I’m starting to feel like I’m living at the Special Collections Library. Researching the Bottgers has become a bit of an obsession. I can understand why those involved in genealogy have a passion for it. It’s like being a detective, where one clue leads to another.
On Wednesday, I spent another couple of hours, this time going through the deeds index books. These books are huge, measuring about 1 1/2 feet wide by 2 feet long by 4 inches thick. They’re ledger books compiled at some point by the Bernalillo County Abstract & Title Company, and the indices go back to 1850. Two books are the index from Grantors to Grantees (A-K and L-Z), and the other set is a cross-reference of Grantees from Grantors (A-K and L-Z).
The challenge is to remember all of the names involved, since at this point I don’t know who actually owned the property or how they gained control of it. And the more research I do, the more people I find were involved or related or married into the family, and the more names I have to look up.
Some of the entries were fairly obvious. Tom Post was a quite the business man in “Old Albuquerque,” with property acquisitions and sales and leases, which were also recorded. After his death, several deeds and documents were recorded as his property was put into a trust and then removed back out of the trust after a time. His wife’s name shows up a number of times as well.
What I didn’t expect to find was property and water and mineral rights deeded to “John Lewis F. Bottger.” This was in 1893, about the time Charles A. Bottger showed up in New Mexico. I have to wonder if that was his brother. In one of the census documents, Charles Bottger listed that his parents were “J.L. and J. L. Bottger.” We know that the Bottger family owned a store in New Jersey, since we have a photo of it, and the name on the store is “J. L. Bottger.” Was that his father’s store? Did his brother come west with him? The initials J. L. seem to be a Bottger family habit, as he named one of his daughters Julia L. The name Julia L. Bottger (“and husb”) also shows up in the deed index at a time when his daughter would not have yet been born. Was that his brother’s wife? Is that why he named his daughter Julia?
If John Lewis F. Bottger was his brother and also owned property, why have I found no reference to him in newspapers or vital statistics records?
I also found an entry where John Lewis F. Bottger was deeded property on “east side of Plaza Old Alb.” from Cristobal Armijo. I remembered that I had seen a reference that our property was once owned by Cristobal Armijo, which would make sense since it was originally the Manuel Armijo house until he left New Mexico around 1846. If so, what happened to John Bottger? How did the property eventually fall into the hands of Charles Bottger?
There are still far more questions than answers.