THE VILLAGE HISTORY:
Johann Georg III traced his direct ancestors to the wagon maker Nikolaus Seip, who came to the village from Griedel in the early 1700s. The generations that followed diversified into several trades and Johann Georg II became a baker. This was perhaps a result of his courtship of Elisabetha Bodenroeder, whom he married in 1835. The Bodenroeders had been providing baking and confectionery services for a century or more.
Johann Georg was the eldest surviving son; he was born on 14th January 1837. Three younger boys were also raised successfully but three of his four sisters died in infancy. Before his youngest brother was born, Johann Georg left home to join the swelling ranks of villagers looking for a better future in the New World. (There were only two immigrants named Seip who came out to Victoria - Johann Georg and a first cousin, Georg). With eight other young men he went on the just-completed railway to Hamburg and took a passage on tiny barque, which had only its name "Victoria" to recommend it. Johann Georg and his friends spent 103 cramped and boring days and nights at sea before stepping ashore at Melbourne on 21st November 1854.
Only three other emigrants from Nieder-Weisel had preceded this group, so they had very little help in finding their way around the crowded diggings. Most of the group left Ballarat after a while for the outlying goldfields around Smythes Creek. It was there that later emigrants from Nieder-Weisel caught up with them. These included a large group who were on "Glenmanna" in February 1855. Amongst them were Johannes & Juliana Hildebrand with two of their four children. The next year, a smaller group arrived on "Mindoro"; amongst them was Anna Margaretha Hildebrand with her brother Konrad.
The villagers had permission to be away from home for only two years and some of them did return to Nieder-Weisel after about this time. Johannes and Juliana went back, as did Anna Margaretha and her brother. It may be that Johann Georg returned at the same time - on 1st April 1861, Konrad married a daughter of Johannes and Juliana Hildebrand; on lst August that same year, Johann Georg Seip married Anna Margaretha Hildebrand.
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