In my previous Genealogy is Unfair post, I whined about the challenges in my own family tree, as opposed to those of my husband or clients. Others seem to have it easy.
This started a fun dialogue in my comments section. Wendy decided we should start a club. The Shy Genealogist took it even further and jokingly proposed a "Trade an Ancestor" event. This got me thinking...
Tell us which one and why.
This is my great-great grandmother: Marie Magdalena "Mollie" Schmidt/Schmitz Baerecke Hayward Sutherland. Yeah. Now you see part of the problem.
She landed on this earth as an adult with no parents. I have no idea where to go with her.
First of all Schmidt/Schmitz is just Smith with a fancy accent. There's another problem. Also the documents I possess list four different places of birth: Belgium, London, France and Alsace-Lorraine.
When she was first widowed in the 1890's, Mollie moved from Chicago to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Why? She had to have known someone there. You don't just up and move to the middle of nowhere with your young daughter.
I did visit Las Vegas, New Mexico a few years back. It's still the middle of nowhere. I visited a cemetery where I found several Schmitt/Schmidt graves including one for Asmus Christian Schmidt. He is buried next to Mollie's second husband. I do not think this is a coincidence.
Is he the reason Mollie went to New Mexico? Is this her father or uncle?
Obviously the next step would be to research this guy and the other Schmidts in this tiny town. However I can't do that because New Mexico is one of those difficult states when it comes to records access.
When I visited the San Miguel County courthouse, it was gutted for remodeling. I found the temporary courthouse records department in a strip mall and they told me all the records were back at the gutted courthouse. Huh? It was gutted. The building didn't even have windows.
All New Mexico/San Miguel County films I've tried to order from the Family History Library are labeled "restricted" and I'm denied access to them. I have no idea why 100+ year-old records are so controversial.
So I'm stuck. I can't figure out the possible link between Mollie and Asmus. I haven't had any luck researching the name Schmidt in immigration records. Therefore, I've tabled the little Mollie project here in pursuit of greener research pastures. Hers is the ancestor file I'd like to trade for a couple weeks. Let someone else figure her out.
What about you? Whose file would you like to ship elsewhere in the hypothetical ancestor trade-off?
(Special thanks to The Shy Genealogist and my other great readers for once again turning the comments into great subjects for discussion. --A)