20 July 2008

Recap of July 2008 NMGS Program

Yesterday, July 19, 2008, I did a presentation for the New Mexico Genealogical Society titled "Swiss Family Zimmerly: A Socorro, New Mexico Story." The program began at 10:30 A.M. in Botts Hall at the Albuquerque Special Collections Library.

The story was about Samuel Zimmerly, a Civil War soldiers, and his New Mexican wife Maria Paubla Torres. Samuel and Paubla are my 2nd great grandparents.

I began the presentation by talking about my maternal grandmother Maria Paublita Zimmerly, and how her father, Estevan Zimmerly, named her after his mother. I then told the story of Samuel Zimmerly, and how he came to New Mexico as a member of the California Column. I then spoke about his wife Maria Paubla Torres. I traced her ancestors back to Belen, New Mexico, and explained how they arrived in Socorro sometime after 1816. I finished by talking about the hardships that Samuel and Paubla had to endure, how they had a family and ran a milling business, how Samuel died in 1887 only three weeks after the birth of his final child, and how Paubla continued raising and supporting her family into the 20th Century.

Robert Baca, speaking before an audience at Botts Hall

I used a Powerpoint presentation for my speech. The slides included family photos, charts, and images of documents. I also put speaking points on the slides to help the audience follow along since my story tended to bounce around from time period to time period. I even did a review after speaking about Paubla Torres' ancestors since many of the names were similiar.

Powerpoint presentation

About 50 people attended the presentation. Half were either descendants of Samuel and Paubla (Torres) Zimmerly, or their significant others. After my presentation, I took questions from the audience, in which we discussed such topics as where Samuel Zimmerly was born. I argued that he was born in Switzerland, while others took the traditional family view that he was born in Germany.

Audience, Botts Hall, 19 July 2008

During the program, I displayed and referenced certain documents. These included Civil War soldier and widow pension records for Samuel and Paubla, Regimental Descriptive Book and Muster Roll for Samuel Zimmerly, a copy of a history of the Zimmerly Family that was published in the El Defensor Chieftain (Socorro, New Mexico newspaper) in 1966, marriage records for all of the Sam and Paubla's children, and other documents.

After completing my presentation, I donated these documents to the Albuquerque Special Collections Library. They will be placed in a file for anyone to access. I only ask that you make copies of these documents rather than taking them from the library. This allows for others to access them later. To find the Zimmerly file, please ask the librarian to show you where the family surname files are located.

Please check with the library before visiting, as it has limited hours of operation. Click on this link for more information about the library.

Zimmerly documents on display

I dedicate my speech to my second cousin, Michael Chavez. On Friday, he collapsed unexpectedly while attending a function. On Saturday, July 19, 2008, he passed away. My family found out that he was in the hospital while I was finishing up my presentation.

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