The Bohnstedts in the Sachsen-Anhalt Region
by Thomas Allen Bohnstedt, California USA
(the text of this page is my intellectual property. Please do not copy and repost without my written permission)
Almost Five Hundred Years Ago
On a record of marriage between Andreas Bonstedt and Barbara Söchting in 1599 in Langeln, Germany we find the name of Andreas' father, A. Bonsted. Although it is probable that A. Bonsted was also named Andreas, there is no way to be sure, so he is simply listed by his initial, "A". Andreas was born in 1565, therefore we estimate his father to have been born about 1530. However, given the fact that men during this time typically fathered children anywhere from 18 years old to 55 years old or more, Andreas' Bonstedt's father could have been born anytime between 1510 and 1547.
1-2. Langeln, Germany
Andreas died in 1619 in Langenstein, and other records also list the children of Andreas and Barbara as having been born in Langenstein. But since Andreas and Barbara were married in Langeln we assume that he lived in Langeln prior to Langenstein, and so I now refer to this branch of the Bohnstedt family as the Langeln Line, as well as "Group 1".
1-2. Langenstein, Germany
Records which give details of Andreas' life are not extensive. Apart from his birth, marriage and death, we know almost nothing, except that he and Barbara later moved to Egeln, another small town nearby, and had at least nine children, but only eight names are known; Andreas, Simon, Anna, Julius, Bartholomäus, Conrad, Margareta, and Stephan. The six sons of Andreas Bonstedt married and moved to various small towns throughout the region, including Wolmirsleben, Deersheim and Halberstadt.
Map of villages in the Sachsen-Anhalt region of central Germany. Villages of origin for Group 1, or the "Langeln" Line, are outlined in red.
Records for branches of this family continued to be sparse into the 1600s, but Wolfgang Bohnstedt was able to recover some marriage records for a few families which allowed at least a few lines to be traced. In a few fortunate cases these marriage records also included occupational descriptions. One interesting individual, Julius Bonstedt, a son of Andreas, was an innkeeper in Wolmirsleben. This busy man was married four times! Either his wives did not live very long, or he was not a very patient man and divorced his wives. His first wife, Maria, died about 1648, less than two years after the birth of their first and only child, Hennig. It is possible that Maria had a physical weakness of some variety, a weakness which caused a medical defect in the child, and from which she may have eventually died.
1-2. Wolmirsleben, Germany
Wolfgang Bohnstedt believed that the American branch of the Bohnstedt family may have descended from one of Julius Bonstedt's sons, perhaps Caspar. Consider the following: Caspar's father, Julius, was an innkeeper. One of Caspar's sons was named Matthäus. The only other individual anywhere in this work, anywhere in these records with the name Matthäus, was Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt, an innkeeper in Gevensleben, a few miles away from Wolmirsleben. Caspar's son Matthäus Bohnsted was born around 1688 in Wolmirsleben, and we believe that Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt was born around 1735-1748. Depending on when he was actually born, Caspar's son Matthäus could have been either the father or grandfather of Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt, the ancestor of the American Bohnstedt branch.
To be fair, this is still just theory and conjecture based on fragments of purely circumstantial evidence. But it is an intriguing possibility.
Bartholomäus Bonstedt was a brother of Julius Bonstedt. Any serious researcher of Bohnstedt history in Europe knows this name, and for them, their family history starts with Bartholomäus, the common ancestor of the Bohnstedt family lines in Pomerania, Sweden, Russia, and East Prussia.
Bartholomäus was a "chemist" (an old term for an apothoker or pharmacist). We don't know when he was born, but he died in 1665 in Egeln. He was married to Cathrina Appen, and together they had seven children that are known of: Jacob, Andreas, Christoph, Elisabeth, Sigismund, Andreas (a second son named Andreas), and Anna.
1-2. Egeln, Germany
Of these seven children, three died as young children. Andreas (the first Andreas) died in Egeln when he was about eight years old. Elisabeth died in 1649 about six years old, and Anna Margareta, the youngest child of Bartholomäus and Cathrina, died in Egeln at the age of seven. Records for one of these, Andreas, states that he "died during the Thirty Years War".
The second son that Bartholomäus and Cathrina had named Andreas was born in or about 1650 in Egeln and was married to Magdalena Steffens. Wolfgang found records for only three children born to Andreas and Magdalena; Catharina, born around 1687, Johann Theodorus, born around 1692, and Christian Gottlieb, born around 1694. I personally find it difficult to believe that there were only three children born to this family, but this is the information that we have.
There are two interesting aspects to this family. The first is that while other portions of the family in this region were standardizing the spelling of their family name in the 1600's to "BOHNSTEDT", these three children of Andreas and Magdalena were listed with the spelling "BONSTÄDT", (or BONSTAEDT).
The first -born child of Bartholomäus and Cathrina Bonstedt, Jacob, was born about 1637 in Egeln, and was the ancestor of the Bohnstedt family line in Swedish Pomerania, with descending sub-branches in Sweden and Russia. Their third child, Christoph, born about 1643 in Egeln, was the grandfather of August Wilhelm Bohnstedt, who is generally recognized as the ancestor of the Bohnstedt branches in Prussia. The fifth child of Bartholomäus and Cathrina Bonstedt, Sigismund, was born in 1646 in Halberstadt. Sigismund's son, David Sigismund Bohnstedt, became a Lutheran pastor of some note, and the progenitor of a Bohnstedt line in Essen and Western Germany.
1-37 / Genealogy 1-1: Langeln and Sachsen-Anhalt
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