Konrad KNIPPER 1813-1871 & Anna Margaretha GERLACH 1820-?

Konrad was a direct descendant of Michael Knipper of Eberstadt who brought his wife Sarah to settle in Nieder-Weisel in 1622, paying 7½ florins entry tax for the privilege. The early Knippers served as court officials and court jurors but in recent times their social standing had declined. Konrad, father of this Konrad, was a casual farm hand and his son tried to support his family by working as a mason, though he wasn’t properly trained in the craft. He had married Anna Margaretha Gerlach, 24 year old daughter of casual farmhand Johann Jakob Gerlach and Elisabetha nee Hauser on 15th December 1844.

After their first child had died before he could be baptised, the couple went to England to try to improve their fortunes. A second son, Jakob, was born in their home at 6 Buckle Street Whitechapel on 21st October 1847, and a daughter, Maria in May 1849. The babies were baptised in St George’s Church in London, but Maria died in her first year. Konrad then took his family back to Nieder-Weisel, where Anna Margaretha gave birth to another son, Johann Georg, on 2nd November 1850.

Conditions in the village had not improved at all, and Konrad decided to join the mass emigration to the recently reported goldfields in the colony of Victoria. They travelled with the first sizeable group to leave the village – 30 Nieder-Weiselerns who left Liverpool on “Glenmanna” on 28th October 1854, reaching Melbourne on 14th February 1855.

Some of the party moved on from Ballarat after 12 months or so; in particular, Konrad went over to the goldfields around Stawell and Ararat. In the latter township, Anna Margaretha produced a son, Christoph, on 14th December 1858. Perhaps this brought a change of fortune to Konrad; in any event, he and Anna Margaretha returned to Nieder-Weisel shortly afterwards. Then 40 years of age, Anna Margaretha became pregnant again; she gave birth to a second daughter, Katharina, on 2nd October 1861.

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