Episode 79 - Those Strange Experiences of Serendipity!

podcast episode Mar 16, 2015

In Fisher's opening segment, Fisher gives you a tip on searching for your ancestors using only first names.  When your people aren't where they're supposed to be, this technique may solve your problem.  Then, he shares a terrific story of the funniest Victorian era Christian names found by a genealogy firm in London.  You'll be glad your parents didn't name you any of these things!  Fisher will give you the top ten.  Then, it's the "risky" business of the "banished" Irish adoptees who were sent to America after being born to single mothers in Catholic run homes.  Those trying to find their birth families are having mixed experiences.  Hear the full story.

Fisher's first guest is Hank Jones, writer of the series of books called "Psychic Roots- Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy."  Hank has collected these stories for decades, and he'll share a couple of them and why he thinks they're happening.  And by the way, if you're new to family history research, just wait... you're more than likely to have one of these things happen, too!
AJ Jacobs of Esquire Magazine returns with an update on the upcoming "Global Family Reunion" in New York City.  It keeps getting bigger, and you're going to want to be a part of it, even if you can't be in NYC!  (And you can!)
Then, Fisher straightens out Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority.  Tom got a little too deep in the technical pool, leaving some listeners asking for the life preserver when it comes to editing your own videos.  This time, Tom couldn't make it any easier!
That's this week on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 79

Host Scott Fisher

Segment 1 Episode 79

Fisher: No, this is not a weekend gardening show, but it is about roots! Hi, welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family and watch the nuts fall out. We are always hoping to teach you a little more about how to research your ancestors, inspire you, and of course, entertain you too. Family history's an amazing pursuit with endless amazing stories, and you're going to hear a few of them today. Our first guest on the way in about seven minutes is Hank Jones. He has collected some of the most incredible stories you will ever hear concerning family history. He has documented them in a series of books called “Psychic Roots, Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy.” And he will share a few of his favorites. These are stories that will make your jaw drop! And if you're new to family history, you need to know that these things are not uncommon. I've had them happen myself, and I can't wait for you to meet Hank. Then my good friend AJ Jacobs is back. AJ of course is an editor with Esquire Magazine and a multiple New York Times bestselling author. And when you hear him and the unique way he sees things, you'll understand why. He is the creator and host of the upcoming Global Family Reunion in New York City on June 6th. We've had him on before and we want to find out what's the latest on this amazing event, which will include remote sites in Houston, Salt Lake City, Europe and other places. You can and should be a part of it! And then Tom Perry returns. Our Preservation Authority, after having created a little trouble last week, being WAY too technical on a preservation question. I will insist on him speaking plain English this week and make it all a lot simpler. Don't worry, he can take it. And if you're new to the show or would like to listen again to past shows, its time you downloaded our free Extreme Genes app to your iPhone or Android. Just go to your phone's store, find Extreme Genes, install it, and it’s all there waiting for you, for free!

So here's my tip of the week, a friend was recently discouraged because she couldn't find her ancestor in a census record. So I told her, "Oh, he's probably there." And I reminded her that there's so many ways a name can be messed up! It could have happened 135 years ago when the census taker heard a name wrong or simply spelt it wrong. It could have happened in the 21st century when someone transcribed it wrong for indexing. I had her give me the names of family members and the place they were supposed to be. So I chose the one with the least common first name, entered it along with a plus or minus five on the assumed birth year and searched by first name only. 22 choices came up. We then went through each and went down the list until we hit lucky 13. The family name had indeed been butchered by the census taker, and further mistranslated by the indexer. Stevens had become eleven! [Laughs] Yeah! But there was no mistaking the family group by the first names, ages, places of birth, place of residence and the occupation of the father. Never forget, there are a lot more identification points than just the name. I hope that helps. It’s time once again for your family histoire news from the pages of ExtremeGenes.com. We begin with an awesome story from the Mirror in the UK. It’s about a genealogy firm in London called Fraser and Fraser that has spent over four decades putting together a list of very funny names from the 19th century. One of the individuals on the list was blessed with 26 given names. See if you can get where the parents were going with this one. Ann, Bertha, Cecilia, Diana, Emily, Fanny, Gertrude, Hypanthia, Iug, Jane, Kate, Louisa, Maud, Nora, Ophelia, Quince, Rebecca, Starkey, Teresa, Ulysses, Venus, Winifred, Xenophon, Yetty, Zeus. Yes, every letter of the alphabet is represented right there. They've narrowed their overall list of 200+ names down to their top ten, and they include our girl with the twenty six names, Mineral, daughter of Henry and Emma Waters, yes, Mineral Waters. Faith Hope Charity, Faith Hope Charity Brown was from Gillingham, in Kent County. That’s It Who’d Have Thought It. That’s It Who’d Have Thought It Restell was born in Strood, Kent in 1886. Friendless, Friendless Baxter was from Leeds. He was born in 1871. There's Zebra, daughter of James and Mary Lynes. Yes, she was Zebra Lynes, Windsor, daughter of William and Ann Castle [Laughs] Windsor Castle. One Too Many, yes, One Too Many Gouldstone was born in London in 1870. I like this one, Time Of, you guessed it, son of Thomas and Alice Day. He was, Time Of Day, and maybe the most unusual, Leicester Railway. Leicester Railway Cope came into the world in 1863 at the Leicester Railway Station in a train carriage. Find the story link at ExtremeGenes.com.

A story of heartbreak and discovery from the LA Times may hit close to home for some. It’s about the Irish banished adoptees and their search for family back in the Emerald Isle. Now, from the 1940s to the 1970s, around 1900 Irish kids born to unwed mothers in Catholic Church run homes were adopted by Americans. Now many of them are helping each other to find their birth families, some with positive results and experiences, and some with quite the opposite. The headline uses the word "risky" in describing the risk reward possibilities. It’s a story loaded with heartbreak and inspiration. Check it out at ExtremeGenes.com. And finally this week on TLC Who Do You Think You Are, features singer Josh Groban. Check your local listing for times in your area. And that's your histoire news. And coming up next, he's got a lot of fancy titles in genealogy, but best of all, he's a terrific story teller. In fact, he has probably recorded some of the most remarkable family history discovery stories ever told. He's Hank Jones, author of the series, Psychic Roots, Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy. I think some of what he has to tell you may make your jaw drop. And the weird thing is, these things happen all the time. That's in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 2 Episode 79

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Hank Jones

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, Family History Radio. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth with my special guest Hank Jones. He is a fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, a fellow of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, he is a lecturer. He has written palatine families of New York 1710, and a couple of great books called Psychic Roots Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy.” And Hank first of all, I don’t know how you even had time to talk to me today. [Laughs]

Hank: [Laughs] Keeps you off the street.

Fisher: I guess so. Well, let’s talk about this Serendipity thing because we hear about it all the time.  And for people who may not have gotten in to genealogy yet or family history research, you might be surprised at some of the stories that happen. It’s certainly happened to me early on. How about you Hank, did you ever have an experience right at the beginning?

Hank: Ah yes. And it just kind of built from then on. Things just started happening from right and left, and at first I thought I was the only one getting a little too close to the butterfly net.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hank: I didn’t know what was going on. What happened was, I wanted to find out if really this was just me that this was happening to. So I sent out 200 letters about fifteen years ago to some of the leading genealogists around the world and I said, “Now, I’m not knocking the scientific approach to genealogy because my fellow fellows in the ASG, and all of the great scholars in genealogy over the time, you know, make the point that this is really a scientific thing that we do. It just wasn’t done right.

Fisher: Right.

Hank: But I wanted to know once in a while that something happened that you just couldn’t explain that somehow led you to success in climbing the family tree that you weren’t expecting. And I’m up to thirteen hundred experiences shared from our fellow genealogists around the world now.

Fisher: Wow!

Hank: And so it does happen. I started very young. I’ve been writing books since my days at Stanford in the 1960s on the palatine families of New York. These were some German immigrants that came in the 18th century over to America.

Fisher: Right.

Hank: Well, the wild thing was to my knowledge I didn’t descend from any of them yet I almost felt compelled to write about them. And the main center of the thing is I wanted to find as many of the ancestral homes of these 847 families that had come to New York, overseas and Germany. And so, I found a little lady over there who would literally go village to village for me where I had theorized these places would be, because this is way before a lot of microfilming was available and certainly before the internet. Anyway, I had vested interest in any family. I didn’t descend from any of them that came to America. So she said to me, “Well, where will I begin?” So I gave her all these names and I said, “I don’t care, I want to find them all.” She said,”No, we have to start somewhere.” So I said okay. I’d always been interested in a guy named Dedrick Schneider, one of the 847, for some reason I said, “We know he came from Hachenburg Germany, okay Carla, go there first. We’ve got to start somewhere.” So she did. So dissolve, as we say in the movies.

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Hank: Up to about fifty or twenty years later. Since that time I found over 600 of the 847 families. Fifteen hundred later arrivals had come to America in the 18th century, and the only family that I am directly related to of that group, is the Dedrick Schneider family of Hachenburg. My first choice, selected totally off the wall out at random for Carla to look for in her searches for me in Germany.

Fisher: Unbelievable. And how many generations back are we talking?

Hank: A long, long, long time back, about eight, somewhere around there. And another thing started happening, I had to do lectures about the palatines around in the country. I’ve lived in the west coast all my life and been a few trips to the east coast but never a lot. But when I would go back sometimes to speak in a place where the palatines lived on the east coast in New York or New Jersey, in a couple of instances the local historian would be taking me around to show me the sights and I would tell the local historian what was going to be around the bend in the road before we got to it, and I’d never been there before.

Fisher: Oh boy. [Laughs]

Hank: It’s really spooky stuff like that.

Fisher: And how could you explain that? What do you think it was about?

Hank: I don’t know. And that really is the success that I think of the Psychic Roots book. We’re on our ninth printing now. And I have no agenda. I don’t know why it happened. I just know this stuff happens. So what I basically say is, “It happens. Enjoy it. And use it.” Because if there’s a feeling that is common to a genealogist who is at least open to this, if you allow yourself to be led in your searches, it’s amazing what you’re going to find. I would say follow your hunches and see if the facts back them up. And you have nothing to lose. It’s just more added information that might work for you and so often it does. Tell me about your serendipity experience.

Fisher: A couple of them actually. When I first started I was twenty six years old, living in Florida. Went to New York to the archives there and happened to pick a week where it was the worst weather they had had in years. And so we’re the only people in the archives, my wife and I, and the snow is hitting us sideways as we got off the train to go into the city, and of course nobody else was dumb enough to be in the New York archives in weather like this. It was just us and the poor sucker who had to actually operate the office there. And he was not happy to be there. And so we started going about our business and again, this is before the internet, going through some microfilm and half way through the day one other person shows up, out of the thirteen million in the New York metropolitan area, sat next to me, because that’s where one of the only other microfilm readers that actually worked, was sitting. And she overheard me say, “Oh, Catherine Ann Speake.” She says, “Excuse me, did you say Ann Speake?” I said, “Yes.” She says, “Well that’s a very rare name in early New York. I have a friend on Long Island by that name, maybe he is tied to you.” I had no idea, I was just getting going. Anyway we exchanged information and in time we figured out we were fourth cousins and he became a resource for me. We’re still in touch after thirty three years. 

Hank: Oh my gosh!

Fisher: And what are the odds, you know?

Hank: The odds are formidable. And that happens a lot. Actually, even my own book, Psychic Roots, took a life of its own. I was at Salt Lake City at the big library, the family history library, you know. I had my own table doing a lot of intensive research not even looking up, and all of a sudden, I did look up, because here comes this lady leading about twenty people behind her. She was the guide of the library and was telling the newcomers to the library, you know, where the stacks were, where the microfilm readers were and all that stuff. And then she happened to walk by my table, and just as she's walking by my table, she says to her twenty people, "Why yes, there's even a book out about Psychic Roots and about intuition and serendipity in genealogy."

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hank: To which I stood up immediately and said, "I know. I wrote it." And I sat down.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, that had to be pleasing.

Hank: It was pleasing. It was fun!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hank: Who'd have thought that would happen at that particular time. The timing and stuff can be weird. There's one of my favorite stories was sent to me by Reverend Schuster who was a minister in the Mid West. And for years he'd wanted to go back east to the East Coast to go to the gravestone of his Schuster ancestors where they're buried on the east coast. And for twenty five years he'd wanted to do this, but he had a very big congregation. He could never get away from the pulpit to do it. So finally he just, it was sort of like "Put up or shut up time." He Said, "I've got to do this." So he went back to the town in New York where his ancestors lived, the Schuster family, and he went to the cemetery. And as he walked into the cemetery, he "gulped" he told me, because it wasn't just a village cemetery. This was a cemetery that had lots and lots, almost a thousand graves just over Hillandale of that particular area of Upstate, New York. And he didn't know what to do. He didn't know how he'd ever find he's Schuster ancestor’s graves. So he found the Septon of the cemetery who was happen to be walking just near the entrance and he said, "Would you happen to know where my Schuster ancestors would be buried?" And immediately the Septon of the cemetery took him to the graves he'd been looking for, for twenty five years. And Reverend Schuster said to the Septon, "How did you ever know out of all these gravestones where the Schuster family is buried without looking it up in your files?" And the Septon told him that he was the fifth person that day to ask for that particular grave. And with that, the septon pointed to a hollow on the hill overlooking the whole cemetery where the 25th annual Schuster family reunion was taking place.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hank: And as Reverend Schuster said, "I walked up the hill, and I met my family."

Fisher: Unbelievable! And how long ago was this? When was this?

Hank: Well, he told me the story about twenty years ago.

Fisher: Isn't that something!

Hank: You know, just the timing of these things can be very weird. It just happens over and over again. I had a good friend talk about, you doing your radio show. There was a guy who's deceased named, Nick Vine Hall, who was sort of like the Larry King of Australian genealogy, and he had a radio show once a week all throughout Australia and New Zealand, about genealogy. And Nick came to America and was telling me some stories that had been told to him on the air. And Nick said, "The most common story I'm told on the air is this." and it had variations. It basically is the same story. It’s this, "I was looking for my ancestor. I went to the cemetery where my ancestor was buried, but I'd never been there before. I got out of the car and I walked straight to my ancestor's grave."

Fisher: Yes, I've heard that story too.

Hank: Yeah. You know something? It’s like they're calling to you. In the forward to the first Psychic Roots by Helen Hinchcliff, one of our fellow fellows put it nicely too. She said, you know, Hank, she said, “Feeling about one's ancestors as well as thinking about them usually results in a far more successful search.” And that's really true. I'm a big champion of genealogies that are not just names and dates. I mean, you ever read a genealogy with just names and dates?

Fisher: Oh!

Hank: You know, spare me!

Fisher: Right. [Laughs]

Hank: But it’s our job to put flesh and blood on the skull of names and dates and make them come alive again. And it’s great to honor your Mayflower ancestor and your Revolutionary War soldier, but don't forget to honor the horse thief, too, because they too have their stories, and sometimes they're a heck of a lot more fun.

Fisher: [Laughs] I can't argue with you on that point. My favorite ancestors are some of the biggest scoundrels.

Hank: Oh yeah! [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] There's no doubt.

Hank: I don't know how it works. I just think that our ancestors want to be found. And it’s sort of our souls' task to do it. This is what we do. We're genealogists. I mean, trying to explain our excitement to a civilian is beyond us.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hank: Because they don't get it. [Laughs]

Fisher: No! No, you're absolutely right.

Hank: I'm weird cousin Hank who likes dead people. That's fine, I am.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Hank: I'm definitely weird. It’s part of what we're supposed to do. And that was another thing that came through in all these 1300 letters and others shared by genealogists that, this is what we do. It’s what we're supposed to do. And so we do it. And it’s just part of our deal here.

Fisher: He's Hank Jones. He's the author of Psychic Roots, Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy. Hank, your book's still in print. How can they get it?

Hank: Actually you can get it through my website, www.HankJones.com.

Fisher: Excellent! Will you come back and we'll do some more?

Hank: I'd love to, Scott. Thank you for asking me.

Fisher: Thanks so much for coming on.

Hank: Okay.

Fisher: And coming up next, another one of the great characters of the family history world, kind of a newcomer, but he's making a splash. He's AJ Jacobs from Esquire Magazine. We'll get the latest on the Global Family Reunion that's coming up on June 6th in New York City, next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 3 Episode 79

Host: Scott Fisher with guest AJ Jacobs

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth with my good friend AJ Jacobs, the editor at large for Esquire Magazine. He is the New York Times' bestselling author. I don't have a lot of friends who are New York Times' bestselling authors, AJ, but I'm proud that you're one of them.

AJ: Well, I don't have a lot of friends, who are syndicated radio hosts, so right back at ya.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, we're getting ready for June 6th, in New York City, right over by where they play the US open, of course, at the 1964, 1965 New York Fair Grounds. I spent a little time there as a kid. I think I went 7 times? And it was so cool, and I am so excited to be there again with you for the Global Family Reunion that you've been putting together. How are things coming, what's the latest?

AJ: They're coming great, and partially because you're coming. I am so thrilled for that. But as you know, for those who haven't heard about it, it's a festival for everyone that is going to celebrate family history and the fact that we're all inter connected. There's going to be all sorts of great genealogy groups there like Family Search, Find My Past, and My Heritage. And there are going to be great speakers like Henry Louis Gates Jr. who does the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” And Comedy from Nick Kroll who's a hilarious comedian, Dr Oz, and all sorts of activities. I want to see you in the sack race.

Fisher: [Laughs] Only if you're right by my side, buddy.

AJ: [Laughs] We'll do the three legged race together. How's that?

Fisher: [Laughs] Okay. I'm in.

AJ: And Sister Sledge, as you know, is going to be singing We Are Family. But yes tickets are actually on sale now, as of just a couple of days ago. So if you go to GlobalFamilyReunion.com you can buy a ticket. And if you can't make it to New York, we're having simultaneous festivals all around the world, including in Utah, we're going to have a couple in Utah, one of the family history centres.

Fisher: Boy, this is going to be such a great thing, and I'm so looking forward to it. If you're not familiar with AJ, he is the king of I think what they call "Immersion journalism."

AJ: I like that. That's a good title, I'll take it.

Fisher: Absolutely. And this is where he basically goes out and finds something he wants to experiment with in his life, and lives it as deeply and fully as possible, and then writes about it. So I guess the question I would have now, and maybe we're anticipating the book that will probably follow this, AJ, what stories have you come across, or experienced, during this journey of putting this Global Family Reunion together?

AJ: Oh. Well, yes, the book will be out a year after the Global Family Reunion, and it will be talking about my adventure doing this dive into the world of Genealogy and meeting people like you, so you'll be in there, don't think you're not going to get a little section.

Fisher: Uh oh.

AJ: And also it will be talking about this wild revolution that's happening in genealogy because of DNA testing. I'll be talking about the adventure of being on these global family trees where you literally have on the Family Search one there’s literally 270 million people connected on one single screen, it's insane!

Fisher: Yeah, it’s crazy.

AJ: So it'll be talking about that and how I'm related to President Barak Obama, for instance. He’s my aunt's fifth great, aunt's husband's brother's wife... No, husband's brother's wife’s second great nephew, there it is. So it’s just the feeling and the experience of being related to almost everyone on earth, and you, most importantly.

Fisher: Absolutely! Well, and see, you and I ran into each other at Roots Tech in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I saw that you got to sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

AJ: I did.

Fisher: Now, I don't know a lot of people that just hop in there, and how do that happen?

AJ: Well, the Alves church and Family Search have been incredibly supportive of my project, because we all have the same idea that we're one big family. So they offered this, I did not ask, but they just said "Would you like to sing with the Tabernacle Choir?" and I said "Well, sure, why not?"

Fisher: [Laughs]

AJ: So I want there and we sang a song called “I Think the World Is Glorious and Lovely as Can Be.” And I was told in no uncertain terms to sing softly.

Fisher: Softly, yes.

AJ: So I think they had a good sense of what my voice was like before I got there. They did not want me to do a solo. But it was wild.

Fisher: It was. I mean, it was just weird. It's like I'm looking up there and going "What a minute! There's AJ!" Have you sung in choirs before?

AJ: No. Well, maybe in fourth grade, but not since then.

Fisher: Right.

AJ: And they... I was told I did not totally ruin the recording, so that's all I wanted.

Fisher: That's the important thing.

AJ: Yeah, my kids told me to lip synch, but I was like "You know what? Because I'm going to be in there, I’m actually going to do some singing."

Fisher: Wow. And they all had the signs that said "I'm a cousin."

AJ: Right. That's what sort of... I'm having everyone I can, including you. Take a picture with a sign that says "I am a cousin."

Fisher: Right.

AJ: And release that out on social media. So yeah, I had one with all 360 members of the choir holding up the sign. And when I gave a talk at Roots Tech which, as you know, is the largest genealogy conference, I was the warm up act for Donny Osmond, which was very bizarre but delightful. And they'd handed out signs to everyone in the audience, all 8000 members of the audience, and they all held up a sign that said "I am a cousin." So that was an amazing moment.

Fisher: What I don't understand is why didn't you sing? I mean, Donny came up there, and he was... He came out blazing. You sang with the choir.

AJ: That's so true! I am like a professional singer. I'm in the choir, and they didn't have me. I was going to do a little puppy love there, but... I figure... I wanted Donny to invite me out to do a duet with him, but, he didn't take the hint.

Fisher: He didn't, really? Such disrespect! Okay, AJ, so we're coming up June 6th at the 1964 World's Fair Ground in New York City. People get tickets on the website GlobalFamilyReunion.com. They're available right now, how much are they?

AJ: They are $25.

Fisher: Okay.

AJ: All proceeds go to Alzheimer’s disease.

Fisher: Perfect.

AJ: Because my grandpa had Alzheimer’s, and I think that genealogy, his family history is so much about the stories we tell, and that's what Alzheimer’s robs us of. So I thought that's the perfect charity for this Global Family Reunion. But yeah, for that, I mean, you get quite a bit. You get into one of the best science museums in the world, which is where it's being held, and you get all these talks and music, and I think it's going to be a great time, and you know, I'm your cousin, so I'm not going to lie to you.

Fisher: [Laughs] That's right. And so this is going on just for one day. You can just fly in and fly out because it's right next to LaGuardia Airport.

AJ: That's true! That's true. It's one day, all day long, from 10AM until 8PM. Or you can make a weekend of it. And if you can't make it, there are the ones in Utah, and some other places like Houston. You can check the GlobalFamilyReunion.com website to see were the other simultaneous parties are, because those will be getting a live stream of some of the talks.

Fisher: Now, you have something going on in Europe?

AJ: We do have one going on in the Netherlands, in England, Germany, so there are, yes. It's going to be a worldwide event.

Fisher: Sounds like you were just about to skip all those. I mean, that's a big deal over there.

AJ: [Laughs] It’s true. Nope, I would never skip my European friends. Well, what's amazing about these worldwide family trees is they're truly worldwide. The one on Genie.com, it has 160 countries, including Antarctica, which I love, because there are scientists who live in Antarctica who are on the tree.

Fisher: And we've got My Heritage in, I think, 40 languages. So the people of different languages can actually learn to communicate back and forth with the people working the same trees in different countries. It's fantastic.

AJ: It's unbelievable. And in 10 years I really believe that we're going to have a single family tree, almost all 7 billion people on earth. So you can see how any two random people are related, how the Pope is related to JZ.

Fisher: [Laughs] You took me in a place I never expected you to go.

AJ: [Laughs] You didn't expect those two in the same sentence.

Fisher: Very nice. All right, AJ, we're so looking forward to seeing you. Once again, June 6th, New York City, 1964 World's Fair Grounds. It's going to be a great time. You can get your tickets now at GlobalFamilyReunion.com. In the meantime just stay focused, no new projects, AJ.

AJ: [Laughs] You got it. No, I barely have time to brush my teeth. And I'm so glad you're involved because you are my hero, so.

Fisher: Ha! Well, likewise buddy. It is going to be a good time. All right, coming up next, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show!

Segment 4 Episode 79

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: Welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. All right Tom, you're in a little deep doo doo here!

Tom: [Laughs]

Fisher: Last week we were talking about the KISS theory, which is, keep it simple stupid. It’s a philosophy really.

Tom: Exactly.

Fisher: And the idea is that we want to make things as easy as possible, as inexpensive as possible to preserve whatever it may be, old home movies, old videos, maybe even a series of photographs. And we got into quite a bit of detail about how you can ultimately edit these things and make it into a nice presentation that people can see, but we're hearing from a lot of people who are going, "Wait a minute! Wait! I have NO computer skills at anywhere near that level!" So can we take the KISS theory 303 and do a little KISS theory 101 this week?

Tom: Absolutely! Okay, what we want to do, for the people out there that get confused using your iPhone that you want just something really, really simple, get all your tapes together, bring them in to us. Send them to anybody that can take your tapes and turn them into DVDs, whether they're audio or video, this goes for both. Then once you get your DVD back, what you want to do is pop it into your player, hit the display button on your remote control and it will show you what we call a "time code" up in the corner. It’s kind of a clock that counts up, starting at zero, going up to two hours or however long a DVD is.

Fisher: And people in your industry can show people how to do that, right?

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Still in the store.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: All right.

Tom: If you're still confused, bring your remote control into the store and we'll show you where the button is, but it’s usually called "on screen titles', it’s usually called "display" or something like that. The neat thing about a DVD that a lot of people, especially some of our older clients get scared about, they're afraid to push the wrong button on their remote control or their DVD player and erase their disk. It’s not going to happen. We don't use RW disks. We don't recommend people using RW disks. So you're NOT going to erase anything. You can hit any button. And if you get confused, hit eject and start all over again.

Fisher: So nothing goes away?

Tom: Nope! Nothing will go away.

Fisher: All right, that's good. [Laughs]

Tom: Absolutely! If you're confused, you don't know what to do, hit eject. It’s the same thing as hitting restart.

Fisher: Okay.

Tom: Okay. So now you've got your DVD, get out a ledger pad and a pen. And sit there and watch it and kind of take notes, say, "Oh, okay, at one minute and thirty two seconds, this is Aunt Jessie cooking." or whatever. Write down all these different title and the numbers where they start and where they stop. Once you've gone through and taken that part off, then you can turn off the DVD, go back and look at your notes, and say, "Hey, you know, some of these things are kind of out of order. I want to make at Aunt Jessie DVD. I want to make a DVD for my kids. I want to make a separate DVD for grandma and grandpa."

Fisher: And you can use some of those segments in all of those things, right?

Tom: Absolutely! Okay, so now you've got all your cliff notes, now start a new ledger that says, "Okay, this is Aunt Jessie's. This is for the kids. This is for grandma and grandpa. Then go through the DVD you just looked at or DVDs, and say, "Hey, this segment will be great for grandma. This segment will be great for my kids. This one will be great for me and my husband. These are pieces we want." And then write down disk number one, from this time to this time, we want this. And just go through and fill out all those things. And you can use the same segment on the same disk. If you have a disk that say, "Hey, this is family stuff, but then this is also a special disk for Johnny. Here's another disk that's family stuff, but for Jessie." That's okay. You can use the same thing on multiple times. There's no limit to how many parts you can use.

Fisher: You could actually create then one master part that would go to all of them, and then customize them to specific individuals?

Tom: Exactly! We had that exact same thing for Christmas last year. We had somebody that had eight kids and they wanted a separate disk for each of their eight kids, but there's some things that were family stuff that everybody wanted, but then there's like the wrestling matches that only Tony wanted, that Amber couldn’t care less about wrestling. And then Amber doing the swan lake, Tony couldn't care less about that. But maybe some of the other kids that were closer, like maybe you have a boy and girl twin, maybe they want to share some of those things, because they're kind of uniquely tied together. So take out all these different ledges. It’s almost like an index box. And we'll go into a little bit more of organizing your index box in the next segment.

Fisher: All right, coming up in three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 79

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right, final segment of KISS 101. It’s a philosophy thing here on Extreme Genes, family history radio, America's Family History Show. I am Fisher. I am your Roots Sleuth. That's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, the Preservation Authority. He got us into trouble last week, got a little too technical for some people about preserving old movies and videos and editing them and what that takes to do. So we're doing a 101 version of KISS, keep it simple stupid, a philosophy. And Tom, pick it up.

Tom: Okay. Well, we just talked about getting all your information organized onto a ledger sheet or index card so you know what you have on all your DVDs. Now you're going to create new index cards and new ledger pads. You're going to have one for Donny, one for Jeremy, one for Suzy, one for Sally, grandma and grandpa. And then you're going to take these index cards and write down, "Okay, this is something I want to be on her DVD. This is something I want to be on his DVD. This is something I want to be on grandma and grandpa's DVD." and start writing them down. You can put them in any order. It doesn't matter how they are chronologically on your DVDs. You can mix them out. Sometimes things are backwards. Sometimes things are shot out of order. It doesn't matter.

Fisher: And sometimes things are useless! [Laughs]

Tom: Absolutely!

Fisher: It’s just a complete loss!

Tom: Oh yeah! You can have a two hour DVD, and there might be five minutes of content that you want. So there's no reason to take that other stuff. Just ignore it, you know. You'll always have your DVDs in archive. If somebody says, "Hey, do you remember we were doing that one day, dada dada?” Oh yeah, that's all on this disk here. Take it and enjoy it." But the parts that you know that are going to be good, you're going to go and write down these all on the different ledger pads or index cards you have set out for these different people. You can use the same segment on the same index card for Nancy two or three times. You might have, "This is Nancy in high school. This is Nancy in Elementary school. This is Nancy's dance classes." And there might be something that you want to put in the high school and the dance class, that's fine. You can use a segment a hundred times. It’s no problem, so how you write it down to bring into us to edit it for you, or if you want to do it yourself.

Fisher: Or your grandchild.

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Often, kids can do this stuff.

Tom: Oh, what these kids do with iPads and stuff nowadays, it’s unbelievable! In kindergarten! It just absolutely blows my mind! So you've got all this stuff written down. You want to write it down on your index cards or on your ledger pad in the order you want the final DVD to be in. So in can go from disk one to disk three, back to disk one to disk four, disk six, any way you want it. You want to write it down in a chronological form YOU want your new DVD to be in. There’s no restriction on it. You just write down, “I want it to start on disk one. Go from one minute fourteen seconds to two minutes and thirteen seconds, etc.”

Fisher: So people who do what you do, and you yourself Tom, can you add captions to these things?

Tom: Oh absolutely!

Fisher: Can you add some narration to it? How would that work? Say if somebody who wants to share something with their grandchildren wants to go in and narrate some of it, where would they do that?

Tom: There's a couple of ways. We could talk about it in an entire show on just this. So maybe in the future we'll do one on that, because that's a really good topic. What you're going to want to do on your same index cards, say, "Hey, after I have this piece of Aunt Sally, from one minute thirteen seconds to two minutes sixteen seconds, I have this group of photographs or slides that I would like to play during this time."

Fisher: So you can mix and match.

Tom: Right! And, but I want my audio to go over and explain what these slides and photographs are. Then it s very, very simple, just get a tape recorder or something along those lines, and as you're looking at the photos, say, "Okay", introduce them, "Okay, I'm going to go to photo one through sixteen." Then count ten seconds so we have time to edit. And say, "Okay, this is Aunt Sally bringing home her new Oldsmobile. She took it for a ride. This is a picture of this. This is a picture of this." all this different stuff. And then finish and say, "Okay, now I'm done with picture one through twelve." or whatever. And then what we will do is, we'll go down and lay your audio track and make the pictures match it so it comes together. So it’s pretty easy to do. If you have more questions, write to me, [email protected]. And in the future, maybe we'll do segment and go into more tying your audio, your video, doing voiceovers and narrations.

Fisher: All right. Thanks so much, Tom.

Tom: Thank you.

Fisher: I cannot believe how much ground we have covered today. Thanks once again to Hank Jones, author of Psychic Roots. Once again, you can order those books through his website, HankJones.com. Thanks also to AJ Jacobs. He is the man behind the Global Family Reunion coming up in New York City. Hope you'll be a part of it no matter where you are, whether or not you're in New York City. Join us again next week. Like our Facebook page. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice, normal family!

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