South West Germans to Eastern Australia pre 1890

South West Germans to Eastern Australia pre 1890
We are deeply indebted and appreciative of this fine Research by Jenny Paterson,
Croydon NSW Australia 2002 (All extracts or parts of this research which may be used
by family or other researchers MUST credit the work to Jenny Paterson.)
Marriage of Wilhelm Schubart and Catharina Martin
There were a number of betrothed couples sailing on the Triton who married in Hamburg on
16 November 1852, only a few days before the departure of the ship from Hamburg on 20
November. Altogether, thirteen Baden couples were married in Hamburg on 16 November
1852 before sailing on the Triton.
The reason they could not marry at home had to do with the restrictive marriage laws which
were then in force in Baden and other German states. The aim of the restrictive laws was to try
and cap the rising numbers of poor families in the very bad economic conditions of the mid-19th
century in the German states. In effect, the authorities made it very expensive to get a
marriage licence, and if a couple had not been issued with a marriage licence, the priests and
pastors were not permitted to marry them. That is why you find so many illegitimacies in this
area in this period, and also why you find so many paternity declarations in the baptismal books
of the various churches. The premarital children of a betrothed couple were retrospectively
legitimised when the parents had finally scraped together the money for a marriage licence and
the man’s citizenship papers, and were able to marry. In Baden, at least, the fathers were
required to declare their paternity after the birth of each child. They had to go to the priest or
pastor with two witnesses and make a declaration, and the priest, the father and the witnesses
all signed the declaration, which was written into the baptismal book. When the couple married
at a later date, the mother’s surname was crossed out in the baptismal record and the father’s
substituted. The church books of this area have lots of paternity declarations. If the couple
were of mixed religion, the child was sometimes changed to the religion of the father at the time
the couple got married. These harsh laws were repealed in 1862, as they were obviously
counterproductive. Couples were not willing to put off their relationship and their children for
the years it would take them to save the money to get married, and consequently, the
illegitimacy rate soared.
The Government-assisted foreign immigrants to NSW between 1849 and 1856 had to be
married. The regulations for this category of assisted immigration was posted on 7 April 1847
and in a modified form on 17 Oct 1853, and they were published in the NSW Government
Gazette. NSW landowners had to apply to the Government for permission to bring in
“labourers from the Continent of Europe”. Marriage was a requisite. The Government bounty
was only offered for married couples and their families, and the man had to have an
occupation not obtainable from Britain. That is why they arrived as Vinedressers or wine
coopers, even though many had other occupations at home (millers, wheelwrights, bakers,
tailors, carters, shoemakers, etc).
Wilhelm Schubart’s Hamburg marriage record says he is a Weinbauer (wine grower), so he
may have been one in reality, or he may have had another occupation. There is probably more
information available in the Epfenbach church records.
A word about religion. The Immigration Board’s list of assisted immigrants on the Triton after
its arrival on 29 April 1853 shows that Wilhelm was a Protestant and Catharina was Catholic.
The information on Hamburg marriages was found in a German article in the journal of the
Baden-Wurttemberg family history society. The Journal title is Sudwestdeutsche Blatter fur
Familien – und Wappenkunde and the article was published in 1984. The author, Karl Werner
Kluber, is now deceased. The translation of the lines on Wilhelm Schubart is as follows:
Schubart, Wilhelm, from Epfenbach (church book reads Ipfenbach), wine grower,
legitimate son of Johann (Schubart) and Barbara nee Ehrhardt, married Hamburg
16.11.1852, Roman Catholic, to Catharina Martin from Ipfenbach, legitimate
daughter of Franz (Martin) and Apollonia nee Sanderbeck, accompanied by a
premarital baby Schubart (no given names).
You will note that errors in these records may be worse than misspelled
place names as Wilhelm’s parents do not match with the names on the
Board’s list of the Triton .
Wilhelm’s Parents
The Board’s list has parents Georg Peter (with presumption that his surname was
Schubart) and Maria Margaretha (no maiden name recorded). This information
would have come from his certificate of character, a document which the
government-assisted immigrants had to bring with them. This certificate (Zeugnis)
was in German on one side, with an English translation on the other and was
supposed to be filled out in the home town by the Mayor or pastor. It gave details
of the man’s parents, date of birth and occupation and the birth dates of his wife
and children, as well as a health report. The certificate also gave the name of the
NSW Landowner who introduced him and was signed by the man on the German
side of his contract. The English side was signed by the British Consul in
Frankfurt, attesting to the accuracy of the translation.
First Problem. The same birth year of 1825 is given for Franz Wilhelm and the
man who is supposed to be his father Georg Joseph , he may have been a brother
or a cousin of Wilhelm but could hardly be his father. When there were related
families in the same town you can often find the same given name for uncles,
nephews and cousins (same with females) and it is very hard to sort them out.
Second Problem. There is no Ober Hof in Muller’s Gazetteer, but there are lots
of places called Oberhof in modern Baden-Wurtemmburg. The one that Georg
Joseph was born in was probably the one that is now part of the council of
Dielheim in the Rhine-Neckar district. So I think Georg Joseph Schubart was born
at Oberhof near SChatthausen.
Their introducer/employer, John Porteus
The introducer’s name is not written in the last column of the Board’s list for
assisted immigrant ships in 1849-50 or 1852-53. But in copies of letters by HH
Browne – the Agent for Immigration from 1851 onwards – to the Colonial Secretary
(SRNSW 4/4608-22. Immigration. Copies of letters sent to the Colonial Secretary
re immigration to NSW 1841-1859, CGS 5248). The year 1853 is in 4/4616.
Browne’s letter recommending bounty payment on Godfrey Angst and Wilhelm
Schubert and their families, assisted immigrants from the Triton for Mr John
Porteus is letter no.53/205 on p206 of that volume. Here again the son George is
said to be 10 months old.
Not much is known about Porteus, except that I have come across him in books
about the Hunter area. Unfortunately, the fact that their name is linked to Porteus
in official records, does not guarantee that Porteus actually employed them, even
though the regulations required that the landowner employ all foreign immigrants
under his permissions for a full two years. In fact, the immigrants seem to have
been shuffled round a good deal, especially in 1855.
Report on the Triton from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on
Saturday April 30 1853.
April 29 – Triton, Russian ship, 493 tons, Capt GC Nylond, from Hamburgh
November 26, Cowes January 18. Passengers – 130 in Steerage. Surgeon
Superintendant, Mr Caloo. Dreutler, Kinchner and Co, Agents.
The Triton was detained for several weeks in the Chanel with head winds, and had
nothing but light easterly airs from the meridian of the Cape. The Emigrants which
she brings from Hamburgh and principally sheep shearers and vine trimmers, and
are all under engagement to serve employers who hired them for a term of two
years. No cases of sickness during the voyage with one exception, namely, that of
a lady who died while the ship was laying at Cowes of gastric fever. Four births
took place: one of the infants dying shortly after being born. The Triton brings out
an assortment of merchandise, wines and spirits.
The same article also includes the merchandise on board. (pat)