Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The Jaeckel Family

Michael, 43, baker by trade
Sophie, 36, wife of Michael
Anders, 15, apprentice baker
Anna, 12
Carl, 10
Emilie, 8

Six simple lines of names and ages and yet it has taken some time to get to this point. You will remember my difficulties with the surname. In contrast, first names were quite easy. I have a list of migrants from one of the Lammershagen’s trips to Australia (6 October 1872) and I simply picked names that I liked. It is one of the joys of writing fiction.

Ages were a bit trickier. I looked in the records in a couple of family histories for the range of ages of families who had migrated. Generally the parents were older than I expected. There were a few young couples, but many of the families had adult children. Children over the age of 15 were listed in records as adults. Those with very young children were mainly listed in the free passage section. The older families seemed to come as “full payers.” This fits with my idea of the Jaeckels as established small business people cum artisans.

This book is aimed at young readers, so it is essential to have some characters in the target age range (9-12). Anders needs to be old enough to do the baking in the family bakery while his dad is serving in the army. Sophie runs the shop, helped by Anna. Carl delivers bread when he is not at school. Emilie also helps out in the shop when she’s not at school.

It’s exciting to see my family taking form. It feels as if we are at the start of an adventure together.

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