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William C. Gräfen Family History Research Page

Updated February 23, 2001

William Charles Gräfen
496 Dandenong Road
Caulfield North, Vic 3161
+ 61 3 9509 1742
Fax: + 61 3 9509 8761

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In recent years I have been researching in varying degree, or commissioning professional research on, the following paternal family surnames:


In particular, I am seeking information about the German family of Friedrich Wilhelm GRÄFEN, born 2 January 1870 in Harburg, near Hamburg, son of Martin August Peter GRÄFEN (b 1842 in Hamburg to Heinrich Nicolaus Ludwig GRÄFEN, a cigar maker, and Marie Margarethe Friederike STÄHR) and Juliane Marie Henriette SCHURIG (b 1842 in Grossenhain, Germany, to an unknown SCHURIG and Johanne Marie Rose OEHME). Friedrich Wilhelm GRÄFEN, a restaurant cook, married Anna HEYNEMANN in 1891 in Fitzroy, VIC, Australia. Anna, born 1861 in Bad Oeynhausen, Westphalia, was the daughter of Harry Herz Salomon HEINEMANN, a tanner and dealer in hides, and Bertha Brendel HEINS. She died in 1926. Friedrich Wilhelm's known siblings were

Julius Amandus August GRÄFEN, b 1869, Harburg;
Sophie Caroline Marie GRÄFEN, b 1871, Harburg;
Amanda Marie GRÄFEN, b 1874, Harburg Vorstadt;
Fritz Franz Julius GRÄFEN, b 1875, Harburg.

Friedrich Wilhelm GRÄFEN, my paternal grandfather, was probably a cook or a cook's assistant on a German vessel; it is said that he might have jumped ship in Australia, probably in Melbourne, in the 1880s. No trace of him has been found in Australia after the year 1914, that is following his establishment of the family of my father and his brothers in Melbourne, and yet another family in Sydney. He could have been deported or perhaps he returned freely to Germany or emigrated elsewhere or died in obscurity.

I am very anxious to learn something of his German family and their descendants as named above. I would really appreciate any information, suggestions or leads provided.

Finally, the following are some maternal family ancestors who form an equally important part of my family history research:

James BURNS and Isabel DAVISON, parents of James BURNS, born 1836 in County Tyrone.

Michael BURKE or BOURKE and Kate BROWN, parents of Margaret Ann BURKE, born 1837 in County Limerick.

Charles COLLINS and Letitia THORN, parents of William Bull COLLINS, born 1831 in London.

Edward DE COURCEY and Ellen SEXTON, parents of Anne DE COURCY, born 1831 in Bandon, County Cork.

Created in Melbourne, Australia, May 1999
Revised and updated 22 February 2001

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Family Photos

  • Elsbeth (a.k.a. Hedwig) COHN (1874-1942) (11 KB)
    Elsbeth COHN was born on 30 May 1874 in Gnesen. She was the wife of Samson Israel HEYNEMANN above and was transported to Minsk on 29 Jul 1942, after which time she is reported missing (Ger. verschollen).
  • Harry Herz Salomon HEYNEMANN (1825-1893) (11 KB)
    Born Harry HEINEMANN in Vlotho, died also in Vlotho, he was one of my paternal great grandfathers.
  • Carl August GRÄFEN (1902-1981) (89 KB)
    This is my father taken about April 1948. Dad was born on 18 Apr 1902 and died on 26 Aug 1981.
  • Brendel Bertha HEINS (1833-1864) (15 KB)
    My great grandmother, Brendel Bertha HEINS, b 25 Apr 1833, Gandersheim, d 24 Mar 1864, Vlotho, first wife of Harry HEINEMANN.
  • Victor Ernest GRÄFEN (1905-1995) (97 KB)
    My father's brother, the youngest of eight sons, and my favourite uncle whose death on 7 Jul 1995, while I was absent in Perú, motivated my return to the family history research which had remained "on the back burner" for nearly fifty years!
  • The Heynemann Family property in Bad Oeynhausen (18 KB)
    This building was the home, the tannery and the wholesale/retail business outlet of the HEYNEMANN family in Bad Oeynhausen. Photo taken early 1900s. The façade has been modified in recent years and the building now contains residential apartments.
  • Granddaughter Jennifer Louise GRÄFEN, b. 1987 (176 KB)
    My only grandchild, Jennifer Louise GRÄFEN, has been the starting point in my family history research data. She has the PIN #1 in a data base of over 6000 persons and nearly 2000 marriages. Breaking with tradition Jenni is wearing an Indian sari in her role of bridesmaid at her Aunt Marita's wedding.
  • My Paternal Grandmother Anna HEYNEMANN (1861-1926) (70 KB)
    Anna HEYNEMANN b. 25 April 1861 in Bad Oeynhausen was the third daughter of Harry HEINEMANN and Bertha Brendel HEINS. She died on16 April 1926 in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Kieran William GRÄFEN (21 KB)
    To be added.
  • Fred GRAF, Interned 1916, Deported 9 Jul 1919 (21 KB)
    Photo from the Australian Archives in Canberra. There is a fair chance that this Fred GRAF, concealed his real identity by a name twist (he had good reason to do so!), and was in reality my paternal grandfather, Friedrich Wilhelm GRÄFEN.
  • The Heynemann property in Bad Oeynhausen in 1981 (56 KB)
    This property, built in 1900, to replace the adjacent family residence was used as a home, a tannery and a wholesale/retail business outlet. When I took this photo in April 1981 the ground floor shop was a delicatessen.
  • Sidonie SALINGER, née HEYNEMANN (1857-1926) (192 KB)
    The oldest sister of my paternal grandmother, Anna, Sidonie was born in Vlotho, Westphalia, and died in Berlin. In 1882 she emigrated to Australia with her sister Meta. Sidonie married Salomon SALINGER in 1886 in Melbourne and after losing three infants to diphtheria returned home to Germany in 1892, already expecting her fourth child.
  • The Heynemann property in Bad Oeynhausen in 1997 (89 KB)
    When I returned to Bad Oeynhausen in January 1997 I took this late afternoon photo of the Heynemann property which was undergoing some remodelling; it had then become an apartment block.
  • Paternal Great Uncle Salomon SALINGER (1852-1916) (21 KB)
    Salomon SALINGER, b. 25 Sep 1852 Angermünde, Brandenburg, d. 14 Jan 1916 Berlin. He married Sidonie HEYNEMANN in 1886 in Melbourne.
  • Salomon SALINGER - a later photo (62 KB)
    This is a later life photo of Salomon SALINGER who was confined to a wheel chair.
  • Samson Israel HEYNEMANN (1860-1942) (10 KB)
    Samson Israel HEYNEMANN was born 1 Nov 1860 in Vlotho and on 29 Jul 1942 was transported to Theresienstadt where he died on 15 Aug 1942. Samson was my second cousin twice removed (second cousin of my paternal grandmother).

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