Friedrich Semmler of Victoria, Australia, and Muhlnickel
Friedrich Wilhelm SEMMLER
This document has been put together with the best intention, and as precisely as possible. If in doubt of any of the content, please check original sources personally.
Friedrich Wilhelm Semmler was born 21st July 1829 at Nekla Dorf in the province of Posen, Prussia. His occupation was a Blacksmith. Religion: Lutheran
He married Anna Elisabeth Muhlnickel. Most records show Anna to be Elisabeth. The spelling of her surname varies a lot Muhlnickel/Muehlnickel/ Mielnickel.
She was born 4th August 1827 and died in 1883 in Prussia.
Amalie Friederike born May 29th 1857
Emma Ottilie born November 29th 1858 – died July 13th 1859
Auguste Ottilie born September 18th 1860
Maria Elisabeth born March 18th 1862
Paul Friedrich Wilhelm born July 18th 1863
Rudolph Theobold Reinhold born February 26th 1865
Ernst Otto born October 1st 1867
Friedrich made a decision to leave Prussia with his family and to emigrate to Australia. Many reasons have been given for this, including religious persecution or politics, however I believe it was because one, if not two, of Friedrich’s daughters, Amalie and possibly Auguste, had left for Australia at least two years before Friedrich signed the 1883 application for migration to Australia.
One of our family historians has a family story that Johann Rudolph Muhlnickel came to Australia years earlier and “it was apparently because of his letters, encouraging migration, to his sister Anna Elizabeth Muhlnickel, wife of Friedrich Semmler, that the Semmler family decided to migrate”.
On 10th April 1883 Friedrich signed a document for application to migrate to Australia and denounced his Prussian Citizenship. Only his four younger children were on the document. Amalie was already in Australia at the time, having arrived in 1881, and Auguste may have been there as well.
Unfortunately Friedrich's wife,Anna died in 1883 before the family left Prussia. Emma, their daughter, had died in 1859.
Friedrich and his children came to Australia in 1883 on the "Catania" to the Port of Adelaide. It is said that at the time they were stateless, having denounced Prussian citizenship.
The following is a Translation of Friedrich’s application to leave Prussia:
The undersigned Royal Government herewith certifies that the Blacksmith, Friedrich Semmler of Nekladorf,District Schroda, born 21st July 1829, at his request and for the purpose of emigration to Australia together with his wife, Anna Elisabeth nee Muhlnickel, born 4th August 1827, and the following children under paternal charge:
1. Maria Elise born 18th March 1862
2. Paul Wilhelm Friedrich born 18th August 1863
3. Rudolph Theobold Reinhold born 26th February 1865
4. Ernst Otto born 1st October 1867
Is granted dismissal from the bonds of Prussian citizenship. This dismissal document effects expressly for the named persons therein at the time of delivery, the loss of Prussian citizenship.
However it shall not be operative if the dismissed person does not within six months from the day of delivery of the dismissal document remove his place of residence outside the federal territory or acquire citizenship in another state.
(the law regarding the acquiring and loss of federal and state citizenship of 1st June 1870. B.g.Bl.S. 355)
Signed at Posen 10th April 1883
Royal Prussian Government
Document of Dismissal (denaturalisation)
No. 2239/83 IA
From what I have gathered Nekla Hauland was a small village in Posen. Its civil registration office was in Nekla.
Nekla Hauland lined the stream that was northwest of Nekla, and sat in the northern corner of Kreis Schroda. Nearby are Briesen, Wreschen, & Schwersenz.
I have read that Haulands,(or “haylands”) were plots of land settled by German farmers invited to Prussia after the partition of Poland about 1793. The village was mostly Evangelical Lutheran.
Nekla Hauland is now known as Nekielka (Sroda).
On the 1st of August 1883, after arriving in Australia, Friedrich Semmler, of Lyndoch, South Australia, signed Naturalisation papers to become an Australian citizen. He had been in Australia for 3 weeks. The certificate stated he was 54 years of age, a blacksmith from Nekla Hauland, in the Province of Posen, Prussia. (National Archives, Australia)
Amalie Friederike Semmler was born May 29th 1857, possibly at Nekla Hauland or Breisen. Her birth was registered at Schwersens, Posen, Prussia and her baptism registered on the 7th June 1857 at Schwersens.
(Extracted birth or christening record for the locality from LDS site)
NB: On the documentation her mother’s surname is spelt “Muehlnickel”. Most of the other children have the mother’s spelling as Muehlnickel. Paul’s and Rudolph’s was Mielnickel.
All the records had the mother as “Elisabeth”, not Anna.
Amalie came to Australia in 1881. When she had only been here for 12 days, she signed naturalisation papers on the 4th of August 1881 to become an Australian citizen. The documents state that she resided near Lyndoch, South Australia, was 24 years of age, a native of Breisen near Kostersin (Kostryzyn), just south of Schwersens, in the Province of Posen, Prussia. She was a domestic servant.
Naturalisation papers state she arrived on the ship Wappaus in 1881 to Port of Adelaide.
Of interest, a Johann Nuske born about 1841, whose Father was Fredrick Nuske, had a mother, Louise Semmler, and he also came to Australia in 1881 on the Wappaus . Louise may have been a relation and even travelled with Amalie.
In 1884 the Semmler family made a decision to leave South Australia and they began the journey from South Australia to Victoria. Based on documentation of Alexander Tolmer from the 1852 gold escort this was a long journey of around 300 miles and possibly took 10 days or more. The gold escort found it to be an arduous journey averaging between 16 to 32 miles a day and they were on horses. The description states the terrain was flat, but the sand was deep. Along the way were a number of sheep runs and plenty of grass and water for the horses. They went through Bordertown, then over the border to Victoria, and then across the Little Desert in Victoria and arrived in Horsham before going on to Bendigo.
Our family story has it that the Semmler family walked to Victoria and used livestock to carry their food and goods. They travelled with people of other nationalities. They camped at night, cooked their meals and danced and sang.
The reason why they left South Australia is not known but at that time there were a lot of people who left South Australia to head for the gold fields of Victoria, or to open up farming land in the Mallee and Wimmera. Friedrich appears to have settled near Warracknabeal at the township of Willenabrina, 30 km from Warracknabeal, and thus began our Australian Heritage from the SEMMLER side of the family.
Amalie Friederike Semmler married Martin Krause in 1886 at Katyil, Victoria, Australia.
I have a photograph of Amalie Friederike with possibly one of her younger sisters. Looking at a photo of Amalie taken in circa mid to late 1870’s I see well dressed girls, wearing jewellery, lace and well made clothes. Amalie is wearing drop earings. They could be pearls. I would suppose from this that the family were not poor, and in fact, could have been well off. Amalie would be about 18 to 23 years old. There is no wedding ring on Amalie’s finger so the photo would have been taken before she was married.
Both girls have the same mouth and deep inset at the corner of the mouth.
Auguste Ottilie Semmler was born September 18th 1860 in Briesen. Auguste may have arrived in South Australia in 1879.
An Auguste Semmler, spinster, age 21, of Lyndoch, occupation servant, applied for naturalisation in 1881. She had been born in Prussia. Arrived in Australia in about 1879.
She married Johannes Wilhelm Liersch in 1890 at Bangerang, Victoria, Australia. She died in 1829.
Maria Elisabeth Semmler was born March 18th 1862 at Schwersens. She married Frederick Oelsnik.
Paul Friedrich Wilhelm Semmler was born July 18th 1863 at Schwersens. He was naturalised in 1910.
He married Pauline Wilhelmina Hahn in 1889 at Natimuk, Victoria.
Rudolph Theobold Reinhold Semmler was born February 26th 1865 at Schwersens.
He died in 1892 at Willenabrina, on Ernst’s farm, near Warracknabeal, Victoria, after collapsing from a heart attack.
Ernst Otto Semmler was born October 1st 1867 at Schwersens. He had difficulty gaining naturalisation due to WW1 occurring at the time he applied. It was requested that he apply again following the war. This was because the authorities could not find Ernst’s father’s naturalisation papers signed in 1883 which would have covered Ernst as he was only 16 then.
He married Joanna Augusta Bertha Brauer in 1896 in Bangerang, Victoria.
Sadly, Friedrich Wilhelm Semmler, an Australian citizen of Prussian descent, father of our ancestors, died following a heart attack on 10th March 1906 at Willenabrina, Victoria, Australia after falling from a hay stack. There was an inquest into his death in Jeparit, Victoria. He was buried at the Katyil Cemetery. Grave 14. Death reg. no. 2067
Katyil is about 50 Km from Willenabrina. It is possible that his body was transported there by railway carriage and then by cart to the Katyil cemetery.
Friedrich Wilhelm SEMMLER 1829 - 1906