Barney or Benjamin Bohnert?

Christine Hemmann is today’s birthday girl.  She was born on August 10, 1886, making today her 133rd birthday.  It did not take me long once I started researching Christine that I had to ask the question, “Did Christine marry Barny Bohnert or did she marry Benjamin Bohnert?”  By the time I’m done with this post, you may agree that I have to discuss this matter with our GFT (German Family Tree) guru, Lynn Degenhardt.  He may have to make some changes.

First, let me start with the early life of Christine Hemmann, who was the daughter of Julius and Gesche (Hesse) Hemmann.  That made her a granddaughter of the patriarch of the Hemmann Herd, J.G. Hemmann.  After Julius’s first wife, Christina (Mueller) Hemmann, died, he married Gesche Hesse.  Christine was the first child of this second marriage.  Julius, like Christine’s grandfather, was quite the prolific father.  Our German Family Tree lists 15 children for him altogether.  Christine was baptized at Grace Lutheran Church in Uniontown, Missouri.  Below is her baptism record.

Christine Hemmann baptism record Grace Uniontown MO
Christine Hemmann baptism record – Grace, Uniontown, MO

Christine can be seen in the 1900 census for Salem Township.  I am not showing it, but there were 5 more children on the next page of the census.

Christine Hemmann 1900 census Salem Township MO
1900 census – Salem Township, MO

On February 21, 1909, Christine Hemmann married Benjamin William Bohnert.  At least that is what the marriage license says.

Bohnert Hemmann marriage license
Bohnert/Hemmann marriage license

These two were married at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar, so we have the church record for this wedding also.

Bohnert Hemmann marriage record Salem Farrar MO
Bohnert/Hemmann marriage record – Salem, Farrar, MO

Let’s take a look at this Benjamin William Bohnert.  The first place we are going to look is in our German Family Tree.  This is what is listed there.

Barney and Benjamin Bohnert GFT
Bohnert’s – German Family Tree

This document lists Barney and Benjamin as twins.  Although they have the same birthday, only one has a marriage date and the other one has a death date.  You might expect to find a baptism date for Barney or Benjamin, but the parents were Roman Catholics, so they were baptized in a Catholic church, and we do not have those records available to us.  However, we do have a birth record in some Perry County records.  The birth records only include one child, not two, and the name that is listed was Bernard Andrew Bohnert.  The birth date shown is May 21, 1887.  This record is in two images.

Bernard Bohnert birth record Perry County MO

Bernard Bohnert birth record 2 Perry County MO
Bernard Andrew Bohnert birth record – Perry County, MO

The first census in which this child is found is the one taken in 1900.  It calls the child Barny who was 12 years old.  There was no twin brother listed.

Benjamin Bohnert 1900 census Longtown MO
1900 census – Longtown, MO

Nine years later, when this couple was married, his name is given as Benjamin William on the marriage license.  Not only is the first name different, but so is the middle name.

Another interesting record we find in our GFT is the fact that Benjamin Bohnert was confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown on March 17, 1909, about one month after this couple was married.  Now he was a Lutheran.  I also find it interesting that the Farrar marriage record says that the wedding verse used by the pastor in the marriage ceremony was Ruth 1:16-17.  That is part of the story about Ruth, a Moabite woman, who marries Boaz, a Jewish man.  That couple becomes part of the genealogy of Jesus the Christ, Savior of the world.  Do you think the pastor chose those verses because this wedding included a Lutheran and a Catholic?

We have this wedding photo which I found in a Bohnert book we have in our museum’s research library.  That book, by the way, never mentions a Bernard Andrew Bohnert.  You can see for yourself how this photo is captioned.

Benjamin and Christine Bohnert wedding

The 1910 census is the first one to record this married couple.  They had a baby son, and Benjamin was working as an engineer in a flour mill.  Keep in mind that an engineer back in those days was not likely to be similar to today’s engineers.  An engineer was usually someone who operated the engines at a business.

Benjamin Bohnert 1910 census Longtown MO
1910 census – Longtown, MO

In several censuses we see Benjamin living near his cousin, John Bohnert, who was described as the proprietor of a roller mill in Longtown.  The 1915 map of Longtown shows a mill located on the south end of the village.

Longtown mill map 1915
Village of Longtown – 1915

In 1917, Benjamin had his World War I draft registration completed.

Benjamin Bohnert – WWI draft registration

Benjamin and Christine have 10 children included in our German Family Tree, all baptized at Zion Lutheran Church in Longtown.  Not all of those children lived very long.  I will display the 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses.

Benjamin Bohnert 1920 census Longtown MO
1920 census – Longtown, MO

The 1930 census shows Benjamin as a shoe factory laborer, and it is also the only one that shows his name as Bernard A. Bohnert.

Benjamin Bohnert 1930 census Longtown MO
1930 census – Longtown, MO
Benjamin Bohnert 1940 census Longtown MO
1940 census – Longtown, MO

In the Bohnert book we have in our library, it contains just one little anecdote about Benjamin Bohnert.  It says he liked to make his own whiskey and hid it under his front porch.

Benjamin died in 1962 at the age of 74.  Here is his death certificate.

Benjamin Bohnert death certificate
Benjamin Bohnert death certificate

Christine died in 1963 at the age of 76.  We also have her death certificate.

Christine Bohnert death certificate
Christine Bohnert death certificate

These two are buried together in the Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Longtown, Missouri.

Bernard and Christine Bohnert gravestone Zion Longtown MO
Bernard (Benjamin) and Christine Bohnert gravestone – Zion, Longtown, MO

And there you have it.  After a death certificate that identifies him as Benjamin W. Bohnert, his gravestone is marked Bernard A. Bohnert.  Go figure.  He lived almost his whole life as Benjamin William Bohnert, but he was born and buried as Bernard Arnold Bohnert.  And lest you think once again that there were twin Bohnert boys born in 1887, you can see that it was Christine (Hemmann) Bohnert who is buried with this man.  Once again, we might have to rely on a member of the Bohnert family to answer the question about why a man would have two different names associated with his person.  I find it very interesting, yet quite puzzling.  And I think Lynn Degenhardt needs to make some GFT changes.







One thought on “Barney or Benjamin Bohnert?

  1. The Bohnert Book and Young and Sons record states his name as Benjamin William , but his birth record and tombstone states his name as Bernard Andres (Andrew). Was he known as Benjamin William during his lifetime? His son Calvin’s death cert. states that his father was Benjamin William Bohnert.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s