From Bernburg to Berlin and Dresden
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)
Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt I, II & III
One of the most thoroughly researched of the Bernburg Bohnstedt family lines was that of Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt, born in 1750. His son, Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt II, was married twice in Bernburg; the first time in 1800 to Dorothea Friederike Henriette Mebes, and the second time in 1817 to Henriette Grabau. The product of these two marriages was a total of eleven children. From two of these children Wolfgang Bohnstedt traced two major branches of the Bohnstedt family in Bernburg to Berlin.
One branch was traced from Friedrich's eighth child, Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III, born in 1820 in Bernburg. Wolfgang traced a line of this family through Friedrich Marcus Theodor Gustav Bohnstedt, who relocated to Dresden sometime around the turn of the century.
Another branch was traced from Friedrich's third child, Johann Richard Friedrich Bohnstedt born in 1802 in Bernburg. Richard had several children, but Wolfgang could find very little information about them. However, Wolfgang was able to trace his own line further down from Richard's son, August Gustav Adolf Bohnstedt. Gustav's son, Rudolf Gottlieb Ernst August Bohnstedt, relocated to Berlin prior to 1900 and was married there to Louise Margarethe Fiedler. He made his living in Berlin as plumber and a metal worker. This Berlin Branch of the Bernburg Bohnstedt Family continued on through Rudolf's son, Rudolf Hermann Bohnstedt.
It was the good fortune of the entire Bohnstedt family that Hermann married Erna Henriette Kadler in 1925 in Berlin-Neukölln. It was this union which gave the Bohnstedt family worldwide one of it's greatest assets; Wolfgang Bohnstedt, who is responsible for recovering a large portion of the Bohnstedt family's historical and genealogical information available to us today, especially in Germany, most of which appears in this work.
1. Wolfgang Bohnstedt identified this couple as August Gustav Adolf Bohnstedt and his wife Sophie (Lange) Bohnstedt. But this could be in error. It could also be August Gustav's parents, Johann Richard Friedrich Bohnstedt and his wife Christiane (Bindenagel) Bohnstedt
2. Wolfgang Bohnstedt identified this young man as August Gustav Adolf Bohnstedt
3. The back of the original of this photo identified the person as Sophie Friederike Lange, wife of August Gustav Adolf Bohnstedt
Wolfgang Bohnstedt originally loaned me several photographs of his direct ancestors for use in this work. If my memory serves me correctly, two of these photos (shown here) were marked on the back: August Gustav Adolf Bohnstedt. One of these photos shows a man with a woman, probably his wife. I personally have doubts that it is the same man in both photos. First, they don't seem to resemble each other. Second, we do have a picture of August Gustav's wife, Friederike, and she looks even less like the woman seated in the photo shown here.
1. Rudolf Gottlieb Ernst Bohnstedt, son of August Gustav Adolf Bohnstedt and Sophie Friederike (Lange) Bohnstedt
2. Rudolf Gottlieb Ernst Bohnstedt and Louise Margarethe (Fiedler) Bohnstedt
If she isn't Frederike, than it is unlikely that the man next to her is August Gustav Adolf. If the man next to her IS one of Wolfgang's direct ancestors, then I would be inclined to believe that the man with his wife might be August Gustav Adolf's father, Johann Richard Friedrich Bohnstedt. Furthermore, the man in the second photo seems to have the same round facial features of the woman in the first photo. Could this be an indication that she was the mother of the man in the second photo?
1. Spittelmarkt, by Paul Hoeniger, 1912, shows a street scene in Berlin from just after then turn of the 20th century. It must have looked much like this when Rudolf Gottlieb Ernst August Bohnstedt's first child, Rudolf Hermann, was born in 1901.
2. Rudolf Hermann Bohnstedt
There are many records for Bohnstedts in Berlin, but most of them are not directly related to this particular Bohnstedt line. It stands to reason that, because Berlin is - and was - one of the biggest cities in Germany, there are very likely other Bohnstedt family groups in Berlin whose origins would likely be traced to a common Bohnstedt ancestor, but not necessarily in Bernburg.
There are some gaps in what we know about the family and children of Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III, a younger brother of Johann Richard Friedrich Bohnstedt. Friedrich married Auguste Christiane Hartung in 1847 (probably in Bernburg), and their first child, Karl Franz, was born in 1849 in the same city. I have yet to recover actual documentation of that relationship, but it was arrived at by a combination of information provided by Wolfgang Bohnstedt, and also by Ralph Bohnstedt, a descendant of Karl Franz Bohnstedt. There is however a record of another son born to Richard and Christiane; Friedrich Marcus Theodor Gustav Bohnstedt. Marcus was born in 1857 in Bernburg, but he must have been Richard and Christiane's last child, since Christiane died in 1859. But there is a ten year gap between Karl Franz and Friedrich Marcus Theodor Gustav, suggesting that there may have been as many as three other children who were born during that time. But as with Karl Franz no actual records have been found for other children besides Marcus.
The records and information available to me indicate that both Karl Franz and Marcus were probably born in Bernburg, bur relocated to Dresden (Their father, and probably their mother, died in Bernburg). There were at least three other sons born to Karl Franz Bohnstedt and his wife Anna. At this time there is nothing available indicating that any of them died young. But there is also nothing indicating any children. That means we currently have two known lines of descendants from Karl Franz Bohnstedt, one from Franz Otto Bohnstedt, born in 1871, and the other from Oskar Richard Willy Bohnstedt. The line from Franz Otto Bohnstedt turned out to be somewhat short; so far only three children were discovered from Franz Otto and his wife Amalie; Otto Hans (1897 - 1918), Alfred Franz (1899 - 1900), and Fritz Willy (1903 - ?). Otto Hans died in August 1918 at the young age of 21 years. It's possible that Otto could have been killed in the closing months of WWI, which ended in November 1918. But his death record indicates he died in Dresden. Another unproven possibility is that he died from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Otto's brother, Alfred Franz died in 1900 when he was a baby, and there could have been a number of causes. For the third known child, Fritz Willy Bohnstedt, we have a birth record, but no death record has turned up yet. In time we may find that he lived long enough to marry and have children.
Le Boulevard de Montmartre, Spring, by Camille Pissarro, 1897
Prior to 2017 I had knowledge of a line of Bohnstedts in Dresden going back to Friedrich Marcus Theodor Gustav Bohnstedt (1857 - 1940), and then to Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III (1820 - 1862), Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt II (1777 - 1858), and finally Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt I (1750 - ?). But I also had another family line in Dresden I could not connect, beginning with Karl Franz Bohnstedt (1849 - 1902). Karl Franz and his wife Anna Pauline had at least eleven children that I had recovered records for.
In July 2017 I made contact with Ralph Bohnstedt in Germany, and without wasting too much time I began asking Ralph about his ancestry. I want to point out here that I had purposely not shared what I already knew with Ralph about the Bohnstedt genealogy in Germany because I didn't want to "contaminate the experiment" by putting ideas in his mind. I just wanted to find out what Ralph and his father, Gerd, had to say. Ralph promised that he would talk to his father about his Bohnstedt ancestry, and then in October 2018 Ralph came back with a goldmine of information he had gotten from his father.
Item by item, here is a breakdown of data I got from Ralph Bohnstedt, and his discussions with his father, Gerd.
- JFBo mentioned in our paper, married 1817 Henriette L...Grabau in Bernburg, but his birth date is given with 29.1.1777
- Second JFBo born 20.6.1820, his son, married with Auguste Christiane Hartung 1847
- Karl Franz Bohnstedt 4.1.1849, married to U...T...Joseph?
- Willi Kurt Bohnstedt ( no data available), barkeeper, married with Agnes
- Son Willi Kurt Erhard, my grandpa, born 13.6.1904 married with Johanna Helena Bungarten
The first two items matched up almost perfectly with information I already had from Wolfgang Bohnstedt
- Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt II (1777 - 1858), married 1817 Henriette Grabau
- Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III (1820 - 1862), married 1847 to Auguste Christiane Hartung
The reason I immediately found that to be credible without documentary evidence is that there was too much detail for Gerd or anybody else to simply make it up. It was all very specific, which means the information must have been handed down generation by generation to Gerd and his son Ralph. From that point the attention shifted to Karl Franz Bohnstedt. Before this I was not certain where Karl Franz Bohnstedt fit into any if the larger Bohnstedt family groups, but here was new information that he was the son of two people Wolfgang had already identified as Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III and Auguste Christiane Hartung.
The line of descendancy from Karl Franz and Anna Pauline Bohnstedt: as described by Gerd Bohnstedt.
- Karl Franz Bohnstedt (1849 - 1902)
- Willy Kurt Bohnstedt (? - ?)
- Willy Kurt Erhard Bohnstedt (1904 - 1997)
- Gerd Johann Wilhelm Bohnstedt (1934)
- Ralph Bohnstedt
But there was one puzzling element in all of this; the identification of Gerd's grandfather as Willy Kurt Bohnstedt. I had recovered documentation on the rest of Karl Franz Bohnstedt's children without much trouble, but had never found any documents on anyone named Willy Kurt Bohnstedt. To add to that problem, Gerd did not provide any information at all on Willy Kurt's year of birth. Even so, I still thought it possible that this was correct, because there was a five year gap between Karl Franz's daughter Elisabeth Cölestine Gertrud Bohnstedt (1878) and his son Hermann Max Bohnstedt (1884 - 1937). Usually my experience and instinct with this sort of thing would suggest to me that the missing child could have been born about 1881 and was probably stillborn. But based on the information Gerd provided it was within the realm of possibility that this "Willy Kurt" Bohnstedt could have been born about 1881, and his first child, Klara (Anna Marie Klara), was born to "Willy Kurt" when he was about 22 years old.
Document of birth for Oskar Richard Willy Bohnstedt, born to Karl Franz Bohnstedt and Anna Pauline (Jentsch) Bohnstedt
But even with the problem of Willy Kurt Bohnstedt, enough other documented evidence had been found to convince me that Franz Bohnstedt and his descendants were connected to Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III (1820 - 1862). But then in February of 2021 a birth record surfaced that showed that Willy Kurt Erhard Bohnstedt (Gerd's father) was the son of Oskar Richard Willy Bohnstedt and Klara Notz. The entire line of descendancy that Gerd had provided to me through Ralph was essentially correct, except for one name. And that name, Willy Kurt Bohnstedt, could have been easily mixed up on someone's memory when considering that the real name of this person was Oskar Richard Willy Bohnstedt. There was "Willy", and the middle name of Kurt could have been derived from that of Willy Kurt Erhard Bohnstedt.
So the adjusted line of descendancy for Ralph Bohnstedt goes like this:
- Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt (1750)
- Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt II (1777 - 1858) married 1817 Henriette Grabau
- Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III (1820 - 1862), married 1847 to Auguste Christiane Hartung
- Karl Franz Bohnstedt (1849 - 1902), married 1872 to Anna Pauline Jentsch
- Oskar Richard Willy Bohnstedt (1878 - ?), married 1903 to Klara Notz
- Willy Kurt Erhard Bohnstedt (1904 - 1997), married Johanna Helena Bungarten
- Gerd Johann Wilhelm Bohnstedt (1934), married Gisela Krebs
- Ralph Bohnstedt (1959), married 2020 to Paritah "MayZa" Sirataweepoom
Ralph Bohnstedt and his wife, Mayza
With that settled the discussion turns to the other known son of Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt III and Christiane Hartung, Friedrich Marcus Theodor Gustav Bohnstedt. As far as I can tell Marcus was married three times. From his first marriage to Martha Olga Dietze; fifteen children! Marcus and Martha's last child, Helene Johann, was born May 9, 1905 in Dresden, and her mother, Martha Olga, died the following year on May 30. It didn't take Marcus long to remarry; in October of 1906 he married Marie Thekla Halve-Steinberg. It appears that Marie was married before, so this may have been a marriage of convenience with both Marcus and Marie needing a marriage for the purpose of creating a home for their remaining children. From this union another child: Walter (1907). Marcus was married one more time, in 1910, to Luise Charlotte Martha Fischer (or Fiedler), but there does not seem to have been any children from this married.
Unfortunately of the fifteen children from Marcus's first marriage, at least six of them died in about one year's time. Of the remaining nine children, seven were girls, so the Bohnstedt family name was not carried on by them. That leaves only two male children; Friedrich Erhard Conrad Bohnstedt (1882), and Richard Hans Bohnstedt (1889). There was also one known child from Marcus's second marriage; Walter Bohnstedt (1907).
We know Richard Hans Bohnstedt married in 1920, in Dresden, to Marie Hedwig Goltzsche. But beyond that, we don't know if Richard and Marie had any children. The supposition is that they did, and we will eventually find the documents listing those children. Friedrich Erhard Conrad Bohnstedt was married twice, that we know of, first in 1905 to Karoline Amalie Rompel. Karoline died the next year in 1906, and Friedrich married again in 1907 to Klara Emma Wehner. We know that Friedrich and Klara had at least one child; Herbert, born in 1908.
2-10 / Genealogy Section 2-1: Bernburg, Germany 1
2-11 / Genealogy Section 2-2: Bernburg, Germany 2
2-22 / Genealogy Section 2-4: Bernburg, Germany 3
Back to Part 2 ...