Jakob GEIBEL 1819-1870 & Susannah ZIMMER 1825-?

Jakob was descended from Johann Konrad Geibel and his wife, Anna Dorothea nee Sender, who were migrants to the village – probably from the old Roman town of Echzell – at the turn of the 17th century. The Geibels were locksmiths and their special skills were passed from father to son, through Friedrich to Johann Jakob to Johann Jakob to Jakob, born in Nieder-Weisel on 20th April 1819. Jakob and his older brother Konrad carried on the family craft, which normally would have ensured that each brother was able to support his family in reasonable comfort. Jakob however decided to be part of the adventure out to the Victorian goldfields.

With his wife, Susanna nee Zimmer and their 7 year old daughter, Katharina, he left the village with the largest group ever to emigrate. (Susanna had produced another daughter twelve months after their marriage on 30th August 1846, but this child died just after she turned 1). The trio, accompanied by another Jakob Geibel, a son of Jakob’s brother Konrad, sailed from the English port of Liverpool aboard “Sunshine” on 5th November 1856 and reached Melbourne on 29th January 1857. They left one of their Nieder-Weisel friends in a watery grave in the Southern Ocean – Konrad Belloff died of food poisoning a fortnight from their destination.

The Geibels went with the rest of their group to Ballarat, and then further on to Smythes Creek to the south-west. The nephew found romance there and married a girl from their village. Sadly, his bride died in giving birth to their son in 1861; it was fortunate that Susanna, who was still only 31, was able to take over the task of rearing the 3 day-old baby. Johannes, a younger brother of Susanna, was in Victoria with his wife Katharina nee Haub from 1855 till 1858.

The family returned to the village in 1862. Their daughter Katharina married Christian Reuss of Dorheim on 5th November 1868. Jakob died on 26th May 1873, aged 54. The date of Susanna’s death is not known.

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