THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Although the name Schmidt was almost as common in Germany as its equivalent of Smith was in England, there was only a single productive Schmidt family in the cloistered village of Nieder-Weisel during the 1840s. Georg Schmidt, the only surviving son of Johann Jakob Schmidt and Anna Margaretha Haub, married Anna Juliana Reuter on 8th February 1846 when he and his bride were each 24 years of age.
Georg was a shoemaker but, as this was one of the many trades now over-crowded by the relaxation of the apprenticeship regulations in Germany, he had difficulty in earning a reasonable living. Georg took his bride to the industrial city of Bradford in Yorkshire to look for suitable work. A son was born to the couple there on 14th May 1847 and named Johannes. Georg and Anna Juliana returned home in 1849; a daughter, Katharina, was born in Nieder-Weisel on 30th November. Anna Juliana gave birth to a second son in September 1852 but the little boy was stillborn. A second daughter, Maria, arrived on 30th December 1854.
By 1856 the exodus from the village to the colony of Victoria was well under way and Georg decided to test his fortunes there. Taking only Katharina with them, the Schmidts joined a party of sixteen villagers who sailed from Liverpool on "Red Jacket" on 20th May. The ship had a pleasant and uneventful passage to Melbourne, which was reached on 11th August 1856.
Several of the Nieder-Weiselerns went on from the focal point of Ballarat to outlying diggings, and in particular, Smythesdale. Probably the Schmidts followed this pattern, but it is impossible to say as they left no records during their few years in Victoria. On 8th March 1861, Anna Juliana gave birth in Nieder-Weisel to Juliana. 'Tazettejori' Schmid was living in Bachgasse in 1866.
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