The Bohnstedt Line in Russia and The Descendants of Eduard Ludwig 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)
Descendants of Eduard Ludwig Bohnstedt in Russia. This picture appears to have been taken sometime around the turn of the century. Most of the individuals in this picture could not be specifically identified. However, author believes that the men in the picture are from L-R: Vilhelm, Maximilian, Franz and George Bohnstedt.
Eduard Ludwig Bohnstedt
According to one of Eduard's descendants, Eduard Ludwig Bohnstedt was born in 1824 in St. Petersburg. However, the Ny Svensk Släktbok gives his year of birth as 1829. According to this family record (written in Swedish) Eduard was a trader. He was very likely a successful trader, enabling him to provide higher education for his children which in turn enabled them to pursue professional careers.
Eduard married in 1854 in St. Petersburg to Franzisca von Marc, from an upper-class German family. The von Marc family was an influential German family during this time; some were high-ranking government officials and some married into nobility. Franzisca's mother was Baroness Pauline Felkhoven, and her father was Moritz von Marc, a Government official in Speyer. Franz Marc, the famous nineteenth century impressionistic painter, came from this family.
1. George Eduardovich Bohnstedt
2. George and Elsbeth "Elli" Noschel, Klara (Bohnstedt) Noschel's two children
Eduard and Franzisca had ten children in all during a twenty year period; Robert H. (1855), Maximilian (1857), Matilda (1858), Edvard (1860), Klara (1862), Moritz Jakob (1864), Vilhelm (1866), Franz (1868), Emma (1870), and Georg (1875). Of the girls we know of only one who had children; Klara. We know that Matilda married in 1890 to Oscar August Rückward, a factory owner from Prussia, but we know of no children from this marriage. Of Emma we know nothing, neither marriage or children.
Klara however married in 1892 in St. Petersburg to Vilhelm Noschel, a doctor, and they had two children; George and Elsbeth.
1. Grave of Wilhelmine (von Marc) Bohnstedt, wife of Ludwig Bohnstedt, and thier grandson, Mortiz Bohnstedt, who died about 3 years old, in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery, St. Petersburg, Russia.
2-3. Detail of upper portion (Wilhelmine (von Marc) Bohnstedt) and lower portion (Mortiz Bohnstedt), of Wilhelmine Bohnstedt's grave marker.
As for Eduard and Franzisca's sons, documentary evidence seems to indicate that four of these sons were never married, had no descendants, and died from causes unknown at young ages. Robert, an engineer, died in 1883 at the age of 28, Edvard, a doctor, died in 1893 at 33, and Georg, a doctor or medic in the army, died in 1899 at the age of 24. Moritz died in 1867 at the age of three, and is buried in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery, St. Petersburg with his grandmother.
That left only three sons to carry the family name in Russia: Maximilian, Wilhelm, and Franz.
Maximilian Eduardovich Bohnstedt
Maximilian Bohnstedt was born in St. Petersburg in 1857, the second child of Eduard and Franzisca Bohnstedt. At the age of 30 Maximilian Bohnstedt married Ida Elisabeth Meier in 1887. He made his living as a banker in pre-revolution Russia, and he and Ida apparently lived very well. Their house in St. Petersburg was large enough that when the Communist government seized it shortly after the 1917 revolution and turned it into state property, they converted it into a children's hospital. When political and economic conditions changed in Russia in the 1990's, so did the uses for the Bohnstedt House; according to Pavel Yegoroff (one of Maximilian's great-great grandsons), the building currently houses business offices.
1. Maximilian Bohnstedt
2. Ida Elisabeth (Bohnstedt) Meier, wife of Maximilian Bohnstedt
3. Family of Maximilian Bohnstedt, circa 1900 - 1901. Author believes individuals are identified as: L-R: Alisa, Alma (front), the nanny holding Boris (or Rudolf), Ida (the mother, in front), holding Elza, Margarita (behind Ida), Eduard, another nanny holding Rudolf (or Boris), and Olga.
Maximilian and Ida had eight children; five daughters and three sons from 1888 to 1900; Alisa (1888), Margarita (1890), Olga Klara (1891), Alma Katrine (1893), Eduard (1895), Elza (1897), and twins Rudolf and Boris (1900). With the last four children Maximilian and Ida used the Russian tradition of naming children by giving the father's name as the child's middle name. For example: Eduard's middle name was Maximilianovich, while his sister, Elza, was given the feminine form: Maximilianovna.
1. Map of modern St. Petersburg showing the location of the Bohnstedt family home at No. 32 Vasilyevskogo Ostrova, St. Petersburg (5-ya lin. Vasilyevskogo Ostrovo, 32, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 199034).
2. The home of Maximilian Bohnstedt and his family. What appears in this photo is only the front portion of the house, which actually extends some distance to the back to the left outside of the picture. This picture was taken several decades ago.
3. The Bohnstedt house in St. Petersburg as it appears in 2006. Photo supplied by Pavel Yegoroff.
The two oldest daughters of Maximilian and Ida, Alisa Matilda and Margarita married and started families. Two of Alisa's sons were soldiers during the Second World War, but both were lost. It appears that Margarita relocated to Germany and started her family there. Olga Klara never married, and records suggest she died in 1919 at twenty eight years old from an unknown cause. Alma Katrine attended university, but like Alisa, she never married, and died before her time; Alma died in 1927 at thirty four years of age in Marburg, Germany.
1. Olga Klara Bohnstedt, 1891-1919
2. Alma Katrine Bohnstedt, 1893-1927
Eduard Maximilianovich Bohnstedt, Maximilian and Ida's fifth child, was born in 1895 in St. Petersburg. He served in the Russian Navy during the course of the First World War, from 1914 to 1918. In civilian life he made his living as a clerk at a trading port. He married Alisa Simon, and they had one child, Boris Eduardovich Bohnstedt, born in 1929 in Leningrad, which had been renamed from St. Petersburg after the 1917 Communist revolution.
1. Four of Maximilian's children, circa 1904-1905. L-R: Eduard, Rudolf, Elza and Boris
2. Eduard Maximilianovich Bohnstedt, 1895-1938
Boris attended Polytechnic Institute and became a professor of physics and mathematics, as did his wife, Galina, who also became a professor of physics. Boris and Galina had two daughters, Natalija and Tatyana. Both followed scientific careers as their father had mother had done; Natalija earned a Ph.D. in mathematics and built a successful career as a computer programmer and mathematician at the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Tatyna became a physics research scientist. Natalija was also responsible for providing a substantial amount of the family information in this section.
1. Elza Maximilianovna Bohnstedt
2. The twins, Rudolf (left) and Boris Bohnstedt
The last three children were Elza, born in 1897 in St. Petersburg, and the twins; Boris and Rudolf Bohnstedt, born in St. Petersburg in 1900. Elza followed a career as a geologist and mineralogist, even having a mineral named for her. Her story is told in the next section: Geologist Elza Bohnstedt-Kupletski and "Bonshtedtite". Boris attended the Petrograd Electic-Technical Institute, and also served in the army in an artillery regiment in the Russian civil war. He died in 1920 in Narva, Estonia, but it is unknown whether he died in combat or from some other cause. But his brother Rudolf, became a well-known dermatologist in Germany. His story is told in Doctor Rudolf Maximilianovich Bohnstedt.
1. Boris Maximilianovich Bohnstedt, 1900-1920
2. Rudolf Maximilianovich Bohnstedt, 1900-1970
Maximilian and Ida Bohnstedt were buried in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia. Their grave, which was found by Pavel Yegorov, a great-great-grandson of Maximilian and Ida, was in an enclosed family plot in Volkovskoye. In the same plot were the graves of Boris Bohnstedt - Maximilian's grandson and Pavel's grandfather - as well as Alisa Dombrowsky, Maximilian and Ida's daughter.
1. Bohnstedt family plot in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery in St. Petersburg, Russia
2. Grave of Maximilian and Ida Bohnstedt in the Bohnstedt family plot in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery
3. Grave of Alisa (Bohnstedt) Dombrowsky in the Bohnstedt family plot in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery
4. Grave of Boris Eduardovich Bohnstedt in the Bohnstedt family plot in Volkovskoye Lutheran Cemetery
Maximilian and Ida Bohnstedt were buried While Maximilian stayed in St.Petersburg with his family, two of his brothers;Wilhelm Eduardovich and Franz Eduardovich, relocated to Moscow.
Wilhelm Eduardovich Bohnstedt
Wilhelm Eduardovich Bohnstedt was born in 1866 in St. Petersburg, and was a trader or merchant in that city. He married in 1900 in Moskva to Maria Ivanovna Simon. They had three children, Maria Vasilievna (1901), Georgy Vasilievich (1903) and Leopold (1908). For years we knew little of this family except For Wilhelm's name, his wife's (Maria, born Simon) and that they had three children; Maria, George, and Leopold. And I was told by members of the Bohnstedt family in Russia that Leopold was a "Colonel in the Russian tank forces". That was all we had, along with a picture of Wilhelm with his daughter, Marie (Maria).
But recently a volunteer with the Findagrave.com website took pictures of several graves of Bohnstedts in Moscow's Vvedenskoye Cemetery and sent them to me. Three of the grave markers photographed were for (a) Wilhelm and Maria Bohnstedt (b) Maria Bohnstedt (daughter) and Georgy Bohnstedt (son). The marker for Wilhelm and Maria also had inscriptions for two other people; Someone named "Lyutsiya Konstantinovna Bohnstedt" (1921-1972) and someone named "Lev Vasilievich Bohnstedt" (1908-1990).
1. Wilhelm Eduardovich Bohnstedt with daughter, Maria, circa 1902-1903
2. Grave of Wilhelm and wife Maria (top), son Leopold (bottom), and Lyutsiya Konstantinovna Bohnstedt (most likely Leopold's wife. Photo courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia
3. Close-up of the lower sections of Wilhelm and Maria's grave marker, showing detail of the inscriptions for "Lev" (Leopold) Bohnstedt (bottom), and Lyutsiya Konstantinovna Bohnstedt (middle). Photo courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia.
Beginning with the inscription for "Lev Bohnstedt": The years of birth and death for this person match, almost exactly, for the years of birth and death that we had for Wilhelm and Maria's youngest child; Leopold Bohnstedt. We had 1908-1991, but the inscription stated 1908-1990. That's pretty close, but other elements proved more useful and interesting. For one thing, the middle name of Vasilievich is a connection back to Wilhelm Bohnstedt. The Russian name for Wilhelm is "Vasili", and in Russian naming conventions parents usually give the child's middle name in honor of the father, thus "Vasilievich" is given to a male child as a second name in honor of his father who was named "Vasili", or in this case, "Wilhelm". And in fact, Wilhelm and Maria's first two children, Maria and Georgy, have the middle names "Vasilievna" (feminine form) for Maria, and "Vasilievich" (masculine form) for Georgy. Therefor it would be expected that Leopold's middle name would also have been "Vasilievich". As for the first name; "Lev", Lev is Russian for Lion, and Leo is also Latin for lion. Since Leopold's name can be shortened to "Leo", the nickname "Lev" can also be used: Leopold - Leo - Lion - Lev. Also, family anecdotal information says that Leopold was an officer in the Soviet Army, in a tank/armored unit. Thus, he may also have had the nickname "Lev - Leo" for "Lion" because of his military service. Having unpacked all of this it seems quite clear that Lev Bohnstedt was in fact Leopold Bohnstedt.
As for the remaining inscription; Lyutsiya Konstantinovna Bohnstedt, "Lyutsiya" is Russian for "Lucia", or shortened to a western-style nickname; "Lucy". This really doesn't help, nor does her middle name of Konstantinovna, except that it suggests that this woman's father's given name was Konstantin. With regard to who she may have been, I personally suspect that she was Leopold's wife. And if she was, the fact that they were both buried with Leopold's parents suggests - but doesn't prove - that they may have been a childless couple. But that is mostly speculation.
1-2. L-R: Grave of Georgy Vasilievich Bohnstedt (Wilhelm and Maria Bohnstedt's son) in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moskva (Moscow), Russia (left) and the Grave of Maria Vasilievna Bohnstedt (Wilhelm and Maria Bohnstedt's daughter) in Vvedenskoye Cemetery. Both markers were very worn and difficult to read. Photos courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia
There are two other grave markers adjacent to Wilhelm and Maria's gravesite. One of the markers is for Georgy Vasilievich Bohnstedt, and the other is for Maria Vasilievna Bohnstedt. Both were Wilhelm and Maria's children. Unfortunately the markers are so worn they are difficult to read at all, and very little could be read apart from their names. On Maria's marker I was able to at least make out a year of death: 1965. As with Leopold we know of no children born to either Maria or Georgy.
Even so, there may have been children born to Leopold, Maria or Georgy. When the research for this project was first being conducted I attempted to recover information about the families and descendants of Wilhelm Bohnstedt. However, according to Natalija Yegorova and Marina Zvekova, attempts were made to contact descendants of Wilhelm Bohnstedt in and near Moskva (Moscow), but apparently their response was negative and they did not wish to be involved. The implication of this is that there may actually have been - and possibly still are - descendants of Leopold, or Maria, or Georgy.
When my research began reaching into Russia, in the early 1990s, the Cold War and American-Soviet mistrust and hostility were still fresh in the minds of most people. Some of this mistrust towards America and Americans may still have been present. We should also not discount the possibility that, despite the apparent end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the people living there had no idea whether it was a temporary thing and whether a hardline government might return to power. Even if the there was no real hostility towards the west, many in the former USSR were cautious and wary of political developments inside Russia and the former Soviet Republics. I would add this final note; many Russians were bitter about the way the Cold War ended. For the U.S. the end was mostly positive, as the Second World War had been. But for the citizens of the USSR, they saw the "Soviet Empire" in Communist eastern Europe disintegrate almost overnight, and then they saw the Soviet Union itself fall apart. In the aftermath Russian military power was dramatically reduced and Russia itself was no longer a global power, but reduced to a regional power. There were food shortages, housing shortages, economic devastation, and Russia was still coming to terms with their own "Vietnam Syndrome", their 10-year failed intervention in Afghanistan. It's no wonder that many in Russia would still be distrustful and even hostile towards the west in the immediate aftermath.
Franz Eduardovich Bohnstedt
Franz Eduardovich Bohnstedt was born in 1868 in St. Petersburg, the eighth child of Eduard and Franzisca Bohnstedt. In 1896 in Moskva (Moscow) he married Anna Ivanovna Loewe, a daughter or relative of the founder of the Loewe-Seydler transport company. This was a beneficial marriage to Franz, because he became a manager in the company.
1. Franz Eduardovich Bohnstedt
2. Franz E. Bohnstedt and wife, Anna Ivanovna (Loewe) Bohnstedt
So far I have been unable to find any detailed information on a company called Loewe-Seydler, but I did find something called the International Cable Directory of the World (in Conjunction with) Western Union Telegraphic Code System. This edition was printed by the International Cable Directory Company (apparently there was company set up for the sole purpose of printing one directory each year), New York and London, 1908. A book like this would have been found in the offices of any company that did international business those days, and offices that did business using a telegraph system no doubt had a trained experienced telegraph operator on the payroll. Among the many entries in the directory I did find the "Loewe and Seydler I.A." company, based in Moscow.
1-2. Before satellite teleconferencing and instant messaging, before e-mail, before fax and telephone, there was the telegraph, the earliest form of electrical/electronic telecommunications. This is the cover of the 1908 edition of the International Cable Directory of the World (in Conjunction with) Western Union Telegraphic Code System, and one of the pages showing the listing for the "Loewe & Seydler" company, based in Moscow. This edition was over 830 pages long.
Franz and Anna had three children; Adelheid Franzevna Bohnstedt, born in 1897 in Bordeaux, France, Vasili Franzevich Bohnstedt, born 1899 in Moskva, and Fanni Franzevna Bohnstedt, born in 1903, also born in Moskva. We know of no marriage or children for Adelheid, and she died in 1942 at the age of 45. However, it is still possible that she did marry. So far we have not discovered Adelheid's grave in Vvedenskoye Cemetery in Moscow, where her parents and two siblings are buried. If for some reason she had died without being married it seems logical to assume that she probably would have been buried there with her parents or near them. On the other hand she may have married (to someone we known nothing of, and might have been buried in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, or even somewhere else, under a different family name.
Franz and Anna's children. L-R: Fanni, Vasili and Adelheid Bohnstedt
Fanni was married twice. Her first marriage was in 1934 in Moskva to Boris Vasilevich Shyokin. Their daughter, Marina, became a teacher of Russian language and literature. She also gave significant aide to this research project.
1. Grave of Franz Eduardovich Bohnstedt and his wife, Anna Ivanovna Bohnstedt, in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moskva (Moscow). Photo courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia
2. Graves of (a) Fanni Franzevna Shesternina (Franz and Anna's daughter and youngerst child), (b) Marina Borisovna Zvekova, (Fanni's daughter), and (c) Vladimir Petrovich Zvekov (Marina's husband) in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moskva (Moscow). Photo courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia
The second child of Franz and Anna, Vasili Franzevich Bohnstedt, was born in 1899 in Moskva. He had two sons, but we know nothing of his marriage. He had two sons, Vladimir Vasil'jevich Bohnstedt (1927) and Fjodor Vasil'jevich Bohnstedt (1928), both born in Moskva.
Vladimir married Nina Chukavina and together they had two sons, Alexander and Andrej, but Alexander and Andrej both had daughters, Elena was born to Alexander, and Olga and Mary were born to Andrej. Fjodor married Valentina Guseva, and they had one daughter, Svetlana.
1. Grave of (a) Vasili Franzevich Bohnstedt in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moskva (Moscow). The marker is in front of Fanni's grave marker (his sister). This marker also lists (b) Ingrid Augustovna Bohnstedt, someone we had never heard of before but who we presume to be Vasili's wife. Finally, the third name down is (c) Fjodor Vasil'jevich Bohnstedt, Vasili's second child and younger son. Photo courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia
2. Grave of Svetlana Fjodorovna Bohnstedt in Vvedenskoye Cemetery, Moskva (Moscow). Svetlana was Fjodor's daughter. Photo courtesy of Eugenia Dolgikh, Moscow, Russia
At the time of this writing, we know of no sons born to these men, and it does not appear that the Bohnstedt name will continue in this family. The only Russia Bohnstedt line where the Bohnstedt name might continue is with the descendants of Wilhelm Eduardovich Bohnstedt.
1-12 / The First Bohnstedts in Russia
1-16 / Geologist Elza Bohnstedt-Kupletski and "Bonshtedtite"
1-17 / Doctor Rudolf Maximilianovich Bohnstedt
1-40 / Genealogy 1-4: Russia
5-2 / Appendix B: The Origins of Surnames / Patronymic Names
5-4 / Appendix D: Ny Svensk Släktbok
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