THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Heinrich was from a family that in happier times had enjoyed the socially important status of inn keeping in the village. His grandfather Jakob was mine host of The Lion while his great-grandfather Johann Georg had inherited The Green Tree from an earlier ancestor in about 1740. However, Heinrich was likely to inherit from his father, Johann Georg, little more than the horse and dray that enabled him to eke out a living as a carter.
On 23rd September 1838 Heinrich married Elisabetha Heinz, a daughter of another carter, Peter Heinz; at 23, she was two years younger than Heinrich. One year after their marriage, Elisabetha gave birth to a son, Johannes. She had a miscarriage in 1841 and produced a second son in March 1842, but he lived only a year. A girl, Katharina, followed in 1844 and sons Georg in 1847 and Heinrich in 1850. The birth of Margaretha in 1856 saw the completion of their family.
Many young couples were leaving the turmoil that plagued the village at this time, but few parents were prepared to consider emigrating to the other side of the world with a clutch of five children. Heinrich and Elisabetha did so, leaving Liverpool aboard "Herald" on 22nd October 1857 and reaching Port Phillip on 22nd February 1858; their messmates included two Hildebrand families, with twelve children in tow ranging in age from the infant Margaretha to the teenager Katharina. There should have been a trio of very relieved sets of parents when the 124 day voyage finally came to an end.
Two days after "Herald" docked the equally large "Queen of the East" arrived. She made up twenty-five days on "Herald", indicating that the latter ship was becalmed near the equator for many days. An even larger batch of emigrants from Nieder-Weisel was on the latter ship, making a total of more than fifty in this, the last, significant wave of migration.
Most of the new arrivals went firstly to Ballarat and, from there, to other gold-mining centres. It is probable that Heinrich and Elisabetha followed the same pattern, but this is only conjecture as no evidence of their movements has come to light. It is known, from the Nieder-Weisel records, that the children were presented for confirmation when they reached the age of 14, as was the rule in the village. This was done in Melbourne in the Lutheran Church - Katharina on 4th April 1858, George on 2nd June 1861 and Heinrich on 10th April 1864. There is no record of the death of any of the family in Victoria nor of the marriage of any of the children; it must be surmised that all the family went back to the village. Heinrich, alias 'der Prinz', was back in his home on Reutergasse by 1866. His neighbour opposite, Jakob Hildebrand VII, had also spent several years on the Victorian diggings and the pair could exchange reminiscences about their overseas adventures.
Heinrich was born 20th March 1813; Elisabetha was born 18th July 1815, and died 21st May 1870. There are no Australian descendants, but Anna Elisabetha, sister of Heinrich, had an illegitimate son,
Konrad born 1831, who emigrated to Victoria.