All too often, immigrants anglicised their names, although in this case, I can’t see the reason why. Unless the name, Morten, sounded a bit too weird or too ethnic, but the name is still very much Danish.
Hans had been at sea for a number of years and was a fireman on a British trading ship when he reached Darwin from Shanghai in September 1884. From Darwin, Hans made his way to Sydney where he remained for four years and then on to Tassie, where he spent the remainder of his life.
According to his naturalisation record, Hans Peter was born on 9 October 1856 at Flensburg, which is where the metaphorical brick wall comes into play.
Eight years after Hans was born, Denmark was invaded by Prussia resulting in a loss of around 33 percent of its land mass, thereby reducing the population of Denmark by 900,000 from a total of 2.5 million before the war.
Under the Prussian rule, Flensborg became Flensburg and it was not until 1920, following a determination of the Versailles Peace Treaty, that a plebiscite was held to determine the future of the occupied region. In the northern part of the region, 75 percent of the population voted for reunification with Denmark, while the central and southern parts of the region voted to remain with Germany. Flensburg went with Germany and now sits on the border on the German side.
On his naturalisation application, Hans identified himself as a Dane even though he had been a Dane only in the first eight years of his life. In reality, Hans was German.
This may have raised a few eyebrows particularly during the First World War. When asked during an interview as a prerequisite for naturalisation why he hadn’t previously registered himself as an alien, Hans replied that he never took the trouble to do so. Nevertheless, it was a non-issue as he appeared to have been highly regarded.
German is not my forte and navigating through German genealogical records is for me next to impossible. However, in the Danish archives, there is still a smattering of census records from before the occupation but the collection is by no means complete.
With the information in hand that Hans’ father was Nichollas Peter Philipp, the closest and only match I found was in the 1845 census. The spelling of Nichollas is neither Danish nor English, so it’s possible his name may have been Nikolai.
In the 1845 census, Peter Nikolai Philip was 11 years old. This would make him 22 years of age when Hans was born. It is most likely it is the right person but I cannot say it with absolute certainty as there are no other documents available to make the verification.
The household comprised:
Head of household Nikolai Peter Philipp aged 44, carpenter or builder, born at Boklund
Wife Anna Catharina Hapels aged 42 born at Ramstedt
Daughter Maria Catharina Philipp aged 13 born at Ostenfeld
Son Peter Nikolai Philipp aged 11 born at Ostenfeld
The 1845 census was taken at Ramstedt.
Hans was 78 years of age when he lodged an application for naturalisation. He had been in the country almost half a century when he decided to become an Australian. The reason he gave was for the purpose of obtaining old age pension.