Anna Maria SCHIMPF 1836-?

Anna Maria was the second child from the marriage of Johann Georg Schimpf I and Anna Margaretha nee Hauser; the first-born son had died in infancy. A second girl, Anna Margaretha, was born in January 1839 and the mother died eight months later. Anna Maria was then only 3 years old. Johann Georg remarried in 1841; by his second wife he had seven more children before she died in 1855. After her brief education, Anna Maria found herself in the unwanted role of nursemaid to the constant stream of new arrivals. Her father had to rely on poorly paid seasonal labouring work on one of the large farming complexes to provide even minimal living standards for his growing family.

Anna Maria had a boy friend, Ambrosius Studt, who took the brave step of going overseas to try his luck on the Victorian diggings. When he returned Anna Maria agreed to marry him and go back to the goldfields. The ceremony was held in August 1857 and the 21 year old bride set off almost at once with her groom for Liverpool, to honeymoon on the three months voyage of “Queen of the East”. They sailed on 16th November and reached Melbourne on 24th February 1858, with Anna Maria four months pregnant.

During the time they were in Ballarat, Anna Maria bore three children. The first, in July 1858, was a son whom they named for his uncle, Jakob Studt, who had also come to Victoria. To their distress, the child died before the end of the year. On 17th March 1860 a daughter, Elisabetha, arrived. She was followed in mid 1862 by a second girl, Katharina. Soon after this event, Ambrosius moved his family to Springdallah, a few km to the west. In 1864 Anna Maria became pregnant again but, before their son Adam was born, they lost their younger daughter to one of the childhood diseases rampant in those pre-inoculation days.

Ambrosius continued to move around the goldfields in search of another Eldorado, whilst Anna Maria coped as best she was able with primitive housing and the lack of variety in their diet. They were in Happy Valley by 1867 and here Anna Maria gave birth to another daughter, Mary. Once again, they had to suffer the agony of seeing their baby put to rest in a pitifully small grave in an isolated cemetery where there would be nobody to tend it.

After the loss of their third child, Ambrosius and Anna Maria returned to Nieder-Weisel with the two survivors, Elisabetha and Adam. Three sad, lonely little headstones are the only reminders of this Studt family’s adventure in Victoria.

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