This unknown Mr. Gomersheimer was the first husband of Anna Elisabeth, father of Michael Gomersheimer who moved to Grimm after his birth and remained there for the rest of his life. There were no other people in Grimm with the Gomersheimer surname. I’m in the process of checking other Volga German villages to see if I can find him or a possible parent.
While going through the 1767 Census Index for Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767, I found a Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim in Warenburg, Band 4, page 323. This seems to be a real possibity as a match for his surname. Look at the two names written next to each other.
Boehmersheim vs. Gomersheimer
The letters B and G sound similar, and with a longer name like this, it’s easy to understand how the census taker may have incorrectly written down what he thought he heard.
Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim could have been this man’s father, or he may have had sons old enough to be his father.
I checked the 1798 Census of the German Colonies Along the Volga and there were no remaining Boehmersheims in any of the colonies. They may have shortened the name to Boehmer or Boehm. Complicating this search is the fact that the original name in Germany appears to have been spelled Bommersheim, or some shortened version of this alternate name. The umlaut and the H seem to be new introductions to the spelling.
This unknown male Gomersheimer / Boehmersheim is not specifically listed in the 1834 census, but his son Michael is.
Here is one example of a record with the alternate spelling of the surname.
- Name Johann Henrich Bommersheim
- Event Date 1713
- Gender Male
- Birth Date 06 Jul 1713
- Birth Year 1713
- Christening Date 13 Jul 1713
- Christening Place Bellersheim, Germany
- Father’s Name Johann Wilhelm Bommersheim
- Mother’s Name Ann Elisabetha
I looked up Bellersheim on a map; it can be found at these coordinates:
Latitude 50°27’10.9″N (50.4530200°) Longitude 8°50’16.8″E (8.8379900°).
It is north of Frankfurt by about 37 miles, 56 miles from Darmstadt, and offers a compelling village with a similar sounding name: Bellersheim. This record was noted here only to show the alternate spelling of the name and the similar village name. He is not a match for the Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim who immigrated to Russia and settled in Warenburg.
According to the Kulberg Reports, Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim was a weaver from Darmstadt. He traveled to Oranienbaum with his wife Anna Sophia and five children:
Johann Georg, age 20; Catharina Margaretha, age 18; Christina Margaretha, age 10; Johann Philipp, age 6.5; and Johann Heinrich, age 3.
If Johann Heinrich’s first child was born in 1766, and we estimate that Johann heinrich was 20 years old at the time of his birth, then Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim was born around 1726. This makes him about 41 at the time he and his family immigrated to Russia.
The family departed from Luebeck on the ship called Die Vergelte Weintraube with their recruiter Le Roy, arriving in Oranienbaum on June 15, 1766. After arriving in Oranienbaum, new German immigrants were processed, took an oath of allegiance to their new country, and usually spent about a year in temporary quarters until the following spring when frozen rivers melted and it was slightly less treacherous to begin their journey to the Volga River. Many people did not survive that first winter in Oranienbaum, and still more perished on the journey to their new home.
Journey to Warenburg
The village of Warenburg was founded as a Lutheran colony on 12 May 1767 by Le Roy and another recruiter with former residents of Brandenburg, Darmstadt, Holstein, Prussia, and Württemberg. These new residents were recorded in the Volga German Transport List. Interestingly, none of these Boehmersheim family members appear in this list, which seems odd since they are mentioned in the Kulberg Reports.
That said, if his wife and children became ill, some of them even dying, his journey to Warenburg may have been delayed and he may have tagged along with another group without his name being officially added to the transport list.
If his eldest son Johann Georg survived, then he did not go with his father to Warenburg, since he’s not listed in the 1767 Warenburg census, and probably shortened his name to Boehm, since there are no Boehmersheims in any of the Volga German colonies. There is always a possibility that his name was accidentally omitted from the 1767 census, so I would need to confirm this via a copy of the 1775 Warenburg census. If he does appear there, then it’s possible that he had a son around 1780 who was the father of Michael Gomersheimer, making Johann Georg the grandfather of Michael Gomersheimer. There are about four ifs in this scenario that have to be true in order for Johann Georg to be Michael’s grandfather. That’s a lot of ifs and should be a warning that it is a less likely scenario. For this reason, another son of Johann Heinrich is likely to be Michael Gomersheimer’s father.
Daughter Catharina Margaretha could have survived; she may have married either in Oranienbaum or soon after arriving in Warenburg where she resided with her new husband.
Because their names are not found in the 1767 Warenburg census record, it doesn’t look like Johann Heinrich’s wife or his three youngest children survived.
To recap, at some point between his arrival in Oranienbaum and his arrival in Warenburg, Johann Heinrich’s wife must have died. Before the first census was taken in the latter part of 1767, he had remarried Elisabeth Margaretha. Although there is no reference to her age in the 1767 census, she would have had to be young enough to bear children. There were no children living with the couple at the time of that census.
This means that at some point after the census, the couple had to have at least one child, a boy, estimated to have been born around 1780. It could have been earlier; I need a copy of the 1775 census to see who was included in the family by that year.
That boy grew up to marry a woman named Anna Elisabeth who was probably from Warenburg. The couple had a son, Michael, in 1808.
After the death of Mr. Boehmersheim before 1814, she remarried Johann Philipp Schott from Grimm. Their first child, a son, was born in 1815. Interestingly, they named him Johann Heinrich, perhaps after her first husband or former father-in-law. It’s difficult to say that with any certainty since the pool of names Volga Germans used was quite limited, but it is an interesting piece of information.
1834 Census of Grimm in the District of Saratov, Russia, dated 2 February 1835; Translated by Brent Mai, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon; Published by Dynasty Publishing, Beaverton, OR, USA; Published 2011; page 60, family #197.
Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766,”Reports by Ivan Kulberg”; Published by Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation, Saratov State Technical University, Saratov, Russia; Published 2010; page 74, Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim, Lutheran, weaver from Darmstadt, document number 799. Wife: Anna Sophia. Children: Johann Georg, Johann Philipp, Johann Heinrich, Catharina Margaretha and Christina Margaretha.
Transport of the Volga Germans from Oranienbaum to the Colonies on the Volga 1766-1767. Translated and edited by Brent Alan Mai; Published by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1998. Gomersheimer and Boehmersheim surnames do not appear in this list.
Combined Surname Index to All Volumes of Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767, by Igor Pleve. Compiled by Brent Alan Mai, Center for Volga German Studies, Concordia University, Portland, Oregon. See: http://bit.ly/2qzvK15, page 7.
Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet 1764-1767, Heerstellung: Mecke Druck and Verlag, 37115 Duderstandt; Published 1999; page 323, #13, Johann Heinrich Boehmersheim, Lutheran, farmer from Darmstadt, Wilsbach, and wife Elisabeth Margarethe.
Mai, Brent Alan; 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga, Volume 1; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska; Published 1999 and 2005. No Gomersheims or Boehmersheims listed in any colony.
The Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University, Settlements, Mother Colonies, Warenburg, see: http://bit.ly/2qEDTk9.
Places in the World, Bellersheim, Germany, Longitude and Latitude, see: http://bit.ly/2rizANi.
Google Maps, Bellersheim and Darmstadt Germany, see: http://bit.ly/2scdf3X.
“Deutschland Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NC6Z-8F8 : 28 November 2014), Johann Henrich Bommersheim, 13 Jul 1713; citing ; FHL microfilm 1,336,650.