Johann Georg SCHIMPF 1841-1912

Johann Georg was the eldest of three sons born to Anna Elisabetha Haub, wife of Georg Schimpf; four daughters completed the family but the second and the youngest died in infancy, as did the youngest brother. The eldest daughter, at the age of only 19, found herself a partner who had completed his military service and had permission to marry; she went to the altar in November 1852. With only one 8 year-old daughter to consider, Georg joined a party of villagers going out to Victoria to see what opportunities were there; he took the 16 year-old Johann Georg with him, leaving a younger boy, 13 year-old Konrad, with Anna Elisabetha.

Father and son travelled by rail link to Hamburg, where they took passage on the “Luise”. With 20 other migrants from their village, mainly of Georg’s age group, they cleared port on 11th October 1854 and endured 19 weeks in the over-crowded and ever-moving accommodation; the discomfort finally ended on 23rd February 1855 when they tied up at a wharf at Williamstown.

Unable to speak any English, the new arrivals set about the daunting task of finding employment and shelter in this hot and dry land. Most learned to become “diggers” at Ballarat before radiating out to other developing goldfields to the west and to the north-east. The irregular mails brought Georg the news of the death of his wife in May 1856 and of his other son in October 1856. Doubtless, Anna Elisabetha junior would have been taken into the home of her married sister but Georg nevertheless felt compelled to return to the village and straighten out the family’s affairs. Johann Georg saw little advantage in returning with his father, and so he continued prospecting on the Victorian, and later on the New South Wales, goldfields.

A number of the later arrivals from Nieder-Weisel had gone to the rich fields around Beechworth and from there into southern New South Wales. Another Georg Schimpf, distantly related to Johann Georg, is known to have gone across the Murray prospecting in the late 1860s; Johann Georg may have been with him. By 1870 he made his way to the Gundagai goldfields, on the Murrumbidgee, where he met and married Anne Kennedy. The couple moved around the area for the next few years, their children being born in Adelong and Jugiong: Elizabeth Ann, James Thomas, Frederick John and Mary Ann in 1871, 1873, 1874 and 1875. There was then a large gap until Katherine Elizabeth arrived to complete their family in 1886.

Georg remained in Adelong, where he worked on farms there and in the surrounding areas. It is likely that Georg was the only Schimpf who made his home in New South Wales and that present-day residents of that state with this unusual name are descended from Georg and Anne – the name is now, however, spelt Shimpf, the letter “c” having been lost at some stage.

George died on 12 June 1912, and was buried in the Adelong cemetery.

View Johann Georg's Family Chart

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