I had been discussing the Schmidt family with my cousin Doris, who lives in Germany. She had put the sons of my great-great-grandfather Wilhelm Schmidt on her family tree using their German names. So William Henry “Billy” Schmidt was listed as Wilhelm Heinrich Schmidt. Louis William Schmidt was listed as Ludwig Wilhelm Schmidt, etc.
I corrected her saying that, while it’s true that the children of Prussian immigrants were usually christened with their German names, I had seen no documents listing the Schmidt boys with German names. In fact on the Wisconsin Birth and Baptism Index (where these German names usually show up) my great-grand-uncle William Henry Schmidt was listed as “Willie Schmidt”.
Out of curiosity, I contacted Billy’s grand-daughter, Norma and asked her if she had seen a baptism record for her grandfather. She wrote back saying she thought she had one. Tonight she sent it, and sure enough he was baptized in a German church [Deutsche Evang. St. Paul’s Kirche, or Saint Paul’s German Lutheran Church] as Wilhelm Heinrich Schmidt.
Another interesting thing to note is that two of the sponsors were his mother’s brother, August Zierke (1881 – 1955 ) and his father’s sister, Emilie Schmidt Karl (1869 – 1932 ). I want to thank my cousin Norma for giving me access to this beautiful document!