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Bohling Family




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 Bhling, 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 Bhling and his son, Heinrich Christoph Bohling and Friederike

Gerke of (Knigshof) 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.

Knigshof 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
Bohlings (This saying at one time we were all Menken-Bohlings)

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.


Shortly before W. W. II Schwalingen had a population of 372.


The Span

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

stable people.






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Last Up-Date   11/27/2010 02:31:13 AM