February is a little slow, and we had a couple of days with no guests to head up to Santa Fe to the New Mexico Archives and Records Center (1209 Camino Carlos Rey just off Cerrillos Road).
It’s an amazing place with lots of resources and also a lot of rules. You can’t take any bags, purses or coats inside—they provide public lockers outside the library entrance. You can take a laptop in (not in your bag, of course) and a notebook, but your cell phone has to be silenced.
I went prepared with the list of things I’ve been trying to find, and I did manage to find all of them in the time I had—the obituaries for Charles Bottger in 1914, Miguela in 1936, Edward Stein in 1908 (her son by her first marriage), and the elusive Julia L. Bottger who passed away in 1909, who turns out to be Charles Bottger’s mother. Charles had gone to New York to bring her to Albuquerque, and she died two weeks after her arrival here.
On Tuesday Steve helped me by continuing to look for newspaper articles on microfilm. It’s very helpful that there’s an index, so I had searched for people and found the dates of articles in the index. At least then we can go directly to the newspaper on that date on microfilm.
While he did that, I spent all morning scanning through the Albuquerque city directories from 1947 to about 1996. I need to spend a little more time on that since I realized there are a few pieces missing and a few more questions. In city directories, not only can you look up people by last name, but it also has a cross-index section by street names and addresses. The city directory also listed that a property was vacant. I was able to trace both the Bottger family and descendants when they lived here and also see the stretch of years when it was apparently vacant.
I think I’ve been bitten by the research bug. Searching through history is a fascinating exercise in sleuthing, guesswork, assumptions and problem-solving. Some of the answers can never be discovered because the true story died with the people.
I’m having fun--come on along!