convention Center. It’s going to be the largest gathering of family history researchers, experts and speakers in the history of the world! And I’m not exaggerating. And again, you can be a part of it wherever you are. I’ll be there, so if you’re attending in Salt Lake City, come on by the Extreme Genes booth and say hello.

Well, as always we have some great guests and stories this week. First up, our friend Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com will be here to kick around an interesting of family history research that I don’t think many of us consider, myself included. We’re going to get into the significance of occupations. Just what do they mean or imply when you can consider the history of someone’s life? Stan will give you one amazing and common example and then get into the fun stuff. Occupations that don’t exist anymore, things we’ve never heard of. Okay maybe you have, but we will see when Stan starts ripping through some of these. So we’ll find out just how smart we all are, in less than six minutes. Then later on, I’ll be on the phone with a North Carolina woman who tracked down an old family bible and turned that success into an amazing organization of not so distant cousins doing great things to ensure their family stories and information last forever. You will be amazed at what she has accomplished. And of course Tom Perry our Preservation Authority will be back with an answer to a really interesting email we got this past week, you’ll want to hear it. It is time once again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGene.com. We begin with a story of an Ohio man who the government will not allow to pay his taxes. Yeah, his name is Siegfried Meinstein. Siegfried is 94, a WWII vet and learned back in April that he is dead. That was when his accountant filed his taxes and heard from the IRS that Meinstein was no more. And so the return was denied. Well, where did this problem come from? Of course the social security administration! The same people who give us the social security death index, which has been a stable in family history research, although not nearly as much anymore. The Meinstein family has done all they could to convince the IRS that Siegfried is still above ground, but so far the IRS isn’t buying it. The article on the situation in the Columbus Dispatch says that the social security administration typically knocks off somewhere around one thousand breathing people each and every month. They say, typically the records on these folks are quickly, such is now the case with Siegfried. Leaving the problem back in the hands of the IRS who still insist he’s dead! Oh and by the way, the family just got a letter from the IRS questioning why Mr. Meinstein has a credit balance in his prepaid taxes from last year and why they haven’t been able to locate his tax return. Can you imagine what will happen when Siegfried really does pass? I mean there are no words. Our friends at MyHeritage.com have come out with a fascinating list of nine names on the brink of extinction. They note that any surname carried by fewer than two hundred people is endangered, while some are completely gone. Surnames now used by fewer than twenty people include among other; Villain, Birdwhistle, Berrycloth and Relish. And last names believed extinct since 2011 are; Bread, McKay, Spinster, Bythesea or Bytheseashore, Pussit, Pussycat and Pussmaid. Are any of these names familiar from your lines? And that’s your family histoire news for this week. Find the links to these stories and many more at ExtremeGenes.com. And coming up in three minutes, Stan Lindaas returns to talk about why we shouldn’t overlook the significance of our ancestors’ occupations. What they meant to them, and maybe how they impacted your life, on Extreme Genes and ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 74

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Stan Lindaas

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio ExtremeGenes.com, America’s Family History Show. It is Fisher, the Radio Roots Sleuth with my good friend Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com, welcome back Stan.

Stan: Hey Fish, it’s great to be back.

Fisher: Well, Stan has come up today with a great idea to talk about, something I hadn’t really considered before, and that’s the impact of learning about various occupations of the ancestors and what that meant to how they lived their lives.

Stan: Yes. The fact is that we today talk about whether we work to live or live to work.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: They had no choice. It was work or die.

Fisher: Yeah, pretty much.

Stan: And in some cases, the working was the dying. And we have a rather romanticized perception of what that was, mainly because of our ignorance.

Fisher: Right. And most people had pretty common jobs. I mean some families were the merchants or from the higher end of society, but most people not so much. They were farmers, they were coal miners they were all kinds of things.

Stan: Speaking of coal miners.

Fisher: Yes?

Stan: I’ve got a family that we’ve been preparing to take to see their ancestral home sites in Scotland.

Fisher: Oh very nice.

Stan: And the ancestor came from Scotland rather late. He arrived in 1905 and went to South Central, Illinois. He was a coal miner in Scotland.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: And when he came to America he was a coal miner and there was some recruiting being done. In the process of researching the family, his entire family, his ancestry, were not coal miners. His generation, he being born in the 1870s, and some of his uncles were coal miners. But the reality is that while coal mining has been around for a long, long time in the UK and Europe, the advent of the railroad really caused coal mining to explode as a viable means for making money for the big money people, and this affected the lower classes.

Fisher: Did it bring more jobs? And increased pay or less?

Stan: Well, initially increase, but many more jobs because the demand grew for the coal, for operating the railroads, for operating the factories, and as such, villages, little hamlets would explode from being a hamlet to a village to being a large town.

Fisher: So this is what the industrial revolution did in Europe.

Stan: Yes. And that idyllic view that we have as we drive across Scotland now a days or Ireland, or England, or wherever mining occurred, it doesn’t look the same now as it did then.

Fisher: Right. It had to have been a really tough way to live.

Stan: I came across a description; this is out of a newspaper in Dunfermline in Fife just north of Edinburgh, and this was written by a man who was going about the country assessing what villages and towns were and what they looked like. Not only do you see occupations in records, but you see causes of death and such. He’s talking about Typhoid and Scarlet Fever.

Fisher: Oh, very pleasant subjects.

Stan: Oh yes, very, very nice. This was in 1875 and he writes, “At Crossgates, which is a name of the village from whence this family came, I had quite recently to report an outbreak of Typhoid Fever. Cases of the fever have occurred several times during the year. Deaths from other diseases have caused the death rate to be very high, being raised to over twenty three per one thousand.”

Fisher: Wow.

Stan: The board, upon which he sat, are I think, convinced of the danger to health caused by the excessive number of large cesspools at Crossgates, as these are the only outlets for the sewage. He would go from village to village and describe the homes or the houses. Many times he would say there are not any outhouses, there are not any closets, or ash pits. They would use the ashes, they would dig a pit and throw the ashes in it and use that for disposing of waste.

Fisher: As well.

Stan: As well. And in many places there was none of this. It was just a little trench out of the front door. He describes the houses in many of these villages that the miners lived in, as low ceilinged, very dark, and dirt floors. I never thought of these houses being dirt floors. 

Fisher: No. And when you go to the village with these people, they’re going to think, “Oh we’re from this wonderful place.”

Stan: Oh yes. It’s a beautiful place now.

Fisher: Yeah.

Stan: And he said, not only dirt floors, but the dirt floor is carved out as a bowl.

Fisher: As a bowl?

Stan: He said the best way to describe it is like a mud hole.  And it was so cold and damp that the people would use coal of course to get heat, and they would have a fire going in this bowled out floor area. And at night they would take the ashes and put them under their beds for heat.

Fisher: To keep warm.

Stan: To keep warm. And it’s no wonder that people died. It’s no wonder that they moved to America.

Fisher: Well and what you’re saying to me is here, I mean when I hear the word “Coal Miner” and I think we’ve all seen these on records before.

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: There’s a huge implication that comes with that word.

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: And what you’ve descried is a lifestyle, a health situation, motivation for immigration, all kinds of things that we need to kind of get under the hood when we read what their occupations is and figure out what that means.

Stan: Yes! And not just the coal miner himself, who was at work in a very dangerous situation, there are accounts when this man arrived in Illinois of the people who had died in the mine. And many of them were young boys. They would die because slabs of coal would fall off the walls.

Fisher: So there were regular funerals?

Stan: Regular funerals.

Fisher: Every family affected.

Stan: If you did not have someone in your family who died, you knew everybody who did die.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: And there was that constant fear, living with that fear of just being able to live. Not only did the coal fall, but they used little carts that they pushed up rail lines in the mines and somebody would invariably get run over by these carts. Either they were maimed, which meant that they couldn’t work anymore, there were conditions where they initially, the coal miners, were allowed to live in the houses that were owned by the company for their work. And then they developed this process of, well the owners, “We have to make more money.” So they started charging for the houses. And if they didn’t charge directly, they would make it so that the coal miner had to move and give them about a thousand pounds of coal processed by the individual, which would be credited towards their living. 

Fisher: Unbelievable.

Stan: And so you know, coal miners are not the only ones that we have out there. We have some fantastic

Fisher: There’s some other occupations?

Stan: Oh there’s some killer occupations.

Fisher: All right well, let’s get under the hood of some of these. What do you have?

Stan: Well, something a little bit more modern. You remember the pin setter?

Fisher: For bowling? Yeah, sure, of course!

Stan: Until like 1936 or something.

Fisher: Somewhere in there.

Stan: When they got the automatic bowling. And then of course there’s the phrenologist.

Fisher: The what?

Stan: The phrenologist. Didn’t you take your family to the phrenologist?

Fisher: No.

Stan: The phrenologist was a specialist who would feel your head.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: Yes, he would survey the lumps on your head and thereby be able to tell you how intelligent you may become as you get older.

Fisher: Fantastic. I’m glad I didn’t get a degree in that.

Stan: Have you ever wanted the job as a badger? And I’m not talking about the Wisconsin Badger.

Fisher: No. Are we talking about making badges?

Stan: No sir.

Fisher: What is it?

Stan: A badger is one who was the middle man between the producer of material and fabric and the merchant. And so, you’ve heard the phrase, “Being badgered by somebody?”

Fisher: Right.

Stan: It kind of comes from that.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: Where he would be trying to sell to all the merchants. And if you spoke the fastest and the loudest, you got the attention of the merchants of whom you were trying to do business.

Fisher: And so you were being badgered.

Stan: Yeah. And if you really wanted a slimy job, you could have been a leech collector.

Fisher: [Laughs] Now wait a minute, stop it! There was somebody who collected leeches?

Stan: Yes, there were people who collected leeches because they were used prolifically for treating people’s health.

Fisher: That’s right, sucking out the bad blood.

Stan: They would leech people, the same way they say you’re a leech.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: A blood sucker. Well there’s another one that I just dearly love.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: A resurrectionist.

Fisher: Okay. I’ve only known of one myself.

Stan: Yes, however, these resurrectionists would go to cemeteries and dig up bodies.

Fisher: Oh dear.

Stan: To sell them to medical institutions.

Fisher: [Gasp] No.

Stan: Yes, a big, big business, a big business. You’ll see that occupation listed a lot.

Fisher: Wait a minute, why would you see it? Is that legal? Was that a legal occupation?

Stan: Oh yeah, it was legal. It was legal.

Fisher: No.

Stan: It wasn’t exactly something that was liked by the community.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Stan: Oh wait; grandpa just went down the street!

Fisher: Well how can they do that?

Stan: Pick and shovel.

Fisher: Never mind, I won’t go any further. Wow.

Stan: They make good money at this. How about a powder monkey?

Fisher: A powder monkey? Was this somebody who dealt with gun powder?

Stan: Yes, exactly.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: Young boys who were around war ships, their job was to load the powder in the cannons during a battle.

Fisher: That’s a good one.

Stan: Yes. You ever want the job of being a lung?

Fisher: A lung?

Stan: LUNG

Fisher: No idea what that is.

Stan: I didn’t think you would.

Fisher: I have an ancestor on my wife’s side who was named Lunger.

Stan: Well that’s close.

Fisher: So was this a person who maybe was a lung?

Stan: I don’t think so.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: Alchemist needed somebody to keep their workshop fires going, those professional stokers had a respiratory name, lungs.

Fisher: That makes sense.

Stan: Yeah. That was a job.

Fisher: So there’s actually a reason for the name. Okay.

Stan: Yeah. You Fish, could be considered a lector.

Fisher: A lector?

Stan: A lector.

Fisher: I like that. What is that?

Stan: Well actually, we were talking about industrial development.

Fisher: Right.

Stan: In order to improve conditions in factories, they had a little entertainment. So a lector read news and literature aloud.

Fisher: Oh! Well there you go. I would have been a fine lector. [Laughs]

Stan: They built a stand that setup above everybody and he would yell and he read. How about a hemp dresser?

Fisher: A hemp dresser? Okay. What is that? [Laughs]

Stan: Well, he is one who worked in a linen industry, people that separated the coarse parts of the hemp as they made the linen.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: I’ve got a really good one for you Fish.

Fisher: Okay.

Stan: Everybody needed a knocker up.

Fisher: Stop it. What is a knocker up?

Stan: You have an alarm clock?

Fisher: Yeah.

Stan: Well a knocker up preceded the alarm clock. People got up for work before alarm clocks. They hired a knocker up to tap or shoot peas at the windows at an appropriate time.

Fisher: [Laughs] Shut up! This was a career?

Stan: Yeah!

Fisher: That’s crazy.

Stan: People had long tubes in which they would put the peas and shoot them up to the windows.

Fisher: To make sure they were up on time.

Stan: Yes.

Fisher: What if a knocker up didn’t get on time?

Stan: That’s what I was wondering! Who woke up the knocker?

Fisher: Right.

Stan: There’s a website that I think people really need to become familiar with and it lists occupations and tells you what they are. The website is http://rmhh.co.uk/occup/ and there are things like an abactor.

Fisher: Wow!

Stan: I saw that once and I had no idea what it was. My wife’s family did this.

Fisher: What is it?

Stan: Cattle thief.

Fisher: Fantastic! We had one in ours too.

Stan: Did you? Well good.

Fisher: On my wife’s side

Stan: Oh [Laughs] Of course. Both of us, it’s on our wives’ side.

Fisher: Yeah it’s on the wife’s side. [Laughs] Go figure it out.

Stan: [Laughs] I mean, there are so many of these in here arranged alphabetically and it can really enhance your understanding of who your family was and how they lived, if you do just a little bit of digging, especially if you’re a resurrectionist. 

Fisher: Well and it sounds like it would be a great game to play with the family as well, just what we were just doing.

Stan: Oh yeah, we could do trivia.

Fisher: [Laughs] And of course we’ll make sure that we have a link to this site on our website at ExtremeGenes.com. Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com always good to have you here, a lot of fun insight, and we’ll see you again soon.

Stan: Thank you Fish.

Fisher: And on the way next, she’s a North Carolina lady who has taken the discovery of an old family bible and turned it in to an amazing family organization. You’ll hear all about it in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 74

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Connie Fowler

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth and I have a special guest on from North Carolina. And she made quite a discovery recently and then took it and spun it and turned it into something even bigger, and that's why I like talking to Connie Fowler from North Carolina. What part of North Carolina are you from, Connie?

Connie: I’m located in Princeton, North Carolina, in between Goldsboro and Rowley.

Fisher: So tell us about this bible, you tied back to a family name that I've never heard of before, Philyaw, where's that from?

Connie: Well, Philyaw is actually French in origin. It has as many as 18 different spellings over the different generations at least that we've been able to track, maybe more. But the Villars actually came to America back there in what was called the Palatine migration and the Huguenot migration back in the late 1600s and early 1700s.

Fisher: Right, right after the Edict of Nantes.

Connie: Correct.

Fisher: And that would've been to Pennsylvania, New York?

Connie: Correct. There was a story that I tracked for years that three families of Villars actually came into America into New York, Connecticut area, and then moved gradually down south towards Charleston, and then some settled in North Carolina.

Fisher: And you found a bible here recently, and you knew it was out there. How did you know that?

Connie: Well, when I was growing up back when I was a child back in the early 60s, my great grandmother had a podium that stood in the foyer of her house when you walked in the front door, a lot of the homes down south had them at the time, the bible stood on a stand or a podium and you saw that as soon as you walked in. And I remember that bible being in her front hallway. She passed away in 1965, I was only about 8 or 9 years old at the time, but two things stood in my mind at the time, 1) the bible there in her front hallway, and then the huge number of people who came for the funeral. She had 15 children who survived.

Fisher: Wow!

Connie: And her husband actually had 3 children by his first wife who had died before he married her. Between the grandchildren and great grandchildren, it was just one of the largest funerals I think I've ever been to.

Fisher: [Laughs] Yes, and probably ever will be to.

Connie: Absolutely. But that was the last time that the family actually gathered in mass. But when I started researching my family history, I guess it's my mother who was getting older, and we shared stories, and you know how you really want to see your family again? And finding these people was really important to me.

Fisher: And that's really true, isn't it? Once they're gone I think we appreciate them even more.

Connie: Oh, absolutely. Back in the late 90s I was talking to someone I met who was also a Philyaw, and I said "You know, my great grandma had a family bible, and we have not been able to locate that bible." No matter who I talked to, they didn't seem to know who had it. I think there were 12 or 13 living children at the time she died, and then mega cousins and great grandchildren.

Fisher: Yes, it could've been anywhere.

Connie: Right and so when we were asking around and each one didn't know which one had it. And then I finally had an aunt in a nursing home who said "Well, your uncle Thomas got that bible." Well, Uncle Thomas had passed on but his wife had not. But I didn't know her, and so I told the cousin Daryl, I said, you know, I said you live in Kinston, I said "do you know aunt Annie Lora?" He said "Oh, for sure." He said "I passed by her house and she's always sitting out in the yard." And she was in her 80s at the time. And he said "Well, I'll see if I can get in touch with her." But, you know, it didn't happen.

Fisher: Oh boy.

Connie: I had got in touch with more and more cousins, and they were wanting to know their family history as well. And so as some of the older cousins got introduced to internet, they began to get on Facebook. I thought "Well, I'll create a page just for us." And so we had our website called "All things Philyaw" and we were discussing different things and the topic of the bible came up, and I said "Well, you know Aunt Annie Lora has that bible and her health is getting poor." My cousin Franky was able to get the bible and we were able to see it, and it was wonderful because you saw the handwriting, and my great grandpa could hardly read, but he would take that bible and sit down and take his finger and go gradually over the verses, trying to read and understand the verses. And you know, that must've been hard for him. And it gives you such an emotional feeling to see that bible.

Fisher: It's a real connection. It's a time capsule.

Connie: It was. Each of the children had been recorded in the bible. And I guess aunt Annie Lora had actually kept up with the date of death as well. And then there were markings that her children had actually marked in the bible. It gave you such a feeling of home coming, that's what I told someone else. It's a home coming feeling to see the bible and know that it was theirs.

Fisher: It sure beats carving your initials in a tree, doesn't it? [Laughs]

Connie: [Laughs] It absolutely does! We had something that was theirs.

Fisher: That's right.

Connie: And so then it became a question of what do we do with the bible. Obviously everybody wanted it, but nobody felt that they should have it and somebody else should not. So the suggestion was made to put it in the museum at Richlands, which is in Onslow County close by or extremely high. And so it has been placed on exhibition in Richlands, and it will go into archival storage where it will be preserved for future generations. And so all my nieces, nephews, all the descendants will be able to see it.

Fisher: Well, that's exciting. Have you digitized it? The key pages, so that you could put that part on the internet?

Connie: Yes, my cousin Franky did that for us, and so those pages are there on Facebook on our All Things Philyaw site for people to see. So everybody can go through them. The cousins can say "There's my dad. There's my mom." And they can see their grandparents. And what's been interesting is we decided to put it in the newspaper, and I had quite a few people contact me since then who said "I'm related to you."

Fisher: [Laughs]

Connie: "And I saw the article in the paper, and I'm a Philyaw too." That's been wonderful. So as we were talking on Facebook about the bible and all, we were talking about having a reunion, but my Philyaw family loves to talk, but sometimes they're slow to act.

Fisher: [Laughs] All talk no action.

Connie: But Bertie May was approaching her 95th birthday. She told her grandchildren that she really wanted to see her cousins and her family for her birthday. That was her biggest wish.

Fisher: And that was last year?

Connie: Yes. And her granddaughter came on Facebook to our Philyaw page and said "Hey," she said "My great grandma would like to see everybody for her birthday. Do you think we could get everybody together for her birthday?" And so all the cousins said, "Hey, this is great! We want to do this!" So we had people come from Virginia to Georgia to come to Bertie May's birthday party. She thought she was coming to just us, as a small group of her grandchildren, and, you know, her family members. She got there at the VFW building and saw her cousins, she was so excited.

Fisher: How many people showed up?

Connie: Well, there was somewhere between 75 and 100.

Fisher: Wow!

Connie: I couldn't really tell at the time because we were just... We were all talking so much, and it was funny because some of us had not seen each other since we were children, but you had seen their picture on Facebook, and you say "I know you, you're Ray Philyaw!"

Fisher: Isn't that great?

Connie: We remembered playing on the porch at my great grandma's house. You know, it was just really neat. From there, our cemetery is still intact, it's called Royal Oak. That was the name of the land where the old home place was, Royal Oak. And several of the cousins still went out to it two to three times a year. And we had talked about a family cemetery and how the headstones were starting to need some work, and we formed a committee to refurbish the family cemetery and...

Fisher: Look at this go!

Connie: It's really neat. I just went down and worked with somebody to locate a marked grave. So far we've located around 20 that are unmarked, so the research is on to identify those, and I've been able to identify quite a few of them already. We had a group that is making headstones so that those people will have a marker as well, because everybody deserves to be remembered.

Fisher: Well, everybody's on a committee here it sounds like, with the Philyaws.

Connie: Absolutely. This side we also have a committee that is putting together a reunion the first week in May, and committee to get an official fine for our cemetery, and to coordinate the cleaning of the headstones.

Fisher: And it all started with a Facebook page and a bible.

Connie: Absolutely. Is that not amazing?

Fisher: No, it is.

Connie: If I could tell anybody anything, is find your family members, don't give up, and keep those ties close, record the information, make sure everybody knows where it's at, and write down your family history and preserve it for your future generations. Out of 20 grand kids who may not have an interest, there's going to be 1 who wants to know, and you'll want that information there for him.

Fisher: That's right. That's great advice. Connie Fowler from North Carolina thanks so much for coming on, and congratulations on all you've done. And I want to take care of you with a free subscription to MyHeritage.com. MyHeritage.com has the finest technology, it's kind of like having a professional researcher working your line 24 7 for just $15 a month.

Connie: Oh my goodness! Thank you so much!

Fisher: You are so welcome! And coming up next, Tom Perry, our Preservation Authority answers another listener question, on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 4 Episode 74

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: And we are back, Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. How are you, Tom?

Tom: Super duper! Glad to be in the studio today.

Fisher: And we've got an interesting email that we got from Aubrey in Bloomington, Minnesota. And Aubrey writes, "My dad recorded a disk of himself in a little booth in the 1950s." Remember those, Tom?

Tom: Oh absolutely! I remember when my brother went off to war. We did one in a little train station.

Fisher: Wow! And he said, "I'd love to have it digitized. This may be a silly question, but is there any copyright issue with this?"

Tom: Oh absolutely not! It’s totally your property. You can do whatever you want with it. The only caveat so to speak, would be, if he was singing a song, a popular song at the time that's not out of copyright, you can't sell it without paying royalties.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: Like for instance, let's say he was singing a Beatles song, and say the lyrics and the music were written Paul McCartney and John Lennon, even though John Lennon’s been gone for quite some time, Paul McCartney is still here, so the copyright still stands.

Fisher: That's for the song, but not the recording, right?

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: So it’s not the Beatles’ recording of it, but.

Tom: Right! Exactly! So the recording he has is totally fine, you know. You can turn it into a CD, no problem. However, if you decide "Wow, this sounds really good, I want to sell it in the store." then you can still do that. However, you have to pay royalties to John Lennon’s estate and Paul McCartney.

Fisher: Wow!

Tom: So it can be done. So, you can make copies of, you can sell it, but you have to pay royalties, because the song itself is still under copyright, the recording isn't.

Fisher: Wait a minute! Let's go through this a little bit. Okay, first of all, if you went into the little booth in the fifties, he's probably just talking and telling his story, and that's fine.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: And that's great. And you don't have any copyright once you make a digital recording, if somebody brought it to you, right?

Tom: Absolutely not! That is a really good question, because we get calls at least once or twice a week that says, "Hey, I've got this video of something." or "I've got a recording of a funeral, a recording of my dad. If I bring it in and have you transfer it to a CD, do you then own the copyrights to it so I can't make copies?" Absolutely not!!

Fisher: And that's standard within the business, right?

Tom: Well, absolutely not!

Fisher: Really?

Tom: Yeah. There's places that can do whatever they want. Like a lot of photographers and videographers, when they shoot your wedding, they make you sign a thing which nobody ever reads that says, they have the exclusive rights to duplicate and copy it. Which means, if you live by the letter of the law, and you have this DVD you get back from them, you cannot make copies and give to friends and family. You have to legally go back to that company and have them do it. However, I don't believe in that stuff. I used to be a professional photographer. And to me, that's crap!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Tom: It’s your stuff. You paid for it. And we own no rights to it whatsoever. You bring something in to transfer, that's your property, and it remains your property. We have no rights to it. We've talked about some other companies that you do stuff on the web, you upload stuff to their site, and you're giving them non exclusive right to use your stuff to promote their own business.

Fisher: Boy! It gets really complicated, doesn't it?

Tom: Oh it does! So ask those questions. That's a wonderful question to ask. Bring stuff to us. It’s yours, it’s only yours. We can't even use it in our store to show people samples without your permission.

Fisher: Right. But not every place is like yours.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: And that's what you've got to be aware of.

Tom: Exactly! Don't assume that everybody out there is wonderful and all they care about is helping you preserve your memories. There's some people that unfortunately are stinkers and are all about the money instead of trying just to help you.

Fisher: All right. We're going to take a break, Tom, and when we come back, we're going to continue talking more about this copyright situation, especially with the songs that are written and the songs that are recorded, there's a difference.

Tom: Absolutely true!

Fisher: All right, we'll find out more about that, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 74

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Oh we're into some very murky water here! Hi, it is Fisher. And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. I'm with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. And last segment you may have heard, we got a question from a listener in Bloomington, Minnesota, about a recording of his father from a little recording booth in the 1950s, and a little concerned about, if you digitize it, does that cause a copyright problem. And Tom, you said, No! And you could preserve, if you wanted to as a business, the copyright as your own, if you wanted to do that, but you don't choose to do that, some other people do.

Tom: Correct.

Fisher: Right. So here's the question now. Now we move from personal recordings in a little booth, to say, recordings like the Beatles. Okay, can you use a recording of that, say, for a wedding tape or an anniversary tape that you would put together to celebrate something in your life? Is there a copyright problem with the recording?

Tom: So basically what you have is, you have the recoding itself as it stands, which is the Beatles song.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: Okay, the Beatles song that you have, in the old days had fifty years that it was protected.

Fisher: Right. So let's say, Love Me Do.

Tom: Right.

Fisher: Which there is an interesting story behind that, we'll get into that in a minute. So that came out in 1962 which would have meant in 2012, the recording came out of copyright protection and people should be able to use it.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: However.

Fisher: There was a change, right?

Tom: There's an asterisk. The asterisk now says, "As of November of 2013, its now seventy years." So they've given it more time for the artists or the publisher of the recording labels to actually hang onto it longer before you can go and use it yourself.

Fisher: But the record companies actually had to release something to put that into effect.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: So some songs are still at the fifty year copyright point and others are at seventy.

Tom: Right.

Fisher: So if you want to just take a standard thing just to be sure and safe, because, you know, how would you know which ones are protected and which ones aren't. Seventy years, 1945, anything before that is pretty much fair use now, right?

Tom: Oh absolutely! And the thing is, if you're going to use something commercial and you're not really sure, your research is kind of murky waters, contact the Harry Fox Agency, because they're in charge of licensing all this, whether it’s for a wedding video or for a wedding compilation and they can say, "Oh yeah! We can get the copyrights for you to do this." or "That's out of copyright." you know. Live long and prosper.

Fisher: Okay. Now we just talked about the recording of the song, but the song itself, the writing of it, the use of it, maybe recorded by somebody else, that's a little bit different.

Tom: Right. And that can even get crazier, so you probably want to take notes.

Fisher: Okay. [Laughs]

Tom: So, let's use that Beatles song as a reference right here. It was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Fisher: Yep!

Tom: Okay.

Fisher: Recorded in '62 and they missed the copyright thing, so that is actually out in the open now.

Tom: It is, exactly! However, the song itself isn't, which is the lyrics and which is the music, those ones are still under copyright, because Paul McCartney's still alive.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And it got extended from the fifty years to the seventy years which you spoke about earlier.

Fisher: Right. And this has to do with extended lifetimes and the like. And so, if Paul McCartney were to live another fifteen years, say, and then you had seventy years beyond that, the copyright for Love Me Do, the song, not the recording, could actually last to the end of the century.

Tom: And so, even though John Lennon who also wrote it, he's gone and has been gone for quite some time, the longer Paul McCartney lives, the estate of John Lennon gets to kind of coattail along Paul McCartney, because he's still alive.

Fisher: Right. So, Yoko was cheering on Paul to have a long, long life.

Tom: Keep him on life support.

Fisher: [Laughs] There you go. Interesting stuff! Thanks for joining us, Tom.

Tom: Good to be here.

Fisher: That wraps up the show for this week. Once again, thanks to Connie Fowler from North Carolina, for her amazing story about how she turned an old family bible discovery into an amazing family organization. And the Stan Lindaas from HeritageConsulting.com, for talking about, occupations and what they mean when we're researching people's histories. It’s a lot deeper than you think. Catch the podcast if you missed some of these parts, you want to hear them again. They're on iTunes, iHeart Radio and of course, ExtremeGenes.com. I'm Fisher; I'll talk to you next week. Thanks for joining us. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!





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