THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Born in 1835, Anna Elisabetha was a teenager when the lawlessness in Nieder-Weisel became a serious concern. Her parents decided that she should join the other young people who began to emigrate from the village in larger numbers in the 1850s. There was also a younger girl, Katharina Elisabetha, who was due to be confirmed on Whitsunday in 1856; it was decided that she should also go. As she would be only 14, their father, Johann Konrad planned to take them with their brother Konrad Philipp to Victoria, get them settled and then return to the village to his wife, Elisabetha nee Haub, and the younger son Jakob.
Accordingly, Konrad booked passages on "Sunshine" out of Liverpool on 5th November 1856. To keep the group together, Anna Elisabetha, then 21, was registered as Konrad's wife, and the ages of the two younger children were understated so that they could stay in the family quarters. With members of the Lenz, Heinz, Hauser, Belloff, Studt, Schimpf, Matthaus, Hildebrand, Geibel, Winter and Klippel families, the Bills enjoyed a quick voyage to Port Phillip, arriving at the end of January 1857.
Konrad and his 17 year-old son went mining, while the girls found employment as domestics. From the many suitors who courted her, Anna Elisabetha, as was the custom, chose a partner from her homeland to marry. Her fiance was Friedrich Wilhelm Hahn, a son of Johannes and Louisa Hahn of Oberstein, a baker by profession but as were most migrants, a digger by occupation. The couple were married in the Lutheran Church in Ballarat on 26th September 1858 by Pastor Niquet; Johann Konrad Weickhardt of Butzbach was witness to the ceremony.
The couple settled in Ballarat where Anna Elisabetha produced two sons and two daughters during a period of six years: Katharina Luisa on 29th June 1859; Friedrich Jakob 4th October 1860; Anna Philippina 6th August 1862; Ludwig 28th March 1864. By this time, her husband had had enough of prospecting and he took his family back to Germany.
Anna Elisabetha lived for a while in Friedrich's home village of Oberstein and she gave birth to a third son, August, there on 6th March 1866. They went to Nieder-Weisel a couple of years later and Anna Elisabetha produced a sixth child there on 14th February 1869 to the delight of her mother and her father, who had returned home after his younger daughter, Katharina Elisabetha, was married in 1861. At the font where Anna Elisabetha had been baptised over 34 years before, her son received the name Johann Friedrich in the ceremony carried out by Pastor W Kayser.
Ludwig followed his father's profession of baker; he took over the business when Friedrich Wilhelm, then in his 70s, retired on a pension in the late 1890s. The youngest boy, Johann Friedrich, became a successful farmer in Nieder-Weisel.