Episode 95 - Futuristic Genealogy Technology / Listener's Dogged Journey Ends in Success!

podcast episode Jul 13, 2015

Fisher opens the show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and American Ancestors.  They share unbelievable news from MyHeritage.  Wait until you hear what they've done for you!  Also, big news from Ireland that could change everything in your Catholic research.  David explains why they've done it.  (It's a good thing!)  Plus, David's Tech Tip of the Week, and another free database from NEHGS.
Thomas MacEntee of High Definition Genealogy joins Fisher to talk about some of the astounding technology that's likely to be coming down the road in the next five years or so.  Would you use it?  Would you want to use it?  Thomas will give you some things to think about!  He also teases his fall on-line class on genealogy do-overs.  He'll explain just what that is and why it is important.
Massachusetts listener Catherine Jackson then shares her incredible journey to learn about the life of her mother who died when she was eight.  It took her to multiple continents over multiple decades, involved DNA, a radio show appearance... in Ireland!... and a surprise conclusion.  You won't want to miss this!
Then Tom Perry, the Preservation Authority, talks about what to do with heirlooms that have been laminated and answers the question... would you want to laminate some of current heirlooms?  It's trickier than you think.
That's all this week on Extreme Genes- America's Family History Show!

Transcript of Episode 95

Host: Scott Fisher with guest David Allen Lambert

Segment 1 Episode 95

Fisher: And, welcome back! It is Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. I am Fisher, on the program where we shake your family tree, and watch the nuts fall out. Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend! And I’ve got to tell you, we’ve got a real technology bent that’s that going on today, from announcements to guests. In fact, our first guest coming up in about eight minutes, Thomas MacEntee from Chicago, he is from High Definition Genealogy. He has got his future goggles on, and he’s going to tell you some amazing things about some technology that’s going to be coming down the line in the next 5to10 years. And if it doesn’t sound like the Jetsons to you, well it sure does to me! It’s going to be interesting stuff. Then, later in the show from Raynham, Massachusetts, we’re going to talk to Catherine Jackson. Now, Catherine’s mother was born in Ireland, moved to Massachusetts, married, had Catherine, and then died when Catherine was only eight years old. And she wanted to find out things about her, learned that mom had falsified documents concerning her birth, that mom had traveled the world. So, she went about a decade long search that you are not going to believe. It involved DNA, it involved radio appearances, and posts on websites back when internet first came up, and finally a big pay day! Wait till you hear how all this resolved itself, its great stuff, later in the show. But right now, once again from the New England Historic Genealogical Society, it’s my good friend the Chief Genealogist, David Allen Lambert! Hi David, how are you?

David: Hey Fisher, how are you?

Fisher: Ah! Well, I’ll tell you, I didn’t have the greatest 4th of July weekend, and I know you didn’t either. What happened with you? Tell everybody.

David: Well, after 27 years the old heirloom called a refrigerator decided to give up and go.

Fisher: Ohh! And you had to spend your weekend looking for one of those. And then, I got stung by three hornets, and then got the stomach flu.

David: I think the refrigerator thing was a little easier.

Fisher: [Laughs] Well, maybe I ate something from your refrigerator, I don’t know.

David: I didn’t pack it in ice this time, darn it. I knew something was wrong.

Fisher: Hmm, well maybe we should get a redo for our 4th. You’ve got a lot of news! We’ve got a lot of big news this week!

David: Oh I do.

Fisher: And starting with our friends at MyHeritage, one of the sponsors of the show, and you know we talked to Gilad back in New York, with an incredible interview that you’re going to hear some time in the coming weeks. And, he has made an announcement today in their company that blows my mind! And it should everybody else’s. Listen to this.

David: It’s absolutely amazing. I think when people think about searching their genealogy, they always are like, “Well, I’ll put in my name, if I don’t find a match.” Now, with MyHeritage’s Global Name Translation Technology you can actually put in a name, it will translate it into Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Ukrainian, and then do the corresponding response back, it’s amazing! You don’t have to think!

Fisher: Yeah, you don’t have to speak the language. So, for instance, if it scans maybe a newspaper article in Russian, it will take that, turn it into English for you and translate the Russian name into its English counterpart. 

David: Right. And with their international database they have over six million family tree profiles on there already. This is going to start giving people many matches, so if you’re a MyHeritage customer your inbox should be changing very shortly.

Fisher: It is an unbelievable thing that they’re doing there, and of course they’ve always been known for their technology. So, congratulations to them! This is a game changer.

David: It really is. You know, another exciting thing across the pond over in Dublin, the National Library of Ireland, has released over four hundred thousand images for free of Catholic parish registers. It’s amazing. You’d have to go over to Dublin normally to look over the one thousand different parish records in reign, from the 1740s to the 1880s. But now they’re giving it for free. But there’s a reason behind that.

Fisher: Which is?

David: You think about it. You find out where your ancestors in Ireland come from exactly, tourism will increase. So that’s what their hope is.

Fisher: Ah!

David: More people will find their heritage, go over there, and spend time, maybe go and visit the village where their family came from. So instead of going there and wasting your time in the library, which I don’t think is ever a waste of time. This gives them a great chance to know where it is beforehand.

Fisher: Isn’t that something. It is exciting news and you think about it, how many people in the British Isles have been denied access to records like that over the years, for all different kinds of reasons, and now they’re saying, “ Oh the heck with it. Here it is for the world, come on over and see us!”

David:  You get a lot of technology, and on technology, speaking of things, if you were over there in Ireland or any place else, if you’re able to copy microfilm, over the years you probably made print outs. But now with technology on smart phones, whatever you’re using, Android or iPhones, whatever, you can use your camera, if you’re steady enough. I find using a flat screen microfilm reader; it’s a little different on the slanted ones. But you can get a clear enough copy that you can either, 1) Post to your email, send to a cousin that may be researching that, copyright restrictions of course taking the place. Post it to Facebook or some social media. But it’s a quicker way than printing it out, going home putting it on your flatbed scanner making a copy of it then putting it online. So it’s one stop posting. So that’s great, very excited to hear about Catherine Jackson, NEHGS member, and I always say, the more the merrier to share your story. So, I hope some of the NEHGS listeners out there will take advantage and contact us at Extreme Genes with their stories, and who knows you might hear them online.

Fisher: Exactly. You can email me at Fisher at Extreme Genes dot com.   You can contact us through Facebook or our ExtremeGenes.com website.

David: Exactly. And don’t forget Twitter.

Fisher: Yeah.

David: You can go to the Twitter page too. The free database from NEHGS this week is kind of the next series of research it’s called “The Early New England Family Study Project.” and these are sketches that are going to cover New England families from 1641 to 1700, and we put up a batch of new sketches and those are going to be free releases this week. And don’t forget to go to the Extreme Genes Facebook and Twitter pages, or American Ancestors, or @DLGenealogist on Twitter, to get all of the hyperlinks you need for any of the things that we’ve talked about.

Fisher: Boy, that is great stuff. All right, David Allen Lambert, he is the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and AmericanAncestors.org.  David, always great, we’ll talk to you again next week!

David: And have a happy July 11th.

Fisher: It’s got to be better than last weekend, I’ll tell you! And coming up next, we’re going to be talking to our good friend Thomas MacEntee. He is from Chicago. He is with High Definition Genealogy, and this guy has vision about what’s coming down the pike with technology and genealogy. Wait till you hear what he’s got to say. It’s next on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show. 

Segment 2 Episode 95

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Thomas MacEntee

Fisher: Hey welcome back! You have found us, Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Roots Sleuth, talking to my friend Thomas MacEntee. He is based in Chicago. Thomas welcome back to the show!

Thomas: Well thank you, thank you, it’s great to be here.

Fisher: And you know, I never have a conversation with Thomas when he doesn’t get into some of the new technology that is coming out. And you know about things before anybody else for some reason, and I’m always excited to hear what you foresee coming down the road that’s truly useful that you think we’ll actually wind up using. What’s on the agenda today?

Thomas: Well besides DNA, one of the biggest things I think that’s rather stealth which is going to surprise people when it gets in focus, is wearables. You know what a wearable is? It’s like a fitbit bracelet.

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: It’s a Google glass. We’re going to see that over the next five years really start to influence the way we do genealogy research.

Fisher: Now how comfortable are people going to be with this do you think?

Thomas: That’s the problem. That’s why Google took Google Glass off the market. Because the rule is right now, is if the wearable is noticeable by other people, they sort of are repelled by it.

Fisher: Hmm.

Thomas: So that’s why they’re reworking Google Glass. But I think more and more people are using these fitbit bracelets. I know as a Baby Boomer, I am. I’m concerned about my health and it gives me some great feedback.

Fisher: Right. Now talk about the feedback just with the health aspect of it. Because I think people might not be familiar with that yet.

Thomas: Right. Well the thing is, you know you work with the bracelet. It can calculate things. Like how many steps you take in a day. You can set goals. You tap into an app on your smart device as well or an iPad and it gives you feedback. But you know we’re talking data here and that is partly there’s a privacy concern too. Who owns my data?

Fisher: Wow.

Thomas: This is data in terms of my blood pressure. It could be in terms of – is Fitbit going to sell it to an insurance company? And they’re going to deny me insurance? I mean there are all these privacy aspects we’re starting to see with wearables.

Fisher: Has there been any problem with that so far?

Thomas: Not so far. But you know it’s a big question mark. As more and more people embrace wearables, it’s something that we need to look at is who owns the data and who’s going to be using it? I’m always concerned and every genealogist should be concerned when he signs up by any site. You should read the terms of service and know what companies are doing with your data.

Fisher: Right. Okay, well let’s talk about the application then for use in genealogy. What’s coming down the road with wearables?

Thomas: Well with wearables you could see a bracelet type or even a ring that would give you a notification. Let’s say that bracelet, you could upload your DNA data, you’ve done a DNA test with Ancestry/DNA or 23andMe, you’ve gotten results, you’ve uploaded the data to the app and it’s then your bracelet might vibrate when you’re within 300 feet of a third cousin.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Thomas: Because you both have been using that database. At a conference like Roots Tech, Roots Tech this past year had twenty two thousand people.

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: There’s no way I could find a third cousin. You can’t stand there in the Expo Hall and yell. But this way it sort of says “Oh wow, someone is 100 feet away from me. I wonder who it is.”

Fisher: Now that would have to be with somebody else also wearing the bracelet, right?

Thomas: Exactly. And it also has to be permission based. If I don’t want to participate in that type of notification, maybe I just want to get an email that says “Hey, I was at Roots Tech and I think we are third cousins.” You know, it’s all about options and tailoring it towards the user.

Fisher: And wouldn’t you think though there’s a certain limitation that would take place by the fact that it’s new technology for some time.

Thomas: Right.

Fisher: A lot of people who do family research are older and not comfortable with it. Many then wouldn’t want to participate so you really have a very limited view to how that might work in terms of running into somebody. But it sounds like at least there’s a possibility. It would be really interesting from that point of view.

Thomas: I think we’ll see more embrace it with Google Glass. Believe it or not, Google Glass, you wear this over your eyes. It has an audio feature where you talk to it. You say “Okay Google.” It works on wireless. And you could stand in front of a tombstone and say “Okay Google, pull up the family history record on FindAGrave for this person.” And it would actually look at the tombstone, decipher, read the text and pull up any existing record.

Fisher: [Laughs] Wow! And then you could probably add to the record, right?

Thomas: That’s it also. What if the record didn’t exist on BillionGraves or FindAGrave?  You could actually just stand there, and almost like you are a scanner, you would look at the tombstone and it would add the record. It would take the GPS data because it knows where you are physically located right then and there and build a record.

Fisher: Right. Isn’t that something? And post it online for the world to see.

Thomas: Exactly. We’re also going to see translation. We’re going to see translation of documents. If I’m working in Germany in an archive on a German document, I can look at it through Google Glass and it would actually super impose English text over the German text. That already exists on Google Glass.

Fisher: Is it adequate enough? I mean there are so many problems with translations of foreign languages.

Thomas: Its Google Translate. And we all know if you speak a foreign language, it’s not the King’s English or the Queen’s English that comes out as a result. But you know sometimes when I do research all I need are those key words to break through that brick wall.

Fisher: Exactly. Yeah that’s true. I deal with that a lot with the German records online and the German does not translate well at all.

Thomas: Right.

Fisher: French does better, but it just seems to depend on the language. But I would imagine over time all of that is going to improve as well. When you see some of the technology like with MyHeritage, and what they do in merging records and bringing it together. That kind of thing with language translation has got to come. And pretty soon you would think.

Thomas: Yes. Pretty soon also we’ll see handwriting, being able to scan handwriting and do that type of work. Even with Google Glass, to look at a written diary and have it translated into typed text and sent to your cell via email. And these are tools that are going to be really important because there’s a lot of big data coming down the pipe. More and more records are coming online and we need ways to consume them quickly and efficiently.

Fisher: We’ve certainly heard a lot more about the handwriting software that may be coming down the road the last couple of years. Have you heard anything further on that? And progress and who’s doing it?

Thomas: Movcavo was pursuing it but of course they were bought out by FindMyPast. But it was interesting. There was a German group that was one of the finalists in the Roots Tech Innovator Summit this past year. And they already have seen very close technology. It’s not perfect, but they seem to be one of the leaders in that area.

Fisher: You know it would be very interesting when they get to things like the double S’s that look like Ps. And things like that get sorted out. In fact I was talking to our friend Fred Moss the other day and he was saying when he looks for his family he has to look under indexing for not only Moss, but Mop!

Thomas: Exactly, right. But you know the technology is getting better. I know, I use Dragon Naturally Speaking Dictation, because as I get older my arthritis on my fingers, I just can’t type as quickly as I used to so I prefer to dictate some of my books on the initial draft. And now, a lot of these applications have learning mode. Where when I’m done dictating for half an hour it will go back and it will learn how I pronounce certain words. So, there are smart applications and so we’re seeing that more and more.  

Fisher: Isn’t that going to be interesting when you combine that with the millions of records, the billions of pages that are going to be coming out over the next five to ten years, how this is all going to come together?

Thomas: Exactly. As I think Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy Family Tree says, “It’s the best time to be in genealogy right now.”

Fisher: Right now. That’s it. You know I was thinking to myself I’ve done this for over thirty years, and yet if I had started just seven or eight years ago I’d probably have everything I already have.

Thomas: Exactly.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Thomas: Sometimes you know, I don’t want to seem like the grouchy old man that says “You kids get off of my lawn,” but when I talk to newer genealogists that have only been in this here for five years, they don’t know anything about Soundex, or how we used to look up records. And I think that they are very lucky

Fisher: Yeah they’re very fortunate that way. I wouldn’t trade in the experiences from the past, but you certainly can’t go and say “Well, we had it better back then when we had to work so hard.” [Laughs]

Thomas: Yeah. I had to walk five miles and go up and down two hills to go get a census sheet, you know?!

Fisher: [Laughs] We did actually in some cases. It’s just the way it was. We’re talking to Thomas MacEntee, and Thomas, you’ve got an event, a course coming up here this fall that I’m very intrigued by. Tell the people about this.

Thomas: Yeah, I’ve been running every quarter, every thirteen weeks, I’ve been running something called the Genealogy Do Over. And it’s for people like you and me that have been doing genealogy for ten, twenty, thirty years but we weren’t using things like citing sources, we weren’t following certain standards, we maybe were name collectors because that’s what everyone did. 

Fisher: Right.

Thomas: So in a way this is a reset button. It’s a reset button for your genealogy research. It’s kind of radical. Basically, you start off by setting everything you’ve done for all those years, aside. And I don’t mean you get rid of it. I mean you put it aside, and you start with yourself. Now isn’t that what we say as educators?

Fisher: Yeah.

Thomas: A newcomer says “How do I start in genealogy?” While we say “Sit down and start with what you know. Start with yourself.” So it’s a thirteen week program that starts with your own information and then goes from there.

Fisher: And you know this would be a fabulous thing if somebody was thinking of joining an organization like SAR, DAR, Mayflower Society, because every generation has to be proven to a certain standard. And that sounds like a great way to go. How can people find out more about that Thomas?

Thomas: It actually has its own URL. It’s called Genealogy DoOver, www.GenealogyDoOover.com or they can go to geneabloggers.com and they can find more information.

Fisher: And you know it’s such a great idea because there are so many loose ends that people who started years ago – I’m still cleaning up mine from back in the 80s you know- because when you start you don’t think about that stuff. Somebody else said it so it must be right, and you repeat it and then you go back later and you find out “Oh, there’s a problem here.”

Thomas: Yeah.

Fisher: Thomas, thank you so much for coming on. Great talking to you and I appreciate your vision. And let’s talk again about the course in September.

Thomas: Great. Thank you.

Fisher: All right. Thomas MacEntee. And coming up next, we’ll talk to a woman whose mother came from Ireland and passed when our listener was only eight years old. What a journey to discover her mother’s past and listen to the surprises all along the way. It’s all coming up next in five minutes on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show.           

Segment 3 Episode 95

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Catherine Jackson

Fisher: And welcome back to Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show. It is Fisher here, the Radio Roots Sleuth. And always excited to hear from listeners that have a story, especially those who have gone to incredible lengths to find what they were looking for. And this person certainly fits that bill. Her name is Catherine Jackson. She's in Raynham, Massachusetts. Hi Catherine, how are you? Welcome to the show.

Catherine: I'm well. How are you? Thank you so much.

Fisher: Awesome! Well, tell us about this now. You've got quite a tale back there. You have a very mysterious mother. Tell us about her.

Catherine: I do. Well, unfortunately, my mother had passed away when I was eight years old and there wasn’t too much that was left behind with regards to her family history. As she was from Ireland and she had done some traveling in between. She had finally landed in Boston, Massachusetts, married, had me, and passed away when I was eight years old. I know basically everyone had passed away in her family except for an uncle who I had tried to reach out to several times, but was unable to get in touch with him through writing letters, through elementary and high school and all that, so I just kind of let it go. And all of a sudden, the internet became a thing and I had found a website in which people were searching for people from this specific area that my mother was from. And I had made a post and someone had said, "Oh! Yeah, we know your uncle! Unfortunately he passed away a couple of years ago." And I kept in contact with that woman a little bit.

Fisher: Isn't that great when volunteers come along like that and say, "Hey, I'm here to help no matter what?"

Catherine: Absolutely! And it was amazing, because this was back in 2002 in which I had made that connection. And she was great, because her mother and my grandmother were best friends.

Fisher: Ah!

Catherine: So now I was able to get some family history. So she kept in contact a little bit here or there through the years. And in 2010, my husband had surprised me with a trip to go to Ireland with my children. And our first stop was to visit the neighborhood that my mother had grown up in and had last lived in before she had moved. And that's when all these curious things started happening.

Fisher: [Laughs] We hear that all the time.

Catherine: [Laughs] Yeah. One little spark I think really can make a huge difference, one little saying. So, this woman had actually left the neighborhood and moved to New Zealand. And she had come back to visit the family at the same time that I did. So I hadn't been back in like thirty-five, thirty-six years and she hadn't been back in twelve. And this is when she was impelled to contact me and said, "Give me your phone number." And she called me and basically we went through a whole bunch of stuff and she said, "I just want to let you know that your mother had another daughter."

Fisher: [Laughs]

Catherine: She was in England. And you know, I was sitting down and I'm like, "What!?" you know?

Fisher: It's a good thing you were, Catherine!

Catherine: I know. And you know, this is a magical, electric shock. And I was just like, "I need to find her! I need to find her!" She said someone in the family had her contact information, because she had left it, trying to search for my mother ten years prior, but she was very discreet about it, not wanting to hurt anyone or whatever, because now we're dealing with families being established and all.

Fisher: Right. And that's the tricky part of all of these things.

Catherine: Absolutely. You don't want to hurt anybody, but you want to know two things, "Who am I?" and "Are there any medical concerns?"

Fisher: Right.

Catherine: Those are the two issues that really make who you are. And you just want to be able to find out. And hopefully you'll be able to connect, so again, through more curious circumstances. And England is great, because they have everything right there. The records are available and they just have to have a mediator. So, when my mother passed away, she had three or four pieces of paper that she had tucked away in her closet. And one day, when I was a teenager cleaning it out, I found them. And it was actually falsified birth certificates.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Catherine: And a visa application. And on that visa application, that's what I ran to get after this phone call with the woman and it said where she lived in England after she left Ireland, when she was twenty-three years old.

Fisher: Okay.

Catherine: Which would be when she had my sister, around that time. So I went on to FindMyPast and there I found the birth record for my sister, but it didn't give the adopter's information. It just gives that there's a birth of a child to my mother, but I can't access that record.

Fisher: Right.

Catherine: So I ended up Googling all the adoption agencies in the area.

Fisher: Wow!

Catherine:  And in England, in the area, and in Ireland. And three days later, I got an email back, "Dear Catherine, you'll be pleased to know we're positively identified your sister's adoption paperwork." And here I am at forty years old, finding out I have a sister for the first time.

Fisher: Oh! Where did it go from there?

Catherine: So luckily, the woman who had told me that I had a sister in New Zealand, was able to get in touch with her brother. And her brother the whole time had used the piece of paper that my sister had left with her identification information as a bookmark in his travel journal.

Fisher: [Laughs]

Catherine: And he pulled it out like he had it yesterday.

Fisher: Wow!

Catherine: So I spoke to my sister for the first time on October 10th of 2010, 10/10/10.

Fisher: Did she know about you?

Catherine: She, as it turned out, did know about me, because she hired a genealogist in Ireland to try and trace her family. And she did locate my mother and did find out that she had lived in Boston. And my sister actually had the one thing that I never had, which was my mother's death certificate.

Fisher: Ah!

Catherine: So, she was always about six months behind in trying to be able to reach me by sending letters. Again, being very polite and nice in the letter, just trying to find information without leading to the fact that there was an adoption.

Fisher: Right.

Catherine: At some place.

Fisher: That had to please you though, to know that you've got a sensitive sister there.

Catherine: You know what? For me, not knowing a mother or having a family per say on my mother's side, not having the mother there, to actually find out that you have this sister who, when her adoptive parents had both passed away, that's when she initiated her search. So she was frustrated that things weren't going anywhere, because she was hitting dead ends and not getting the responses that she wanted. So all of a sudden, to one day pick up the answering machine and find out that here's this woman leaving this crazy, very pertinent voicemail. [Laughs]

Fisher: Yes.

Catherine: With regards to everything. And you know, to answer all her questions, the best that I could. And she had a slew of them, which was great. So, to be able to answer all that and from there, we went onto the journey, because as I told you, my mother's birth certificate was also falsified, because she was adopted.

Fisher: Were you ever able to find where she was from?

Catherine: I was able through housing records, kind of being a little bit persistent, especially if you don't live in Ireland. A lot of people are very interested in Ireland and helping people out. And Ireland, especially Dublin where my mother was from, everyone knows somebody and then they know somebody who knows somebody.

Fisher: Wow!

Catherine: So, so many people reached out when I started posting on different websites for information. So from there actually one woman directed me to go onto Joe Duffy on RTE. And luckily after I'd given my family scenario, the information and the family name, one of my mother's adoptive family, it would have been her cousin, was listening.

Fisher: Wow! So you were on the radio there?

Catherine: Yeah. Yeah, and I was quite nervous. [Laughs]

Fisher: [Laughs] Well you're not today, right?

Catherine: Not today. I've become a veteran now!

Fisher: [Laughs]

Catherine: And she was listening and she called in and said, "I know her. That's my cousin." They gave me her phone number and I called her. And because I had already, was able to find birth records and marriage records, I was able to validate the information that she was telling me, knowing that, "Yes, this was the family." And she had the first photograph and only photograph that I have of my mother at age eight. So that was just amazing to be able to see the family photo. And the Irish Archives, touching base with them. And going there, I was able to get the information of my mother. She contracted TB from living in the tenement houses. So they gave me the admission date, the discharge date, so we were able to kind of do the chronology of her life, to find out when it was in fact that she had left Ireland to go to England, doubled with the visa application and her steps that she took through everything. So it was actually, she left England to go to Australia. And from there, I had written to Australia to get her immigration paperwork. And it was twenty six pages of everything about her.

Fisher: Wow!

Catherine: And in there, that's when I was able to find out when my mother found out when she was adopted.

Fisher: Catherine, you are a great example of why you never give up. And you have to keep pushing it and look under every rock. And you know what, there is a rock out there somewhere to look under that has exactly what you're looking for when all those weird things start happening, right?

Catherine: Absolutely. I think it's just being persistent and not taking "no" for an answer, because there's a "yes" somewhere. It's just finding out where it is.

Fisher: You're having a great relationship with you sister?

Catherine: We talk every day, we text everyday face time. It's been very fulfilling and it's filled a big void in both of our lives.

Fisher: Congratulations! That's so exciting. Thanks for coming on Extreme Genes.

Catherine: I appreciate it. Thank you so much!

Segment 4 Episode 95

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: It is Preservation Time at Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show and ExtremeGenes.com. It is Fisher here, your Radio Root Sleuth with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. He is our Preservation Authority. Hi, Tom, good to have you back.

Tom: Good to be here!

Fisher: Our email today comes from Brant Gibson in Edgewood, Washington. He said, "Tom, I have some old postcards and photographs from the early 1900s that were laminated some time ago. Is it okay to leave them in the lamination, or is it even possible to get them out?" Great question, Brant. What's the answer, Tom?

Tom: You know that is a really good question. That's something that's really, really important because back in the day you laminated everything.

Fisher: That's right. [Laughs]

Tom: Your kids' hand drawings. Your finger prints, all kinds of stuff. You laminated everything that came down the road.

Fisher: Even long before that they used to cover autographed baseballs with some kind of protection.

Tom: Wow. I didn't even know that. You know, the thing is about lamination, there's good news and there's bad news. To deal with this stuff that this gentleman has, if everything still looks good, is away from the sun, I would just leave it. I wouldn't mess with it. There are two basic kinds of lamination. There's hot lamination and there's cold lamination. Now hot lamination, what it does is when they're laminating something, they're on these big cylinders, they get very, very hot. And the plastic, if it's at the right temperature, it actually melts together and melts to whatever's inside.

Fisher: So it bonds with it?

Tom: Exactly. It's permanently bonded if the temperature’s right. You know, some people that don't do a lot of laminating, they just flip on the machine. They don't wait until it gets up to temperature and runs things through. It will just bond temporarily. Like I've got some old newspaper clippings of my dad that you can basically peel the laminating off. It sat so long, it's finally released the paper inside of it and you can take it right off. Now one thing too with the different kinds of laminations is you want to get stuff that has a UV coating in it nowadays. In the old days they didn't really know a lot about UV coating. They would hang pictures in their living room and wonder why this one has turned pink or purple or orange or something like that, because the dyes go away. And then the ones in the kitchen, “Why do these still look fine, they’re the same photo. They were done at the same time.” There are so many things that go into this. So what you want to do with your old ones, like I mentioned, if everything still looks good just leave it that way. Keep them away from the sun or any UV lights. You know, sometimes even in your house if you have a fish aquarium that has also purple lights, those really penetrate the water. That's a reason for that to get rid of algae growing deep in your fish tank. So if you have a photo that's framed or in lamination that's seating by that fish tank and it's getting those UV rays, those are even more intense than the UV rays that are coming in through your front window, and they will ruin stuff. So make sure if you have a fish aquarium like that, that nobody really even think about, don't keep your photographs or newspaper clippings or anything near those, because it can actually ruin those and age them faster than the sun would.

Fisher: I would've never thought of that. And you know I had a fish tank near my collection of signed photographs that had been fading somewhat for some time. Gotta go! [Laughs]

Tom: Yeah, it's got to go. It's your fisher's problem. We call them our fish wrangler that takes care of our salt water tank, and he's taught me a lot of stuff about this, and so I put 2 and 2 together and come up with 4 and thought "Ah! That's why these things are fading!” There's no sunlight on them. It's a kind of a purplish light in the fish tank that really keeps the fish living and the aquarium clean. So you've got to be careful with stuff like that. Like you say, that's something you never think about. So back to the laminating itself, now the hot laminating is one kind. The cold laminating is a kind where it's basically just glued together and sticks to it. And in the next segment we'll go into a little bit more detail on cold lamination and other kind of ways to protect photographs.

Fisher: All right, when we return three minutes on Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show.

Segment 5 Episode 95

Host: Scott Fisher with guest Tom Perry

Fisher: All right. We are back, final segment. Extreme Genes, America's Family History Show, and its Fisher here, with Tom Perry from TMCPlace.com. Talking preservation as always and we're answering Brant Gibson's question from Edgewood, Washington about lamination. He's got some old postcards and photographs from the early 1900s and he doesn't know quite what to do with them. We've covered some of that in the first segment. And Tom, you're talking about now cold lamination. We mentioned the hot. How does the cold work?

Tom: Okay, well, cold is basically just "loose adhesive" is what I call it, because it doesn't have to have some chemical or heat reaction to make it sticky, it's sticky originally when you just pop it in. Now one thing you've got to be careful with cold lamination, basically, you have one shot. If you lay it down and you get bubbles in it or skrinkled or something, it ain't coming off.

Fisher: Ooh.

Tom: So it's kind of a nasty. The one nice thing about hot lamination is it usually goes through these big rollers and you kind of feed through so the machine takes care of it. With the cold lamination, it's like putting a bumper sticker on a car. You kind of lift it up, you stick it in, start folding it down and running a credit card or something across it, and just hope that you have everything lined up so it's not hanging half way out or it's getting wrinkles in it, which can really be a pain.

Fisher: What's the advantage of cold?

Tom: It's a lot cheaper to do. A hot lamination machine is very expensive. A good one you're looking at $1,000.

Fisher: Wow.

Tom: Where cold lamination you go down to Office Depot or Office Max and just, you know, get cold lamination, stick your stuff in and reel it down. Now you want to be careful, you always want to check on the grade of the lamination, if it has UV protection built into it and things like this. If you're going to go the inexpensive way and you want to do the cold lamination, what I would suggest is when you buy the sheets that's usually hinged at the top, I don't like those kind because it's easier to mess up. So I like to get the ones that are separate sheets or cut the end of them off, and then when you open it up, then take your document or whatever you want to do to do the cold lamination, don't start at the top or the bottom, kind of just make a little light pencil mark where halfway through your sheet is, and then halfway through the lamination is, then start at the middle, the very middle, then just get like a pencil and set it down there and then rub the pencil eraser softly across where you're going, that will seal it right there in the middle. And then you work from the middle to the bottom and the middle to the top.

Fisher: Right. So it's shorter.

Tom: Right. So you're working with half a size.

Fisher: Less chance of bubbles.

Tom: Exactly, a lot less chance of bubbles and less chance of getting it catawampus. In fact, we actually call it “hinging” in the business. Like we do vinyl signs for people also, for family unions and such and whenever you put a sticker on a window or on a door or anything, we start at the middle and work up and down, because instead of working with a 10 foot thing, it cuts it down into half.

Fisher: So is there acid in these laminates?

Tom: There can be. Most of them don't have acids in them. Just always look for the seal that says it's archival. And hopefully people nowadays are being a little bit more honest with that. It's kind of a self-regulated thing. But with big companies when you're doing things like that, so you make sure you get the right one like USI has been supplying laminating equipment and supplies for years. They've been around and they've got a good reputation. So just read it and see what it is. And it's the same thing: More is not better. Don't necessary get something "Oh, wow!" You know, this is 3ml thick or this one is only 1 and a half ml thick, it must be better, not necessarily. When you're working with the thicker stuff like 3ml, 5ml, you're basically working with almost like a piece of cardboard.

Fisher: Hmm!

Tom: If it does get direct light it can be like a magnifying glass.

Fisher: Right.

Tom: And it will actually ruin what you have inside of it. So kind of think how I want to preserve this. Why I want to preserve this. Is this an original, is this a copy? And going back to that as we've talked on many segments, always make a copy and use that to frame or laminate or whatever, and always keep the original in just a sleeve that you can put it in an out of, that you know for absolutely fact that it is archival quality.

Fisher: And kept out of the light and in a draw and in the dark somewhere.

Tom: Exactly. Away from heating ducts, away from AC ducts, all that kind of stuff. Keep your ducts away from your good documents.

Fisher: All right. Keep your ducts in a row!

Tom: Exactly!

Fisher: Thanks so much, Tom. Good to see you. That wraps things up for this week. Thanks once again to Thomas MacEntee from High Definition Genealogy in Chicago, and his amazing foresight about what's coming down the road with genealogy technology. And to Catherine Jackson of Raynham, Massachusetts, and her incredible story of her research on her mother and Ireland and finding a half-sister in England. If you missed it, catch the podcast, ExtremeGenes.com. Take care! And remember, as far as everyone knows, we're a nice normal family!

Subscribe now to find out why hundreds of thousands of family researchers listen to Extreme Genes every week!

Email me new episodes