THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Christoph, born 28th October 1835, was the third of six consecutive sons - two of whom did not survive - born to the wife of Philipp Hildebrand IV, Anna Margaretha nee Maas. Although Philipp was from a family of brewers and Anna Margaretha was from one of the families that had served in administrative positions in Nieder-Weisel for generations, their sons must have come to the conclusion that there was a limited future for them in the village, as all but the youngest, Konrad, emigrated; Johann Georg went to America, Philipp and Christoph to Australia.
Philipp decided that he and his fiancee should be married before they left the village so Christoph went on ahead; it may be that he was avoiding his military service. He travelled on "Sunshine" with 40 other villagers, including his long time sweetheart Katharina Heinz, born 12th November 1836, the eldest daughter of the linen-weaver Frederich Heinz II and Anna Katharina Loh. Her only brother, Jakob born 1833, had gone to Victoria with the first large group of Nieder-Weiselerns to leave the village, late in 1854; it may have been his report that prompted Katharina and Christoph to follow suit.
"Sunshine" sailed from Liverpool on 5th November 1856, a week before Katharina's 20th birthday. Christoph was able to share this anniversary with her - she was shown on the passengers' list as his wife. On reaching Melbourne on 29th January 1857 they went first to Ballarat. Some of their compatriots, including Ambrose Klippel, went north to the goldfields at Beechworth. Christoph and Katharina did likewise; they formalised their relationship there in 1860. They were married on 13th April in the local Church of England and Ireland in the presence of Ambrose Haub and Konrad Winter, two other immigrants from Nieder-Weisel.
Christoph and Katharina made their first home in Bowmans Forest near Yackandandah. A boy, Konrad, was born in 1861 and a girl, Elizabeth Christina, in 1862. Konrad died the next year and the family moved back to Rocky Lead, near the mining centre of Daylesford. A second girl, Katharina, arrived in 1864. Christoph may have struck it rich on these diggings.
Philipp Hildebrand and his wife reached Melbourne in August 1857 but they went to the goldfields at Smythesdale and there is no evidence that the two brothers met in Victoria; Philipp took his family back to Nieder-Weisel in 1864. On the other hand, Katharina's brother Jakob spent most of his early years in the colony around Ballarat, and probably did meet up with her when she first arrived.
Christoph and Katharina took their children back to Nieder-Weisel in 1865 or 1866. Katharina had a daughter Christina in 1867 (who would live in the village for 81 years). A son, Christoph, was born 1873, another son, Jakob, in 1877 and a daughter, Anna Christina in 1881, when Katharina was 45.
Christoph died in Nieder-Weisel on 4th April 1904.