The Bohnstedts in Swedish Pomerania

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)


Antique map of Stralsund, Pomerania, 1647. Jacob Bohnstedt (Bonstedt) relocated from Egeln, Germany, to Stralsund sometime before 1677, and started a family line there.  The Swedish and Russian branches of the Bohnstedt family eventually grew out of the Stralsund Bohnstedt family.


The Bohnstedts in the Seaport City of Stralsund

Sometime prior to 1678, Jacob Bonstedt, the eldest son of Bartholomäus Bonstedt, left Egeln and resettled in Swedish Pomerania. From the available evidence we have we know of two sons of Jacob; Johann Didrich (or Dietrich) Bohnstedt, born in 1677, in Stralsund, Swedish Pomerania, and Daniel Eberhard Bohnstedt, born about 1680, in Gützkow, Swedish Pomerania. Stralsund sits on the coast of the Baltic Sea and was a major trading seaport, while Gützkow is a small town, inland, about 30 miles southeast of Stralsund.

This seems to be important, because, as we shall see in later chapters, the three branches of the Bohnstedt family who were (generally speaking) the most financially successful were those families who settled, lived, and thrived in the cosmopolitan seaport and coastal cities; Stralsund in Swedish Pomerania, Stockholm in Sweden, and St. Petersburg in Russia.

We know that Daniel Eberhard Bohnstedt was a preacher, and that he moved around a lot in the region; He was a schoolmaster in Gützkow in 1706, a pastor in Gnitz in 1710 (I was unable to locate this place), and a minister in Pinnow (in the western area of Swedish Pomerania) from 1721 to 1753. Of his descendants we know almost nothing, but evidence suggests that one of his sons was Ludvig Fredrik Bohnstedt.

Liselotte Bohnstedt, wife of Doctor Rudolf Maximilianovitch Bohnstedt in Russia, had in her possession an old Swedish genealogy book called Ny Svensk Släktbok, or "New Swedish Family Book", written in 1903, by Karl Axel Karlsson Leijonhufvud and Gustaf Carlsson Leijonhufvud.

Title page; Ny Svensk Släktbok

This book contained a chapter about the Bohnstedt family in Swedish Pomerania and Sweden, and offered the opening comments:

The family derives its origin from Pomerania, and its first progenitor known with certainty is the Johan Didrich Bohnstedt named below. In the years 1708 and 1709, Johan Leonard von Pommer-Esche received teaching from a deacon in Gützkow by the name of M. Bohnstedt, and in 1731 a pastor, D.E. Bohnstedt from Pinnow is mentioned, who belonged to the Wolgastian synod founded in the Pomeranian Duchy. He had been insulted by a Prussian non-commissioned officer, for which Pomeranian Superintendent-General von Krakewitz dispatched a letter to the Pomeranian Governor-general. Pastor D.E. Bohnstedt was still serving in 1749, and had a son-in-law by the [last] name of Kunicke, who was a financial director. In Wolgast, the finance director there was Ludvig Fredrik Bohnstedt, and he died on 24 March 1777, leaving behind brothers and sisters and a brother-in-law by the name of C.E. Kunicke. In the year 1890 the parsonage in Pinnow burnt down, and thereby the greater part of the church archives were destroyed.

The narrative does not speculate on whether any records pertaining to the Bohnstedt family in particular were destroyed. However it is safe to assume that some family records were probably lost in the fire. Yet, Wolfgang Bohnstedt did discover some other documents that give clues to the identity of D.E. Bohnstedt. It appears that D.E. Bohnstedt was Daniel Eberhard Bohnstedt, and he was the second son of Jacob Bonstedt, who was the oldest son of Bartholomäus Bonstedt. From the narrative above, we can see that Ludvig Fredrik Bohnstedt was very likely the son of Daniel Eberhard Bohnstedt, and Daniel Eberhard's daughter, who's name we do not know, married C.E. Kunicke, who was some sort of finance manager in Wolgast. As for M. Bohnstedt, the deacon in Gützkow, there is not enough available information to draw any conclusions about who he was. M. Bohnstedt was certainly a male because he was a church deacon. He may also have been a brother to Daniel Eberhard and Johann Didrich, but this is only guesswork.

The Bohnstedt family line in Swedish Pomerania that we are familiar with descended from Johann Didrich Bohnstedt. Didrich was born in 1677 in Stralsund and made his living there as a merchant. He married in 1712 to Katarina Maria Groten (or Grote). They had two children that we know of, both sons. The older, Johan Karl Bohnstedt, was born in 1714 in Stralsund but died that same year.

The younger son, Andreas Friedrich Bohnstedt was born in 1718 in Stralsund. Andreas seems to have been a person of some importance in the community, and was involved in both commercial and church matters. Among other things he was a legal expert at St. Nicholas Church, a legal expert at St. Jurgens Monastery, a prefect in Rambin, and a member of the National Parliamentary Commission. He was also the owner of the Buschenhagen estate in West Pomerania.

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Modern view of Stralsund

Andreas was married in 1742 in Stralsund to Kristina Maria Giese, and they had six children. The oldest, Johanna Kristina was married twice, but we know nothing of any descendants she might have had. The next two children both died in the same years that they were born: 1747 and 1748.

Andreas' and Kristina's fourth child, Joachim Karl Friedrich Bohnstedt was born in 1749 in Stralsund, and the family line in Swedish Pomerania was then carried down from him. Joachim also had a younger brother named Kristian Fredrik Bohnstedt, born in 1757 in Stralsund. It is possible that he may have had descendants, but we have no information about him regarding marriage or children, so any ideas about family lines from Kristian in Pomerania are speculation.

Joachim was, like his father, financially successful. According to records he was a merchant, a court justice, a commerce official, and owned the Oldendorf Estate. This practice of acquiring estates would be carried on by descendants of this family in Sweden, and can also be seen with branches of the Bohnstedt family in Prussia. Joachim was married twice. He was first married in 1775 to Hermine Maria Hagemeister. They had five children; three sons and two daughters. Joachim's first wife died in 1784, and in 1788 he married Dorotea Müller, and they had another five children.

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1-2. More views of Stralsund

Three of the ten children died at an early age. Of the seven who made it to adulthood, four were girls, and although they married and began families, they did not carry the family name in Pomerania. Only three sons of Joachim Karl Friedrich Bohnstedt carried the Bohnstedt name; Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt , born 1776 in Stralsund to Joachim and his first wife, Hermine, Vilhelm Bohnstedt, born 1791 in Stralsund to Joachim and his second wife, Dorotea, and Ludvig Bohnstedt, born 1795 in Stralsund to Joachim and Dorotea.

Here is where the family lines part ways. Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt relocated to Sweden when he was still in his late twenties, married in 1804 in Stockholm, Sweden, and began his family there. Carl's younger half-brother, Ludvig, relocated to St. Petersburg, Russia, also in his twenties. He married in St. Petersburg at the age of 26 and he and his wife had two children there.

1-2. Grave markers of Christopher Ziemssen and his wife, Karolina (Bohnstedt) Ziemssen at Sankt Marien Church in Stralsund.  Karolina was a sister of Carl Fredrik Bohnstedt, Vilhelm Bohnstedt, and Ludvig Bohnstedt in Stralsund.

Vilhelm Bohnstedt was born in 1791, and like his brother, was born in Stralsund. He was married in Stralsund to Augusta Benecke. They had six children during the period 1816 to 1828. Two of the four children were sons; Karl Albert Fredrik Bohnstedt (1816) and August Edvard Theodor Bohnstedt (1823).

Karl relocated to Breslau, in Prussia, and married Ida Rosa Schmidt. It appears that they remained in Germany where they started their family. August emigrated to the United States and married Elisabeth Horne. They had two children that we known of; a son, William Augustus, who died young, and a daughter, Theodora.

No more Bohnstedt lines from this family are known of, unless we can someday find descendants of some individuals, such as Kristian Fredrik Bohnstedt (above) who have never been researched.

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Second surviving section from the original stammbaum showing Swedish and Russian branches of the Bohnstedts. (115 kb) (227 kb, high resolution, large file), (1.46 mb highest resolution, very large file).

As for the family lines in Sweden and Russia being related to the Bohnstedt lines in Germany, if there is any doubt about the connection I might point out that Edgar Bohnstedt, the author of the 1939 Stammbaum, knew about this connection long before Wolfgang Bohnstedt did, on whose research many of the conclusions in this section are based.

The watercolor painting which I refer to as the "Original Stammbaum" was created in the first part of the 20th century, perhaps as early as the 1920's or earlier, but most of it was destroyed during the Dresden bombing in the Second World War. Two portions of this watercolor painting survived and clearly show elements of the Bohnstedt family lines in Sweden, Russian, and in Swedish Pomerania. Edgar may have accessed the very same sources that Wolfgang used decades later to establish the connection.


Theodora Bohnstedt and Mark Jefferson

In 1848, one of the sons of Vilhelm Bohnstedt, August Edvard Theodor Bohnstedt (whose middle name "Edvard" might also have been "Edmund") immigrated to America.  By 1855, Theodore, a piano tuner and salesman, had settled in Macon Georgia, where he met and married Elizabeth Horne, a teacher in a girl's school.  They must have moved again shortly after, to Wilmington, North Carolina, where their first child, William was born.  He died three years later. August and Elizabeth moved again, to Independence, Texas, and in 1863 their daughter, Theodora, was born.  August moved yet again with his wife and daughter, to Gilmanton New Hampshire.  Theodora attended Boston University, where she met her future husband, Mark Jefferson.

Grave of Theodore Bohnstedt and Elizabeth (Horne) Bohnstedt, Smith Meeting House Cemetery, Gilmanton New Hampshire

According to the Biographical Dictionary of Geography, by Robert P. Larkin and Gary L. Peters, Mark Jefferson was

...a professor of Geography for almost forty years at the Michigan State Normal College..." and "...had a critical influence on the development of American Geography during the first half of the twentieth century."

1. Theodora Bohnstedt, photo provided by Linda Moore, a great-grandaughter of Theodora.
2. The back of the portrait of Theodora Bohnstedt

Jefferson was born 1863 in Melrose Massachusetts, and entered Boston University as a member of the class of 1884 (which consisted of eleven people).

After three years at the university he accepted a position as an assistant to the director of the National Observatory in Argentina. In 1889 he returned to Boston to complete his university education. According to the Biographical Dictionary of Geography...

During the same year [1889], he re-commenced a courtship with Theodora Bohnstedt, and two years later they were married.

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1. Professor Mark Jefferson
Biographical Dictionary of Geography, by Robert P. Larkin and Gary L. Peters, 1993
3. Mark Jefferson, Geographer, by Geoffrey J. Martin, 1968

Mark Jefferson is considered by many to be the father of American Geography. He held the chair of the Geography Department of Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti, Michigan, from 1901 through 1939. He mentored several famous geographers, such as Isaiah Bowman and Charles C. Colby. In addition to teaching summer courses at Harvard University, Jefferson also served as Chief Cartographer for the American Peace Commission at the postwar negotiations in Paris in 1918-19. Mark Jefferson is something of a celebrity to geography and cartography scholars in the United States, and numerous high school and college buildings have been named for him.

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Excerpt from Lineage Book, by the Daughters of the American Revolution, 1935

A couple of months after coming across the entry in the Biographical Dictionary of Geography I found another item from something called the Lineage Book, by The Daughters of the American Revolution, published in 1935. The item described a line of descendancy from Simon Batchelder.

Grave of Theodora (Bohnstedt) Jefferson, Highland Cemtery, Ypsilante, Michigan.

Working from bottom to top, it shows a (4) marriage of Simon Batchelder to Rachel Johnson, (3) marriage of Martha Batchelder (Simon's daughter) to Hazen Horne, (2) marriage of Elizabeth Horne (Hazen's daughter) to Theodore Bohnstedt, and finally, (1) marriage of Theodora Bohnstedt (Theodore and Elizabeth's daughter) to Mark W. Jefferson. Here the names of Theodora's parents match the names recovered by Wolfgang Bohnstedt in his research. The only discrepancy was that Theodora was listed in the Lineage Book with the middle initial "H".

Despite the single discrepancy of Theodora's middle initial, I am certain this confirmed that the Theodora who married Mark Jefferson descended from the Bohnstedt line in Swedish Pomerania through her father, August Edvard Theodor Bohnstedt (or as the Lineage Book lists him; Theodore A.E. Bohnstedt). Apparently, Theodora Bohnstedt was also a "Daughter of the American Revolution" through her mother, Elizabeth Horne.


Book References:
- Leijonhufvud, Karl Axel Karlsson and Leijonhufvud, Gustaf Carlsson.
Ny Svensk Släktbok ("New Swedish Family Book") Published by P.A. Norstedt & Sons. 1906
- Larkin, Robert P. and Peters, Gary L. Biographical Dictionary of Geography. Greenwood Press. 1993 (ISBN 0313276226)
- Daughters of the American Revolution. Lineage Book. 1935


See Also:
1-38 /
Genealogy 1-2: Swedish Pomerania
5-4 /
Appendix D: Ny Svensk Släktbok


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