“It’s never easy to predict the turn-out for our free monthly history talks,” says Don Trosper, Public History Manager for the “Heritage Builders” program of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation. “Today’s noon hour talk was nearly filled to capacity as we hosted noted genealogist Jewell Dunn talking about the German heritage of the Schmidt family.”
Sixty visitors filled the room to overflowing to hear not only our German roots locally, but also to receive helpful tips for people who want to work on tracing their own family trees into Europe with a focus on Germany. Jewell also took the audience through a research project she worked on for years that concluded with the realization that she had just taken the crowd through the genealogy of Fred Meyer of retail fame. She also took special note of how fortunate we are here at the Schmidt House to have such a large and quite complete collection of Schmidt family records, correspondence, photos and artifacts. Treasures are being discovered in the archives on an ongoing basis about this family that has had such an impact upon the Tumwater and Olympia area.
There was another unexpected surprise treat for those attending the talk. Peter Schmidt Jr. made it here from his residence in Seattle to hear the presentation from Dr. Dunn. The 94 year old member of the Schmidt family is the grandson of founder Leopold and Johanna Schmidt, the founders of the brewery. “Buzzie”, as he is known by his family, grew up in the Schmidt house until he graduated high school and moved on to eventually begin a boat-building business, with locations in Seattle, San Francisco and near Santiago, Chile in South America. It was an honor to have him attend and bring a more immediate sense of personal history to the event.
Our next free monthly noon talk will be on Thursday, Dec. 17th at the Schmidt House, with special speaker Dave Nicandri talking about his new book about the voyages of Captain Cook that offers a different take on the famous explorer’s third and final voyage.