This is a contributing article originally  found HERE on 

St patricks day


Fisher opens this week’s show with David Allen Lambert, Chief Genealogist of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and, talking about the genealogy of the fictional Crawley family of “Downton” Abbey fame.  It’s received a lot of attention on the Extreme Genes Facebook page.  David then talks about another incredible discovery, by a tourist no less, of a coin dating back to the early second century AD.  Who found it and where is it now?  David explains.  David then gives the history of St. Patrick’s Day.  (Bet you didn’t know St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish!)  Hear David’s quick summary on the man for whom the holiday is named.  David’s Tech Tip is an ancestral “longevity chart.”  What is it and how does it work?  Listen to the podcast to find out. David also shares this week’s guest user free database from

Next up is guest Judy Lucey, also of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.   Judy and an NEHGS colleague are currently working on a handbook for Irish research.  The good news is (as we learned from Ireland Senator Jillian Van Turnhout last week) Irish records are hitting the internet in record numbers right now.  So while Irish research in the past has been very difficult, things are dramatically improving.  Judy will have some specifics and stories from the “Old Country” in this segment of the show.

The good news keeps coming in the next segment, with Thom Reed of  Thom is immersed in the Freedman Bureau Project which began last June.  These records give the first extensive account of the freed slaves in the years immediately following emancipation.  (And because the destruction of the South was so overwhelming, many poor whites sought services from the government and are included as well.)  Thom explains how these records are breaking down the walls in African-American research and fills us in on the present status of the indexing project.  Where can you find these records and how can you help the project?  Thom has the answers.

Then, Tom Perry from talks preservation.  This week, Tom does some myth busting.  For instance “disks are going away.” Not so, says Tom!  Hear his explanation.  He’ll also explain how salvageable many disks really are.  (You won’t believe the damage he’s seen!)  He then takes aim at the myth that thumb drives are a great permanent storage solution.  Tom tells you why, when it comes to thumb drives, you should be afraid… VERY afraid!

That’s all this week on Extreme Genes, America’s Family History Show!




Transcript for Episode 131

Segment 1 Episode 131 (00:30)

Fisher: Welcome back to another spine-tingling episode of “Extreme Genes,” America’s Family History Show and!

I am Fisher, your Radio Roots Sleuth on the program where we shake your family tree and watch the nuts fall out. And I’m very excited once again of course this week with our guests because we’ve got Judy Lucey on the show, from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She’s going to be talking about how to research your Irish ancestors, and there has been huge changes going on with that. You know, in the past it’s been very difficult because of burned census records and the like.

Judy’s going to bring us up to speed on what’s happening with Irish research. As we celebrate, shall we just say, the weekend following St. Patrick’s Day.  And then later in the show we’re going to talk to Thom Reed, from He’s been involved heavily with the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, and what this is is an indexing of the records of four million slaves and poor whites from the South, who between 1865 and 1872 needed a little help, and the project is making great progress.

We’re going to catch up with him on that, and find out what you might be able to do to help bring this thing to completion. It’s going to be great for African-American researchers in particular. We will catch up with Tom at half past the hour, but right now let’s go to Boston and talk to my good friend, the Chief Genealogist for the New England Historical Society in, David Allen Lambert.  Hello sir!

David: Hello! Greetings from “Beantown” in post St. Patrick’s Day celebrated Boston.

Fisher: Yes! I bet you that was quite the party there. I’m kind of going through this withdrawal right now David, from “Downton Abbey,” my wife and I have watched this of course for six seasons. We didn’t catch up with it actually until about the third season and then followed it faithfully all the way through to the end. And the other day, I found online, trying to figure out exactly how all the family members of the Crawley Family tied together…

David: … exactly…

Fisher: … there’s a Crawley Family Genealogy online.

David: Oh my goodness!

Fisher: Yeah it goes back; remember at the end the third cousin once removed? We had of course Matthew and all these different branches of the family and of course the children, now the grandchildren, and the new husbands in all this.

So, I posted it on our Facebook page with Extreme Genes.  It has been reposted countless times, viewed thousands of times now, it has gone absolutely nuts because everybody loves Downton Abbey.

David: Well, I love Downton Abbey now too, but I must say I’ve only been a fan since Christmas time where I sat down, we watched season 1, binged watched in about two months the entire series and watched the very last episode the night before it actually aired on TV. So, I’m caught up with the clan completely

Fisher: What a great show it was, and I’m looking forward to what Julian Fellowes comes up with next because he’s got a deal with NBC for a show called “The Gilded Age” which is going to talk about New York City in the 1880s and it’s going to be on network television.

David: Oh that’s going to be wonderful.

Fisher: Coming out next year.

David: Well there’s gold found everywhere, if it’s not on TV it’s out in the Eastern part of Galilee. I don’t know if you saw the story about the two thousand year old Roman coin?

Fisher: Yes!

David: That’s amazing! Laurie Raymond, while out hiking, looked down and found this coin that dates to around 107 AD of the former Emperor Traygen, which was an image that was in honour of him by the then-current Emperor Augustus. I mean, I was a metal detector kid, I still use it occasionally. I’ve never found anything a thousand years old just lying on the surface.

Fisher: No.

David: But a very lucky lady.

Fisher: Incredible.

David: Yes, so something washed out of a wall or something.

Fisher: And it’s in great shape.

David: Amazing, and apparently it’s so very rare and I understand it is now in the possession of the Department of Antiquities in Israel. So it will be shared by all the people out there and that’s the great thing about archaeology, is that you just never know what the amateurs might find.

Fisher: Exactly.

David: Like the Anglo Saxon Viking hordes that we’ve talking about. Well, going back a little further west from Galilee, northwest actually we go, for a recap on St. Patrick’s Day history.

Do you realize St Patrick’s Day as a holiday didn’t start until 1631 and that was centuries after, in fact twelve centuries after the death of St. Patrick himself. It started as a church feast. But did you realize that St. Patrick really wasn’t from Ireland?

Fisher: No. I did not know that! Where was he from?

David: Yes! He was Roman. We should really be calling it St. Maywyn’s Day or Maewyn’s Day. His real name was not Patrick, it was Maewyn Succat they believe, and he changed it to Patricius which is a Latin term for “Father figure,” and of course because he was a priest and is well known for converting the Druids to Christianity. And the American side of this holiday, well it didn’t come over with the Pilgrims.

The first celebration in America that they can see occurred in your great old state of New York in 1762, and the idea of wearing green doesn’t go back to the Leprechauns. It actually dates from about 1798 during the Irish rebellion.

Fisher: Wow!

David: Gave me a little bit of a wakeup call of what I knew of my own Irish heritage.

Fisher: Well, Happy Maewyn’s Day

David: Exactly! Well, you know I’ll tell you we’re talking about things trending on DL Genealogist on Twitter and I’ve got a lot of followers and I follow a lot of people follow back. But this tech-tip that I came up with on the back of a Post It note actually was to create a “longevity chart.”  Well it’s trending and being re-tweeted all over the place.

It’s a simple idea as I told you. I just took a regular Genealogy chart or a Pedigree chart as some people would call it, and instead of putting in the names, I put in the age at death of my parents, grandparents, great grandparents and great, great grandparents and you look at it and realize how different of a focus we’re looking at genealogy and if somebody died like, they were shot, or killed in a war, or suicide, circle that number because that’s not a basis. But I look at it and I say “Oh my God! The average mean age that I could live to doesn’t look like I’m going to push 90.”

Fisher: [Laughs] Yeah right.

David: It’s a fun little tech-tip, it’s free, something to do and of course on, as a guest user you can get our free databases and the ones we’re highlighting this week include, Brooksville, Maine, and Farmington Maine, which are records from the 18th and 19th century of their births, marriages, and deaths.

That’s all I have for this week from Beantown. I’ll look forward to talking to you next week!

Fisher: Alright David, great stuff as always and have a Happy St. Maewyn’s Day!

David: The same to you Sir.

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