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Bohling Family History
Boehling Ancestors In Germany
First of all, there were three variations of the name, in 1882 it
was still spelled Boehling, then gradually became Böhling, the
and now spelled Bohling.
The Bohling name being very common around Schwalingen and the
neighboring villages. No one seems to know the meaning of "Bohling",
at least there isn't any thing special about the name. The various
Bohling families at Schwalingen are being distinguished by adding the
name of the farm to the surname of the family owning the farm before.
So they are called Menken-Bohling because the farm they are sitting
on for 250 to 300 years is the Menken-Hof
(Hof=Yard is the German word for "farm")
The Menken-Bohling family tree dates back until Hans Peter Bohling,
b. 1794 and d. 1859, and his father Heinrich Christoph Bohling without
date of birth or death. The word "Kothner" indicates that the people
were settlers on a relatively small farm. They were living in a "Kothe"
or "Kathe", this word itself seems to be related with our "cottage".
This fact is being substantiated by the circumstance that the
Menken-Hof is not listed among the original 10 "Hoffe" or farms
which existed at Schwalingen since three or four centuries.
This list is contained in a book, "Geschicte des kirchspiels Neuenkirchen"
(History of the Neuenkirchen church community) by Pastor W. Wittkopf,
and edited in 1897. This list, however shows a "Schmeers-Hof" with
the following names.
Peter Böhling and his son, Heinrich Christoph Bohling and Friederike
Gerke of (Königshof) Heinrich, b. 1822, Married 1846 and died 1879,
Heinrich Bohling and Sophie Rohrs (Schwalingen) he born 1849 and l
married 1876. These people are most certainly of our family tree.
Königshof means farm of the king, and is just two miles east of Schwalingen.
The Bohlings were said to have come from the Menken-Bohlings, about
150 years ago or earlier. One Menken was able to buy a farm for each
of his sons.
This way the Schmeers Hof got into the hands of the
now called Schmeers Hof Bohlings, just as one is Harmelingen
about ten mile east south east of Schwalingen, and a third one is in
Grauen, two miles north of Schwalingen, Germany.
All church records were burned in 1867 when the
church parsonage burned.
before W. W. II Schwalingen had a population of 372.
Author Jill Taylor
Life is but a bridge we build
to link before and after.
and wise the man who builds his span
of faith and love and laughter
By Lawrence Rogge
On January 2, 1978, I went to my mother's birthplace in Schwalingen bei Neuenkirchen Germany. Martha Rohrs and Gustav Bohling had given me instructions to find their Brother, Mr. Herman Bohling who lived in Neuenkirchen.
Luckily, Mr. and Mrs. Bohling were home. They have a beautiful
large home three doors west of the local church. They were superb
hosts. Mr. Bohling did his very best to show us all existing mementos
of my mothers life there. Of first importance was the church there in
Neuenkirchen, which was where my mother belonged.
(Schwalingen - 5 kilometers away - is part of this congregation)
The church sexton is a very old man and confused. However, Mr. Bohling
found a young lady who was extremely well informed and intelligent.
We got to see no records, but she had a complete knowledge of the
history of this church.
The beginning of this church dates back to the 1300's and at that
time it was Catholic.
Unique feature of great importance, Almost all people in Germany
who are protestants are so because the local land baron decided to
change. During the Renaissance, the Catholic priest of this parish
deserted the Catholic Church and formed this congregation into a
Lutheran parish. This is why all Bohlings are Lutherans. I honor my
Bohling heritage just as much as I do my Rogge heritage and that
they participated in the reformation and became Lutherans by
conviction instead of command by a baron is truly noteworthy.
The church as it now stands was completed in 1879. The old building
and all records burned in the 1860's. My mother being born in 1883.
I was enabled to stand where she was baptized and confirmed in
front of the baptismal font which was a very emotional experience.
The font itself is historically very important. It is dated 1429;
it is a deep round basin about 36 inches in diameter, standing on legs
with a figure of a person on each leg. It stood on legs which enabled
a fire to be kept immersed. Originally, the basin had a round lid;
but during the 30 year war the lid was stolen by French soldiers.
Oddity; the Latin Biblical inscription in large letters around the
basin has to be read by the use of a mirror; It cannot be read
directly. It now has a gold-plated bowl inserted in the top which is
used for baptism by sprinkling. This is the bowl from which my
mother was baptized in 1883.
The alter setting consisted of a crucified Christ, suspended, about
six feet tall, with a statue of Mary on the one side and John on the
other. The statue of Mary is from the original Catholic Church;
taken from a crypt on a sidewall. The lighting of the alter cast three
separate distinct shadows of the cross on the back wall, depicting
the actual crucifixion. Extremely impressive.
We were shown the relics of the church. Several pieces of
communion silver go far back in history. Two large volumes of the
Bible, one dated 1868 and the other much older but undated from
Finland, fastened by wrought iron hasps. In an anteroom were
pictures of all the pastors of this church 1860 onward. Four of
them were oil paintings done by Pastor Willforth who baptized
my mother. (Herman Bohling lives on Pastor Willforth Strasse).
In another room was a sarcophagus of the priest who led this
church to Lutheranism. His name was Reverend Johann Jentis
who served from 1567 to 1593. The church building is a large
edifice, of red brick, with a very high spire with an operating clock,
the windows were all leaded, with a high sloping sill. The interior is
painted gray, with maroon pews. The Alter and wooden pillars are
also trimmed in maroon. The pillars support a balcony which runs
the entire length of both side walls and across the back. The floor is
concrete. The pulpit was very high, with a wooden canopy, delicately
curved steps, leading from the alter area. A new pipe organ has been
installed on the back balcony. I checked their hymnals and found that
the order of services and liturgy has been changed considerably
from the "Gesangbuch" at Hickory Grove.
Big disappointment; after the church, my next interest was the
cemetery. There is no physical evidence of my forebears because
all cemetery lots are resold every 30 years. The sexton has these
records, too, so I didn't get to see them either.
Their cemeteries are extremely well kept and very expensive.
Each family plot is small, surrounded by a low clipped evergreen hedge.
For the Christmas season each grave was covered with pine greenery
neatly placed. Each plot was a miniature landscaped garden.
My next interest was my mother's home and farm. Mr. Bohling took
us back to Schwalingen to the home of Mr. Wilhelm Bohling who was
more likely to be able to show me these. The Wilhelm Bohling farm
is very imposing. This farm is the ancestral home of all Bohlings.
They have owned it for more than 250 years. They have a large new
brick house, large brick barn which is very old but in new condition.
The other farm buildings fit this same plan, built to last. Mr. Wilhelm
Bohling is a quiet solid guy in his seventies; obviously very successful.
Mrs. Bohling is a marvel, jet propelled, a very good person. She showed
me a stack of letters from people in the U. S. A. asking questions of
family history. Sure was fun to hear people "snak plattdeutsch" like my
parents; by this time it was getting dark; it was a five hour trip back to
Larry's home in Cologne. Most of my mother's farmstead is gone, only
an old brick storage shed remains. Her land having been sold is now
incorporated into other farms and I could find no one on such short
notice to show me the exact boundaries.
Schwalingen is in the northeast part of West Germany. On the
Bremen-Hamburg autobahn about 50 kilometers east of Bremen,
turn off at the Ottersberg exit and go another 50 kilometers
southeast. As you go through Rotenburg you will see the Oestmann
Beauty Shoppe sign, Schwalingen is located on the huge
German-Polish plain where the continent of Europe slopes into
the North Sea. Geologically, this particular area is called the
Luneberg Heath, quite level. My mothers house and those like it
are gone, but their architecture is called the Luneberg Heath.
The house is very long, living quarters in front, granaries are
barn at back. Bracing was cross buck, interim spaces plastered
with concrete, whitewashed, entirely covered with a thatch roof.
Nearly all farm buildings are now brick with tile roofs, very few thatched.
The soil is black and fertile. Principal crops are potatoes and rye.
Some corn is raised for silage. (Wheat is called corn and corn,
is called "Mice"). As has been done for hundreds of years, the
farmsteads are almost all located in small towns. This is practical
because their farm crops leave no residue for pasture. Therefore,
all livestock is confinement-kept in town; manure hauled to their
land every day and silage brought back. Silage is piled on the ground
with plastic and dirt.
Farms are not laid out in squares; roads all wander hither and yon.
Boundaries between fields are straight. Many farms are
consolidated together; one renter and several landlords, each
land-owner receiving a proportionate share according to the size
of his holding.
How could the Bohling ancestral home be kept in the family for
250 years? By German inheritance laws supporting this for centuries.
The stated intent is that the eldest son who is working the farm as
his sole livelihood inherits his share tax free. The other heirs are
taxed as ordinary citizens. There are many variations of this by
testamentary wills, but in general the basic law is followed.
My personal observation is that our forebears were extremely
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Last Up-Date 11/27/2010 02:31:13 AM