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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Seeking Schmitts

A weekly trip to the local Family History Center has become part of my routine. Old-fashioned as the microfilm may be, it is nice to play in the sandbox with other researchers during my visits.

The French records with which I'm working are wonderfully organized. Each volume starts with a cover page that shows the when (in this case 1840) and the where (Hellimer, Moselle, France) of the records to follow. After locating the year I want, I scroll ahead to the index.

Every year the Maire (mayor) alphabetically listed all the births, marriages, and deaths for the year ended. Then the books were copied by hand and the copies were forwarded to a governmental agency at the county level.
The indices tell me whether or not I need to look more closely at the individual records. The 1840 index for the town of Hellimer looks like this:

The title on the right page of the left image is Naissance or births. Births continue on the left page of the right image, followed by Marriages. The index on the far right are Décès or deaths.

I'm looking for members of my Schmitt family, specifically my 2nd and 3rd great grandparents' siblings. There is only one Schmitt on the list of births; #39 Pierre Victor, who appears near the top left of the image on the right.

There's also a Schmitt marriage (2nd from the last) and two deaths; Pierre Victor (which explains the X next to his name on the birth index) and Caroline. I write down the numbers near the names and the dates of the events, then scroll back to check the records, starting with Pierre Victor:

His birth and death entries are on the left page. I search for names in each record and see my 3rd great grandparents, Nicolas Schmitt and Marie Anne Gury. That makes Pierre Victor my second great-grandmother's brother. Next I check Caroline's death record. Her father's name is Jean Michael. Not a Schmitt I know at this time. The last Schmitt record in 1840 is the marriage record:

Marriage records tend to be fairly long and include names, ages and occupations of the bride and groom and their parents. What genealogical treasures they are! This bride's parents are François Schmitt and Elisabeth Grosse, my 4th great-grandparents.

This trip to the FHC was very productive! Transcribing and translating these newest additions to my collection ought to keep me busy until my visit.

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