From Gevensleben to Braunschweig to Calvörde
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 do not know anything for certain about the ancestry or family of Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt beyond a general description of his occupation - Innkeeper - and the place and date of the birth of his son, Johann Gottlieb Bohnstedt. But we do know that there was at least one other Bohnstedt family in Gevensleben. The father of this family, Johann Christoph Andreas Bohnstedt, was a miller and a master carpenter. He was married to his first wife, Maria, in Gevensleben in 1773. They had six children together, and three of these died as infants or were stillborn. His first wife, Maria died, and he was married again, to Anna Catherina Bollen.
1-2. Gevensleben, Germany
It is also unknown whether Johann Matthäus or Johann Christoph Andreas were actually born in Gevensleben. But given the rarity of the Bohnstedt name and the very small size of this village, there can hardly be any doubt that these two men were related; they may have been brothers or at least cousins. Although we have not yet found any proof of relationship between Johann Matthäus and Johann Christoph Andreas Bohnstedt, the genealogical table of Johann Christoph Andreas Bohnstedt has been included in this section; Genealogy 3-1: Gevensleben and Calvörde, because of the extreme likelihood of such a relationship.
In calculating the possible year of birth for Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt I made an assumption that Johann Gottlieb was the first child of Johann Matthäus, but again, this is only an assumption. If we estimate the age of Johann Matthäus at about 30 years when Johann Gottlieb was born, then Johann Matthäus could have been born around 1735. Assuming that Johann Christoph Andreas was also married at 30 years of age, he would have been born around 1743. Therefore he may have been approximately eight years younger than Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt. He might have been the younger brother of Johann Matthäus. The father of these two Bohnstedts may have been born in Gevensleben, or he may have moved there from Egeln, or Langeln, but that is only speculation.
3. An Inn in Gevensleben. This may or may not have been the inn owned by Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt
4. Map of the Sachsen-Anhalt region of Germany. Gevensleben (outlined in blue) is very close to the villages of origin of the Bohnstedts of the "Langeln" Bohnstedt Line.
A study of the "Langeln Line" of the Bohnstedt family reveals some interesting possibilities pertaining to the ancestry of Johann Matthäus. Bartholomäus Bonstedt had several brothers; Andreas, Simon, Julius, Conrad and Stephan. Simon stayed in Langenstein and Julius moved to Wolmirsleben. Both Langenstein and Wolmirsleben are very close to Gevensleben. Julius' son, Caspar, had several sons, any one of which could have been the ancestor of Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt. One of these sons was even named "Matthäus", and was born in or around 1688 in Wolmirsleben. It is only speculation, but he could have been the father or grandfather of Johann Matthäus Bohnstedt. It is also interesting to note that Julius, like Johann Matthäus, was an innkeeper.
5-6. Except for the patio umbrellas and electric lights, portions of Braunschweig, Germany, look much the same is it did hundreds of years ago.
Service in the Militia
Johann Gottlieb Bohnstedt was born in 1765 in Gevensleben and spent nearly all of his life in the militia. His first three sons, Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb, Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm, and Johann Carl Christian were born at or near the Braunschweig army garrison. The father of Gottlieb's wife, Amalia, was also a career soldier, was a musketeer in the Braunschweig Militia, and served in the "Prince of Braunschweig" regiment.
It was sometime in 1800 or 1801 that Johann and his wife Amalia moved to Calvörde, where their last two sons, August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig, and Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Christian Bohnstedt, were born. In his later life Gottlieb worked as a prison guard, possibly as part of the militia.
At least three of Gottlieb and Amalia's sons, Friedrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Bohnstedt, Johann Carl Christian and August Georg Wilhelm Ludwig, emigrated to America, as did two of Gottlieb's grandsons, Friedrich "Frederick" Gottlieb Jacob Bohnstedt, and Eduard Friedrich Karl Bohnstedt, both sons of Friedrich Heinrich Wilhelm Bohnstedt. With a few exceptions the descendants of these Bohnstedt men, especially those descendants of Johann Carl Christian and Dorothea Bohnstedt, were the progenitors of nearly all of the Bohnstedt lines in America.
Note: The first modern police force is generally considered to be the London Metropolitan Police established in 1829, although there was an earlier experiment with city policing in Paris, France, beginning in 1667. Prior to the formation of city and regional civilian law enforcement bureaus in the western world the task of keeping order in the cities was often performed by militias, paramilitary organizations closely modeled after regular military structures.
3-3 / The Sea Voyages to America, and the Bohnstedt Settlers in Ohio
3-26 / Genealogy 3-1: Gevensleben and Calvörde
Back to Part 3 ...