Introduction: From the notes of Helen M. Lindsay, Canberra, ACT. (my father's cousin)
Friedrich Wilhelm with his wife Anna Elizabeth (nee Muhlnickel)Semmler. Reasons for Migration:
Religious persecution forced so many families to leave their homeland and venture in faith, to new lands such as Australia and also America. As early as the 17th Century, the rulers of Prussia had attempted to dictate to their subjects in matters of religion, however these early attempts failed and the great majority of the people remained loyal to the Lutheran Church. Then Friedrich Wilhelm I tried "union" of the two Churches (Lutheran and Reformed) rather than "conversion" of the Lutherans. The Lutheran Pastors were forbidden to raise their voices in objection to this new approach. The next ruler, Friedrich the Great, was less concerned with this policy, but when Friedrich Wilhelm III came to the throne of Prussia in the late 18th Century, he determined to follow the policy of the "union". He also tried to impose a form of worship which the Lutherans violated the scripture.
By a decree issued in 1823 he called on all the ministers to subscribe only to the confessions of the New Church, established by himself.
To continue in the teachings and practices of the Lutheran Church meant secrecy and hardship and if caught, punishment. Therefore many Lutherans considered migration to be their only solution.
Through the generosity of the English Baptist, George Fife Angas, the first sailing ship with German Lutherans on board arrived in Port Adelaide in 1839. Several more ship-loads arrived within a few short years under the assistance of Mr. Angas and despite opposition from the Prussian Government.
About the mid 19th Century Johann Rudolph Muhlnickle arrived in Australia and it was apparently because of his letters, encouraging migration to his sister, Anna Elizabeth (married to Friedrich Wilhelm Semmler) that the Semmler family also decided to migrate.
From records it appears that the Semmler family lived in the Province of Posen in Prussia, which is today, Poland. They apparently lived in Neckla and/or Briesen and Braunsdorf seems to have been their congregation.
These places are approximately 20 miles from the city of Poznan (Posen) towards Warsaw. They would almost certainly have sailed for Australia from the Port of Hamburg.
It is from these early origins to where our "Australian" history commenced.
Helen Lindsay provided much of the early well researched information on the Semmler, Hahn and Kubal branches of the family and Rona Schilling much of the Harder- Harders branch back in 1980. I decided at that time to incorporate it into my original family tree on computer.
Since then I have obtained additional information from various family members, and other sources. I recently have put my mother's and my father-in-laws family trees onto this Tribal Pages Website, a Private site requiring an Access code available only to family members.
I have added some of Helen's information on each main family member, as per her original hard copy under "People and Stories" along with additional stories of my own.
This has been a project on and off again, for 29 years in the making, and of course family trees being what they indeed are, will never be complete. It is a legacy for my children and grand children and YOURS, to know of and take pride in their fore-fathers and their Heritage. This is not simply MY family tree, it is OURS and though I have many of the family branches included, I am lacking dates for some younger members, therefore any additional information and photographs (room for tones of them) or stories are indeed most welcome to be included. I give you an insight into the Harder-Harders Semmler families, purely from my point of view, as I believe I owe it to them to help keep alive their memory for the time and effort that they invested in my upbringing and if it deviates from the conventional, then no offence is meant but rather, the kind of tribute that I sincerely believe they would have me pay them.
I sincerely thank Helen and Rona for instilling in me the desire to one day ensure that a version of our family history is on computer for all the family to have access to and those family members who have already supplied me with material, and have been such a wonderful source of information and those who have offered to loan or photocopy photo's and documents for the purpose of this family record, particularly all of my Semmler Aunts, especially Dot, Kath, Mavis, Valma and Lorna, bless her heart, as those who knew her well will understand that no sooner had I posted the request for info, that I had it back in the very next mail, also to Ash McPhee, Lorna's grandson, many thanks.
I extend a very "special" thank you to Lynne Dawe for permitting me to add a great deal of her information on the Western Australian Harders branch of the family, (some of which will be added in the next few weeks)along with an extra two dozen Dahlenburg family members.
My tree only dates back to Hans Harder born: 1674, earlier information is purely with Lynne's gracious consent, as my own original tree's members are only some 1760 members strong.
All information of Lynne's is shown with her as a citation, and the information has been extensively resourced by her. With the exception of a few extra branches of the Harders family that I had, Lynne has indeed resourced this much further with all the Western Australian branch.
If I have made any mistakes with dates etc. they are unintentional, as I have simply compiled this from the information at hand at this time. And from my own stories I hope the reader will find as much enjoyment in sharing my family's experiences as I did ... by being there.
Rhonda Dianne (nee Semmler) Haines.