Episode 91 - NEHGS' David Allen Lambert Joins Extreme Genes Team! DNA: Grateful Half-Siblings Talk About First Meeting. Marilu Henner Talks Family History!Jun 15, 2015
Transcript of Episode 91
Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert
Segment 1 Episode 91
Fisher: Hello Genies! You have found us, Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth, on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. Well, first off, we want to welcome today’s talk KWOC, 9:30 AM at 93.3 FM in popular Bluffs, Missouri, to our growing family of Extreme Gene's affiliates. We are so proud to be part of program director Britney McKay's and Jim Price’s great weekend line up, nice to have you along! And wow! What a great time it was in New York City last weekend, where I was one of the MC’s in just one of the theaters for A.J Jacobs Global Family Reunion. It was held on the grounds of the 1964 World’s Fair, and by the way, it was also the grounds for the 1939 World’s Fair. I had attended the one in the 60s, 7 times as a boy with my parents. Yes, I counted them. So it was very nostalgic to be near the Unisfair again and within walking distance of the home of my boyhood heroes the New York Mets. Yes, it’s always difficult to be a Mets fan. Anyway, the reunion was fabulous, the speakers were incredible! There were DNA experts, the technology experts, rock stars, yes Sister Sledge was there! To do two extended versions of “We are Family.” One of them I was able to join the crowd on stage to sing it with them! And they can still bring it, me not so much.
I also ran into Marilu Henner of television and Broadway fame. Why was she there? I wondered the same thing. So I’ll let you hear my taped visit with Marilu, coming up in just a little bit. She’ll be talking about her family history, that’s later in the show. Then, on this past Monday my half second cousin Jim McCormick of Pawcatuck, Connecticut, joined me for a trip to New York City, for a visit to the Municipal Archives there, where we found some almost unknown records of the 19th-century volunteer firemen which included our common great grandfather. We found the records of the unit he joined when he left, as well as an affidavit he signed indicating he followed all the rules of the department in 1861. You know, there are still more records not digitized that require trips like that. So, keep in mind, if you’re stuck for information on an ancestor or a family line don’t think if you can’t find what you need on a website it doesn’t exist.
Well, the biggest thing that happened at the reunion was a special announcement made by myself and David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors, that he will now be joining Extreme Genes every week to talk about the stories everyone is talking about, as well as new developments in the business of genealogy. David is a good friend, and I couldn’t be more excited to have a guy with his expertise and personality, join the show. Welcome to Extreme Genes, David Allen Lambert!
David: Hey! Thanks, Fish. Well, the pleasure and honor is all mine, totally flattered to be part of Extreme Genes every week.
Fisher: Well, you know we’re a growing thing and you bring so much to it because you are so knowledgeable in so many areas. And I should mention that New England Historic Genealogical Society is not just about New England anymore, and it hasn’t been for some time. Give us a little background on your organization, David.
David: Well, NEHGS has been around for 170 years. We’re the oldest and founding genealogical organization in the country. In fact, we’ve grown from being very small concerned with New England organization, to having such a broad focus that we deal with individuals that came into New England and went elsewhere. We deal with people from Canada, other foreign countries, the British Isles, American Ancestors is our brand brought to you by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, so we’re inclusive for all people.
Fisher: Wow! David, when did you start researching your family tree?
David: Oh, a couple of years back when I was 7 years old.
David: I was home from school one day, my grandmother handed me a book, and out slipped a tin type photograph of her dad. As a 7-year-old you don’t realize that people have life spans. And I said, “Oh I’ve never met him. Where does he live?”
David: And she told me he had died in 1921. And you know it could have been anything but a photo, but it was a metal tin type photo, so that intrigued me. It was hand painted, and then she said, “Oh, by the way, my dad was on a whaling ship.”
David: No pun intended, Fish, but I was hooked.
Fisher: [Laughs] That will do it, won't it? It’s just so intriguing, and it just captures the imagination and then that’s it.
David: Well that it with the genealogy, and that’s kind of been my focus since I was a kid. Is that I want to know the stories not just what fits into a chart.
David: Even dates are wonderful, it’s like that old poem about the gravestone looking at the dash. That’s what I seek out all the time. You want to know the stories to bring these people back to life. Whether it’s my own ancestor or somebody comes into the society, I’ve been honored to work here for 22 years, this coming July. And what a rewarding job it is to have people, as you know yourself, listening to your stories. Where you find something for somebody, you walk away from that saying you’ve done something really important in their life, reconnecting them.
Fisher: It never gets old ever, it is so much fun. In fact, little bit later on today we’re going to bring Shelley Smith back on, she was on the show a couple of weeks ago because I was able to help her find her birth mother, and help identify her birth father, and just the other day she met her half-brother for the first time. We’re going to have them both on talking about that experience, that emotion, that feeling, the surprise, the shock, all the things that might involve other people listening to the show who are also seeking their birth families. So that’s going to be very cool. You know, David and I share many other interesting.... you’re going to get to know him in the weeks and months ahead. We share baseball history, the love for that. Collecting ancient baseball memorabilia and historic documents, and you can tell a few stories too, David.
David: Oh goodness! I mean, I started writing to baseball players when you could still get them on tobacco cards.
David: Smokey Joe the 08 Red Socks. From that I’ve been actively seeking autographs from the 1912 Red Socks, well not anymore because they’re all dead.
Fisher: They’re all gone, yup. All right, well let’s get on with it. Let’s find out what’s happening in the world of family history and genealogy with our family histoire news. Where do you want to start, David?
David: Well, I mean, a week this month is celebrated the 200th anniversary of what we probably all heard of, the battle of Waterloo or Napoleon’s Waterloo, end of the Napoleonic wars. An interesting story that hit the news wires is the fact that the battle did not take place in Waterloo.
Fisher: I did not know that.
David: Neither did I. And I kind of claim myself to be a bit of a military historian. But apparently, I didn’t study that chapter too closely because Waterloo was where Wellington’s headquarters were, and all the dispatches and what not. But, it was actually a Belgian village south of it called “Brain Lalu.”
Fisher: Brain Lalu? That wouldn’t work. That would be like, where Napoleon met his Brain Lalu. [Laughs] It’s just bizarre.
David: Absolutely. It is bizarre! I mean it would be, “Brain Lalu la la la.”
David: Well, you know, the thing about that is that it’s just fabulous because 1) it gives you an insightful view that we’re still learning history, so on June 18th, is the 200th anniversary. Europe is a bit up in arms about, how do you celebrate it? Because you know, France lost but they’re turning it as Napoleon’s loss, France was just part of it. So revision is history at the best. The other story is near home, and it’s about a man by the name of Van Vanderkam, and Dan has created a website OldNYC.org and that has over forty thousand mapped historic photos of New York City.
Fisher: Yes. I saw this.
David: And you have family from there. So have you used it to find some of the locations where your family were?
Fisher: No. I just saw it this past week. I checked it out a couple of nights ago and I am amazed. Yes you can check on the blocks that your people were from. So imagine if you had an immigrant that came in through Ellis Island and made a home in New York for some time, maybe remaining there or moving west or south, wherever it is they may have gone. You can find all these photographs that are on there, mostly from the 1930s, although, there’s some that go as far back as the 1870s. But you’ve got to remember that the buildings go much earlier than the 1930s. You can still see 19th century buildings in these photographs, and it is s much fun and fabulous! In fact, someone had made a comment at the bottom of the website that said, “Hey, I haven’t gotten any work done in the last 3 days because I’ve been spending all my time looking at this site.” We’ve got to give them the address for that. Where can people see this?
David: All right. It’s: www.OldNYC.org.
Fisher: OldNYC.org. Fabulous!
David: I’m looking at it right now, looking at just a battery park at the old Castle Garden Immigration centre from the 19th century.
David: There’s just dozens upon dozens of photographs. I mean some from the same angel but some of them taken decades earlier like you say 1870, 1880s, early 1900s right to the 1930s and ‘40s. And you watch the progress of the city being built up around it and that’s just from one vintage point.
Fisher: And it’s all been created by this one engineer who just took an interest in doing it as a service to all of us. So how cool is that?
David: Volunteerism in genealogy and history is one of the greatest gifts I think society can give to all of us interested in the fact. And the pictures were in the public domain of the New York Public Library.
Fisher: Yeah exactly. So you can get them, you can save them.
Fisher: Through a screen capture and throw them in your history.
David: Yeah, exactly. I mean, if you’re a New York City fan you’ll never get bored of desktop photos, just go here and grab one every day.
Fisher: Yup. They’d be there for most of the rest of your life I’m thinking.
David: I would think so.
Fisher: All right. Now, we were in New York, and as we mentioned, we had a nice visit with Marilu Henner. She was the star of “Taxi.” She’s been on Broadway, and you’re going to hear our visit with Marilu Henner, coming up here in our next segment on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com.
Segment 2 Episode 91
Host: Scott Fisher with guests David Allen Lambert and Marilu Henner
Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, with my good friend the Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors, David Allen Lambert. And we just had a great time at A.J Jacob’s New York extravaganza, The Global Family Reunion. And so many folks turned out for the very first time I was really impressed!
David: I was too. I would day that it’s the largest group hug that I’ve ever been part of.
Fisher: [Laughs] Yes.
David: Just the attitude of everybody there. Everyone was just so glad to be there, wet grass and all. [Laughs]
Fisher: Yes, that’s right. And you know, we had so many superstar speakers there too. I was, of course, MCing in one of the theaters, and I didn’t get to see Henry Louis Gates, but he was there and did a great job. We had CeCe Moor in ours, talking about DNA and how that works. And of course, everybody is getting into that right now. I was so impressed with her presentation. Who impressed you?
David: Oh I would say hearing all of the speakers. CeCe Moor, I got to listen to hers completely. That was wonderful. My friend and colleague Joshua Taylor, he is obviously part of the Find My Path team and he was out there talking about the TV show he is involved in. And you know, just kind of getting a sampling – as they were really kind of a sample, not full on hour lectures.
David: What they’re doing in the field, it was kind of like a mini commercial, if you will. Dr. Gates talked about education and how the curriculum of the middle school and high school may be introduced to genealogy, and how he’s involved in that. Which I think is exciting, kids have free time.
Fisher: Wow. Yes.
David: I mean you do it when you’re young or when you’re retired. In the middle, you’re raising a family or you have a life that doesn’t involve much free time for genealogy, so I think that’s a way and it’s also a wonderful way for students to get a handle on history, as you can see I did, where you family fits in.
Fisher: But you know what the fun part was with all these experts, is all of them shared the same passion. Whether or not they shared the same expertise in different areas, but everybody is just so excited about what they do.
David: And I was running around trying to convert every one of the stars into genealogy if they hadn’t already.
David: And I’ve got a couple under my belt that I think I’ll be talking to very shortly.
Fisher: Yes and we’ll talk about that coming up right now let’s listen to my visit with Marilu Henner. She was, of course, one of the stars of “Taxi” back in the day on television. She’s been a Broadway star. And I was as surprised as you were David, about what she was doing at the Global Family Reunion. “We’re here with Marilu Henner, at the Global Family Reunion. What is bringing you to this place?”
Marilu: Well, I’m a big family girl. I’ve got six brothers and sisters in my family. We all get together at Christmas, its numbers anywhere between twenty and forty-two of us. And if I had to say, a sense of my life has always been family. Every single group of people I’ve ever gotten involved with, whether it’s the Taxi gang or having done the Broadway show Grease, even in Shade, every time I do a job. The Chicago family, not only my family from Chicago but the Broadway show Chicago family, I’m always looking for that family connection because I’m so close to mine.
Fisher: Coming from a show business family myself, I mean that’s the only thing that can really ground you, don’t you think?
Marilu: Yeah it’s true. It’s true. Oh yeah because there’s a lot o people who don’t have this and you feel like there’s something missing. You know? They do.
Fisher: And look what A.J has done today, it’s just amazing.
Marilu: It’s amazing! I cannot believe how many people are here, and how many people seem to be really excited about it and feeling connected, and just this whole idea that we’re all cousins and he wanted to do a family reunion. Even running into people in the bathroom seemed a little different, like, “Oh yeah, you’re my sister. You’re my cousin.”
Fisher: [Laughs] Especially if you’re in the wrong bathroom.
Marilu: Yeah I know [Laughs] I know.
Fisher: [Laughs] Now, have you been into researching your dead?
Marilu: Well, it’s interesting. I never even saw a photograph of my grandmother. My parents were first generation, my grandparents all through Ellis Island. My brother decided to do like a whole family history thing, and he started there. Found out a lot of things that we didn’t know. And he went to both Poland and Greece and he found our relatives, some of our relatives. But to this day I’ve never seen a photograph of my grandmother on either side. Because my maternal grandmother, she died when my mother was seven, and my paternal grandmother died when he was eight. So... that’s kind of sad.
Fisher: It is very sad. And so I take it you’ve done some DNA and trying to connect with some folks who might come from some different branches of the family?
Marilu: Not really, just the ones that I already know. My mom’s got a huge family in Phoenix. My brother did go to Methoni in Greece. He learned the Greek alphabet and he knew our two last names, my grandparents’ two last names. So he walked into a restaurant, he said, “Do you speak English?” and somebody said yes. He says, “I’m looking for a family Kalogeropoulos or Daskalakis” and the waiter said, “Me, Daskalakis, him, Kalogeropoulos.” So he spent days on the beach with the most beautiful people I’d ever seen. Sun kissed, happy, dancing. I said, so wait, here’s the story. Our grandfather came from a family of eight. Four stayed in Greece, four came to America, our grandfather, to work hard, to provide a better life for their children, our parents. And they worked hard, lived a life of struggle to make a better life for us. We’re working hard, living a life of struggle to get back to a beach. It’s like, why did we leave?
Fisher: [Laughs] All this, for that.
Marilu: All this, for that. But it was great to see relatives. So he did definitely connect with some people, but I do not know a lot of my family history.
Fisher: So the question would be in my mind if there is still there're those people back there who were from the generation of your grandparents, might they not have any of those pictures?
Marilu: Yeah, no they don’t. Nobody had a picture of my grandmother. Isn’t sad?
Fisher: It is!
Marilu: I know it’s terrible.
Fisher: Well, never give up. It took me thirty years to find a picture of my great grandfather from New York, hanging on a wall in Salt Lake City.
Marilu: Oh! See, my husband was raised Mormon. They have so many family photographs. Definitely, the Mormon people know how to do it.
Fisher: So have you taken a family trip yourself somewhere for research purposes?
Marilu: For research purposes, no. I have not. I did to Queens. [Laughs]
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, you’re writing quite a history yourself.
Marilu: Yes I am.
Fisher: As far as that goes.
Marilu: Yeah, I am. And you know, I’ll remember it, so yeah.
Fisher: [Laughs] and share it with your family too.
Marilu: Of course,
Fisher: I’m sure who takes great pride in your accomplishments.
Marilu: Yeah. I mean everybody is accomplished and pretty special in my family, so we all share in each other.
Fisher: What was the highlight of today for you?
Marilu: Well, that was really fun singing and dancing on stage with Sister Sledge.
Marilu: I had met them March the 19th of 1982 when I hosted the ABC series Fridays. Barry David was in that, Michael Richards was in that, so many other people were in that. I was the host and they were my musical guests. So I haven’t seen them since that night.
Fisher: And here you were.
Marilu: Here I am. And everybody looks great. Everybody looks the same.
Marilu: It’s true.
Fisher: That’s awesome. Marilu Henner thanks so much for taking the time to visit.
Marilu: Thank you so much. Thanks.
Fisher: Boy wasn’t that fun? Marilu Henner. And David of course afterward jumped right in and said, “You need to have your family history work done. I’m your guy!” And it looks like she’s going to actually work with you.
David: She did say that she wanted to contact me. And another person I’ve heard from through Twitter is Ted Allen from Chopped. He’s already talking with his mother, he wants to talk to me about genealogy.
Fisher: Excellent. Well, another side benefits from the Global Family Reunion. David Allan Lambert, great having you on today, great having you on every week. So excited to have you as a part of Extreme Genes, and we’ll talk to you again next week.
David: Talk to you soon, Fish.
Fisher: All right. And coming up next; it’s a reunion of a brother and sister who never met. You met Shelley Smith a couple of weeks ago, meet her half brother, coming up next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.
Segment 3 Episode 91
Host: Scott Fisher with guests Shelley Smith and Larry Pond
Fisher: And we are back, its Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, and I'm very excited about this conversation we're about to have. As you may recall a couple of weeks ago on the show, we talked to Shelley Smith about what it took to identify her birth mother, and then what it took to identify her birth father, both having passed about fifteen or sixteen years ago. And as a result of all that research, she's been able to find a half sister and a half brother. And only recently, just in the past week has Shelley been able to actually have that conversation with her half brother, the first meeting. And Shelley, how has that been for you?
Shelley: Oh, that's amazing! It was really, really fun to find him and to get to know him and to meet him for the first time.
Fisher: Well you know, when you consider you're in your late fifties, it's really hard to imagine starting over with somebody as close as a brother.
Shelley: Yeah, it's called happy endings with new beginnings.
Fisher: Exactly! And we have your half brother on the line right now, Larry Pond is here. Hi, Larry, how are you? Welcome to the show.
Larry: Thank you.
Fisher: You know, I was thinking about what you had to have gone through and the experience of having a cousin actually contact you after twenty years saying, "Hey, I've got some interesting news for you!" Would you take us through that conversation?
Larry: Absolutely! I received a call from my cousin, and I got it through a voicemail. I hadn't talked to this cousin for, oh, it's probably been over 20 plus years. And I was kind of, you know, wondering what my cousin wanted to talk to me about. But after I left work that day, I called my cousin, and when I was talking to him, he was telling me that his son took a DNA test and when he took a DNA test, he found a long lost, I guess it came through as a first cousin. And, as they've been trying to identify how this cousin is related to us, it was a girl that was adopted when she was very young and she was two years older than me. And he said, as they've been tracing things down, it looked like uncle Harold would be the father of this girl. So I had a half sister.
Fisher: Their uncle Harold, and your dad.
Fisher: And what were you feeling at that moment when you heard that news?
Larry: Mixed feelings between joy and happiness. You know, since my sister passed away and my brother passed away, I felt a loneliness for siblings and a need to have family in my life. And really, when he said that I had a half sister, I felt love and I was overwhelmed with joy and I wanted to talk to her as soon as possible.
Fisher: And how soon was that?
Larry: That was before I got out of the parking garage. I called her on the telephone. [Laughs]
Fisher: You didn't waste any time, did you?
Larry: No. And you know, right from the start, it clicked. And we were thinking we're on the same wavelength. It was so easy to talk to her. And I shared feelings about my parents and stories that I remember. And just millions of expressions and other ideas crashed through my head as we talked. So it was just wonderful.
Fisher: I can only imagine! Shelley, what was that like for you? You weren't expecting any phone call.
Shelley: No. I mean, we knew that the cousin was going to contact him, but I wasn't expecting a phone call at all. And I saw this number on my phone that I didn't recognize, and so I answered it and he said, "This is Larry Pond." And my heart just started to beat. And he's like, "This is better than Christmas!"
Shelley: And that was just such a relief. And he told me that several times. And I almost felt the same way. I'm like, "Hey, this started with a Christmas gift of the DNA test." And sure enough, it just keeps giving.
Fisher: Boy! No kidding! I can just feel the emotion as I listen to you both as you relive that experience on that day. And we should mention the fact that your cousin was calling you, Larry, because of Shelley's concern that she didn't want to disrupt your family if this was going to be a problem. And this is good advice I think for a lot of people to consider that it might be a good way to meet new family, a birth family, through someone who is sympathetic to what you're doing who can act as an intermediary. And it seems to me that that worked out pretty well.
Larry: I think you're absolutely right. You know, I thought about different scenarios in my life before, about you know, what would happen if this happened or other things. I had just been talking to someone who had told me that he was switched at birth.
Larry: And I was listening to his story as he was telling me about it. He was working in my garage, and you know, that really impacted me, and I thought about it. And the neat thing is, when this came along, that you know, I had a sister, I thought, you know, it's really an answer to what I've been looking for because I felt alone a lot. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect in my life.
Fisher: Well, and neither one of you, any of us, are islands. And we have family around us, we have spouses, we have children, we have siblings. Shelley, how is your family taking this news?
Shelley: My immediate family is awesome. The kids were so excited! They had heard bits and pieces of this. They had totally Facebook stalked the families and found some pictures. And you know, we had one daughter that was just, you know kind of crazy Facebook thing.
And so, we learned a little bit about it before, and when the phone call came, it was just exciting for me.
Fisher: What about for your family, Larry? You all got together in the past week over at Shelley's place and got to meet. You had your kids with you. Did the kids mingle with Shelley's kids? Was there any interaction there among the cousins?
Larry: There was. And my kids were excited and happy to have new cousins and new friends in their lives and new people to share experiences with.
Fisher: And certainly heritage as well. Has there been any negative side to this in your family, not only you know, in your immediate family, but among cousins and other relatives?
Larry: For me, no. I think someone said to me when I told them the story, and I told a lot of people this story because it's just so powerful and it's impacted me in so many ways. And each camp to share with other people, and someone said to me, you know, one day they said, "You mean your dad!? Your dad was fooling around?" And I was like, "You know what, yes! If that's what it means." But the neat thing is, in fifty years later, I get to meet my sister and having a relationship with her and her family and meet other people. And the neat thing is, Shelley's family and my family, we have a lot of the similar interests, a lot of things in common. And my siblings, we're all seven years apart.
Larry: So there's a big gap between kids in our family. And Shelley and I have a two year gap between us.
Fisher: Yes. And your kids seem to all be similar ages.
Shelley: Mine are a little bit older, but they were very receptive to each other. And that was such a relief, don’t you think?
Larry: It really was. And my kids had a great time. I have a son who is preparing to leave, to go on a mission for the church and he leaves in a month from now. And it was just good experience for him to know that he has other family members that are close and around. And he could feel the love that we all have, one for another.
Fisher: Shelley, you've gone through this process now, what advice would you give to somebody else searching for their birth families?
Shelley: Oh wow! I don't know. It kind of consumes your life for a while. You still have to do the day to day things, but your emotions are just all tied to finding them and seeing if they will accept you and seeing how they feel. And so, I would say, go forward with it. You know, times have changed. This is not the 1950s anymore. And there's so many new technology discoveries that will help you find your family. And it has turned out so well for me.
Fisher: Well, it's a great story. It's obviously had a very happy ending here. Shelley, you've got another meeting, though, to have with another half sister on your mother's side. What's the status with that?
Shelley: We're hoping that will happen very soon. We found a birth mother first, and I knew that I had to have a half sister. And we just have made connections. She lives further away, and we just haven't had the opportunity to meet yet, but it's going to happen.
Fisher: Well, we look forward to that. That's to both of you for coming on and sharing this very personal moment in your lives.
Shelley: You're welcome.
Shelley: Well, thanks again.
Fisher: And coming up in three minutes, Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority is back from TMCPlace.com, taking another listener question. And this is one we hear a lot about, "What do we do with this massive job of scanning all the photos?" He'll have an answer for you, coming up next on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 4 Episode 91
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: And welcome back to America's Family History Show, Extreme Genes. I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth. That's Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he is our Preservation Authority. Hi, Tommy. How are ya?
Tom: Pretty good, little bit wet, but otherwise great.
Fisher: [Laughs] Well, listen, we've got a great email the other day at [email protected] talking about reproducing photographs, and you know, this is something we always wind up coming back to, talking about preservation of the old photos, especially the 20s, the 30s, the 40s, when there started to be an awful lot of pictures, far too many for most of us to actually scan one at a time, framing them up, setting the DPI, there is a solution to this.
Tom: Oh yeah, that's one of the hardest things to deal with is when you have boxes and boxes of photos and you don't know where to start. And like you say, people buy these really inexpensive scanners at like OfficeMax, or some place, and then they're not happy with the results. And they have so many pictures, they think: "I can't really afford to take it into a place like yourself, I'd love to, but I have thousands of pictures I need scanned, it's going to take hours and hours to do them, what can I do?" And in the case of this young lady that sent us this email, I would suggest what you do is rent a really good quality scanner because most people can't afford them. Kodak makes an absolute killer scanner, but they're, you know, $3000 - $5000. They're very expensive scanners.
Tom: Oh yeah. And the nice thing about the Kodak scanners is when you rent them, you can get the flat bed and an auto feed. So the majority of your photos you're going to be able to auto feed it through in good condition, but then some of the little teeny ones like a postage stamp photos, like genealogy family history type things.
Tom: Those are going to be so small you can use your slow scanner, which is still fast, but it's a flatbed scanner so you can put it in. If you have ones that are torn or coming apart, have gooey stuff on the back that you can't send through the auto feeder, you can put them on the platter and then scan those. So that's what I'd really suggest you do. And just be careful, when you're looking at it there's different DIPs, the best thing to do is do it at the highest DPI you can, and always do it in color, even though most of your old pictures are black and white, you still want to do them in color. And people will go why would you want to do color?
Fisher: Good point.
Tom: Because you're going to get lots more pixel count, you're going to get a lot more information, and so when you want to go in and edit them, fix them up if you have tears and cracks and things like that in it, you have so much more information to be able to fix them and make them look better.
Fisher: With Photoshop.
Tom: Oh yeah, with Photoshop. You know, Digital Dark and a lot of different programs out there are really nice, even Photoshop Elements, the smaller one, the kind of the baby Photoshop.
Fisher: I use it all the time.
Tom: Oh, it's great.
Fisher: And it's terrific.
Tom: Oh, it is. It's an awesome program. Get these things scanned. Do it now. And the neatest thing about being done in color is when you go in and do the restoration in greyscale, it gives you so many more options, where if you scan it in black and white you're not going to have the deep greyscales and some of the pictures aren't going to look very good. Because back then you didn't have as many professional photographers, so a lot of them, probably mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, great grandma and grandpa shot these, and they were point and shoot cameras. They weren't able to set white balances. They weren't able to adjust for different lightings. They just kind of point and shot with their old brownie, or whatever. So what you really want to do is you want to be able to scan them in color, so then when you go into Photoshop or Photoshop Elements you can edit them and do some really good stuff with them.
Fisher: So these machines don't actually take the photos and bend them around like you would, say, with copying paper?
Tom: Right, exactly. A lot of the old scanners were like that, they would really damage your pictures by going through different wheels and pulleys and really cause a lot of problems. But these are basically a straight through the thing. You put them in face first and they go through. Another really neat thing about Kodak scanner is you can set it to scan both sides at the same time.
Tom: So if you have dates written on the back and things like that, you're not going to have to go back and look through all your pictures because A will be the front side, B will be all the information on them. And if they're really, really clean on the back, they'll just go through, and they won't scan it if there's nothing else there.
Fisher: All right. What are we going to talk about next segment?
Tom: We'll give you some ideas and some places that you can rent this equipment for a family reunion or just for your own personal use.
Fisher: And we'll give you those prices too because everybody's screaming at me, I can tell, "How much!? How much!?" coming up next on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.
Segment 5 Episode 91
Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry
Fisher: We are back, final segment of Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. I am Fisher, the Radio Roots Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com, he's our Preservation Authority. And we're talking about the idea of actually renting a scanner that you can use for your old photographs. If you have hundreds, thousands of old pictures, and the idea of actually manually doing these one at a time is just killing you, this is what you need to look into.
Tom: Oh yeah, this is really awesome. Like we've talked about in the first segment, Kodak makes a scanner that's absolutely amazing. And if you want to rent one you can get a hold of a place called EZPhotoscan, just the letter E, the letter Z, and then Photoscan.com, go to their website, call them, and they'll work with you. In fact, if you mention [email protected] they'll give you a discount.
Fisher: Wow. And what price range does this go in? I would imagine there are different ones for different machines and uses.
Tom: Right. Like we mentioned in the first segment, if you want just the sheet feeder, if all your pictures are in really good condition, you can rent that for under $400 a week.
Fisher: Wow. So if you had it for a week and you split it up with your family members, right?
Fisher: All the siblings, the cousins and nephews, and everybody's contributing the photos, if you do this in an organized manner, this should cost everybody maybe $50 apiece. And then at the end, everybody winds up with a digital scan of everybody's pictures.
Tom: That's definitely the way to do it. You've got to think what your time is worth. Even if you're a home body and have all kinds of time, you figure about $400, say about $450 if you get the flat bed and the sheet scanner, that's not that much money.
Tom: And what's your time worth? You're going to spend at least 16 hours by doing it by hand if you have a few pictures. These things go through so fast it's just absolutely amazing. And the quality, the DPI, the pixel resolution on them is just absolutely incredible. And another neat thing about the flatbed scanner is if you have like a photo album, those old icky ones we've talked about where the pictures are glued in.
Fisher: Yeah, like the 70s.
Tom: Exactly. You can take that whole sheet and put it on the scanner and it'll scan the whole sheet, and then it goes to a window and it does its best to say hey, this is this picture, this is this picture, and this is this picture.
Fisher: Sorts it out, separates it.
Tom: Exactly. So 9 out of 10 times you just hit Yes and it'll take those 6 pictures and give you individual scans of them. If it doesn't get it exactly right because say there's a lot of white space on it, then you just grab the corners and pull them over to where they need to be on the ones that aren't good, push the button and then you've got 6 individual pictures instead of just a full page.
Fisher: Isn't that amazing? So if you have something, say, that has a tear in it, in the picture, will this automatically repair these things or these are still you have to go through and fix with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements?
Tom: Yes, right, you have them as a jpeg or a tif, which ever you choose, then you do need to go into Photoshop Elements or a program like that to actually clean them up. But I'm the kind of guy, I like them raw.
Fisher: Me too. [Laughs]
Tom: I like to take them if they’ve got tears, if they've got scratches, take them that way and then fix them yourself, because there's no computer, no matter how smart it is, is going to have the idea you have to make it perfect.
Tom: If you just want something down and dirty, rock and roll. But I'm really a perfectionist. I want it exactly right. And so I like to get it very, very raw and then go in and clean it up and fix it myself.
Fisher: Yeah, I do the same thing. I'll spend a lot of time on one photo if it's really worth it. And you know, there was a story out this past week about posting pictures to Facebook, to Pinterest, to Flickr, and they're saying that when you do clean up and you use the right filters on these photographs, you'll get more likes, you'll get more attention to it, you'll get more shares. People like the photos more.
Tom: You do those little things, cleaning them up, making them look better, people are going to enjoy looking at your pictures. Like you mentioned, they're going to like them better, and it's just the best way to go. So this is a really inexpensive and good investment.
Fisher: All right, once again the address for this place?
Tom: Is EZPhotoscan.com. And it's just the letter E, the letter Z, and then P H O T O S C A N dot com. Make sure you mention [email protected], and they'll give you a little extra something special.
Fisher: All right, good stuff, Tom. Thanks for coming on.
Tom: Good to be here.
Fisher: Well, that's it for this week. Hope you enjoyed the show. Great to have David Allen Lambert joining us on a full time basis from the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors! And special thanks to Shelley Smith and Larry Pond, half siblings who just recently found each other through DNA research. If you didn't catch it, listen to the podcast on iTunes, iHeart Radio, and ExtremeGenes.com. Talk to you again next week. And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice normal family!