A Genealogist’s Dream Come True
When Lonnie and I walked into the Visitor Center at New Mexico State University, we did not have high expectations of finding anything.I explained to the very nice receptionist that my grandfather had been a coach there from 1910 to 1914 and that I was hoping to at find out that there were some buildings left from 1910 that I could photograph. We were told that no, the buildings from that era did not survive and that it was too late to meet with the archivist who might have some documents from that era (her office was closing at 4:00). They were being very helpful, however, and marked up a map of how to get to the library where the archives were and wrote down the contact information for the archivist so that I could let her know that we were coming.
While this was going on, Lonnie was in the adjacent conference room looking around, and he spotted a football up on a bookshelf. As he looked closer, her realized that it had my grandfather’s name on it- and that it was the game ball from when the team won the 1913 Southwest Championship! You can imagine our excitement!
As I was photographing the ball, the employee mentioned that there were old yearbooks in the archives. How exciting! But right there on the bookshelf were yearbooks; just as she was saying that these were the more recent ones, we saw some very small yearbooks in the collection. You guessed it- the yearbooks from the years Grandpa was there!
As I realized what a treasure trove we had come across, my hands started shaking, and I got chills- it was an out of body experience. We took some time carefully taking cell phone shots of the pages that featured Grandpa- and found a goldmine of photos and articles. An unbelievable find! One article was especially moving to me, because it told of his kindness and emphasis on sportsmanship and fair play over winning. Those were the qualities he demonstrated his whole coaching career- and what made him so beloved by his players and the community- and by our family.
Below is a photo composite- the football overlaid upon a photo of the champion team of 2013.
The next day we met with the archivist and discovered that the entire collection of student newspapers was online. I searched for Badenoch- there were 93 entries! There seemed to be an almost equal number of articles about my grandfather AND my grandmother! Mimi, as we called her, had a beautiful classical singing voice and performed at events through the college and elsewhere while living in New Mexico- and also managed to have two babies between 1910 and 1912 (her first child was born in Chicago)! The archivist found a file of correspondence between my Grandpa and the president of the college from when he applied to coach there. It was emailed it to me when we got home.
So now my task is to organize this information and integrate it into my genealogy software program. Family history, like laundry, is never done!