THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
The Dern family was indigenous to the village of Lang-Gons, several km north of Nieder-Weisel, on the far side of Butzbach. Heinrich Dern (born Lang-Gons 28th December 1817), a winder by trade, moved into Nieder-Weisel in about 184O; he formed a liaison with Christina Loh (born 12th March 1815), who was a daughter of the blacksmith Christoph Loh and Anna Maria nee Kissler. Two children were born to this couple - Katharina 1841-1843, and Christina on 15th July 1843, seven weeks after her sister died. The parents were married in Nieder-Weisel on 21st April 1844 and Christina was thereby legitimised. Three more children followed in the next four years: Georg 1844-1845, Christoph 1846, and Margaretha 1848. On 21st November 1854 a sixth child was born, Johannes Loh - this must have been a mistake, as Heinrich signed the baptism register as father of the child.
Heinrich was a son of Johannes Dern and Maria nee Bergk. His sister Katharina also moved to Nieder-Weisel, where she married Konrad Haub. Her husband died and Katharina took her daughter, Katharina, to Victoria in 1856. Katharina senior re-married in Ballarat in 1864; the godfather of a son born in 1862 was Christoph Dern, her nephew, who was confirmed in Ballarat in 186O at the age of fourteen, as was the Nieder-Weisel custom. It was also the custom for an adolescent relative of the same sex be asked to sponsor a new-born baby - Christoph was 18 when Christoph Haub/Jung was baptised.
Heinrich's other sister Christina also settled in Nieder-Weisel; she married Jakob Krausgrill on 29th June 1841, and her daughter Christina born in 1846 was a member of the 186O confirmation class which included Christoph Dern.
Unfortunately the shipping records have yet to be found, but it seems likely that Christina Dern and her brother were part of a family group which came to Ballarat in the late 185Os - there was another Dern group there at this time, offspring of Anton Dern of Lang-Gons and Anna Elisabetha Hauser, who was from Nieder-Weisel. This migration must have happened after Whitmonday in 1857 (when Christina was confirmed in Nieder-Weisel) and mid-186O. The Krausgrills, whose daughter Anna Margaretha was a member of the 186O class, arrived early in 1858.
In 1866, Christina Dern gave birth to a daughter, Louisa Dern, in Yandoit, north of Daylesford, and in 1868 she gave birth there to a son, John Lewis Henry Dern - no father's name was given for these events. This is the last record that has yet been found for any of these three.
A transcription of the baptism certificate of the Jung child was entered in the Family Book in the Nieder-Weisel parish in 1872, indicating that one at least (perhaps all) of this Krausgrill/Dern/Jung group went back to the village in that year.
Margaret Krausgrill is known to have settled in California.
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