#52Ancestors No. 6 – “Malicious Abandonment” WHAT????

I admit that is quite a catchy header I used there, but that is what is said in the wedding record of my 2nd great grandmother for her second wedding.

I already told you about his wife (Henrica Elisabeth Dorothea PETROWSKY) and their son (Friedrich Bernhard Robert SCHMIDT), now it is time to tell you about my 2nd great grandfather Gustav Bruno SCHMIDT.

The first time I saw his name was on the baptism record of his son, my great grandfather Friedrich Bernhard Robert from November 22, 1883 in Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany.

baptism Friedrich Bernhard Robert Schmidt

baptism Friedrich Bernhard Robert Schmidt

Gustav is stated as “carpenter from here”.

The first indications

You can see in the column named “Namen der Gevattern” (names of the godparents) that Gustav and his wife chose two godparents which weren’t local: Friedrich Schmidt, a shoemaker from Neubrandenburg and Robert Schmidt, a teacher from Leipzig in Saxony.

Only later I should find out that this was the first hint of Gustav’s origin.

I checked the churchbooks for the wedding record and after I found one older child born in 1880, I could also find a matching wedding entry.

wedding entry Schmidt & Petrowsky

wedding entry Schmidt & Petrowsky

Here his birthplace is given: Lausigk in the kingdom Saxony. Excuse me?? If you take a look at the maps here, you see that there is quite a distance between the grandduchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin up north and the kingdom of Saxony in the southern east.

I have to admit that my geographical knowledge of this area tends to zero.. at least when it comes to small villages. But again I asked Auntie Google and I came up with Lausigk in today’s Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, which is Saxony’s neighbour.

I called the local archive in Lausigk and told the very nice gentleman what I found and asked where I could take a look into the churchbooks.

We have a 30 minute phone conversation in which he explained the local history AND geography “(the left riverbank documents are archived here, the right riverbank documents are archives somewhere else”) and a short remark I made close to the end turned everything upside down. I said something like “well, since he had the saxon nationality..” and his reply? “Saxon? Well, that is TOTALLY different”… great, here I was, thinking that I found the right place.

But a german historian wouldn’t be a german historian if he couldn’t tell me where to find this “Lausigk in the kingdom of Saxony”.

There is a small place close to Leipzig in Saxony which is called today Bad Lausick. He told me that this would be the right place.

I am so often really astonished about how helpful people are when they feel the enthusiasm I put into my research. I could have talked for hours with this man on the phone.

After using Auntie Google again I called the offices of St. Kilian‘s church on where I could find the churchbooks. Guess my surprise when they told me, all the books are stored in the office and not in any state or city archive.

“Help yourself”
St. Kilian Bad Lausick

St. Kilian Bad Lausick

A few months later we finally found a timeslot where I could take a day off and the office was open and I could go on with my research about Gustav.

And another surprise as the lady invited me in the office, gave me a desk to use and opened a cabinet and said “help yourself” – there they were: churchbooks from TODAY til early 18th century, as far as I could see it.

“Help yourself.. hmm.. okay” I thought.

But that is what I  did and since I had the exact birthday mentioned in his wedding entry, it didn’t take me long to find his baptism entry. I took some pictures with my iPhone and the lady delibaretly looked the other way 😉

I had to take two pictures per entry since they were recorded over the full page

baptism Gustav Bruno Schmidt (1)

baptism Gustav Bruno Schmidt (1)

baptism Gustav Bruno Schmidt St. Kilian (2)

baptism Gustav Bruno Schmidt St. Kilian (2)

His father is stated with Friedrich Theodor SCHMIDT a local carpenter and Elisabeth Henriette Sophia Maria née KLINKMANN from Güstrow in Mecklenburg. What? Wait.. His mother went from Güstrow to Lausigk just that Gustav moves back to Güstrow? I am still trying to find more pieces to the puzzle of this moving around. Especially because it wasn’t only from one village to another but from one grandduchy to another kingdom.

One thought I have, if Elisabeth’s father, a carpenter from Güstrow came originally from Lausigk and he started this “migration” (note to myself: Barbara, hold that thought).

But I am chatting again, back to Gustav. Who is my 2nd great grandfather, just in case I totally confused you by now.

Just a quick recap what we have so far:

  • born in Lausigk, Saxony in 1847
  • married my 2nd great grandmother in Güstrow, Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1879
  • my greatgrandfather born 1883
  • I’ve found two other children born 1880 and 1885

“Where does this malicious abandonment come in” you might ask. Well, we are getting closer.

It was a coincidence I already described in my blog about her, that I found a wedding entry for Gustav’s wife for her second wedding.

Petrowsky Henrica Elisabeth Dorothea 1845-01 Trauung No. 2

In the last column the previous wedlocks are described. And in regards of Gustav it says

“Gustav Bruno Schmidt, carpenter in Güstrow, missing. Divorced in Güstrow on September 12, 1894 due to malicious abdandonment”

And that’s it. That is the last thing I’ve ever heard about him. Divorce records are only stored for 30 years in Germany, as well as records of missing people. I guess he was declared dead at some point, but so far nobody could tell me where I could find out more about it.

I wonder if he went back to Saxony? Leaving a wife is one thing, but leaving behind three children? The youngest just being 10 years old?

Ideas, anyone?

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18 thoughts on “#52Ancestors No. 6 – “Malicious Abandonment” WHAT????

  1. Wow! What an incredible story. I really liked how you made this entry about your very own research journey. It’s definitely odd though. It’s like he just disappeared from the face of the Earth. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for. I don’t really have any ideas. I’m surprised there is no record of death.


  2. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 6 Recap | No Story Too Small

  3. Totally agree with William. Loved how you “took us on the journey with you”. Made it seem so alive. You really have a gift here. I hope to develop mine by following along with what you have done here. Keep up the good work


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  9. My grandfather Bruno Schmidt left Germany late 1800s to early 1900s during the war he left illegal with his wife Lydia Shaffer too USA.there they settled down had 5 Children lived there till they died,I was very little so I never got to find out what part of Germany they were from,plus it seems it was hush hush as well.I’m living in Germany rite now,I can’t seem to find about them here just USA only.he was born April 2 the yr I’m not sure except late 1800s maybe.some of the names you wrote about seems I’ve heard them talk about,not sure though they talk in German a lot.


    • Hey Luanne, what kind of information do you have on him from the USA? passenger lists, naturalization papers, social security ID? Anything with a place given in Germany? You can contact me via barbara-schmidt(at)t-online(dot)de


      • I don’t have any thing like that on him.my mom and dad have both pass away as well.my mom and OMA and opa all spoke geaman very well to each other as I was little girl I would listen to them in the kitchen.:-)


  10. Pingback: #52ancestors No. 8 – meeting my 3rd great grandmother | Barbara Schmidt

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