The First Danish Bohnstedt Family

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)


From Bernburg to Denmark: Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt

Sometime between 1850 and 1854 Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, the son of Johann Friedrich Bohnstedt, left Bernburg and what must have been a large clan of Bohnstedts in that town, and headed far to the north. He first settled in Kiel, Germany, where he met and married Johanne Augusta Poulsen in 1853. The next year their first child, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt was born.

Within a couple of years Johann Wilhelm Ludwig (who I will refer to as "Ludwig" from this point) moved again with his new family, 276 kilometers (171 miles) far to the north, to Lemvig, Denmark. He and Johanne settled there for four years where they had two more children; Ernst Frederik Carl in 1857 and Sophie Frederikke Detleffine in 1858.

By 1862 The family had moved north again, to Thisted. For another five years Ludwig and Johanne made their home there and had four more children; Louise Henriette (1862), Johan Gotfred Carl (1863), Charlotte Amalie (1865), and Otto Adolf (1867).

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1. The first Bohnstedt family in Denmark moved north, from Kiel in Germany, first to Lemvig, then to Thisted, and finally to Hjørring
2. Ludwig
Bohnstedt's barber shop in Hjørring, Denmark. It is unknown whether this Ludwig Bohnstedt was
Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt or Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt. Records indicate that both were barbers.

About 1868 the family made one more move, this time to Hjørring, where Ludwig made his living as a barber. There in Hjørring Ludwig and Johanne had at least four more children; Otto Nikolaj (1869), Emma Elise (1871), Elvine Sophie (about 1874), and Christian Tolvgaard (1876).

In all we know of 11 children born to Ludwig and Johanne. However, according to a 1901 Danish census found by Thorkil Svendsen (a great-grandson of Louise Henriette Bohnstedt), Ludwig and Johanne Augusta had a total of 14 children; 8 living and 6 dead. It is established that Heinrich, Sophie, Louise, Charlotte, Otto Nicolaj and Emma all lived well beyond 1901.

We don't have any information about the death of Ernst Frederik Carl, Ludwig's second child, but we know he migrated to America before 1891, and he probably lived beyond 1901.

This means that in all probability, Otto Adolf, Elvine Sophie, Christian Tolvgaard all died before 1901. Furthermore, if the census information is correct, Ludwig and Johanne must have had three more children whose names are not known, and who probably died at an early age.

The matriarch of this family, Johanne, died in 1884 at the premature age of 50 years. Ludwig however lived another 30 years, and died in 1910 at the age of 80. He was buried in Hjørring with his granddaughter, Rigmor, who died that same year at the age of 10.

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3. Grave marker of Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, and granddaughter Rigmor Bohnstedt. They both died in 1910 and are buried together at the same grave site. Ludwig Bohnstedt's grave marker is on the right and says (translated to English): 'Master Barber, Ludwig Bohnstedt, Family Burial". These grave markers don't exist any more. (Photo provided by Kis Bohnstedt)

Frank Bohnstedt-Petersen told me that he had seen the gravestone of Ludwig Bohnstedt in Hjørring about 1980, and at the time he did not realize that this was in fact the grave of his great-great grandfather! When he had learned more about his ancestry he went back to look for the grave marker but it was gone. But while doing research for this family history Frank found that Kis Bohnstedt had a photo of this very same grave-site, which we are able to share with you here.


The Patriarch Heinrich Bohnstedt

Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, the oldest child of Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, was, like his father, a barber. He married Marie Magdalene Christensen in 1883 in Hjørring, Denmark. Heinrich and Marie had seven children, all born in or near Hjørring: Johanne Augusta (1884), Henrik Vilhelm Ludvig (1887), Aage Nicolaj (1890), Magda Lovisa (1892), Edith Christense (1893), Kaj (1896) and Rigmor (1900).

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4-5. Bohnstedt Family house in Hjørring

It was in this generation born in Denmark that the first and middle names of some of the children began to sound decidedly more Danish than German; Heinrich becomes Henrik, Wilhelm becomes Vilhelm, Ludwig becomes Ludvig, and so on.

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6. According to Kis Bohnstedt, the individuals here are L-R: Edith Christense Bohnstedt, Heinrich F.W.L. Bohnstedt and Wife Marie, Magda Lovisa Bohnstedt. Lying on the grass in the front is Rigmor Bohnstedt. Rigmor died in 1910, and therefore cannot be any older than 10 years old. This places Edith's age at no more than 17 years, Magda Lovisa's age at no more than 18 years, and Heinrich and Marie's ages are about 56 and 47 years, respectively.

In 1910, Rigmor, Heinrich and Marie's youngest daughter, died at the age of 10. According to verbal family legend, Rigmor was the family's darling, beautiful and talented little daughter and little sister. She wanted very much to be a ballerina and had been accepted to the Royal Danish ballet school at the Royal Theater in København (Copenhagen). It was about the time she was going to be leaving for the ballet school she became ill with meningitis and died. Apparently she was also the darling of many of the townspeople, because it was said that the whole town of Hjørring wept when she died.

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7. Heinrich Bohnstedt is the gentleman wearing the hat, and his wife Marie standing next to him. Their son, Kaj Bohnstedt is sitting to their right. The picture appears to have been taken in the early 20th Century, perhaps 1910-1930.

Rigmor's grandfather, Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, also died that same year, and Rigmor was buried with her grandfather. Rigmor's older sister, Magda Lovisa kept Rigmor's ballet dress until she (Magda) died in 1977. When Magda died, the dress passed to her daughter, Kis, and at the time of this writing still has little Rigmor's dress in a box.

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8-9. Two family day trips to the North Sea beach. In the photo to the left the man wearing the hat is Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt, and his wife Marie is standing next to him. The woman seated on the overturned bench is unidentified. In the photo to the right the man in the middle is identified by Heinrich's descendants as Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt and his wife Marie standing just behind him. The other individuals may also be family members but is not confirmed.


Ernst Frederik Carl Bohnstedt

Of Ernst Frederik Carl Bohnstedt, Ludwig and Johanne's second child we know very little, except that Ernst and his wife Augusta had four children from 1884 - 1890: Elvira Augusta (1884), Ernst Ludvig August (1885), Guldborg Johanne Augusta (1887), and Karla Elevnore (or Eleonora) (1890), all born in Hjørring. It was been reported by Jan Dyring, a Bohnstedt descendant in Denmark, that Ernst (the father) left Denmark for America sometime around 1890 - 1891. If so, he may have left the children in Denmark because Jan also reported that Ernst and August were divorced around the time their last child, Karla, was born.

At this writing we know nothing of any grandchildren of Ernst Frederik Carl Bohnstedt, but it is quite probable that his four children did marry, and even possible that some carried the Bohnstedt name within Denmark.


Sophie Frederikke Detleffine Bohnstedt

Sophie Frederikke Detleffine Bohnstedt, the third child of Ludwig and Johanne Bohnstedt was married in 1880, probably in Ålborg (Aalborg) to Marinus August Vilhelm Mørch (Moerch), a shoemaker. They had four children that we know of, three daughters, and the youngest child a son, all born in Ålborg: Johanne Augusta Julie Herma Bohnstedt Mørch (1880), Emilie Charlotte Bohnstedt Mørch (1881), Elna Hedevig Bohnstedt Mørch (1885), and finally a son, Marinus August Vilhelm Bohnstedt Mørch (named for his father), born in 1886.

Sophie and Marinus did have more descendants; grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and we know that at least a few must have carried the Bohnstedt name. One line that we know of for certain who carried the Bohnstedt name was Emilie Charlotte Bohnstedt Mørch who married in 1908, in Ålborg to Jens Peter Sørensen and had some children, including a daughter Gudrun, born in 1911. Gudrun's husband, Jørgen William Christiansen Røge, was a resistance fighter in the Second World War, fighting against the German occupation forces. This also naturally created a resistance within this particular family to using the Bohnstedt name, a German name, and as far as we know, only Gudrun's youngest son, Jørgen Bohnstedt Røge uses it today.


Louise Henriette Bohnstedt

Ludwig and Johanne's fourth child, Louise (or Lucie) Henriette Bohnstedt married Johannes August Kindt, and after their first child was born in København (Copenhagen) they moved back to northern Denmark. They operated an Inn called the "Kgl. Priviligeret" Inn in Tylstrup north of Aalborg and Nørresundby (on the outskirts of Aalborg). Kgl. Priviligeret means "Royal Privileged" (meaning that it was operating under royal license and permission, which is prestigious). The inn still existed at the time of this writing. Together Louise and Johannes Kindt had five more children, all born in Nørresundby.

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10. Inn operated by Johannes and Louise Kindt in Tylstrup


Johan Gotfred Carl Bohnstedt

The fifth child of Ludwig and Johanne Bohnstedt, Johan Gotfred Carl Bohnstedt was married in 1890 in Hjørring to Maren Kirstine Anesen. As far as we know, they only had one child, Johanne Augusta Bohnstedt, born in 1889 in Hjørring.

According to Jan Dyring, Verner Bohnstedt Rasmussen once saw a war memorial for German Marines in a cemetery during a family trip to Kiel Germany in the 1950's. Verner reported that this war memorial listed Johan Gotfred Carl Bohnstedt as having been killed in 1917. Without more evidence it is not completely certain that this is the same Johan Gotfred Carl Bohnstedt as the one born to Ludwig and Johanne in Denmark. Considering that the Danish Johan Gotfred Carl was born in 1863, he would have been 54 years old in 1917. This seems a bit old to have been serving as a soldier or a marine, unless our Danish Johan Bohnstedt had become an officer. This might be the same man, but this might also be a coincidence of name.

According to descendants of Johan and Maren, Johanne was married twice. Her first marriage to Laurts Nikiolj Jørgensen in Denmark produced two daughters, Johanne Lilly Bohnstedt Jørgensen, born in 1907, and Ninon Bohnstedt Jørgensen.

Benny Bohnstedt, Johanne Lilly's son, reports that for some unknown reason, Johanne went to America around 1911, and left the two daughters with her parents, Johan and Maren. Benny made no mention of the father of these two girls, Laurts Jørgensen, at that time, leaving us to speculate that perhaps Johanne and Laurts were separated. According to Benny, Johanne married another Dane, Einer Elton, in Connecticut. Allegedly they had two sons, Denny L. Elton and Vincent E. Elton.

We know nothing of the Elton's descendants in America. But according to Benny, Ninon married and had a son, Allen Hummel. Benny's mother, Lilly, married in 1931 to Gunnar Jørgen Emil Jensen, a furniture craftsman.

Benny Bohnstedt was born in 1940, and with his first wife, Lone Jensen, had two sons; Flemming Bohnstedt Jensen (born 1964) and Morten Bohnstedt Jensen (born 1967). Flemming, an electrician, owned and operated his own small company called "Bjergbakker Inc".

Benny's second son, Morten, eventually dropped the use of 'Jensen', preferring to use only Morten Bohnstedt. Morten, an automotive service technician married Britt Rasmussen and they had two children to carry on the Bohnstedt name; a daughter named Rikke Viktoria Bohnstedt, born in 2001, and a son named Tobias Viktor Bohnstedt, born in 2004.


Otto Nikolaj Bohnstedt

Otto Nikolaj Bohnstedt, the eighth child of Ludwig and Johanne Bohnstedt, had no children, and no wife. What he did have was a financial fortune, acquired in America, and a large number of relatives who became heirs to the fortune when he died in 1950 in Chicago, Illinois at the age of 81. When Otto died his wealth was divided and distributed among his surviving siblings, nephews and nieces according to his will. This story is still told by descendants of these relatives of Otto Nikolaj.

One of the documents used to help reconstruct the genealogy of the Bohnstedt lines in Denmark was a chart typed up by Poul Johannes Bohnstedt, a son of Henrik Vilhelm Ludvig Bohnstedt and one of Otto's nephews. According to Peter Bohnstedt, Poul's son, In order to claim his share of the inheritance Poul was asked by the law firm handling Otto's estate to prove his relationship to Otto by showing his own relationship to Otto, and to the rest of Otto's family as well.

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11. Arveerklæring (statement of heritage) put together by Poul Johannes Bohnstedt (see also: Appendix K: Danish Genealogy Charts)

Here's the strange part of this story: it is said by some of the descendants that by the time Otto died, he was living like a pauper, a poor destitute man, almost like a homeless transient. Had Otto become so accustomed to living frugally and saving money that it became an obsession? Or did he develop some kind of mental disorder as he got older, like Howard Hughes? Nobody knows why Otto lived in such a way, why he did not use his vast wealth to make himself comfortable, or how he acquired this fortune.

So how much money did Otto's heirs inherit? According to the records in a civil case from 1956:

Many years ago, Henrik Wilhelm Ludvig Bohnstedt, ('Bohnstedt') a mentally ill person, was committed to the Delaware State Hospital ('Hospital'). He was then an indigent person with no known relatives. No payments were ever made to the Hospital for his care and treatment. Shortly before his death he inherited approximately $8,100 and a trustee was appointed to receive and did receive such money 1. The Hospital then submitted to the trustee a bill of about $11,000 for services rendered the mentally ill person. Shortly thereafter and before the bill was paid Bohnstedt died and an administrator was appointed for his estate.

Henrik was one of Otto's older siblings who inherited a share of Otto's fortune. $8,100 in 1950 (when Otto died) would be equivalent to about $67,500 today. I once heard that Otto left his money to approximately 14 heirs; nieces and nephews. If each of these 14 heirs received the same amount of $8,100, the total amount would be about $113,400. In adjusted dollars this would be equivalent to nearly one million dollars today.


Heinrich and Charlotte Bohnstedt

Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt was the first-born child of Ludwig and Johanne Bohnstedt, and from him comes the largest portion of descendants in Denmark carrying the Bohnstedt name.

Charlotte Amalie Bohnstedt was the sixth child of Ludwig and Johanne. The number of her descendants carrying the Bohnstedt name in Denmark is not the most numerous, but her descendants carry a form of the Bohnstedt name which is perhaps the most well-known in Denmark; Bohnstedt-Petersen.

In the next three sections we will discuss the numerous descendants of Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt. Following that we will discuss the Bohnstedt-Petersen family line in Denmark and the well-known Bohnstedt-Petersen A/S company, founded by Charlotte's son, Christian Bohnstedt-Petersen.


See Also:
2-12 /
Genealogy 2-3-1: Denmark 1 (The Descendants of Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt)
2-13 / Genealogy 2-3-2: Denmark 2 (The Family Line of Henrik Vilhelm Ludvig Bohnstedt)
2-14 / Genealogy 2-3-3: Denmark 3 (The Descendants of Magda Lovisa Bohnstedt)
2-15 / Genealogy 2-3-4: Denmark 4 (The Descendants of Edith Christense Bohnstedt & the Bohnstedt Hansen Line)
2-16 / Genealogy 2-3-5: Denmark 5 (The Family of Ernst Frederik Carl Bohnstedt)
2-17 / Genealogy 2-3-6: Denmark 6 (The Line of Sophie Frederikke Detleffine Bohnstedt)
2-18 / Genealogy 2-3-7: Denmark 7 (The Line of Johan Gotfred Carl Bohnstedt)
2-19 / Genealogy 2-3-8: Denmark 8 (The Bohnstedt-Petersen Line from Charlotte Amalie Bohnstedt)
2-20 / Genealogy 2-3-9: Denmark 9 (The Family of Emma Elise Bohnstedt)
5-12 / Appendix K: Danish Genealogy Charts


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