October 19 – Today in my family tree

We are leaving Diedrichshagen for a while, but we stay on the paternal side of my family tree, coming to the SCHMIDT clan. Schmidt is the second most common last name in Germany and I use to say “Schmidt is not a name, it is an collective term”. And both my paternal grandfather and grandmather had this nice last name. That makes family research an adventure, I can tell you.

But coming back to this very day in my family tree.

October 19, 1883 Johann Karl Wilhelm SCHMIDT, my first cousin three times removed was born in Harmsdorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany as the second son of Johann Joachim Heinrich Friedrich SCHMIDT  (called Fritz) and Elise, who’s last name I couldn’t find out yet.

This part of the family comes from the area between Lübeck and Ratzeburg (if you would like to look it up). Almost all of them worked at Tüschenbek manor as day labourers (sometimes for 30 years, funny that they would still be called day labourers, just because they were paid by day) at one time in their life.

The same holds true for Wilhelm, how he was called.

When Tüschenbek manor was given up as a stud and sold, all paperwork has been handed over to the local archive in Ratzeburg: lists of labourers, wedding banns, correspondence on all topics, lists of pensions paid to the elderly, young men sent to the military, disputes where the earl had to interfere, of children living on the manor being sent to school and lots more. It was like finding a treasure when I held the papers in my hand for the first time.

And even the registration of everyone living on the manor being immunized against the pox. Wilhelm got his with 8 cuts April 17, 1884 from the local doctor. Those 8 cuts turned into 8 pustules, I guess that was a good sign ;)

The archived documents even contained own cencuses of the manor which were sent to the local authorities. I haven’t gone through all of them yet, but I could find him in the one from 1896 with his parents and 2 siblings.

That is the last sign I have of him so far, but I know there is lots more out there. I just have to find the time to travel back home and lock myself in the local archive.

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