Welcome to my site! My name is Josiah Schmidt, and I am a professional genealogist based (as of 2013) in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Having spent the last several years as a political consultant for civil liberties oriented causes, I am now transitioning to my true passion of conducting investigative genealogical research professionally.
I was born in Pueblo, Colorado on June 24, 1986, to Rev. Kent Schmidt (who became a chaplain in the US Air Force) and Dr. Laurie (Johnson) Schmidt, both college educators. Being in a military family, I spent much of my childhood moving around the world to places like Greece and England, before my family finally resettled in rural northwest Iowa to be nearer to our extended family. I grew up in the town of Mallard, Iowa, and graduated from West Bend-Mallard High School in West Bend, Iowa. After high school, I earned a Bachelor’s degree from Wright State University in Ohio, before moving to California for political work. I founded the organization “Johnson for America,” through which I started and spearheaded the effort to convince former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to return to politics and run for president. This was followed by actually working on Gov. Johnson’s 2012 presidential campaign as social media director. For a few years, I operated a nonpartisan political consulting firm assisting pro-civil liberty causes. My political ideology morphed over the years from conservative (as a high schooler) to right-leaning libertarian (in college) to left-leaning libertarian; as of now, I would classify myself as an independent-thinking moderate who supports Democrats most of the time. Having become frankly disillusioned with many of the more right-wing causes and candidates I worked for in my earlier years, I opted for a career change. Now I am back in Iowa and looking forward to reconnecting more further with my own extended family and roots as I help clients reconnect with theirs.
On my father’s side, my paternal ancestors immigrated to the United States from Germany in the late 1800s. My father’s mother’s father was Iowa State Representative Arley Barringer. On my mother’s side, much of my ancestry goes back to old colonial families who lived in English colonies like Massachusetts and Connecticut. Those families ended up settling in Wisconsin. The other part of my maternal ancestry goes back to predominantly English and Irish immigrants who settled in the American Southeast, especially Florida.
I am of primarily German ancestry, with English, Scots-Irish, Scandinavian, and even some Sub-Saharan African and Native American ancestry as well (according to my DNA results from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA). I find that learning about our ethnic heritage through genetic testing, while not a complete substitute for doing the hard work of documenting one’s family history through paper records and oral history interviewing, is a great way to put our place in the world in proper perspective. DNA testing also provides great leads to follow in the document archives.