Anna Maria's antecedents in Germany


The Hübinger family can be traced back to Anna Maria's grandmother, Gertrud, a woman from the hilltop village of Prath, 35 kilometres northwest of Winkel. Anna Maria's father moved from there to Winkel, which is in the Rheingau, a vine-growing area on the bank of the Rhine opposite Mainz. Both villages are Catholic, and generations of inhabitants can be traced with the help of the parish registers.

Gertrud Hübbinger, floruit 1774

Almost nothing is known of Gertrud, except that she gave birth to an illegitimate son, Johann, on 21 March 1774 at Prath, a village that is part of the parish of Kestert. Prath is about 300 metres above the level of the nearby Rhine, not far from the Loreley, the famous rock where an enchantress was said to bewitch boatmen with her song so that their boats were wrecked.

The Latin baptismal record at Kestert seems to state that the father of Gertrud's baby was one Johannes M., and the child was born and baptised on the same day, which indicates either that it was sickly or that the blessing was meant to make up for the "sin" of its birth. In 1819 when he married, Johann stated that his mother was dead.

Johann Hübinger (1774-?)

Johann probably had a difficult start in life, since his mother was not married. He probably had no training in any trade, since at the age of 45 he was a casual labourer, paid by the day to work in the fields and the like. At the age of 44, he was living in the village of Winkel in the Rheingau. This is some considerable distance from his birthplace. Either his driving work had taken him there, or he had moved to kinsfolk: there was an extensive Hübinger family at the nearby village of Geisenheim, and beyond that at Eibingen. Johann had never married, though there is no evidence he was shy. A 28-year-old Winkel woman called Anna Margreth Müller complained that he had got her pregnant. She was the daughter of a Winkel vinedresser called Martin Müller and his wife Katharina. There must have been a certain amount of dispute or delay, because Johann was not persuaded to marry Anna Margreth until she was into her seventh month of pregnancy. The year was 1819. The child was a boy, Peter.

The marriage produced three other children: Johann, who died as a four-year-old, Anna Maria, who ended up in Australia, and Konrad, who was a witness at Anna Maria's wedding in 1852.

It would seem that Konrad followed Anna Maria to Australia some years later to marry a widow from Winkel, Maria Theresa Itzstein (née Rohrmann). Whether Konrad had planned all along to go to New South Wales is impossible to say, but the successive migration of kin was a common pattern then, as it is today. Konrad's departure from Germany is not recorded, though persons called Hübinger from other villages did go to America, according to Struck's 1849-1868 list of emigrants. Konrad is listed in a Sydney immigrants' arrivals list. In Australia he later took the oath to obtain British nationality under the surname "Hebinger".

Late in life, Johann the father must have grown too weak for labouring. He became a driver, either of a cart or a horse-drawn carriage: he is described in 1852 as a "Fuhrmann" which could mean either. By then he would have been 78. We do not know the date of his death.

Next: Further research on the Hübinger family

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(c) Jean-Baptiste Piggin