Descendants of David Sigismund Bohnstedt

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)


A romantic vision of a Dutch East India Company fleet on the high seas in the 17th Century.  There is some evidence that one son - possibly two - were employed in the Dutch East India Company fleet.


Bohnstedts In and Near Essen

Pastor David Bohnstedt and his wife Catharina had at least eleven known children together, four of which were sons. Unfortunately, nothing is known of the descendants of any of these sons, except for one, Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt, and a Great Grandson, Gustav Eduard Alfried Bohnstedt.  Christian Gottlieb, and his wife, also named Catharina, had at least three children; one daughter, and two sons. From these two sons descended some of the Bohnstedt family branches in Essen, and surrounding areas of the Westphalia region.

Click to Enlarge
The progenitor of a family line of Bohnstedts in Essen and Western Europe: Pastor David Sigismund Bohnstedt

Much of the information regarding descendants of David Sigismund Bohnstedt in Essen and the Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) region of Germany has still not been recovered. From what we know it appears that most of his descendants remained in Essen, or in the area surrounding it. There are several small family groups and individuals listed in Part 4, section 3 who were located in the same area. It might someday be discovered that many of these were also descended from David Sigismund Bohnstedt.


Bohnstedts and the Dutch East India Company

Wolfgang Bohnstedt originally believed that a certain ship's captain in the Dutch East India Company that he had found in records, was Christian Gottlieb Bonstäd, a grandson of Bartholomäus Bonstedt, and son of Andreas Bonstedt, a brother of Sigismund Bohnsted, Pastor David Bohnstedt's father.  I conducted some research into this but so far I have been unable to find anything in materials about the Dutch East India Company which mention a ships captain named Bonstäd or any other variation of Bohnstedt.  However, Wolfgang's theory may still be true.

It's also possible that this ship's captain in the Dutch East India Company was one of the sons of David Sigismund Bohnstedt, Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt, and therefore a great-grandson of Bartholomäus Bonstedt.  The records for this Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt states that Christian was a "silver and gold dealer".  This isn't necessarily a contradiction.  If Christian had been a ship's captain in the VOC (the Dutch East India Company), or even a ship's officer, he might have been well placed to start up his own business after retiring from the VOC.

The idea that this Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt who was in the VOC was a son of David Sigismund Bohnstedt is strengthened by the knowledge that another son of Bartholomäus (and therefore Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt's brother) had also joined the Dutch East India Company: Daniel Stephan Bohnstedt.  I found on the internet a record of Daniel Stephan (Stephanus) Bohnstedt, who enlisted with the VOC - the Dutch East India Company - in 1761.  According to this record, Daniel's first (and last) voyage was aboard the Vosmaar, bound for Batavia.  180 days after leaving Holland the Vosmaar arrived in the Dutch colony "Batavia" in the Dutch East Indies.  The record finally shows that Daniel "resigned" in 1766.  The reason: "deceased".  However, the record does not show the reason for Daniel's death.  David Sigismund Bohnstedt's youngest son, Daniel Stephan Bohnstedt, was born in 1742 in Essen. If he was the same Daniel Bohnsted who signed up with the VOC he would have been about nineteen years old; a typical age at which young men have gone adventuring. Furthermore the online record also has the notation "uit Essen", which is Dutch for "from Essen", indicating that this Daniel Stephan Bohnstedt was more than likely David Sigismund Bohnstedt's son.

If the VOC ship's captain was Bartholomäus Bonstedt's son, Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt, Christian would have been about 24 years old when Daniel Stephan Bohnstedt, his younger brother, enlisted with the VOC. Perhaps Christian stayed with the VOC long enough to be promoted through the ranks to eventually become captain.

1. This document, in Dutch, dates to the 1760's.  It gives the ship's name at the top; "Schip Vosmaar" (Ship, Vosmaar), and the name of a crewman on the next line; "Daniel Stephanus Bohnstedt van Essen" (Daniel Stephan Bohnstedt from Essen)
2. Artists conception of the Dutch Batavia colony in the 17th Century

The Vereenigde Landsche Ge-Oktroyeerde Oostindische Compagnie, or “VOC” (known to the English speaking world as the Dutch East India Company) was founded in 1602 for the purpose of weakening the apparent monopoly that the Portuguese merchants had over the spice trade in East Asia, and also for the purpose of competing with the British East India Company, founded two years earlier. The charter granted by the Dutch government gave the VOC the power to colonize any territory it desired, enslave the indigenous population according to the needs of the market, and wage full scale warfare against native peoples in countries when they did not cooperative with demands for goods such as teas and spices.

The VOC was probably closely modeled after the British East India Company, the most powerful of the East India Companies. The French East India Company was founded in 1664, the Danish East India Company in 1729, and the Swedish East India Company in 1731. They were all formed with similar aims and goals to the British and Dutch East India Companies, but never achieved the same level of global power and influence enjoyed by the British and Dutch East India Companies.


Eduard Bohnstedt, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

1848 was a year of turmoil in Europe, and especially Germany, where socialist and communist revolutions were breaking out. My belief is that this might have been one of the things that motivated Johann Carl Christian Bohnstedt I to take his family and emigrate to America later that year, in October.  But in May of 1848, it appears that another Bohnstedt was involved with these communist revolutions - perhaps on the communist side.

1-2. Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) are generally considered to be the fathers of communism, and the fathers (or grandfathers) of modern socialism and communism, for better or worse.

In a letter from Friedrich Engels to Karl Marx of May 9, 1848, Engels writes:

Dear Marx,


1. The list of the shares so far subscribed for, 14 in number.
2. A proxy for you.
3. One for d'Ester (Bohnstedt is an acquaintance of his).
4. One for Bürgers.

It was unavoidable that Bohnstedt and Hecker should have given their proxies to personal acquaintances.

Hühnerbein will appear there in person on behalf of himself and two others here.

The list is not yet closed. Although I have called on Laverrière and [ __ ] x times, I haven’t found them at home. Zulauff has taken over the former.

Two others, with whom I made no headway, will be worked upon by Hecker.

Today Zulauff is going to Ronsdorf, where he has good prospects.

The two kinds of people who prove the most difficult are, firstly, the republicans in kid gloves, who fear for their fortunes and smell communism in the air and, secondly, the local panjandrums, who regard us as rivals.

Neither Nohl nor Bracht were to be persuaded. Of the jurists, Bohnstedt is the only one with whom anything can be done. All in all we've made fruitless moves enough.

Tomorrow I am going to Engelskirchen for 2 days. Let me know at once the results of the shareholders’ meeting.

A beginning has also been made with a community of the [Communist] League.


A footnote explanation of portions of this letter with regard to proxies states:

The shareholders of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung [a newspaper] were to meet in Cologne [Köln, Germany] in May 1848, before the newspaper started publication. The shareholders from other towns who could not attend the meeting in person sent in proxies for the newspaper's editors or other persons in Cologne.

This, combined with information from other sources (in German) suggests that Bohnstedt was a shareholder in this newspaper, as was Engels, and that Marx and Engels may have been attempting to persuade the other shareholders to use the newspaper to promote their socialist agenda

Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels / Collected Works, Volume 38,  Marx and Engels, 1844 -1851 includes a letter from Engels to Marx which mentions "Bohnstedt", a lawyer in Köln (Cologne), Germany.

As far as this History of the Bohnstedt Family is concerned, who was this 'Bohnstedt' mentioned in Engels' letter to Marx? The supplementary source in German lists his name as Gustav Eduard Bohnstedt, an "Advokat" (lawyer). The person most likely to fit this description was Gustav Eduard Alfried Bohnstedt, an advokat in Köln, a grandson of Christian Gottlieb Bohnstedt and a great-grandson of David Sigismund Bohnstedt.

Besides the fact that this Eduard Bohnstedt was an Advokat, he was born in 1819, which means he would have been about 29 years old in 1848, and therefore a contemporary with Marx and Engels. Because Eduard Bohnstedt was a lawyer he probably had enough money to make investments, and therefore would have been in a financial position to buy part of a newspaper.


Bohnstedt, Kind & Company, New York

This item was found while trawling the Internet, looking for items of interest pertaining to the Bohnstedt family: "Bohnstedt, Kind & Company".

Bohnstedt, Kind and Company was in the business of importing hardware and one Internet search turned up an address for this company at 45 Warren Street, in the Tribeca area of Manhattan, New York City. What scant records exist show Bohnstedt, Kind and Company operated at this address from about 1864 to an unknown date.

One reference on the Internet mentioned an antique planing tool thus:

The cutting iron has a slightly rounded 1 1/4" wide blade and shows the results of hammer blows on the top. It is stamped with a logo of kissing doves and "Bohnstedt, Kind and Co.".

For Some time I wondered if the partnership of Bohnstedt & Kind was in any way connected with the marriage between Ferdinand Ehrenfried Bohnstedt - a great-grandson of David S. Bohnstedt - and Henriette Kind.  Then I came across the following entry in a German language book from 1862 titled "Sammlung der deutschen Handels-Register: Hrsg. mit dem Central ..., Volume 1:

Bohnstedt, Kind & Co. zu Solingen (H.-Ges.). Proc.: Henriette Bohnstedt, geb [born] Kind (6 Oct.).

Entry from an 1860 New York City business directory; Bohnstedt, Kind & Co., and it also mentions "scissors"

That, combined with the fact that Ferdinand Ehrenfried and Henriette (Kind) Bohnstedt's children were all born in Solingen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, put it all together; the "Bohnstedt" of the Bohnstedt - Kind partnership was the great-grandson of David Sigismund Bohnstedt.  Also, it appears that the business was either moved from Germany to New York, or an American distribution office was opened in New York.

Entry from an 1865 New York City business directory, hardware section; which lists Kind, William [at] 45 Warren, as agency for Bohnstedt, Kind & Co.

Wilson's Business Directory of New York City, 1865, listed KIND, WILLIAM, at 45 Warren as "Agency for Bohnstedt, Kind & Co.". This may indicate that Bohnstedt, Kind and Co. used William Kind to distribute their products in America. It also suggests that William Kind was related to Henriette Kind in some way.


Book References:
- Ross, Peter and Betty (translated by).  Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels / Collected Works, Volume 38, Marx and Engels, 1844 -1851
- Sammlung der deutschen Handels-Register: Hrsg. mit dem Central ..., Volume 1 Erster, Band.  Köln, Germany. 1862
- Trow's New York City Directory, compiled by H. Wilson. Trow, John F., Publisher, New York.  1860
- Wilson's Business Directory of New York City  Trow, John F., Printer and Publisher. New York.  1865


See Also:
1-4 / Pastor David Sigismund Bohnstedt
1-41 /
Genealogy 1-5: Essen and Western Germany

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