Dorfprozelten emigrants to Australia: Johann Hock and Clara (Rosina) Günzer

Back in 2009 I submitted a series of articles to the Queensland Family History Society’s Q150 project, Queensland Founding Families. If you have access to this book it is well worth looking at to see if there are any mentions of your family.

I’ve decided to include my Dorfprozelten emigrant stories on this blog to gain wider coverage. Should anyone find errors in the content I’d appreciate your feedback. Please be aware that these stories are copyrighted to me and may only be used with permission. Over the coming weeks I will add further stories on the different Dorfprozelten immigrants based on my research.

JOHANN HOCK (from Breitenbrunn) and CLARA or ROSINA GÜNZER (from Dorfprozelten)

Johann and Rosina Hock arrived in Sydney on the Commodore Perry on 26 April 1855, via Liverpool and Launceston, as part of the second phase of Dorfprozelten emigration to Australia. On the Board Immigration Lists John Hock is reported as a vinedresser 35 years old (b~1820) from Breitenbrunn in Bavaria, whose parents were Gottfried and Rosina Hock. His wife, Rosina Hock was 33, from Dorfprozelten, Bavaria, and her parents were listed as Nicholas and Maria Ann Kuhn.[1]

In fact there are some anomalies in how the Board listed women’s parents’ names, or the way in which they were advised of them. It is now apparent that in some cases[2] the father’s name was omitted and only the mother’s maiden name shown. Thus, Clara (aka Rosina) Günzer was the daughter of Nicholas Günzer and Anna Maria Kuhn. She was baptised in Dorfprozelten on 31 July 1822, and her godmother was Anna Catherina Hartig.[3] The local historian for Dorfprozelten has confirmed that she was actually christened Clara not Rosina.[4] John and Clara did not have children when they arrived.

On their daughter Mary’s birth certificate, John states that he and Clara were married in Dorfprozelten on 5 November 1854, however they were not married in Dorfprozelten so they may have been married at some town along the way eg Frankfurt or Hamburg.[5] This was certainly very close to their departure date as the Commodore Perry actually sailed from Liverpool for the long voyage on 11 January 1855. The German emigrants would have left their home towns some weeks earlier. (Addendum: I have recently found the notice which advises the public of the departure/emigration of Johann Hock from Breitenbrunn and Clara Günzer from Dorfprozelten. It was advertised in the Termin Kalender notices in the Würzburger Abendblatt 26 October 1854, Volume 14, page 1056 on Google Books. Also mentioned are Vincenz Käuflein and his wife)

The shipping records originally indicated the search was for a John Hock and Rosina Kuhn. Initially it was difficult to find the Hock family after their arrival but by comparing the Dorfprozelten women’s maiden names with the local history, the women’s correct names were clarified. Clara Hock’s death index[6] showed her father as Nicholas Günzer, which tallied with Rosina’s father’s name on the Board Lists. Their daughter Mary’s birth registration confirmed that Clara née Günzer had been born in Dorfprozelten. This established that John and Clara Hock, living at the Gowrie Scrub on the Darling Downs, were the same people as John and Rosina Hock.

John Hock had initially been contracted to work for AW Scott at Ash Island as a vinedresser along with the Kaüfleins (other Dorfprozelten emigrants) but it is apparent that the Hocks actually came to Moreton Bay almost immediately, as their daughter Mary’s birth certificate[7] places them in Warwick in 1857 while her older brother was born in Queensland in early 1856. By 1857, John was working as a shoemaker, suggesting that irrespective of his contracted employment as a vinedresser he took up, or was allocated to, this work which was in demand on the big stations as well as in towns. French suggests that setting up in business as a shoemaker was a less-capital intensive occupation than others though presumably one needed some prior knowledge.[8] Perhaps John Hock had been a shoemaker at home in Breitenbrunn, which is a small village less than 10 kilometres from Dorfprozelten, Bavaria.

The following children have been identified as being born to John and Rosina/Clara Hock:

1.            August Hock bachelor, 26 (b~ January 1856 since he was 20 months in September 1857), born in Queensland was a farmer living at Gowrie Junction when he married Mary Homan, 20, living at Gowrie Rd, in the Toowoomba Catholic Church on  30 Jan 1883. Mary Homan’s parents were Charles Homan (farmer) and Martina Diel (sic).[9] The witnesses to the marriage were William Homan and Martha Homan and the priest was Fr P Hudson. August and Mary Hock had several children: Annie Hock (b 1884); John Hock (b 1886 d 1886); Agnes Mary Hock (b 1887); Ellen Margaret Hock (b 1891) and Albert Augustus Hock (b 1893 d 1918).

August Hock died on 2 August 1943, aged 87, and was buried in the Drayton and Toowoomba cemetery on 3 August 1943.[10] His daughter Annie Hock died on 15 July 1946 and is buried with him. August’s wife, Mary Hock, lived to 91, and died on 26 July 1953.[11] August and Mary’s daughter, Ellen Margaret Nash died on 11 April 1978 and is buried with her mother. Ellen had married William Nash in 1920.

Agnes Mary Hock married George William Edmondstone in 1908. They had two known children: Eileen Agnes Edmondstone (b 3 February 1909 d 23 February 1909 buried Toowoomba) and Clarence George Edmondstone (b 1914).

2.            Mary Hock’s birth certificate states she was born on 24 September 1857 in Warwick; father John Hock, a shoemaker, 38 years old from Bridenbrun (sic) Germany and mother Clara formerly Ginzar, 35 years old from Dorfbrutzelden(sic), Germany. They were married on 5th November 1854 in Dorfbrutzelden, Germany and had one child, August, who was 20 months old.[12] This provides sufficient information to confirm that John and Clara Hock are the same couple as John and Rosina Hock who arrived on the Commodore Perry and that they came to the MoretonBay area almost immediately.

Mary Hock, spinster, 24, of Gowrie Scrub married Andrew Rossner (or Russner) from Baden Germany in the Toowoomba Catholic church on 18 April 1882.[13] The witnesses to the marriage were Martha Homan, John Hock (her father or a missing brother?) and Rose Hock, her sister. They had at least one child, Andrew Rossner (b 1884 d 1885).

3.            Annie Margaret Hock, spinster 22 (b1861 Qld) married William Homan (aka Hohmann) son of Charles Homan and Matilda Diehl in the Toowoomba Catholic church on 27 March 1883. William was also her brother-in-law as his sister had recently married August Hock.  William was a bachelor, aged 24 who had been born in Queensland and was a farmer living at Gowrie Rd. Annie Margret (sic) Hock was a spinster, aged 22 also born in Queensland and living at Gowrie Junction. Her parents are listed as John Hock, farmer, and Clara Gunzer (Günzer). The priest was Fr P Hudson. No witnesses were listed. The Homan family also had links with another Dorfprozelten family, that of George Gunzer (Günzer) and Hildegard Hock, whose son John Gunzer married Martha E Homan in 1887. William and Annie Margaret Hohmann had the following children: Catherine Eva Hohmann (b 1884); Martha Elizabeth Hohmann (b 1887); Francis William Hohmann (b 1889); George Francis Hohmann (b 1893); William Hohmann (b 1896); Lilian Rose Hohmann (b 1899) and Margaret Ada Hohmann (b 1902). William Hohmann was to marry the grand-daughter of other Dorfprozelten immigrants, Lucy Zoller.

4.            Rosa Margaret Hock was born 17 February 1863 to John Hock and Clara Genzar or Kenzar (sic). Rose Hock married Peter Reiss in Toowoomba on 15 February 1887. Rose died in childbirth on 30 November 1887 and her father was the informant. She was buried in the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery on 1 December 1887[14] but her husband is buried with his third wife, Sophia.  Rosa and Peter’s daughter Rosa Reiss (b 1887) married Ludwig Edward Deuble in 1910.

John Hock selected 80 acres of agricultural land at Gowrie Junction (block 1387, in the parish of Meringandan, CountyAubigny) on 29 September 1875 under the Crown Lands Alienation Act of 1868.[15] By 1878 when the land selection process was finalised, the family had lived there for three years and built a two-bedroom weatherboard cottage. They had cleared 10 acres and were cultivating maize, barley and wheat. The total cost of the land was £15 plus £4/12/- for the survey. No naturalisation records have been found for our John Hock. There is one for a J C Hock from Laidley but this is a different person.

On 14 June 1873 John Hock and Carl Wörner witnessed the marriage of Cecilia Suez (sic) née Füller to Charles Eugene Spahn, a 34-year old bachelor from Darmstadt, Hesse Darmstadt. Cecilia was only 38 yet she had already been widowed twice. Her first marriage, almost immediately on her arrival in Moreton Bay, was to Franz Dümig (later Dimmock) from Dorfprozelten. Both Cecilia and Franz had travelled on the Grasbrook arriving on 25 September 1861. Cecilia was widowed very young when Franz died at Square Top Station on 12 July 1869, leaving her with four small children to rear. On her third marriage Cecilia stated that her parents were George Fan, shepherd, and Barbara Fuller. She had been born in Altenburg, perhaps a mis-recording of Altenbuch, a village a little further distant from John Hock’s village of Breitenbrunn.

Clara Hock died 17 June 1886, aged 63, and is shown on the indexes as the daughter of Nicholaus Günzer. She was buried in the Drayton and Toowoomba cemetery on 19 June 1886.[16] Her grandson, John Hask, aged 14 days, son of August and Mary Hock, died 14 August 1886 and is buried with Clara. No records of John Hock’s death or burial have been found under a range of name variations but we know he was still alive in 1887 when he was the informant on his daughter Rose’s death certificate.

[1] State Records of NSW, Persons on Bounty ships to Sydney, Newcastle, MoretonBay 1848-1866. CGS 5317, microfilm 2469, reference 4/4946.

[2] For example, Juliana Diflo née Löhr was documented as née Kirchgessner.

[3] Dorfprozelten Catholic parish records.

[4] Veh, G. Dorfprozelten am Main Teil II, Benedikt Press, 2002, page 174.

[5] The bounty for these immigrants was only payable if they were married before departure.

[6]Queensland death certificate index: 1886/C1378.

[7] NSW birth certificate 1857/011634

[8] French, M. Pubs, Ploughs and ‘Peculiar People’: Towns, Farms and Social Life. USQ Press, Toowoomba, 1992, page 56.

[9] Also shown as Diehl or Dien on other children’s marriage details.

[10] RC 5, Block: 2, Allotment: 1; graves T992 and S525.

[11] Section: RC 5, Block: 2, Allotment: 2; graves X320 and IG537.

[12] NSW Birth certificate 1857/011634. The Dorfprozelten registers do not record their marriage.

[13] Mary’s parents on BDM are John & Clara Ginzar and in the registers as John Hock and Clara Ginsa

[14] Grave B1143, RC1 Block 6 Allotment 28 per Toowoomba City Council’s online Gravefinder search. She is indexed as Rose Riess while her husband is under Reis. Copy of certificate from K Francis.

[15] Queensland State Archives Item ID59621, Land selection file Johann Hock, microfilm Z8489.

[16] Grave B961, RC1, Block 5 Allotment 7 indexed under Hask.