One Remaining Mystery

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)


The Never-Ending Quest for the Perfect Surname

During his investigation Frank Bohnstedt-Petersen came into contact with Stig and Yvonne Bohnstedt, Martin Bohnstedt, and Kristina Bohnstedt in and near Grenaa. He also spoke to Jesper Bohnstedt Jensen. Frank found that Martin and Kristina were Stig and Yvonne's children, and that Jesper was the son of Stig's first cousin, Jørn Jensen. Stig and Jørn are both grandsons of Lisbeth Bohnstedt.

There was some moving about and changing of names in this family, so to explain this family tree:

Lisbeth married Christian Jensen, and they had two children, a son named Aksel Jensen (born in 1920), and a daughter, Lis Jensen (born in 1923). Neither Aksel or Lis were given the Bohnstedt name at birth, or as children. However, when Aksel got married to Ebba Louise Sørensen in 1944 he legally changed his name to Aksel Bohnstedt Jensen, inserting his mother's maiden name as a middle name. He then later changed his name again to Aksel Bohnstedt-Jensen, properly bringing the Bohnstedt name into his own surname. Finally in the 1950's Aksel and his wife Ebba dropped 'Jensen' from their last name entirely.

Thus it was, when they had their son, Stig in 1955 he was given the Bohnstedt surname.

As far as we know, Aksel's sister, Lis, never adopted the Bohnstedt name as a middle name or her last name. She married Aage Jensen in 1944, the same year that Aksel married Ebba. Lis and Aage had two children, one son, Jørn Jensen (1947) and a daughter, Helle Jensen (1948).

Apparently Jørn also wanted to use the Bohnstedt name like his cousin, Stig, so after he was married in 1973, and his son Jesper was born in 1974, the entire family added the Bohnstedt name as a middle name.

To a Dane this might seem to make perfect sense. The part that is not so simple however, is the connection between Lisbeth Bohnstedt, the matriarch of this family, and the rest of the Danish Bohnstedt family.


The Third Family Mystery in Denmark

In The Family of Henrik Vilhelm Ludvig Bohnstedt, and a Family Mystery, I mentioned three mysteries in the Danish Bohnstedt Family. The first mystery was the matter of Inga Lillian Bohnstedt, the previously unidentified daughter of Magda Lovisa Bohnstedt. The second mystery was the matter of Willy Bohnstedt and his children, Jette and Steen, and their relationship to the rest of the Bohnstedt family in Denmark.

The third mystery is the connection between Lisbeth Bohnstedt and the rest of the Bohnstedt clan in Denmark.

According to Stig, he heard from his father that his grandmother, Lisbeth Bohnstedt, was found as a baby on a stairway in Århus, and was adopted by a Bohnstedt family in Horsens. Thus far Stig has been unable to confirm or deny this story with any of his older living relatives. If true, this Bohnstedt family, that of Lisbeth Bohnstedt, was adopted into the greater Bohnstedt family in Denmark.

Now the big question is, just who was it that adopted little baby Libseth?

It is possible that Lisbeth, who died in 1964, did not know her precise date of birth. However, assuming that our information about Lisbeth's husband, Christian Jensen, is accurate, we know he was born in 1888.  If we then take an educated guess that Lisbeth was about the same age to about 5 years younger, she might have been born about 1888-1893.  We know her first child, Aksel, was born in 1920.  That means that Lisbeth would have been 27 to 32 years old, which would have been a plausible age range.

Now that we have a possible year of birth at about 1888-1893. Now that we have a possible year of birth we can assume that the woman who cared for her was at least 20-25 years, probably older, placing the adoptive mother's year of birth at about 1863-1873. Most likely it was earlier than this.

1-2.  L-R:  Kristina Bisgaard Bohnstedt-Petersen, and Martin Nymann Bohnstedt, two great-grandchildren of Lisbeth Bohnstedt.

However, this quickly narrows down the possible candidates from the known Danish Bohnstedt family. One possibility is that the adoptive parents could have been Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Bohnstedt and his wife, Johanne, who emigrated from Germany to Denmark.  If Lisbeth was born as early as 1888, Johann would have been 58 years old, and his wife, 54. That's not too extreme, but if Lisbeth was born later, like 1893, Johann would have been 63, and his wife 67.  According to a 1901 Danish census found by Thorkil Svendsen (a great-grandson of Louise Henriette Bohnstedt), Johann Wilhelm Ludvig and Johanne Augusta had a total of 14 children; 8 living and 6 dead. If true this logic must be followed: It is established that the first six children, as well as Otto Nikolaj and Emma Elise all lived well past 1901. Therefore, Otto Adolf, Elvine Sophie and Christian Tolvgaard must have all died before 1901. They may have died young. This also means that Johann Wilhelm and Johanne Augusta must have had three other children whose names are not known.  This opens up the possibility that one of the remaining 3 children who lived past childhood may have been adopted; Lisbeth.  Also, if Johann's wife, Johanne, was distraught after losing her last few children when they were young, this might have given her more motivation to adopt baby Lisbeth.

3.  Jesper Bohnstedt Jensen, a grandson of Lisbeth Bohnstedt

The other plausible possibility might have been Johann and Johanne's eldest child, Heinrich and his wife, Marie. They would have been about the right age to have adopted Lisbeth when she was a baby.  There are two main obstacles to solving this particular puzzle. First, we simply do not have enough information to begin with; there are too many variables. Second, we cannot be absolutely certain that what little information we do have to work with is correct or accurate. memories can be faulty, and family stories that are handed down can be, and often are, distorted over time.  Another problem is that I have not found any evidence that either of these families were in the area in and around Aarhus at the time Lisbeth was born.

I also considered Heinrich's brother, Ernst Frederik Carl Bohnstedt and his wife Auguste, but they emigrated to America . As for Heinrich's other siblings, I have found no evidence that any of them were in or near Aarhus. And its strange that Lisbeth's name was never mentioned anywhere as being part of either family. But then again, When we began researching other Bohnstedt families, such as Magda Lovisa Bohnstedt's family, we found that she (Magda) had given birth to a daughter (Inga Lillian Bohnstedt) that no one ever knew about. In fact there were those who doubted it until they were given a copy of Inga's birth certificate to prove it. So it is possible that Lisbeth might have been adopted into one of these families without mention in any of the family records, especially if this had not been a formal legal adoption.

As of this writing (December 4, 2016) we still do not have enough information to solve this puzzle.


See Also:
2-21 / Genealogy 2-3-10: Denmark 10 (The Family of Lisbeth Bohnstedt)
5-12 / Appendix K: Danish Genealogy Charts


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