The Descendants of Albert Godlieb Bohnstedt in Indiana and Florida

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)


Albert and Viola Bohnstedt


Albert Godlieb Bohnstedt

Albert Godlieb Bohnstedt was born January 15, 1868 with his twin, Alfred, in Illinois. Unfortunately I have yet to narrow down the town or village where they were born.

A note regarding Alfred and his twin, Albert.  Albert's grave marker in Fairview Cemetery in Servia, Wabash County, Indiana, gives 1868 as his year of birth, but Alfred's grave marker in South Whitley Cemetery, South Whitley Indiana says that Albert was born in 1867.  There is an explanation for this; Alfred's grave marker is wrong. For one thing it was very clearly established in two different census records taken ten years apart that they were twins (see images below).  So at least one of those grave markers is wrong.  But here's where it gets a little bit complicated.  Although Albert Bohnstedt’s year of birth is listed on his death certificate in 1929 as “1867”, it was a documentational error. Indeed, when Albert was buried the error was corrected on his grave marker which states his year of death as 1868. As for Alfred, the opposite problem occurred. When he died in 1934, his death certificate correctly gives his year of death as 1868, but his grave marker, amazingly, says 1867 !!  So was it 1867 or 1868?  The  1870 census says the boys were two years old (1868), rather than three (1867).  The 1880 census says that (in 1880) both boys were 12 years old (thus, born 1868), rather than 13 (1867). The 1870 and 1880 census were both taken in June. The boys were born on or about January 15.  That means that in 1870 then boys had already had their second birthday, and in 1880 had already had their twelfth birthday.  In both cases this means they were born in 1868.  Case closed.

Albert and Alfred WERE twins.  (1) 1870 census of Olney Illinois, with entries for Albert and Alfred, BOTH listed as 2 years old, and both with notations "twins".  (2) 1880 census of Madison Illinois with one single entry for both Alfred and Albert on the same line, listed as 12 years old, and with the notation "twins".  Keep in mind that these two census records were taken ten years apart by different census takers.

Albert married in 1893 in Wabash County, Indiana, to Viola Jane “Ollie” Coss. Albert and Viola had at least nine children during their marriage, over a twenty-four year period. From oldest to youngest; Helen Elizabeth (1894), Ruth (1896), George Lee Otto (1899), Henry Elias (1901), Russell (1906), Mary (1909), Alberta Caroline (1913), and Violet Jeanett (1918). There is some confusion regarding the ninth child. In fact, there is some question as to whether there were nine children, or ten. This is because there remains uncertainty about the fifth and sixth children, Samuel and Albert, and whether they were two individuals, or the same person.

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1.  Family of Albert and Viola Bohnstedt, circa 1906-1907.
     - Top L-R: Ruth, Helen
     - Middle L-R: Albert (father), Viola (mother), George
     - Bottom L-R: Henry (baby), Russell

2.  Family of Albert and Viola Bohnstedt, circa 1918 (?).
    - Top L-R: Henry Elias, Russell Renner, Helen, George.
    - Bottom L-R: Alberta, Albert (father), Violet (baby), Viola (mother), Ruth, Mary
(NOTE: I had previously assumed that the young woman in the back row was Ruth, and the woman in the front row to the right was Helen.  However I now believe this may have been in error, and that their identities are actually reversed. The captions at the bottoms of these two photos supports that)

There is a grave marker in Fairview Cemetery, in Wabash County, Indiana with the name “Samuel” across the top, and on the front it says: “Infant of Albert & Viola Bohnstedt, died Feb 10, 1904”. Compare this with a death certificate for someone named “Albert Bohnstedt” born Feb 10, 1904 and died the same day. Giving birth to twins, especially in those days, must have been more prone to problems and complications than single births, so an educated guess might be that twin boys – Samuel and Albert - were born on Feb 10, 1904, and died the same day, or were stillborn.

1. Grave of Albert and Viola Bohnstedt, Fairview Cemetery, Servia, Wabash County, Indiana
2. Grave of Samuel Bohnstedt, an infant child of Albert and Viola Bohnstedt, Fairview Cemetery, Servia, Wabash County, Indiana

The problem, at this point, is that we have so far not found a death certificate for Samuel, or a grave marker for Albert. This suggests a possibility that Albert and Samuel were the same person. Having said that, it is not clear why Samuel’s name does not appear as a second name on Albert’s death certificate, or why Samuel’s grave marker has only Samuel’s name and not Albert’s. After all, the death certificate, as an official record, should have showed both names. On the other hand, if Samuel and Albert were two different people, then Albert and Viola, having had enough money for a decent grave marker for Samuel should also have had one made and placed for Albert as well.

1. Helen Elizabeth (Bohnstedt) Holle
2. Grave of Helen (Bohnstedt) Holle and Gerald Holle,
    in South Pleasant Methodist Church Cemetery, North Manchester, Indiana

Of Albert and Viola’s children, four were daughters. The oldest, Helen Elizabeth, married in 1923 to Gerald William Holle. They had nine children that we are aware of; six boys and three girls. Ruth married Oren Garshwiler in 1920, but as far as we know, Oren and Ruth had no children, at least none that we are aware of. Alberta Caroline married in 1931 to Vern Ralph Smith, and they had two daughters and one son. The youngest of Albert and Viola’s daughters, Violet Jeanett, married in 1937 to Oscar Wing. As with her sister Ruth, we know of no children born to the couple.

1. Grave of Ruth (Bohnstedt) Garshwiler and Orin Garshwiler in Fairview Cemetery, Servia, Wabash County, Indiana
2. Grave of Alberta Caroline (Bohnstedt) and Vern Ralph Smith in South Pleasant Methodist Church Cemetery, North Manchester, Indiana

The Bohnstedt name was carried on through three sons of Albert and Viola; George Lee Otto, Henry Elias, and Russell. George’s family line went west, first in Washington, and then south into California. But the family lines of Henry and Russell remained in Indiana for a time, but then went southeast, into Florida.

Grave of Violet Jeanett (Bohnstedt) Wing and Oscar A. Wing
n Fairview Cemetery, Servia, Wabash County, Indiana



George Lee Otto Bohnstedt's Family Line in Washington and California

After leaving the U.S. Army George Lee Otto Bohnstedt, a son of Albert and Viola Bohnstedt, went to work for the U.S. postal service in Indiana. George and his first wife, Emma, had three children in Indiana. The first, born about 1927-1928, died very young. We have no name for the child so it is assumed that it was stillborn. The second child, Philip David Bohnstedt was born in 1929 in North Manchester Indiana. The third, Michael Kent Bohnstedt, was born twelve years later in Ft. Wayne.

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1. George Lee Otto Bohnstedt and first wife, Emma
2. George and Emma's second child, Michael Kent Bohnstedt

Sometime after Michael's birth George moved his family from Indiana to the Pacific Northwest, to the state of Washington. George's first wife of 45 years died in Sequim Washington in 1971. George married two years later to Helen Feeny. The second marriage was short-lived though, as George died five years later. Michael Kent Bohnstedt, George and Emma's youngest son, never had any children.

Philip David Bohnstedt served in the U.S. Marine Corps from about 1947 to 1951, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. He intended to make a career out of the military but developed a health problem that resulted in a medical discharge. It was at that time that Philip married Helen Ruth Doolittle in San Diego California. It was later mentioned to me by Philip and Helen's son, Stephen, that Helen was closely related to Colonel James Doolittle, the man who planned and led the daring B-25 bombing raid against Tokyo, Japan as payment for the Pearl Harbor attack.

1. Philip David Bohnstedt
2. Grave marker of Philip and Ruth Bohnstedt, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego California.

After leaving military service and marrying Helen, Philip redirected his energies to a civilian career in finance and after earning his Bachelor's degree in accounting in 1957 he became an agent for the Internal Revenue Service for about twelve years. He later became a Certified Public Accountant and small business manager. Even after retirement he used his skills with finance and numbers as a part-time bookkeeper for his church in La Mesa California.

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1. Philip Bohnstedt's wife, Helen Ruth Doolittle
2. According to the family, Philip's wife, Helen Doolittle, was a distant relative of Colonel James Doolittle,
    famous for his daring bombing raid on Japan from an aircraft carrier during WW II.

Philip and Helen had two sons, David William Bohnstedt and Stephen Alan Bohnstedt. David graduated from San Diego State College in 1978 with his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and became a computer designer and programmer, working for such companies as IBM. He married in 1993 in Madrid, Spain, to Clara Albert-Perez, a philosophy professor, and Conferences Director at the University of Madrid.

1. David William Bohnstedt, school picture
2. Stephen Alan Bohnstedt, High School picture

Stephen Alan Bohnstedt graduated San Diego Community College with his Associate of Sciences degree in automotive repair. In 1991 he married Joan Embeck, an elementary school teacher, in La Mesa, near San Diego. As of this writing they have one child, a daughter named Elizabeth Ruth Bohnstedt.


The Bohnstedt Name in Space

In my Introduction to this edition I spoke of 'Instant Name Recognition', the idea that when we see the Bohnstedt name, either from some distant past or in the present, we feel immediately connected to it and wonder if we might be related. Now imagine that five hundred years from now one of our descendants on a mission of exploration or colonization on some distant world finds and salvages the remains of an ancient spacecraft. All of the pieces are examined and analyzed, and to the amazement of our distant Bohnstedt descendant he or she finds a series of names on part of this antique spacecraft, including the name Bohnstedt. Just as we do now, this person might immediately wonder where this name came from, and whether this person was a relative, or perhaps even a direct ancestor.

On February 7, 1999 the 'Stardust' spacecraft was launched by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Stardust was the fourth mission of NASA's 'Discovery' program, a series of missions designed to explore deep space economically.

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1. February 7, 1999 launch of the NASA 'Stardust' spacecraft aboard a Delta II rocket from Kennedy Space Flight Center in Florida (NASA)
2. Artists concept of 'Stardust' approaching comet 'Wild 2', Jan 2, 2004 for sampling (NASA)
3. Locations of the two microchips in the 'Stardust' spacecraft (NASA graphic)

On board the spacecraft were two sets of microchips, and on these microchips were etched the names of over 1 million people. The people whose names were included on these chips were people who participated in the public outreach program by filling out internet forms available in late 1997 and mid-1998, members of the Stardust Mission team, and members of the Planetary Society and the National Space Society as of 1998. Also, all of the names on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. were included on the chips as a special tribute. NASA also invited anybody who wished to participate to submit their name to be included on one of the microchips. Most of these "open invitation" names were etched onto the second microchip.

1. Asteroid 5535 Annefrank, from a distance of 3,079 km (1,913 mi) on November 2, 2002 (NASA)
2. The nucleus of comet
Wild 2, from a distance of 237 km (147 mi) on January 2, 2004 (NASA)
3. The nucleus of comet
Tempel 1 from a distance of 181 km (112 mi) on February 15, 2011. This phase of Stardust's mission was an extension of the spacecraft's original mission, and was called "NExT" (New Exploration of Tempel 1). Comet Tempel 1 had previously been visited by a space probe called 'Deep Impact', which made a planned collision with Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. The purpose of Stardust's visit to Tempel 1 was to investigate changes that had occurred to the comet nucleus since the July 2005 impact of Deep Impact. (NASA)

The names on these chips were not recorded electronically, requiring some electronic device to read them, but were actually physically, microscopically etched onto the tiny wafers. According to NASA, the "...writing on the microchip is so small that about 80 letters would be equal to the width of a human hair." One of the micro-etched names on the second microchip is Joan E. Bohnstedt, the wife of Stephen Alan Bohnstedt. One set of chips (the copies) were returned to Earth aboard a sample return capsule, while the first set remained aboard the spacecraft.

1. Stephen and Joan (Embick) Bohnstedt, wedding, 1991
2. Joan Bohnstedt was responsible for the Bohnstedt name being on the Stardust spacecraft.

I've often stated that we owe a lot of thanks to the many women who have married into the Bohnstedt family and helped remember and record our family history for posterity. Thanks to Joan, the Bohnstedt name is now somewhere in the vast ocean of outer space. Unless Stardust crashes into a planet or asteroid (or is captured by aliens), the Bohnstedt name will stay in space for thousands of years, perhaps forever.



The Family Line of Henry Elias Bohnstedt in Florida

Howard Henry Bohnstedt and his wife Bonnie had four children, two sons and two daughters, all born in Indiana; Jill Diana was born in 1951 in Ft. Wayne, Timothy Daniel was born in 1952 in Kendallville, Randy Howard was born in 1954 in Ft. Wayne, and Teresa Marie was born in 1955 in Ft. Wayne Indiana.

1. Young Henry Elias Bohnstedt
2. Henry's son, Howard Henry Bohnstedt

Jill had two children; the first, Jason, from her first husband David Richards, and her second child, Matthew, from her second husband Roger Lingerfelt, an engineer. Teresa and her husband, James Pinder, had three children, James, Alisha and Andrea. Timothy Daniel Bohnstedt and his wife Pamela had two daughters, Amy and Emily Bohnstedt.

Grave of Henry Elias Bohnstedt and Hazel Marie (Dillon) Bohnstedt, Palms Woodlawn Cemetery, Naranja, Florida

Randy Howard Bohnstedt, a building contractor and project manager, married in 1974 to Cheryl Shaffer, a high school athletics coach. They first had two daughters, Jennifer and Kristina. Kristina and Jennifer are both married at this writing, and Jennifer has two sons, Tucker Wood and Joshua Jones.

School pictures; L-R: (1) Jill Diana (Bohnstedt) Lingerfelt, (2) Timothy Daniel Bohnstedt, (3) Randy Howard Bohnstedt, (4) Teresa Marie (Bohnstedt) Pinder

Randy and Cheryl had a third child eleven years after their last daughter, Kristina, was born. Randy Michael Bohnstedt was born in 1988 in Homestead Florida, and is currently the only young male descendant of Albert and Viola Bohnstedt, and therefore the only probable hope of carrying the Bohnstedt family name forward from this line.

Randy Howard Bohnstedt's family; L-R: (1) Jennifer Cheran (Bohnstedt) Jones, (2) Kristina Suzanne "Krissy" (Bohnstedt) Lynn, (3) Randy Michael "Mike" Bohnstedt and wife, Rebecca



The Family Line of Russell Renner Bohnstedt in Florida

There are many descendants of Albert Godlieb and Viola Bohnstedt in South Florida and the Florida Keys. However, rather than the typical scenario of one man moving to a place and having children and grandchildren there, these Bohnstedts seem to have "migrated" to Florida over time. Henry Elias Bohnstedt and his brother, Russell Renner Bohnstedt each had two children; Henry and his wife Hazel had Grace Lucile and Howard Henry Bohnstedt, while Russell and wife Mary also had two children; Rex Dee Bohnstedt and Carolyn Sue Bohnstedt.

These children of Henry and Russell Bohnstedt had their own children, many of them in Indiana, and later moved to Florida with their families. It appears that Henry and Russell later moved to Florida to retire, and probably to be closer to their families.

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Russell Renner Bohnstedt and Mary (Buchtel) Bohnstedt

Rex Dee Bohnstedt had six children from two marriages. From Rex's first marriage to Beverly Crabill; Denise Lorraine (1953), Richard "Rick" Dee (1954), Tanya Rosetta (1955), and Kirk Allen (1961).  Rex and Beverly divorced in 1961. Unfortunately the following year Beverly was killed in a traffic accident when her car hit a truck near Greenfield Indiana.  Rex remarried, to Sarah Cossey, and they had Mary Ann (1963), and Lisa Jane (1964).  This relationship ended and Rex married again in 1968 to Betty Jane Dercole.

1. Rex Bohnstedt with his first wife, Beverly, and their first two children; Denise and Richard, in Indiana. Circa 1955, Indiana.
2. Grave of Beverly Ann (Crabill) Bohnstedt,  Blue River Cemetery, Thorncreek, South Whitley County, Indiana.  Beverly was killed in a car crash at the age of 26 years
3. Family of Rex Bohnstedt, circa 1966, either California or Florida; L-R: Daughters Tanya and Denise, Sara (second wife), Rex, son Richard.  Front L-R: Lisa Jane, Kirk Allen and Mary Ann.

Rick Bohnstedt, who owned and operated Rick's Family Cafe in the Florida Keys, had three children of his own, triplet girls, Erika, Tammy, and Shannon, all born in Miami in 1977. Rick's sister Tanya had one daughter of her own in 1980, Christina. But Tanya died when Christina was only seven years old, so Rick adopted Christina as his own.

1. Richard "Rick" Bohnstedt, high school picture.
2. Rick's triplet daughters; Erika, Shannon, and Tammy
3. The patrarch of the Bohnstedt family line from Russell and Mary Bohnsedt; Richard Dee "Rick" Bohnstedt
4. Rick's sister, Tanya Rosetta Bohnstedt.  Tanya passed away at the age of 32 years, and her daughter, Christina, was adopted by Rick.

Rick's sister Denise also made her home in the Florida Keys with her husband, operating a service station there. Rex and Beverly had only two sons, Rick and Kirk. Rick had no male descendants to carry on the Bohnstedt name, and when Kirk passed away in 2012, he had left no children as far as anyone knows.



See Also:
3-13 /
Gottlieb Bohnstedt and the Descendants of Isaac Carl Bohnstedt in Illinois
3-33 /
Genealogy 3-3-5: America; Indiana and Florida


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