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"If you ever meet a Gersbach, you're related to them!"

These were my father's words as I grew up hearing about Anton and Margaretha Gersbach, my second great-grandparents, and their son Francis (Frank), my great-grandfather!  We knew Frank as "Pargie".  He died 7 years before my birth but was always talked about with such love and affection that I feel close to him.   Our earliest photo of "Pargie" aged 24 Sydney, 1885 Then, there was his bible that always fascinated me as a child - beautifully coloured and with those faded photos of Anton and Margaretha who'd come from German to Australia.  When I started to research the family, it provided wonderful details of a large and close family!  So, it's time to start documenting what I've found in the hope that others will add to the story, correct as necessary and share any treasured photos of our Australian/German ancestors. The starting point, are two small towns on the Rhine, Eltville and Oestrich-Winkel, just over 8kms apart and not far from Frankfurt

Christina Catherine Gersbach (23 July 1872 to 20 April 1950)

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One hundred and fifty years ago, Christina Catherine Antonietta Gersbach was born at Aldavilla on the banks of the Macleay. She's the youngest of the ten children of Anton and Margaretha Gersbach. While public records show her given names as Christina Catherine, my great-grandfather's family bible records his sister's birth, on 23 July 1872, with the given names of Christina Catherine Antonietta. Christina's known to the family as "Aunty Chrissy". She's my great-grandaunt but my Dad assured his mother that I wasn't named after her!  My name was to be Margaret until Mum's close friend got in first. So Mum decided on Christine Margaret. "Grandma Woodie", Essie Woodlands (nee Gersbach), wasn't happy with the change and choice of Christine. When I was younger, I though Grandma didn't like Aunty Chrissy. I now know Grandma's name was Margaret Essie, her mother was Margaret Gersbach (nee Killion) and her grandmother was Margaretha G

September 1855: The arrival of the Gersbach's in the Kempsey area

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I've written this post to mark the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the death of our matriarch, Margaret Gersbach (nee Songen). City and Harbour of Sydney New South Wales from the height above Vaucluse, ca. 1855 [painted by G. E. Peacock] On 1 May 1855, Anton and Margaretha (Margaret) Gersbach departed from Hamburg on board the Wilhelmsburg . Also on board the ship were Anton's second cousins once removed, Joseph Gersbach,  his wife,  Margaret, and mother-in-law, Anna Maria Jacoby. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1704 The Hamburg passengers' list records Anton as 31, Margaret as 24 and their place of residence as Eltville, Nassau.  Anton's occupation is vine dresser.  You can read more about the German migration to New South Wales in the 1850s  HERE.  Anton's older brother, John, had arrived in Sydney on board the Catteaux Wattel on 9 March 1855 with his wife, Clara, and

Maria Barbara Brand - 1788 to 1851

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This week marks the one hundred and seventh anniversary of Maria Barbara Brand's death. Known as Barbara, she died on 28 October 1851 and was buried from St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church in Eltville on 31 October 1851. You can view the transcript  HERE. Barbara's the many times great grandmother of the Kempsey and St Marys Gersbach's. She's the mother of John and Anton Gersbach and my great-great-great-grandmother. Immediate family of Maria Barbara Brand Barbara was born on 19 August 1788 - the year Captain Phillip arrived in Sydney Harbour.  She was baptised on the following day in Eltville. You can see a transcript of Barbara's baptismal record  HERE.     Her parents were Anton Brand and Maria Barbara Kaufmann. She was the tenth of their eleven children that I've been able to trace. Six died as infants or children.  Family of Anton and Maria Kaufmann at Family Search The old town in Eltville hasn't altered since Barbara lived there. It's dominat

"They came from The Rhine"

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Held in The Watts Family Collection What a priceless photo from about 1905 of my great-great-grandparents, Anton Gersbach and Margaretha Söngen, at Aldavilla, their farm on the banks of the Macleay River. They'd arrived in Sydney Harbour fifty years earlier when Anton was thirty two and Margareta was twenty five. The farm was named after Anton's hometown, Eltville, which sits on the northern side of The Rhine fifty kilometre west of Frankfurt. Eight kilometres further along The Rhine is Winkel, the home town of Margaretha and many Gersbach relatives. Anton chose the land because it reminded him of his homeland. Anti-clockwise from top left is Aldavilla, Eltville, en route to Winkel and Winkel. Vineyards and wine production have been the main industry for centuries with many established by Catholic religious orders. The area is famous for Rheingau Riesling. It's not surprising that Anton and his brother, Johann, listed their calling as "vinedresser" when they arriv

March 1855: Arrival of the Gersbach's in St Marys

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Henry Gritten, Sydney Harbour, 1855 On 9 December 1854, Johann (John) and Clara Gersbach departed from Hamburg on board the Catteaux Wattel accompanied by their five young children.  The New South Wales Assisted Immigrants Passengers List records John as 35, Clara as 30, Margaretha as 10, Elisabetha as 7, Joseph as 5, Clara as 4 and Gertrude as 1.     John and the children's "native place" is recorded as Eltville and Clara's is Oberwalluf  which is on the close by Eltville.  Both are in the Duchy of Nassau.  John's  occupation is vine dresser.  You can read more about the German migration to New South Wales in the 1850s  HERE.   John and Clara say they have no relatives in the colony.   The ship likely called at Bremer and Hobart before arriving in Sydney on 9 March 1855. On arrival, it's reported there were 430 German immigrants and that- "The Catteaux Wattel lost twenty infants to dysentery on the passage."  (HERE) John and the family travelled to

An amazing discovery for our Orange Gersbach's: Margaretha's "will"

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After reading the earlier information on Joseph and Margaretha Gersbach (HERE) , their great-great-grandson, Steve, shared this precious document from 1910.  We request that this document is not shared on other public websites or trees without agreement. Dated February 7th 1910, the document is signed by Margaretha and witnessed by Harold Clarke and Mrs W H Davis.  It read:- "I Margaretha Gersbach Transferred my property in Hill Street to my son John Gersbach.       I thought the properties were more valuable than they realy are especially one of them has to be pulled down altogether. Therefore he cannot pay more than £30 to each of you except Charley he has to get £50. I John Gersbach faithfully promise to pay Katie Gersbach to look after my mother when she (is) sick.    Margaret Astill £30    Elizabeth Scott £30     Joseph   Gersbach  £30    V Francis  Gersbach £30    Albert Gersbach £30    Richard Gersbach £30    Margreth Murphy £30    Charles Gersbach £50   This is my will acc

September 1855: Arrival of the Gersbach's in the Orange area

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Ship in the style of Wilhelmsburg  On 1 May 1855, Joseph and Margaret Gersbach departed from Hamburg on board the Wilhelmsburg. Also on board the ship were Margaret's mother, Anna Maria Jacoby (nee Siebel), and Joseph's second cousin 1x removed, Anton Gersbach, and his wife, Margaretha.   The Hamburg passengers' list records Joseph as 33, Margaret as 21 and Anna Maria as 48 and their place of residence as Winkel, Nassau.  Joseph's occupation is shepherd.  You can read more about the German migration to New South Wales in the 1850s  HERE.   Joseph's older brother, Valentine, had arrived in Sydney on board the Peru on 29 November 1853.   The ship called at Bremer and Hobart before arriving in Sydney on 22 September1855.  Anton's brother, John, travelled from St Mary's to meet the ship and accompany his brother and sister-in-law to Kempsey.  Joseph and Margaret made their way towards Orange. Wilhelmsburg Passenger List for Hamburg departures Their early lives J