THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
One hour before midnight on Friday 13th of October 1837 Katharina nee Krausgrill, wife of farmhand Konrad Bill the thirteenth gave birth to their fourth child. The date was not propitious - to the disappointment of each parent the baby was a girl, their fourth consecutive daughter. On the following Sunday, they took the child to be baptised at the font of the parish church, where she received her given name from her god-mother, Anna Margaretha Schimpf. Two years later, the focus of interest in the Bill family shifted to the newest arrival - a son - and Anna Margaretha became just one of four little girls playing around the home. Five other children were born during the next ten years but four of the younger ones died.
The focus shifted back to Anna Margaretha and her sisters during the unsettled days of the 1850s. A large proportion of parents in the village became increasingly apprehensive about the safety of the nubile daughters in their families and decided to send them away. Anna Margaretha and Christina, eighteen months older, were of particular concern to their parents and, in 1854, Konrad decided to take them to Victoria as part of the first organised group, totalling about thirty people, to leave Nieder-Weisel for the antipodes.
The group sailed from Liverpool on 28th October 1854 on board "Glenmanna", which got them to Melbourne on 14th February 1855. They made their way to Ballarat and some, including the Knippers and the Bills, moved on further to the diggings around Ararat. In this bustling township Konrad's daughters made contact with two brothers who had arrived in the colony a few months earlier; they had been born in England but their parents were from Ostheim, near Nieder-Weisel. Christina made a love match with Heinrich Miechel, the elder brother, while Anna Margaretha and the younger brother Philipp did likewise.
Having achieved his objective, Konrad returned to Germany. A Konrad Bill, 50, was on "Empire of the Sea" when she sailed for Liverpool on 2nd February 1861. In 1866 he was living in Hinterborngasse; he was known as 'Tambour Bill'.
(Two older daughters confirmed in Nieder-Weisel did not marry there - perhaps they also emigrated).