Religion on two German-Immigrant Ships

CFH-Widget-Germans-P-Cass-6-8-20209-NFHMThis week I gave a presentation for National Family History Month hosted by Caloundra Family History Society Inc.

The title was “They weren’t all Lutheran: the story of some Bavarian emigrants to Australia“.

You might wonder why I chose this title and the reason is quite simple. When I first started researching back in 1986 I was assuredly told by the German genealogy guru of the day that no Bavarians and no Catholics had immigrated to the Australian colonies in the 1850s and 1860s….until I provided a certificate verifying my own family’s religious history.

Robert Dunne bookSomehow, over the years, “German” had become synonymous with “Lutheran”. Perhaps because the German Catholics were incorporated into what was essentially an Irish church, marrying spouses from other nationalities in favour of their religion. Even though they sometimes had difficulty in the early days being able to participate fully because of language difficulties, they mostly maintained their Catholic religion. In 1868, a petition was sent to Bishop Quinn of Brisbane by some German Catholics on the Darling Downs who objected to not being able to be understood by their priest, Fr Dunne. I can only assume this mainly focused on confession and general advice as the Mass would have been said in Latin as it was in Bavaria. Among the names I’ve identified four people with Dorfprozelten origins or connections: Cecilia Dümig, Andreas Diflo (from Fechenbach but with a Dorfp wife), Josef Zöller, and Carl Wörner. (Endnote 95, page 272)

Belatedly, I looked at the religious breakdown shown on the NSW Board Lists for the assisted German immigrants on the Commodore Perry and the Peru. While the Board classified them as Church of England (CE), Protestant or Roman Catholic, this is probably more representative of a local view than the official religion for the CE and Protestant.

The breakdown is enlightening and confirms my hypothesis that they certainly weren’t all Lutheran, and many were in fact Catholic. The assisted Germans on the Commodore Perry were 40% Roman Catholic while on the Peru they represented 47%. It must be remembered that this data is for the assisted immigrants only, the single people were recruited directly and only appear on the Hamburg Shipping Lists not the Board Lists.

Commodore Perry Religion

Peru religion

Whether this religious trend is typical of all the vinedresser immigrants would require a complete analysis of the Board Lists for all these voyages. Suffice to say, that on these indications we can be confident in saying “They weren’t all Lutheran“.

Some tips on German research are included on my other blog https://cassmobfamilyhistory.com/2020/08/06/tips-for-german-research/

 

 


SRNSW: Persons on Bounty ships to Sydney, Newcastle Moreton Bay, 1848-66, NSW Archives Kit, CGS 5317, Microfilms 2463, 2469, 2471

Commodore Perry arrived Sydney 26 April 1855

Peru arrived Sydney 23 May 1855

Robert Dunne 1830-1917 Archbishop of Brisbane. Byrne, Neil J, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane 1991.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 thought on “Religion on two German-Immigrant Ships

  1. Dear CassMob/ Dorfprozelten Group

    Re extra Dorfprozelten families:

    My husband who grew up in Toowoomba is a direct descendant of Michael Zoller/ Zoeler/Zoeller from Dorfprozelten (multiple spellings)= spelt as Zoeller on arrival log- who arrived as a 4 year old on the ship Peru. His parents were Franz and Catherine Zoeller, assisted immigrants from Dorprozelten, Franz having been born there also. Michael also married a German immigrant in Qld. They were labelled as RC on the arrival log.

    Presumably the Joseph Zoller on the other ship Commodore Perry was a close relation.

    Some members of the family have remained on the Darling Downs ever since with some also moving to the Sunshine Coast, Townsville and interstate. For what it’s worth that part of the family has remained mainly RC officially , with marrying various people, predominantly of Irish Catholic and Scottish descent but they are quite a large and relaxed and eclectic bunch. The label is likely to have been correct in the ship log.

    It seems current descendants with the family name may also now have spelling Zeller or Zellar but we don’t know them.

    See attached docs

    Hope this adds to your collection

    Penny Spring with Martin Grehan Sydney ________________________________

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