Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Can you find a real gold mine through genealogical research?

Year: 1880; Census Place: Phoenix, Maricopa,Arizona; Roll: 36; Family History Film: 1254036; Page: 86C; Enumeration District: 018; Image: 0183.
I could be using the title of this post as a come-on to get you to read about some boring topic or another, but in fact, I am writing about finding a real goldmines. One of my many side interests over the years has been reading about finding lost goldmines. I have never been moved to go out and search for one, but I am fascinated with the stories. One lost mine in particular has kept my interest over the years; The Lost Dutchman Mine supposedly located in or around the Superstition Mountains east of Mesa and Phoenix in Arizona. I have been on quite a few extended hikes out in the Superstition Mountains and that could be one reason for my interest.

The "Dutchman" of the lost mine fame, was a real historical figure named Jacob Waltz or Waltzer (b. 1808?, d. 1891). If you would like to see a photo of him and a photo of his gravesite, both are conveniently located on for Jacob "Lost Dutchman" Waltz. OK, so now, with this simple fact, you might be able to see that I am not being so farfetched as you might have assumed to claim a connection between lost gold mines and genealogy. By the way, Jacob Waltz was never lost, it was the mine that was supposed to be lost.

Jacob Waltz was born in about 1810 in the Kingdom of Württemberg (German: Königreich Württemberg). The Kingdom of  Württemberg was a Germanic kingdom that existed from 1806 to 1871, when it became a state of the newly formed German Empire (though it continued to be nominally ruled, within the new nation, as a kingdom until 1918). See Wikipedia: Kingdom of Württemberg. Jacob Waltz had the common genealogical affliction of having a rather common name so distinguishing him from all the others of the same name can be difficult.

What would be the point of doing genealogical research about Jacob Waltz if the object is to find the Lost Dutchman Mine? Well, the answer is pretty simple. Some of the lost mine stories are entirely fabricated. However, the more believable stories all start with a named miner or explorer who supposedly discovered a fabulously rich mine and then proceeded to lose it or die. Before you go packing off into the Superstition Mountains, being a genealogist, you just might want to check out the facts.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view), there are all sorts of levels of researchers digging into the early life of Jacob Waltz to either prove their own theories about the lost mine or disprove all the other theories. Here is a website that talks about the origins of Jacob Waltz of lost mine fame: The Search for Jacob Waltz.

At the beginning of this post is a copy of a U.S. Census record for 1880 showing Jacob Waltz as a farmer living in Phoenix, Territory of Arizona. I guess my main question over the years has been if Jacob Waltz had a fabulously rich gold mine, why was he working as a farmer in Phoenix? Maybe he just lived on and worked the farm as a cover story for his rich mine? Remember, this is Phoenix long before they invented air conditioning. It is over 115 degrees in the Summer.

He also shows up in the Arizona Territorial Compiled Census Index. See Arizona, Compiled Census Index, 1831-1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. Arizona, Census, 1831-1880. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.

Jacob Waltz also shows up in the Arizona Territory Census for 1864. See

NO.: 1008
AGE: 54
Census of Arizona Territory – April 1864
page 205

Now, where will this genealogical search get me? Or you? You can try the same inquiries about the people supposedly associated with the lost mine in your area or state. If you think you don't have any lost mines, just do a Google search for lost mine with your state name. By the way, my research turned up the mine:

TITLERebel Mine
CREATORArizona Photograph Company
SUBJECTCopper Mines and Mining -- ArizonaRebel Mine.
Browse TopicLand and resources
Business and industry
DESCRIPTIONThe Rebel MineJacob Waltz (aka the Lost Dutchman) registered the "Big Rebelmining claim in the Walnut Grove mining district of Arizona on Jan 81865.
Material CollectionArizona Photograph Company CollectionFP FPC #19
Acquisition NoteDonated by Robert Spude
RIGHTS MANAGEMENTPermission to publish material from this collection should be addressed to Sharlot Hall Museum Archives. Email us at:
Time Period1900s (1900-1909)
1910s (1910-1919)
ORIGINAL FORMATGlass Plate Negative
Source IdentifierArizona Photograph Company CollectionFP FPC #19
Date Digital2009
DIGITAL FORMATJPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
DIGITIZATION SPECIFICATIONSGlass plate negative was scanned as 600dpi TIFF image on a Epson Expression 10000XL scanner and saved to a Windows Vista operating system, resized and compressed to 300dpi JPEG format using Photoshop CS4.
REPOSITORYSharlot Hall Museum Library and Archives
Sort Order18159

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I used to live in Apache Junction and enjoyed rock hunting around the Superstition Mountains as a child. Used to hear the stories of the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine. Now live in Oklahoma and enjoy hunting for family history. Just ran into your site and am enjoying.