A descendant’s guide to Dorfprozelten

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI prepared this tour guide for my daughter when she visited Dorfprozelten about 10 years ago. Given the intervening time there’s bound to be some changes…for example there is a local history museum which I haven’t seen. On the other hand it was then only a couple of years since I’d visited so things were fresh in my mind. So here it is, bearing in mind I had the Kunkel/Happ family in my mind as a focus.

Start the tour at the church which is the most prominent feature of the town. This is not the original one but there are many features inside it which go back centuries. In particular look for the christening font which is a pink-stone font dating back to the 1600s. It has a bronze cover.

baptismal fontThere are also some rather nice paintings in the church…I like the one of Mary and baby Jesus with a lute player and birds sitting under a tree with white flowers. The missal stand is also rather lovely. The pink stone is a feature of the town and is used in various things—it comes from the pink cliffs on the road out of town heading to Fechenbach and Miltenberg. It also caused the premature death of many stonemasons from the town. There is a lane up beside the church which leads up towards the hills and vineyards and which was the quick route to Mass!


picture churchOnce out of the church face the river with the church at your back. The old church and the school the Dorfprozelten emigrants would have attended were across the road to your left but immediately in front of you, pretty much, is an old barn that stood there long ago. The timber framing which you see around the place (like the bones of the building on show and quite like old Elizabethan buildings in England) is called Faschwerk.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you head to the left (this road to the left takes you to Stadtprozelten) along the main road this will take you to the cemetery –they “recyle” their graves so there are none specifically to see, but worth a short look to see how they tend them continuously and change the floral features for the season. There is their equivalent of a War Memorial in the rear of the cemetery and there is also one in Stadtprozelten –interesting for an alternative perspective. Near the cemetery you will see the Fröhlichkeit Guesthouse which was owned by one of George Kunkel’s relatives.

If you don’t feel like going as far as Stadtprozelten there is a turn off to the left near the Dorfprozelten town boundaries (I think) where there is a stone cross/crucifix which was erected in 1628 (in another location in earlier years/centuries) and renovated by my multiple great-grandfather (on the Happ side) in 1828.

This shrine was built in 1628 and renovated.

This shrine was built in 1628 and renovated in 1828.

Along the way there is a butcher’s shop and bakery on the left hand side. If you want to return via a different way you can walk back along the river bank which has a cycle path along it.

Situating yourself back at the church. Cross the road and see the old inn called Gasthof zum Anker which has been in the town since George Kunkel’s time. Face the right and look down the street. You will see a sign with “Bank” on it….this is the site of the Kunkel’s inn which was called “Das Goldenes Fass” or Golden Barrel. If you look down this street you will see many buildings which date back to the C19th and get a really good sense of how it was. In the distance you will see the pink stone cliffs (you will see these better from the river path).

Same view but the inn has been replaced by the bank.

Same view but the inn has been replaced by the bank.

rathaus2After crossing the road from the church and walking a short way to the right, you will come to a street on your left. Take this and you will walk past the Town Hall (Rathaus) on your right of the street. On the left, shaded by trees, is another large crucifix. There is a lane running beside it which is worth a short wander down because you can see the old buildings and some sort of grinding stone.

Returning to the street (not the lane) you will walk down it to get to the Gasthof zum Goldener Stern (Golden Star). The lintels above a lot of the doorways have very old dates and in some cases you will see where the various floods have risen to (in Stadtprozelten and Miltenberg these are specifically marked and go back centuries). This Gasthof is essentially the sailor’s “union” site and there is a special table reserved for them in the inside dining room. They have a nice outside beer garden and you can eat there at lunch and dinner, a simple wurst or sausage is always nice. Try some of the local white wine –it is very apple-y.

The old inn by the river.

The old inn by the river.

Also amusing on the right side of the road is the rather bizarre Ponderosa which seems to be a caravan park kind of thing though we’re rarely there when it’s in action (The Ponderosa was the name of the homestead in an old TV show called Bonanza so of course we usually hum the theme song!). Keep going down to the riverbank and you will almost certainly see one of the long barges anchored or going by. You can also look right & see the cliffs.

The cliffs rise up from the River Main at the outskirts of town.

The cliffs rise up from the River Main at the outskirts of town.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is usually a funny wooden boat there which looks rather like something by da Vinci. There are often flags on a flag pole near a shrine just back from the river. This is part of the sailors’ affiliations. The sailors used to fly their flags to signify they were at home from the river. (I believe that in New England they used to put a half-pineapple on the door for the same purpose hence the significance of pineapples in the New England décor).

So that’s the little side-street. Go back up the hill to its intersection with the main street and head towards the cliffs (ie turn left if you’ve come up the hill). This takes you down the main street (Hauptstrasse) and you will soon pass the sacred site of our family’s inn now taken over by the bank. Their inn was one of the earliest recorded inns in the town.

A postcard of the Happ/Kunkel inn called Das Goldene Fass. Compare it to the photo above taken from near the same spot.

A postcard of the Happ/Kunkel inn called Das Goldene Fass. Compare it to the photo above taken from near the same spot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust past this you will go over a sort-of small bridge, mainly noticeable by the stone “railings”. Beside it there is a statue which you should note –it is called the holy Nepomuk (die heilige Nepomuk -1616) and has also survived for some 400 years being “recently” renovated in the 1800s. It has also migrated from one side of the bridge to the other over the centuries!! There should be a map of the town near this bridge, in fact my photos show it beside the Nepomuk.

Not too much farther on the right is another of the old inns, Das Goldene Krone (the Krebs inn). It has also been around since George Kunkel’s time. Many of these buildings are very old and pretty much as they were when the Dorfprozelten immigrants left in 1854-1862.

Before this there is a newsagent and small shop which is probably closed on Sundays – you might want to see if they have a copy of Georg Veh’s book Dorfprozelten Teil II.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou will reach an intersection of about four streets. On the right hand fork leading towards the hill you will see the old smithy. It is well signed and shouldn’t be hard to spot. Across from that on the opposite corner (RHS going out of town) is a place that is now a pizzeria where one of the Dorfprozelten immigrants came from this house (Juliana Löhr married Andreas Diflo from Fechenbach and her cousin, Eleanor Löhr married Peter Faust in Australia). I have posted a photo of this on my Flickr site for the Diflo descendants.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you continue along the road out of town ie with the pizza place on your right, you will ultimately pass the small shrine which says “Gute Fahrt aus Dorfprozelten”, another very old memorial from 1629. On the right of the street, a little further along where the road veers, and somewhat recessed into the hill near the railway line is another Marian shrine which has an iron gate in front of it.  There is a track up into the hills from here which leads to a forest or alternatively track up past the church to where you get an overview of the village.

You can see the cliffs from here, and possibly the vineyards, as well as back along the river to the town. I think, though not 100% sure that there the street which leads up past the smithy goes up high enough to see over the village but all depends on time, weather & energy levels. If you get down along the bike path here you should get a good view of Dorfprozelten.


A mudmap of Dorfprozelten

First of all let me show you the location of Dorfprozelten, an ancient village situated on the River Main and formerly part of the Kingdom of Bavaria.


Georg Veh’s book Dorfprozelten Teil II is my “bible” for Dorfprozelten research with its rich detail of the families who lived in the village with a focus on 1844. My German wasn’t up to fully understanding quite what happened in 1844 but it seemed to me that perhaps it was a census. As it happens I wasn’t quite right, but it serves much the same purpose.I asked my German-speaking friend to clarify the origins of the map and the residence of the people in 1844, the focus of the book.

My heavily-lagged copy of the book.

My heavily-lagged copy of the book.

This is how Dr Wegner explained it:

In 1844 the first land register was conducted. It included the houses, land parcels, house numbers, names of owners or tenants as well as the businesses.

They started up numbering the properties from the village entrance from the left side, along the Hauptstrasse. (this is the top of my mudmap…the road from Fechenbach)

On page 10 of the book there is a copy of the map on which this survey is based. It is quite “dense” with lots of markings and I wanted to simplify it and get some idea of whether people were clustered based on occupation as well as how close together the emigrants lived. Even though Dorfprozelten is a small village, it seemed useful to have some understanding of this. On this mudmap I’ve given each occupation a different colour as per the code on the bottom right. Houses from which the emigrants came are outlined with an ochre-coloured box.

By the way, it is worth noting that the current church is not the one which existed when our ancestors lived there, however the beautiful stone christening font dates back to 1625.

I hope you find it useful to understand the lie of the land, so to speak.

Dorf map sketch2 crop

Dorfprozelten am Main Teil II. Veh, G, Benedict Press, 2002 (this is my “bible” for historical research on Dorfprozelten around the time the emigrants came to Australia).

Also see: Dorfprozelten am Main: Ein Dorf im Wandel seiner 1000Jährigen Geschichte. Veh, G, Benedict Press 1995.

Dorfprozelten Facebook page

Last week I started a Facebook Group for all the descendants of the Dorfprozelten Diaspora -all those emigrants who left Dorfprozelten to head to new lands.

The key focus will likely be on the descendants of those who came to Australia but other emigrants’ descendants are also welcome to join as are current Dorfprozelten residents.

It’s a closed group but just ask to join and you will be welcome. When you sign up why not add which family you’re connected with so others know. Which reminds me I need to do the same and also invite all the Kunkel descendants.

We’ve already got some photos and documents shared with the group. Great to see!

This is the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/541563712595845/

Zöller/Zeller Family Reunion – 16 November 2013

Image from Microsoft Office Clip Art.

Image from Microsoft Office Clip Art.

I’ve been asked by Paul Davis aka TravelingMan to publicise a reunion of the Zöller/Zeller family descended from Franz Ignaz Zöller and Catherine Beutel. Also descendants of Franz Joseph Xaver Zöller, brother of Ignaz, whose children Joseph, Caroline and Mary Rosalie, all came to Queensland, living in Chinchilla and Toowoomba/Drayton respectively.

Paul is the contact for the reunion so please contact him directly on the email or mobile below. Alternatively you can leave a comment on this post.

We are proposing a get together for all the Zeller descendant of Franz Ignaz & Catherine Zeller and also Franz Johann Xavier Zeller in Australia to be held on Saturday the 16th of November from about 10:30am to approx 2:30pm at Williams Park Cecil Crescent Highfields (near Toowoomba)
We are endeavoring to get access to a nearby Scout Hall in case of rain but the park has some tables wood bbq’s, shade and toilet facilities but would suggest you bringing fold up chairs and a picnic lunch as standard.
I am endeavoring to set a computer and scanner and would be good if you could bring any photographs you may have with you.
Feel free to pass this on to any Zeller descendants
An idea of those who are interested would help also, we will probably ask people to attend with name tags showing who they are descendant from and who they are of course
Paul Davis0402450565
travelingman [at] bigpond [dot] com

Image from Shutterstock collection.

Image from Shutterstock collection.

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. http://ww2.toowoombarc.qld.gov.au/gravefinder

Tips for locating German ancestral places

I read about this blog post today in the “We are Saving Stories” Daily. It sourced a blog post from Family Search regarding finding the villages of our German ancestors. While those with Dorfprozelten ancestry already know the answer to this question I thought it might be useful to repost the link here for anyone who wants to have a play, or who is still searching: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/german-village-ancestor/

The following useful sites mentioned in the post provide additional information on Dorfprozelten when the name is entered:

Fuzzy Gazetteer http://isodp.hof-university.de/fuzzyg/query/

German Historical Gazetter: http://gov.genealogy.net/search. Within the boxes it gives an option to click on the wiki link and thence to the genealogy forum for the area. Do give it a try.

Geonames search: http://geonames.nga.mil/ggmagaz/. This will give you the village’s coordinates and also map location.

I’d like to acknowledge with thanks, that these links were brought to my attention by Saving Stories and Family Search.


Welcome! Wilkommen!

Welcome to my new blog about the Dorfprozelten immigrants to Australia. I know there are many emigrants from Dorfprozelten to north America as well and while the focus here is on Australia, if you have “Dorf” ancestry please do get in touch by leaving a comment etc. Perhaps you’d even like to write a story of your ancestors for the blog.

In Australia, German immigrants are traditionally associated with the Lutheran religion. This is not the case with those from Dorfprozelten where the primary religion is Roman Catholicism as it is across much of Bavaria. This is an important distinguishing characteristic among these migrants.

I started this separate blog as my Dorfprozelten page on Family History Across the Seas has been one of my most successful ones. It’s also provided links between family members which has made me pleased. It also means I get to learn more about the families <wink>. Please make sure you read the comments on that page to see if anyone has been in touch about your family.

My plan in the first instance is to upload stories I’ve written for other reasons which may not be readily available to you. If these are your families, you may find that I’ve inadvertently made a mistake as you will know the detail of your family better than I do, especially as I haven’t been able to purchase many certificates for these emigrants. If you find a mistake please leave a message in the comments.

Beneath the header images you will see a number of tabs which will tell you a bit more about me, about this blog and why I started this Dorfprozelten research. The reference tab also lists a number of very useful sources for anyone chasing ancestors from the village. Some are specific and some are more general but either way there’s much to be learned.

What are the images that will shuffle as you change from page to page? Well they are ones I took during a 2003 visit to Dorfprozelten. Some don’t translate well to the panorama format, and some aren’t a great standard, but are probably still worth looking at for those with ancestry there.

And if there’s some kind soul out there who has an urge to translate any of the stories into German, I’d be eternally grateful as my German skills are decidedly rusty and inadequate to the task.