Echuca - Moama Family History Group, Inc.

Post Office Box 707, Echuca, Victoria, 3564, Australia.
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    Members Family History's

    Sehestedt Family - Pat Sehestedt (1051)

    The value of co-incidence in family history research! My research into my husband's SEHESTEDT family started, illogically, in the middle and as a result of co-incidence. Purists of research say you should start from a known person, usually yourself, and work back as far as possible.

    The co-incidence that got me started was a phone call. After more than 16 years of public sector work I resigned, the resignation being reported in the local media. A local historian rang to ask was I related to Julius Harckseri SEHESTEDT. This caller was publishing a history of the Freemasons in Echuca, Victoria, Australia, and SEHESTEDT had been one of the early initiates as well as serving as Master of the Lodge in 1867. My interest was sparked and I started searching for more detail. Julius SEHESTEDT was my husband's great grandfather.

    Local records show that Julius SEHESTEDT was a carpenter in Echuca from early 1865 when the town had about 1000 residents. He was mentioned several times in editions of the Echuca newspaper, the Riverine Herald, for the quality of workmanship of his furniture. This must have been true as he was commissioned by Henry HOPWOOD, the founder of Echuca, to make a "suite of drawing room furniture". The cabinets on the original paddle steamer "Adelaide" was also attributed to him. During his time in Echuca plans for a dam on the Murray River were afoot and Julius built a scale model which was described as "ingenious". It was displayed for visiting dignitaries at the Echuca Railway Station and was sent to the Melbourne lntercolonial Exhibition for consideration. Dr STRUTT P.M. commissioned the model and it appears the dam or weir did not proceed on that occasion.

    Julius SEHESTEDT married into a well known Echuca family in November 1867. His bride was Rosa Ann CARPENTER aged 22 years. They went on to have six children.

    From Echuca the family moved to Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia, where Julius built the Deniliquin Post Office. His talents were many as he then became a storekeeper, purchasing stock direct from Melbourne, Victoria, with Rosa selecting female apparel. His advertisements in the Deniliquin Pastoral Times were very flowery and not at all modest. At some stage in the early 1870's he sold this business.

    There is a gap in my research until 1878 where on the family's return from Europe he built and became the first licensee of the Continental Hotel in Deniliquin. He died in Deniliquin in 1882 aged 55 yrs.

    More recently a relative of a local historian offered to do some research in Denmark where she was holidaying. Co-incidentally she was visiting Tonder - the town of Julius' birth. I'm told a building still exists in that town with the name SEHESTEDT on it. I await information from that end. As a result of her visit I did some concentrated work and found that Julius arrived in Port Phillip on the 20th of May 1855 on the ship "Gertude." He applied for and was granted Australian citzenship in 1864 at which time he stated he was a miner living at Tarnagulla, Victoria. This information gives me another 9 years to research on the Australian side!

    I am a relative newcomer to family history research but have found the following helpful:-

      1. Never discount information. What seems to have no relevance now may be vital when your research progresses further.
      2. Take interest in your society's guest speakers. ( For the same reasons as above! ).
      3. Never give up. Just when you think there's nowhere else to look someone talks about their experience and another door opens for you.
      4. Ask for help. The search is addictive and the participants are both patient and generous.
      5.Use both the local and your society's library.
      6. Try different spellings of the surname being researched. There are several ways of spelling SMITH and either the writer or the speller could have been illiterates.
      7. It goes without saying, if you don't already belong to a Family History Society, join one. You will travel further faster in your research in similar company.

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    Echuca-Moama Family History Group - Last Modified : 21 Jan 1998

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