Disclaimers and FAQ's
This section is just the small print, wherein I 'cover my backside'. It's also where I answer some of the more frequently asked questions and complaints that arose even before the printing of the 1998 edition was complete.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is Wolfgang Bohnstedt, and why is he the "Co-Author"?
What about missing or incorrect information?
I have some information that needs to be corrected or added to future additions of this work. Where can I send it?
Why isn't there more career and educational information about women in earlier records?
Why isn't there more detailed information about people in Germany after WW II?
Why are genealogical tables structured differently for men and women? Why do genealogical tables for women show grandchildren as well as children?
Why aren't specific days and months given for dates? Why are only years used?
Why aren't religious and political affiliations listed in the genealogical tables?
Some non-English words and phrases are translated while others are not. Why?
Why do some sections have more pictures than others?
Why does it seem as if there are fewer pictures of recent generations than of older generations?
Why weren't individual and family portraits included for recent family generations?
Why does it seem like some sensitive information is absent from these records?
Where does the design for these web pages come from, specifically the "blue shield" logo at the upper left-hand corner of every page?
Will there be a third edition?
Wolfgang Bohnstedt: Although Wolfgang Bohnstedt did not personally write any of the material in this book, I have listed him as a co-author. This is because I could not have included the extensive material that appears in this book without his research. Several people have done a great deal of research on various parts of the Bohnstedt family. But Wolfgang has done more in-depth, painstaking research than any other single person now alive in the Bohnstedt Family. However, I have more access to the technology used to put this book together. Moreover, Wolfgang had collected all of this information with the intention of putting a book together. But when I approached Wolfgang with the idea of cooperating on my book he agreed to give me his information. Since his work that was directed towards a book now appears in my book I list him as my co-author.
Errors: My apologies for any mistakes such as incorrect names, spelling of names, incorrect dates or places, or missing information. In my defense I can only say that I tried to be as accurate as possible. However, this was sometimes difficult, for various reasons. The first reason is that I sometimes had to rely on second-hand information because the person or persons about whom the information pertained to was reluctant to be involved. In such cases I had to rely on the memories or guesses of close relatives. There were also cases where I could not even obtain second-hand information from relatives.
For those people who did not wish to participate at all in this project I have no apologies. If their information was incorrect or simply missing, that was out of my capability to do anything about. For older persons recorded in the book from previous centuries, information was often not available, or was occasionally distorted in the records.
There were cases where I had more than one source of information, and if the information from the different sources was conflicting, I used whichever source seemed the most reliable. For example, if someone told me that his grandfather was born in 1894, and I had access to a birth certificate which said he was born in 1893, I would have assumed the birth certificate was most reliable and used it. Although I did use personal testimony quite frequently I preferred documentation where it was available and in conflict with oral testimony.
Representation of Women: In the late 20th century it was more common for women to have jobs and careers outside the home. Therefore the reader will notice jobs, education, careers, even military service entered for late 20th century females. In the early 20th century it was unusual for females to have any sort of activity other than homemaker, and prior to the 20th century it was rare. A woman's life was usually defined by her husbands accomplishments. Therefore most entries for females prior to 1900 usually have only their birth and death listed.
I had considered automatically listing "homemaker" for all of the female entries because taking care of a home and raising children is, in itself a major accomplishment and task. But some women in the 20th and 21st centuries now find this term to be offensive. Finally I decided to list "homemaker" as an occupation for those individuals who requested it specifically.
Information From Germany: The reader may notice that entries for persons in Germany after WW II frequently have less detailed information than entries for American persons born in the same era. When the Nazis came to power in Germany they began doing genealogical research. This was done to determine whether or not any given German citizen had any Jewish ancestors closer than Great-grandparents. Although our research for this book was done only for the family interest, some Germans were reluctant to become involved in any sort of genealogical research because it reminded them of the Nazis, and many had no desire to bring up memories of that time. So we did the best we could and entered whatever information we had on each person and family. However, it was this apprehension coupled with a language barrier that caused me some difficulty in collecting information as well as pictures from Germany.
Structure of Tables: The reader will notice that entries for females also contain their grandchildren, while entries for males do not. I did this for the following reason: Most human society is patriarchal to one degree or another, and those cultures with surnames are almost always carried by the male. Whether this is right or wrong, fair or unfair, was not a concern of mine for the purposes of recording this book. My intention was to create a record book for the Bohnstedt family, not the Butler family, the Von Pommer-Esche family or any other family. Those matters should be handled by a Butler or a Von Pommer-Esche family member.
However, I did want to list the children and grandchildren of female Bohnstedts to honor them as matriarchs of their own families (and, of course, their husband's families). I did not wish to leave the impression that because a woman marries and takes her husband's name that her accomplishment as a mother and grandmother is not of value. So I did record the children and grandchildren of the females. But I did not want to put lots of tables for Butlers and Von Pommer-Esches in the Bohnstedt book. So I listed those grandchildren of female Bohnstedts under their grandmother's table. I hope this is a fair compromise between keeping this a Bohnstedt book, and honoring the female descendant as mother and grandmother.
Dates: Usually, when giving dates I used only years and not exact dates. This is because I felt the inclusion of precise dates could sometimes lead to more confusion than it resolves. It is very easy to remember a date incorrectly, or for the date to be entered incorrectly in a record book. In fact I know from personal experience as a Private Investigator that even today in the "information age" with our advanced technology, clerks frequently enter dates of birth and other dates incorrectly.
I felt that by putting in precise dates, people might begin to rely on these dates as verified, and since I could verify dates even less reliably than years, I decided to leave dates out. I am certain that all or nearly all of the dates recovered by Wolfgang Bohnstedt were correct because he is so methodical and thorough. However, there were many other dates from many other sources for which I could not guarantee accuracy.
Political and Religious Affiliations: I did not include the political or religious affiliations of most individuals for the following reasons: Although religious or political beliefs or values do help to define a person and his or her personality, I felt that religion is a personal thing that I did not wish to pry into. While some people are comfortable discussing their religious beliefs, others are not. Furthermore, religion and politics are among the most predominant causes of friction between people and nations. Therefore, after some internal debate I decided, with some regret, not to include these items, or to pry into them during interviews because of their sensitivity.
I did make exceptions and mention religious affiliations where an person's profession (such as church pastor) necessitates mentioning a religious affiliation. This situation was common with some individuals who lived during the 1500's, 1600's and 1700's whose profession was specifically tied to a church or religious denomination, particularly the Lutheran Church during the reformation.
Translation Errors: My apologies for any mistakes which may have occurred from translation errors. In cases where I was not certain of the translation I included the original sentence or word in its original language. This especially prevalent in Part I, Section 6, "Prussia".
Pictures: Some sections have many more pictures than other sections. It is easier to obtain data than it is to acquire pictures. This is because most of the information contained here is usually a matter of public record; birth records, marriage records, death records, etc. Pictures however, had to be obtained from individuals. I am sure there are many more pictures that we never found or acquired because we never made contact with the correct people who owned these pictures. Sometimes, however, individuals were reluctant to loan pictures, while a few simply refused. It was often a matter of luck that we located somebody who had a collection of old family photos.
Photos of Recent Generations: In most cases I did not use photos of family members born after 1930 in the original 1998 printed edition. This is only because it became obvious to me that it would take up a tremendous amount of space to try and include photos from more recent generations of family. Besides the space consideration I also took into account the fact that photos of recent generations would be much easier for anybody to obtain, whereas older photos are more difficult to find, and therefore there was more justification for including them in the printed book as family treasures. 1930 as a cut-off date does not have any special significance. It was strictly arbitrary. Since I did not take special measures to collect family portraits of individuals born after 1930 while compiling the printed book, they were not readily available for this CD-ROM edition.
Also, consider the effort needed just to obtain pictures of older generations of Bohnstedts. Multiply that by many times as later generations of Bohnstedts multiplied.
Background History: I have included some background historical information. However, this book is not intended to be a history textbook, nor is the historical information intended to be thorough. I included this background information to briefly show the primary historical events which led to the development of western civilization in Europe and North America as we know it today, and then to give historical background during the last 500 years so that we may see the environment in which the Bohnstedt family lived in Europe and North America.
"Dirty Laundry": I was not interested in making a public display of potentially embarrassing information about the Bohnstedt family, and I certainly did not make any special effort to discuss mental illnesses, divorces, prison terms, domestic difficulties, or any number of "dirty little secrets". This is not a tabloid newspaper.
I did make an occasional exception where there was a specific need to discuss sensitive information. For example, I discussed that one of the Bohnstedt ancestors in America had been imprisoned. This was because that fact had a very definite and significant bearing on the difficulties involved in researching and reconstructing that portion of the Bohnstedt family.
In another case, that of General Wilhelm Bohnstedt, I do make mention that he died in captivity, as a prisoner of war in Hameln in 1947. In fact he died as a prisoner in a facility for the holding of suspected war criminals. As I stated in the piece I do not know whether he was convicted of a war crime and hanged, or died of natural causes while awaiting trial.
Whereas I view someone's troubles with the law at a local level as a personal matter, I view the case of General Bohnstedt somewhat differently; for better or worse, his demise was a part of world history, not a private matter.
Page Design: The "sidebar" with the buttons is a design I borrowed (with permission) and adapted from another website concerned with flags of the world. As for the shield, that is simply adapted from the coat-of-arms from Pastor David Sigismund Bohnstedt, minus the crest on top of the helmet (wings) and the mantle (that curly stuff on the sides). The version seen here was designed by myself using Unigraphics Computer-Aided-Design. Of the three verified Bohnstedt coats-of-arms this has always been my favorite because of the colors and elegance of design. Therefore I simply used it as a sort of logo throughout this CD-ROM Bohnstedt book.
Future Editions: There will be no future edition, at least not done by me. However, if someone else wants to create a future edition I will make myself available to advise.