My goal from searching the online German newspapers was, optimistically, to find more about my George Kunkel, but also to try to clarify the emigration of Franz Ignaz Zöller and his family, and potentially also his brother, Franz Joseph Xaver Zöller.
In the way of things these are the very questions which remain unanswered after all the trawling through papers.
However what I found most interesting of all was how much before the start of the voyage, the families left Dorfprozelten. Most of the late 1854/early 1855 emigrants travelled on two ships, the Peru and the Commodore Perry, with a few side-shunted onto the Boomerang.
I don’t intend to go into those voyages here but you can learn more either from Jenny Paterson’s excellent articles[i] or my presentation to the 2003 Congress[ii] which focused on those who settled in Moreton Bay. In terms of specific Dorfprozelten families in Australia, you can refer to the articles I submitted to the QFHS Q150 project about those who arrived in Queensland pre-Separation in 1859 (available as a book or on CD)[iii].
Search locally or by the nearest train station
Searching the newspapers for Stadtprozelten (the larger village just a couple of kilometres up the road) as well as Dorfprozelten was helpful as their departure notices often referred to that village. The train also left from there and if I’ve deciphered the abbreviations correctly the notices also say exactly when the emigrants were leaving from the Stadtprozelten station. The trains also carried emigrants from other nearby villages like Oberaltenbuch, some of whose families were tied in with the Dorfprozelten people by marriage or friendship. You can imagine the pall of sadness which would have filled the atmosphere with so many leaving at once.
In many cases I’ve been able to find the notices published in the Aschaffenburger Zeitung (AZ) which notified the creditors that someone was about to leave. For some reason these seem to have been concentrated in that paper while the date and time of departure were advertised in the Würzburger Abendblatt.
The single most noticeable factor about the newspaper articles is the early departure of the emigrants from their home town. I had imagined they would leave much closer to the sailing date of their ship but in fact most left months earlier than that.
For example, the Peru was scheduled to sail from Hamburg around 16th December[iv] though it apparently left on 17 January[v]. The newspaper notices indicate that the Dorfprozelten people who travelled on this ship actually left by train between 6 September and 10 October 1854. They didn’t arrive in Sydney until 23 May 1855 so they had been on the move for at least eight months! Small wonder they were in poor condition when they arrived in Australia.
The Commodore Perry and Boomerang travellers didn’t fare much better. They left home by train between 2 October and 28 October and their ship left Liverpool on 11 January, and with a stop in Launceston, they arrived in Sydney on 26 April 1855. An overall journey of six months minimum. The Boomerang passengers (including Carl Diflo and family, and Joseph Zöller and family) were in much the same position.
Each time I read of the German emigrants I am struck by the difference in how the Irish and British migrants were treated by comparison. Irrespective of the rules and regulations, it is evident they were not protected as well or treated as well in their overall journey.
Saying “I Do”
It’s apparent from the advertisements that some of the emigrants who were married by the time of arrival in Australia, were still single on departure. As they needed to be married in order to gain government assistance, it’s likely they married en route, either in their port of departure or in one of the cities along the way.
Couples who fall into this category are: Eugen Nebauer and Caroline Umscheid; Clara Rosina Günzer and Johann Hock; Andrew Diflo and Juliana Löhr; Carl Wörner and Ludovica Seus. Others who married fellow emigrants soon after arrival were Georg Günzer and Hildagard Hock; and Franz Joseph Dümig and Cecilia Füller.
Australia or Elsewhere
In some cases the newspaper advertisement mentions the person was emigrating to Australia, in other cases nothing is mentioned. For a small group who left in 1861 including Eleanore Löhr, Anna Maria Umscheid, Franz Joseph Dümig (later Dimmock) and Cäcelie Füller (Cecilia later married Dümig), their notified destination was Brazil. What happened that they changed their minds and ended up in Australia? I found this change of destination particularly poignant in the case of Dümig and Füller because of their tragic story in Australia.
Did those who were also listed in the same advertisement still go on to Brazil? Did Johann Philip Brand, his wife Sabina and children Alexander and Rosalia settle in Brazil or did they also re-route their emigration, perhaps to the USA. Was this the same man whose notice was in the paper in 1854? Did he change his mind but follow up later on when the children were older?
Hamburg or elsewhere
It may seem self-evident to note that if the ships on which the emigrants travelled did not leave from Hamburg, their names won’t appear on the Hamburg shipping lists (also available via LDS microfilms). Thus some of the Dorfprozelten people are listed on the Kopittke indexes while others aren’t. The latter group are mainly those who left Liverpool on the Boomerang or the Commodore Perry. Those who were assisted by government subsidy will appear on the immigration records at the Australian end, but the single, unassisted, emigrants who sailed from another port won’t appear at either end of the migration experience. Perhaps this is why I can’t find my Georg Kunkel? And perhaps also Franz Joseph Xaver Zöller and daughter Mary Rosalie?
This is where the newspapers are invaluable as they provide lists of names of single people who may have come to Australia (examples include Salome Seus and Gabriel Seus). These single emigrants may be related to others in the assisted emigrant category.
The additional benefit from the newspaper notices is that with the 1860s emigrants, the papers also state the emigrant’s age, sometimes their occupation, and also their parents’ names, especially invaluable if you have no other way of determining it, or linking them to the person you’ve found in Australia.
In most cases the news notices indicate the person’s “place” however this can be deceptive as it sometimes appears to be where the person was then living and working. For example Michael Joseph Diflo is from Dorfprozelten, yet that is not a “name of the area” and with two other Diflos (Andrew and Carl Diflo) emigrating from Fechenbach that would be where I’d be looking for his birth. Michael Joseph Diflo appears in the papers and on the Kopittke indexes yet I have not found him on the unassisted passengers to Victoria or New South Wales, or in the death indexes. What happened to him I wonder?
In some case the emigrant’s occupation is listed and that differs from what they state on their arrival to Australia. Hardly surprising since they had been recruited for their experience with the wine industry. In fact many had probably had some experience of this working as day labourers in Bavaria. The single people fared less well I think, because they were more often recruited to work as shepherds on the vast and distant areas of Queensland. It must have been tremendously confronting after life in a village and it certainly took its toll on some of the men and their families, the Dümig family being the most noticeable.
Other News Items
And then there were those who appeared to be in the news generally and this is where I found Ignaz Zöller. Unfortunately with my German skills on life-support this will take some time to translate.
Or my discovery of my Kunkel ancestor’s liquidation issues for the Fass Guesthouse, which I wrote about last year.
Using the digitised newspapers in time-consuming and often tedious. More importantly it’s also unpredictable. Lateral searching is critical and enthusiastic researchers may benefit from reading the paper, page by page, as with a microfilm. Given the print is in Fraktur type you might also find this webpage a helpful guide. Ultimately you’ll recognise the format of your ancestor’s name, making it easier to find that needle in the haystack.
While the Australian colonies were generally happy to have the hard-working Germans as immigrants (at least until World War I), it can’t always be said that the migration experience was a happy one for the immigrants themselves, as their stories attest. Although they have left a strong legacy in Australia, I often wonder whether the first generation wished they’d stayed at home.
[i] Burwood and District Family History Group‘s magazine, Ances-Tree includes invaluable articles by Jenny Paterson on the background of the Vinedresser Immigration Scheme to the colony of NSW, which then also included Moreton Bay (Queensland). I strongly recommend that anyone with an interest in the vinedresser immigrants seek out these publications at their nearest reference or family history library. (click on the link to see all their articles.)
[ii] They weren’t all Lutherans – A case study of a small group of German Catholics who emigrated to Australia from Dorfprozelten, Bavaria. Cass, P. Published in the Proceedings of the 11th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry, Darwin, 2006.
[iii] Queensland Founding Families, Queensland Family History Society CD. This is available in both CD and book. It includes a large number of stories submitted by P Cass on the Dorfprozelten Germans in Queensland pre-Separation in 1859.