From Dorfprozelten to Australia – new blog

When I started this blog two years ago, one of the pages tabbed under the image was “Dorfprozelten, Bavaria”. This has easily been the single biggest “hitter” on my blog, no doubt aided by the unusual name bringing it up in Google searches. It’s attracted quite a number of people with ancestry from this little village in Bavaria and it’s been a means of connecting up those researching the same families.

In the greater scheme of Australia’s migration, they are a small group – some 62 individuals in 23 family groups or alone. However the loss of these individuals, mainly over a couple of short years, must have been severely felt in their home town. They are also a little different from the general Australian perception of German immigrants, as they were Catholics not Lutherans. The majority of them were family units who arrived under New South Wales’s vinedresser assisted migration scheme. A smaller number arrived as individuals mainly contracted to work as shepherds before they arrived here.

I’ve been researching these emigrants from Dorfprozelten to Australia for about 10 years, initially in the hope they’d lead me to my George Kunkel’s arrival information. I’d also I noticed that land owners around his property in the Fifteen Mile near Murphys Creek, Queensland shared some of the same names as the Dorfprozelten immigrants. Over the years I’ve managed to confirm the connection between these families, which was largely lost to the descendants of these families. Even my reliable oral history from George’s grand-daughter suggested the families were just neighbours.

Also over the years I’ve slowly accumulated quite a bit of information on these families. I have more on those who came to Queensland (then called Moreton Bay and part of New South Wales) and less on the New South Wales immigrants. This is mainly an access issue – I’m more often in Brisbane near the Queensland archives than I am in Sydney.

For all these reasons I’ve launched another new blog called From Dorfprozelten to Australia where I’ll draw these stories together. Although the focus is on Australia I would certainly be keen to hear from anyone whose ancestors emigrated from Dorfprozelten – I know that over the years many emigrants left the village for “America”, be that USA or Canada.

One of these immigrants may be my ancestor’s brother Philip Joseph Kunkel, or perhaps Joseph Philip Kunkel, born 1840. Family stories throughout all the branches say a brother went to America and I think it likeliest he was the emigrant as he disappears from the church records. I’d really love to hear from anyone who might be descended from him.

I suspect the new blog will mainly be of interest to those with Dorfprozelten ancestry but may also interest researchers with a Bavarian background though I am unable to help with that in any specific way.

World War I Bavarian military service

Ancestry has announced the addition of Bavarian military service records for WWI.

Bavaria, Germany, WWI
Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918

Bavaria had its own military even after Germany’s unification. In this collection of rosters, look for details including rank, birth date and place, religion, occupation, parent names and more. Don’t sprechen sie deutsch? You’ll find a simple translation key to help you through the records on the main page of the collection.

I have had a brief look at them and they have a great deal of information on them. The writing style is different so that is a challenge as well but if you find a relevant name, print it off, grab a good German dictionary and persevere.
As well as searching for names I searched only by the village of Dorfprozelten where my ancestor, Georg Kunkel, came from (ie put in the village name but no surname). Only 50 names came up (it’s a small village) and many are recognisable as traditionally “of the village”. Many also carry the same surname as the emigrants who left in the 1850s so fellow descendants of Dorfprozelten emigrants may find relatives among the list. BTW I would only try this if you know you’re looking at a small village!

Sadly, Philip Joseph Kunkel (or Philip Josef Kunkel or Josef Philip Kunkel) is nowhere to be seen. Once again the name is “not of the area”. What happened to him? Did he go to North America, either USA or Canada, as rumoured.