The Bohnstedt Lines in Prussia

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)


We've examined the Bohnstedt lines in Pomerania, Sweden and Russia descending from Jacob Bonstedt, and we've examined the Bohnstedt line descending from Sigismund Bonstedt through David Sigismund Bohnstedt into North Rhineland - Westfalen. Now we turn to Christoph Bohnstädt (Bohnstaedt), a brother of Jacob and Sigismund, and his descendants through Johann Dietrich "Theodor" Bohnstedt and August Wilhelm Bohnstedt.

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1. Coat-of-Arms used by August Wilhelm Bohnstedt; the "Prussian" Bohnstedt family group
2-3. Contemporary representations of the Prussian German Bohnstedt Coat-of-Arms

I came to call this branch or group of the Bohnstedt family in Germany the "Prussian" branch of the Bohnstedt family because the forefathers of this branch of the Bohnstedt family and many of their descendants settled in the area that used to be known as Prussia and East Prussia. Not all of the individuals and family groups from this branch remained in the east, especially towards the end of the Second World War. Therefore the term "Prussian Bohnstedts" may be somewhat loosely applied, but it will do for our purposes here.

Many of the family patriarchs from this family group acquired and managed large farming estates that were founded in an earlier time in Eastern Germany and Prussia. The term that is often used in the original German documentation from which this information was extracted is "Ritterguts", meaning a noble estate or nobleman's estate. "Ritter" is a German word that is related to the English word "Rider", and refers to a horse-mounted knight. The term "Rittergutsbesitzer is sometimes used to describe the occupation or profession of some of these men and an approximate English translation of the word means "Lord of the Manor'. Thus a "Rittergutsbesitzer" is the owner, proprietor or director of a large farming estate.


The Origins of the Noble Estates and the Teutonic Knights

In fact some of these estates actually traced their heritage back to the days of the Teutonic Knights, when they ruled the Prussian lands from the 1200's and owned large farming estates, worked by local peasants. The Teutonic Knights were a German order of monk-knights, modeled closely after the English Hospitaller Knights and the French Knights Templar. Their mission, like the Hospitallers and Templars, was to protect Christian pilgrims and interests in the Holy Land after the capture of Jerusalem during the crusades.

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1. Artists conception of Teutonic Knights in battle
2. "Ritterkreuz", or "Knights Cross"

The Teutonic Knights adopted as a uniform white robes and mantles with a black cross, which sometimes showed the ends flared out. This style of cross was used as an emblem by French, English and German knights and is called an "engrailed" cross, referred to by some as a "crusader cross". For centuries this "crusader cross" has been used as a German military marking on vehicles and airplanes, and used as medals. Higher orders of this Eisernen Kreuz (Iron Cross) are called the Ritterkreuz, or "Knights Cross".

After a time the German crusaders became disinterested in the Holy Land and decided to head north, to the regions around the Baltic Sea, and crusade against pagans there; indigenous peoples who had not yet been converted to Christianity. The influence and control of the Teutonic Order in this region eventually resulted in the formation of the powerful kingdom of Prussia, which in turn became the foundation stone of the modern German nation, and it's largest state.

The Teutonic Knights gave up their life of poverty and chastity and established themselves as powerful landlords, acquiring large tracts of land, building manor houses on them and ruling large numbers of serfs who lived and worked the farmlands in a virtual condition of slavery. They married and established families who carried on this tradition throughout later generations. Although the Teutonic Knights had become "gentleman farmers", they maintained an aggressive military tradition carried over from their predecessors during the crusades.


The Six Bohnstedt Family Houses

In 1938 Dr. Georg Bohnstedt distributed to Bohnstedt family members in Germany a document titled Mitglieder de Bohnstedt'schen Familien-Verbandes, März 1938. This was basically a family directory that Dr. Bohnstedt had been distributing to family members periodically for a number of years. We used this document (which I simply refer to as the "1938 List") as material in verifying and supporting other research sources. The individuals listed on this family directory were all descendants of August Wilhelm Bohnstedt, who was a grandson of Christoph Bohnstädt (Bohnstaedt).

Dr. Bohnstedt divided up the family listings into six distinct groupings:

I ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Brodtkowitz
II ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Lichtenrade
III ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Buchwäldchen
IV ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Bärenklau
V ) Stammhaus Kaltenhausen, Linie Kaltenhausen
VI ) Stammhaus Kaltenhausen, Linie Krämersdorf

The German "Stamm" refers to a family clan or tribe, so the word "Stammhaus" in this particular instance means a main family group, and "linie" is a family line. Thus Dr. Bohnstedt defined this German Bohnstedt family group as six family lines descending from two main family groups; Stammhaus Großmachnow - Hirschfelde, and Stammhaus Kaltenhausen.  When I arranged the family tables in this work i arranged grouped them along the same lines that Dr. Bohnstedt did.

The entire
1939 Stammbaum created by Edgar Bohnstedt.

A visual understanding of these family groups can be gained from the 1939 Stammbaum der Familie Bohnstedt, or as we've come to call it the "1939 Stammbaum". This chart which measures over 12 feet was drawn up by Edgar Bohnstedt in 1939 and copies were distributed to several family members throughout Germany. On this chart were several children of Bartholomäus Bonstedt, but none of his grandchildren, except one, Johann Dietrich Bohnstedt, son of Christoph Bohnstädt. We then see several children of Johann Dietrich Bohnstedt, but none of his grandchildren, except from one child, August Wilhelm Bohnstedt. The reasons for this absence are simple: August Wilhelm Bohnstedt was the only male child of Johann Dietrich Bohnstedt, and Edgar was trying to show the Bohnstedt descendants in Germany following the family name.

If we go down one more generation we see that August Wilhelm Bohnstedt also had several children. However, the record of family building by August was a sad one. He was married in 1761 to Anna Dorothea Bergmann and the following year she gave birth to their first child, Theodor August Bohnstedt. But the child died six days later. Another child was born in 1763, Carl Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, but this time the child died the following day. In 1766 a third child was born, August Friedrich Heinrich Bohnstedt. But as with his siblings the boy died young, about a month after he was born. The mother, Anna, died that year as well, nine months later. This raises questions as to whether Anna might have had health problems of her own, which she passed on to her newborn children, and which finally took her own life.

August Wilhelm married again in 1767 to Henrica Metz. Henrica and August had better luck with children. Three children were born to them; Dorothea Henrica Juliana in 1769, Karl August Heinrich in 1772, and Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm in 1782. It is from Karl and Ludwig that descended the large Bohnstedt family in Germany, described in the chapters that follow.

From the chart we can also see how Dr. Bohnstedt labeled each Bohnstedt line coming from August Wilhelm Bohnstedt's two sons and six grandsons.

Karl August Heinrich, August's oldest surviving son, had eleven children that we know of, and five of them were sons. One son, Julius August Ferdinand Bohnstedt had one daughter, and the Bohnstedt name ceased in his line immediately. However, the other four; Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt II (1797), Ferdinand Wilhelm Adolf Bohnstedt (1798), Albert Bohnstedt (1804), and Heinrich Julius Ferdinand Bohnstedt (1806) all had children and grandchildren and a substantial number of descendants.

Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm Bohnstedt, August Wilhelm Bohnstedt's second surviving son, had six children with his wife Friedericke, and three of them were sons. One of these sons, Ferdinand, was unmarried. But the other two, Friedrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt (1822), Friedrich Wilhelm "Eduard" Bohnstedt (1827) had several children and grandchildren.

In some cases Dr. Bohnstedt identifies each man with an estate that he owned, or in other cases the place that he lived or did business. Karl August Heinrich was the owner of the Hirschfelde Estate in Groß-Machnow, so Dr. Bohnstedt identified his descendants as "Stammhaus Großmachnow - Hirschfelde". Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm Bohnstedt was the owner or manager of the Kaltenhausen Estate, so his descendants were referred to as "Stammhaus Kaltenhausen".

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7. Click here for a family chart of Bohnstedt farming estate owners in Germany and Prussia.

Dr. Bohnstedt then further broke this down by identifying a family line, or "Linie" from each of the sons of Karl August Heinrich and Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm Bohnstedt.

The family houses and family lines are represented in the following way:

I ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Brodtkowitz:

These are descendants of Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt II (a son of Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt I). Karl August Bohnstedt I acquired the Hirschfelde Estate in Groß-Machnow. Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt II acquired the Brodtkowitz Estate.

II ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Lichtenrade:

These are descendants of Ferdinand Wilhelm Adolf Bohnstedt (a son of Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt I). Ferdinand acquired the Lehnshulzenhofes Estate in Berlin-Lichtenrade.

III ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Buchwäldchen:

There are descendants of Albert Bohnstedt (a son of Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt I). Albert acquired the Buchwäldchen Estate.

IV ) Stammhaus Großmachnow-Hirschfelde, Linie Bärenklau:

These are descendants of Heinrich Julius Ferdinand Bohnstedt (a son of Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt I). Ferdinand made his living, possibly as an estate manager, in Bärenklau, East Prussia.

V ) Stammhaus Kaltenhausen, Linie Kaltenhausen

These are descendants of Friedrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt, who was a son of Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm Bohnstedt. Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm Bohnstedt was the manager or owner of the Kaltenhausen Estate. Friedrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt Later became the owner of the Kaltenhausen Estate, thus the Stammhaus Kaltenhausen, Linie Kaltenhausen.

VI ) Stammhaus Kaltenhausen, Linie Krämersdorf

These are descendants of Friedrich Wilhelm Eduard Bohnstedt (a son of Ludwig Ferdinand Wilhelm Bohnstedt). Eduard acquired the Krämersdorf Estate.


In the chapters that follow we discuss each of these Bohnstedt lines, their descendants, and biographical histories on some of the personalities from these lines. Each family group (Stammhaus) and family line (Linie) will be discussed in the following order: the Brodtkowitz Bohnstedt Line, the Lichtenrade Bohnstedt Line, the Buchwäldchen Bohnstedt Line, the Bärenklau Bohnstedt Line, the Kaltenhausen Bohnstedt Line, and the Krämersdorf Bohnstedt Line.


Book References:
- Büsch, Otto and Neugebauer, Wolfgang (Edited by). Moderne Preussische Geschichte 1648 - 1947: Eine Anthologie (Modern Prussian History 1648-1948: An Anthology). Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, 1981 (ISBN 3110837315, 9783110837315)


See Also:
1-19 / Heraldry and the Bohnstedt Coats-of-Arms; Prussian Bohnstedt Arms
1-21 / The Brodtkowitz Bohnstedt Line; The Descendants of Karl August Heinrich Bohnstedt II
1-24 / The Lichtenrade Bohnstedt Line; The Descendants of Ferdinand Wilhelm Adolf Bohnstedt
1-29 / The Buchwäldchen Bohnstedt Line; The Descendants of Albert Bohnstedt
1-32 / The Bärenklau Bohnstedt Line: The Descendants of Heinrich Julius Ferdinand Bohnstedt
1-33 / The Kaltenhausen Bohnstedt Line: The Descendants of Friedrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt
1-35 / The Krämersdorf Bohnstedt Line: The Descendants of Friedrich Wilhelm Eduard Bohnstedt

1-42 / Genealogy 1-6-1: Prussia and Eastern Germany: Brodtkowitz
1-43 / Genealogy 1-6-2: Prussia and Eastern Germany: Lichtenrade
1-44 / Genealogy 1-6-3: Prussia and Eastern Germany: Buchwäldchen
1-45 / Genealogy 1-6-4: Prussia and Eastern Germany: Bärenklau
1-46 / Genealogy 1-6-5: Prussia and Eastern Germany: Kaltenhausen
1-47 / Genealogy 1-6-6: Prussia and Eastern Germany: Krämersdorf

5-8 /
Appendix G: Mitglieder de Bohnstedt'schen Familien-Verbandes März 1938
5-10 /
Appendix I: Stammbaum der Familie Bohnstedt (1923)
5-11 /
Appendix J: Stammbaum der Familie Bohnstedt (1939)


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