Monday, October 10, 2016

How A Young Man From War-Torn Germany Found His Utopia On The Other Side Of The World Part Two

How A Young Man From War-Torn Germany Found His Utopia On The Other Side Of The World.

Continuing the story of Arno Josef Zapf born 3rd July 1932 in Staffelstein, Bavaria, Germany. See here for Part One, if you missed it or just want to refresh your memory.

Arno applied to the Australian Government for the opportunity to emigrate.  To do so he had to commit to the Australian Government for two years work.  He freely admitted that he had never heard of Australia and didn't even know where it was...He thought he was going to America...

The fares of the migrants were paid for by the Australian and West German Governments with assistance from the inter-governmental committee of the immigration scheme from Europe.  This scheme was backed by 22 nations of the world, including Australia and it operated from its headquarters in Geneva.

As part of the conditions, he undertook to  regularly attend the nearest free night class made available by the Australian Government for the purpose of providing migrants with instruction in the English language.

Clearly from the extract shown (below) he was thought of as a "Good strong type" by the person assessing his application. 

Whilst he did have his qualifications as an Electrician (see below), he had to apply to emigrate to Australia as a general labourer. Note the work "Reject" It reads Apprenticeship & Insufficient work experience as Ele Mechanic Tradesman - Reject all up as Electro Mech

He also had to supply referees in relation to the work he had been engaged in. There is a notation in black that indicates he was working in "house construction work". Given the post-war building boom that was occurring in Australia at this time, It always surprised me that they didn't accept his recent qualifications as an Electrician. The reason why he left his work is also noted as "Arbeitslos" or in English, "Unemployed". Jobs had become harder to find, Arno and his sister Brigitte were both unable to work in Germany.  Brigitte also emigrated, to Canada, she currently lives in Montreal.

Once this report had been received, Arno was then referred to have a chest x-ray to check for tuberculosis or TB as it was often referred to.  A local doctor also assessed him for general health issues too. Arno then had to wait for the "stamp of approval" to be accepted, to come to Australia. Once it arrived, it wasn't long before he was ready to leave his home, his siblings and his parents, his family support network.

Arno boarded the Fairsea in Bremerhaven on the 18th September 1953, it travelled through the Suez Canal, where Arno traded his traditional German Hat for a leather satchel, featuring the Pyramids of Egypt.  Which remains in the family today.  The ship docked in Naples, Italy.  By this time there were 1,890 passengers on board.  Like most cruises of today, there were daily newsletters shared

The ship landed in Fremantle, Western Australia on 18th October, where Arno disembarked.

Video below shows in detail the 'Fairsea' the ship on a journey from Bremerhaven to Quebec, Canada in September 1953, just prior to it's journey to Australia

MS Fairsea Bremerhaven to Quebec, Canada - September 1953

Front Page of The West Australian 19th October 1953
Source: Accessed 10 Oct 2016

                                      Source: Accessed 10 Oct 2016

He was then taken to Holden Migrant Holding Centre/Camp for processing.  This centre was located 96km (60 miles) from Perth.

What happens to Arno next...??? Where does he go and what adventures are ahead for him?

This story continues in part three, was this the 'Utopia' he was dreaming of???


Fiona Tellesson (nee Zapf)
Sharing the passion of family history
Chief Genealogist
Experts In Genealogy

Thursday, October 6, 2016

How A Young Man From War-Torn Germany Found His Utopia On The Other Side Of The World Part One

How a young man from war-torn Germany found his utopia on the other side of the world.

It's nine years today since my father passed away. This is his story.

Arno Josef Zapf was born on the 3rd July 1932 in Staffelstein, Bavaria, Germany.

Town Hall, Staffelstein

The fourth of seven children born to Lucia Hagenbarth and Hans Josef Zapf. He was a bright child, but world war two was about to change all of their lives. The family lived in the beautiful medieval town of Bamberg, with its gorgeous cobblestoned roads. Right in the middle of Bamberg, above the Bakery in Gruner Markt.

(Bamberg is a World Heritage Site, nominated by UNESCO in 1993. The city follows the early Medieval street plans, being laid out in the form of a cross with a church at each of the four points.)

From L-R Gisela, Heinrich, Arno, Brigitte
and Helmuth Zapf at the front c1936

It must have been extremely cramped. But, Arno never complained about that aspect of his childhood, except when the word 'Polenta' was mentioned, then he would tell us now much he hated it! Food was always a scarcity as Arno grew, his mother would spend all days in her kitchen, which was part of their living quarters.  On Shrove Tuesday, Lucia would spend the day grating a huge pot of potato to make Kartoffelpuffers (Potato Fritters). These were shallow-fried and had flour and egg added to the grated potato. Arno would then ensure that he won the competition, which was to eat the most number of Kartoffelpuffers, ending up always, with a sore stomach.

Bamberg was hit by bombing from the allied forces during 1945 in the dying stages of world war two. It was during this time when the US Troops were stationed in Bamberg that Arno was paid by the soldiers to assist them to remove the dead bodies from the damaged buildings.  During one of our walks in 1975, Arno showed me the buildings. Here is some rare footage (no sound) of the attack on the town of Bamberg on 15 April 1945.

Arno left school after eight years and started an apprenticeship as a hairdresser, which he didn't like at all.  He then became an apprenticed electrician in Bamberg (Firma, Deubert 1946 - 1950) and (Firma, Tempel 1951-1953) working in House construction.  But, this was now post-war Germany and once Arno finished his apprenticeship he became was a tough time.  He made a decision, he was going to emigrate to America.  So he started to explore this as a possibility.  

Arno in 1953 - Ready to explore the world

Where was Arno going to end up and was he (as his mother's favourite child) really going to leave the country of his birth? Come back for part two to see if he really did find his 'Utopia' on the other side of the world.


Fiona Tellesson (nee Zapf)
Sharing the passion of family history
Chief Genealogist
Experts In Genealogy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My Top Ten (10) Genealogy Tools

In August 2016 US bloggers James Tanner and Randy Seaver posted their top ten list for genealogy.
Pauleen Cass and now Jill Ball have done their Aussie choices.

Well, here are mine, taken from over twenty years of research using the internet.  Do you agree, or do you have your own favourites that you constantly refer back too?

Note these are in no particular order. Also, this is by no means a conclusive list, as there are far too many to list here...for all the best sites to see, visit Cyndi's List. - I've been a member since they started.  Since I use Family Tree Maker 2014 (and have done since FTM V2 1994), I now use the shakey leaves for clues, then go and prove the connections.  I am particularly enamoured with the DNA service since I had mine done whilst I was attending RootsTech2014. This has opened many more possibilities and is an exciting tool, even if I don't fully understand it all - yet!!!

I have loved (taken over by Ancestry and now, sadly a read-only site) since it was GenForum - you may find some genealogical research not located elsewhere as it goes back a long time in web years.

National Archives Australia - they a complete treasure trove there in their Record Search I happened to find my father's immigration record and downloaded the complete file, but since the amendment of the privacy act in 2000 access to these digital records has become limited. However, on the other hand, there have been some subsets of records that now have their own pages, to explore. Bringing Them Home - Name Index which is a list of index entries that point to Government records for Indigenous in the Northern Territory (1911 - 1978) and Victoria (approx 1860 - 1970). See the site for further information. I have managed to find lots of information on NAA to add 'meat' to the 'bone' of the family histories, that I've been researching and working on over the last 45+ years.

Discovering Our ANZAC's This was put together by the National Archives of Australia and Archives New Zealand.  Launched on the 28th October 2014 it contains all the digitised records from the Boer War and World War One.  Holding the records of 600,000 people, including 140,000 New Zealanders. (I was amongst the first to order a copy of my partner's grandfather's WW1 service history. You had to do this to get access to the digital they are all available.)

© National Archives of Australia 

Ryerson Index - My go-to site when I'm looking for recent deaths that may not be found in death indexes in the various states of Australia

SA Genealogy's South Australian Online Search - Some people I speak with who research, mainly on the east coast of Australia, have found research difficult in South Australia.  This is one of my fav sites...shhh it's our little secret...ok?!? 

Trove - what can I say about this awesome site...I'm addicted.  I have to allocate my time, or I'm on this site day and night...You may know it for the digitised newspapers of Australia, but also use it for pictures, archived websites (1996 - now), books, audio (found an audio of my partner's great aunt, well someone who had engaged with her during her working life, here in Australia) diaries and letters, etc.

Searching for those elusive Scottish Ancestors who landed in Australia and seemed to have walked on water to get here?  Then check out the Scottish Archive Network they have the 1852-1857 Highland and Islands Emigration Society Passenger Lists. You may just find that missing emigration information for the family tree.

Google Newspapers - The Sydney Morning Herald is available from the 1830's to 1980's and has been an invaluable aid for research for me as a professional.  It's also a great way to find out what was happening during a particular time. Search to find your preferred newspaper, (if it's here, otherwise check out Trove for Australian Newspapers). You never know what it is you may find.

Many Australians have links with 'Australian Royalty' CONVICTS. Once kept hidden within families at all costs, I've seen a complete switch in attitude, through the length of my research, with people now wishing them had a convict in their family.  Tasmania is rich in convict history.  The site that has made that research less difficult is LINC with the Tasmanian Name Index with a list of resources too numerous to mention here.  Go check this site out if you have any connections at all with Tasmania.

GADD Family of John GADD Convict Tasmania
Sarah GADD nee Manton with son George Henry GADD & his family

Well, clearly I cannot count!  I hope you have found something of interest in My Top Ten (10) Genealogy Tools.


Sharing the passion of family history
Chief Genealogist 
Experts In Genealogy

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Tell Your Own Story Too...Have You Digitised Your Own Photos?



Five days ago I was challenged through social media to share photos of myself.  They had to be more than 15 years old.  Well, that really was a challenge as ALL my physical photos are in storage and I haven't been able to scan them.  What little I have in digital form are not yet fifteen years old.  So it really was a challenge and one that I believed at the time couldn't be completed.  How wrong I was...

As I searched through my computer, I realised that I really needed to get my digital images sorted. How many of us have images scattered all over the place? This happens easily and before you know where you are, you have lost (maybe, temporarily at least) the ability to locate these images, when you require them. If you don't know where to begin, here are some ideal tips that will assist you to get started: Storing & Archiving Digital Photos

Anyway, I was having trouble finding pictures, that were more than 15 years old...finally, I found one, it was in the tribute that I put together for my father's funeral nearly nine years ago. It was the only christening photo that exists of me.  Why? You may well ask. Well, it turns out that Dad had his camera, full of photos of the happy event, he placed the camera down on a sideboard in my Grandmother's house.  Someone came along and took it...seriously, how could someone do that??? But the sad truth is that they did and it meant that all but one photo, taken by my Godfather survives to this day.

So, day one was done but was I going to make it to day two and beyond...I started is what I found...after searching through the PC to locate any picture images...lucky I had scanned a heap of photos in a concentrated effort after a Family Reunion several years ago.

Day Two: Was a picture taken out the front of 25 Hunter Street, Richmond, Victoria, with my Aunt Dianne Watson nee Harry. The same place as the first photo, but taken on a different angle and a few years later, before my Aunt married.  The beautiful cottage in the background was bulldozed over ten years ago and it is now the site of a modern architectural wonder. It was a toss up between that photo and the photo of me as a flower girl in my Aunt's Wedding picture. Here they both are...

This was beginning to be a bit of it truly made me realise that I need to sort my digital images sooner, rather than later. So I started to find photos of me.  Do you or have you, started to tell your story? If you are like me, you've started to tell your family's story...but what about you???  The best person to tell your story is YOU...start now, get it done.  It will be one of the hardest stories you tell.  But you can tell it on your terms, how you remember it.  That is the best!

Moving onto day three, by this time I'd found so many pictures to share, I had a tough time deciding how to do it..and what to share...but once I found this picture, I knew I had to share it...

This was taken on my seventh birthday, we lived in Bessie Street, South Oakleigh, Victoria at the time.  The party was after school and attending the party was my BFF Lyn McCullogh, myself, my brother Karl (Dec'd) and a neighbour whose name was Deborah (can't remember her family name, she moved to Canberra, shortly after) her mum had forgotten about the party, so she came in her school uniform.  We had fun and one gift I was given was a colour picture, autographed (printed) of the Beatles.  I was in heaven...sadly the picture went missing later that year when we moved to Carrum, Victoria.

Well, it was now time to move on, to colour photos...once I found this, I knew it was 'next'. Taken ten years after the last photo that I shared.  I was now in form six (year 12) doing HSC (Higher School Certificate) and shortly after this was taken, was living in Germany. Life was exciting and I had the opportunity presented to me to stay in Germany to live and work there.  (I am a dual citizen by birth) But, I was torn, finally deciding to come back to Australia and begin my working life. So I started working at the State Bank Victoria as a clerk/teller.

Just after I started working in the State Bank Victoria, I met my partner.  I used to attend Square Dancing Nights, which kept me fit. Doing the four brackets of dances, as they were called meant that I was super energised.  We both enjoyed Square Dancing and began to attend conventions, wearing matching was a lovely time shared. We got engaged and married within twelve months of meeting, actually, it was eleven months, but who's counting?  This day arrived with dark clouds hanging overhead.  But just after this photo was taken, the sun shone through as I entered the church. As money was tight, well when hasn't it been, I picked up this gorgeous bridal gown, from Katies Bridal Boutique in Melbourne, CBD.  It cost $50 (which was one-tenth of the average Bridal Gown of the day).  I put it on Lay-by (which is how many items were paid off before credit cards became the norm) as it was the last one of it's kind and it fitted like it had been custom made for me.  

Well, that is a very shortened version of my first twenty years.  I have lots of work to do and paperwork and photographs to follow up with. I've included some links to help get you started.
Have FUN & ENJOY!!!



Sharing the passion of family history
Chief Genealogist 
Experts In Genealogy