Konrad HAUSER 1820-?

Konrad was the third of six sons in the family of eleven children born on 28th October 1820 to Christina nee Reuter, the wife of farm hand Konrad Hauser. One of the girls and two of the boys died in infancy but the eight who survived placed a heavy impost on the limited finances of the family and on the health of their mother, who died in 1841 at the age of 46.

Konrad junior completed his military service and was given permission to marry in 1847, when he was 27 years of age. His bride was Anna Maria, born on 31st July 1824 to the tailor David Volk and Katharina nee Studt, who was also from a tailoring family. The lack of employment opportunities prompted Konrad to go to England, where industrial progress was creating a strong demand for labour. They went to Hull where Anna Maria gave birth in 1849 to a daughter, whom they named Margaretha. Then they went to Coventry where a second daughter, Katharina, arrived early in 1851. The family went back to Nieder-Weisel in 1852 as Margaretha became sick; she died there on 27th June.

There was still no suitable work available in the village and Konrad took his little family back to England, where they settled in Leicester. A third daughter, Elisabetha, was born there late in 1853 and a fourth, named for the little girl who died, in July 1856. By now, the mass migration from the village to the Ballarat goldfields was reaching a peak and Konrad joined one of the groups going to Victoria. Anna Maria took the three girls back to Nieder-Weisel, while Konrad sailed from Liverpool with 40 other villagers on board the vessel “Sunshine” on 5th November 1856, arriving in Melbourne on 29th January 1857.

The group, comprising members of the Adami, Bill, Bellof, Geibel, Heinz, Hildebrand, Klippel, Lemp, Lenz, Matthawus, Schimpf and Winter families, went initially to Ballarat to contact earlier arrivals before going on to other “diggings”, particularly those around Smythes Creek to the west.

Anna Maria got to Nieder-Weisel late in 1856. She established a home for her three daughters but 18 months later, the second Margaretha died; she was buried in the Nieder-Weisel cemetery on Wednesday 19th May 1858. When this news reached Victoria late in that year, Konrad made plans to go back to the village.

There is no record that Konrad and Anna Maria had more children in Nieder-Weisel. Nor is there any record of the deaths of either the parents or the children still living in 1856. This suggests that the couple may have re-emigrated to North America as other returning couples had done.

Konrad’s brother, Johann Konrad (born 1825) claimed to have been married in Victoria to a woman from Wilsbach-by-Glasenbach. A son, said to have been born at sea, was baptised in Nieder-Weisel on Friday, 13th July 1856. Perhaps the two brothers returned together (on the “George Marshall”).

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