Monday, March 23, 2009

The Schmitz / Schmidt Puzzle

I don't know a whole lot about my great-great grandmother, Marie Magdalena Schmitz (1865-1947) except that she died on my birthday. Based on records, she was either born in France, London, Germany, Belgium or none of the above. She had three husbands and two daughters. Her eldest child, Gertrude, is my great-grandmother.

Gertrude's death certificate says she was born in Chicago in 1892. Her parents were H. H. Barecke and Marie Schmitz. If this record is accurate, then Marie is in Chicago in 1892.

Fast forward to 1900, the census has Marie now married to R. Hayward and living in Las Vegas, San Miguel, New Mexico. What happened to her first husband in Chicago and why did she come to New Mexico? I have yet to find the answers to those questions.

In the 1910 census, Marie is still living in Las Vegas, this time as a widow with two children. I know from a local newspaper obit that her second husband, Robert Hayward, died in 1905.

Local cemetery headstone transcriptions published online list Robert Hayward as being buried in the Masonic cemetery in town. Based on the web site, he is buried in Section N, row 4.

But guess who else is buried in Section N, row 4, right next to Robert Hayward? Asmus Christian Schmidt and Louise E. Schmidt. Could they be related to my great-great grandmother Marie Schmitz? Or is the Schmitz/Schmidt name just a coincidence?

If Marie was a young widow with a child in pre-1900 Chicago, and she had family in New Mexico, it would make sense that she would travel there to be with them. It’s the only reason I can think of for her relocation there.

I’ll be in New Mexico for a conference later this week. I’m going to try to go to the San Miguel County Courthouse and see if I can find a will for Asmus Schmidt or Louise Schmidt. Maybe there’s a connection. Then again, maybe not. I’ve learned not to get too excited. This tree is full of curveballs.

[Note to my family readers: Marie Schmitz is also Mollie Sutherland. She is Violet’s mom. She is Buster’s grandmother. Buster’s mom and Violet had the same mom but different dads. Marie/Mollie is the one buried in Inglewood.]

1 comment:

  1. This is the kind of mystery I like - please keep us up to date on what you find out about this. Inquiring minds want to know!