Katharina GIEHL 1832-1905

Katharina’s family surname came from her maternal grandmother Anna Margaretha, daughter of Johannes Giehl and Elisabetha Michel. Johannes was a shoemaker who may have been from Gambach. There were three children born to liaisons formed with three different men by Anna Margaretha. The eldest, who became Katharina’s father Konrad Giehl, was a son of an itinerant hat-maker working in Butzbach. He and Katharina’s mother, Maria Katharina Bill, did not marry. They had three daughters – Katharina, born 27 Nov 1832; Margaretha and Maria Dorothea – before Konrad died suddenly in 1837. Their mother married Johannes Gross later that year but he did not give the children his name.

Katharina was confirmed in 1846 – still described in the official records as the illegitimate child of Maria Katharina Bill. It is hardly surprising that the three Giehl sisters elected to leave the village soon after they were confirmed. Katharina was in the English industrial town of Hull, Yorkshire by about 1848. She paired off with Georg Jung, 18 year old son of the trader Ambrosius Jung and his wife Anna Margaretha Hildebrand. The couple had a son, Christopher, in 1849 and three more children in the next six years; the details are not known.

In 1856 Georg decided to immigrate to Victoria but Katharina became pregnant again. She went back to the village whilst Georg and Christopher embarked on “Crimea” for Melbourne. Katharina produced her second daughter on 18th August 1857. Pastor Kayser did not accept the account of her marriage in Hull in 1851 to Georg and the baby’s name was recorded as Katharina Giehl (Jung). Katharina made her farewells to her mother and friends, and left Nieder-Weisel for the last time in April or May 1858; no record of her journey has yet been found.

Katharina joined her husband in Sandhurst – known today as Bendigo – in which region she passed the rest of her life. She gave birth to a son, Thomas Henry, in May 1859. Another son, George, followed in 1861 and then she had a third daughter, Elizabeth Margaret, in 1864. Georg continued to earn a living as a miner and, after the birth of Charles Francis in 1866 he moved to the diggings at near-by Golden Gully, where Conrad was born in 1868. A fourth daughter, Margaret Mary Jane, was born in 1871 and an eighth son, John, in 1873 completed a round dozen; the last two were born in Sandhurst.

Georg later set himself up as a cab proprietor in the suburb of Kangaroo Flat and the two lived out their lives there. Georg was naturalised in 1897, but Katharina decided to apply for full citizens’ rights; she made her own application in 1901, six months after their children and grandchildren had gathered to help celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the couple’s marriage. She received letters of naturalisation in January 1902 and lived the last few years of her life as an Australian citizen.

Katharina Giehl died in September 1905; she was a month short of her 74th birthday. Georg survived her by two years

View Katharina's Family Chart

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