Bismarck (noble family)

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Family coat of arms of those von Bismarck

Bismarck is the name of an old noble family from the Altmark , which appeared in the 13th century among the city families of Stendal . The family was enfeoffed with goods in the surrounding area and from the beginning of the 18th century also acquired property in Pomerania .

The most important representative of the family was the first German Chancellor Otto Fürst von Bismarck from the Schönhausen line.


Family tree of gender (earliest generations)

The ancestral line of the Bismarcks can be traced back to 1270. The first mentioned representative of the family was the head of the garment tailors ' guild and probably also the mayor of Stendal , Herebord von Bismarck . It took its name from the town of Bismark (Altmark) , an exclave of the Diocese of Havelberg to the west of Stendal - but initially only as a civil designation of origin, because a manual activity was incompatible with the knighthood.

Only his great-grandson, Nicolaus von Bismarck (Klaus), mentioned in 1328 and 1377 , was "probably the first knight-born " of the family. Since a knighthood was only valid for the third generation of knightly living, Herbord's sons (or one of them) may have been knighted and married appropriately. Nicolaus was Stendaler patrician , merchant and alderman , it brought to archiepiscopal of Magdeburg pen captain and eventually to the Margrave of Brandenburg advice and Hofmeister . In 1345 he was enfeoffed by the Wittelsbach Elector of Brandenburg with the Burgstall Castle because of special services in the administrative service .

The Vorwerk Briest also belonged to Burgstall , on which much later, in 1624, the Bismarcks built a castle in the transitional forms from the late Renaissance to the early Baroque, which - after expropriation in 1945 - is now again in family ownership. The place Döbbelin also appears in the land register of Emperor Charles IV as early as 1344 as the property of Nicolaus von Bismarck; today's manor house Döbbelin was built in 1736; This property, too - after expropriation in 1945 - has meanwhile been bought back by the family. One of the oldest possessions in the Altmark was Uenglingen , which belonged to the family from 1375 until the end of the 19th century.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, the von Bismarck families , along with the Alvensleben , Bartensleben , Jagow , von dem Knesebeck , Platen , Schenck (von Flechtingen and Dönstedt ) and von der Schulenburg belonged to the eight families of the Altmark who lived in a castle and who were directly under the governor and were given the title noble by the emperor and the margrave as belonging to the army .

In 1562 she had to exchange the castle and estate in Burgstall for the secularized provost of Crevese in Altmark / Wische as well as the East Elbe possessions of Schönhausen and Fischbeck , on condition that from now on these places were also included in the Altmark . The agreement was called the " permutation agreement ". As a result, the Bismarck-Crevese line emerged , which with Levin-Friedrich and his son August Wilhelm (from the Briest branch) produced a Justice and Finance Minister of Frederick the Great , as well as the Bismarck-Schönhausen line , from which the Reich Chancellor descended. Around 1700 Schönhausen was divided and a new mansion was built on each part of the estate, of which only the Schönhausen II manor still exists.

August Friedrich von Bismarck-Schönhausen acquired the Kniephof and Jarchlin estates from the von Dewitz family in 1725 in the Naugard district of Lower Pomerania, as well as Külz in 1727 , creating a second focus of ownership in Pomerania alongside the Altmark. The Pomeranian estates were administered together with Schönhausen I, including Otto von Bismarck, before he began his political career.

In 1817, through the marriage of Theodor Alexander von Bismarck with Caroline Countess von Bohlen, the Count's branch Bismarck-Bohlen at Karlsburg Castle in Western Pomerania , where other goods were acquired. In 1818 King Friedrich Wilhelm III. Theodor Alexander in the hereditary count status .

Another branch of the counts emerged in 1865 when the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck, Lord of Schönhausen I (Altmark) and Kniephof (Western Pomerania), rose to become Count of Bismarck-Schönhausen ; With a corresponding donation , he acquired the Varzin estate in Pomerania . In 1871 he was raised to the primogenic hereditary prince status as the first Reich Chancellor in recognition of the establishment of an empire and received the Sachsenwald east of Hamburg as a donation, based in Friedrichsruh , which still belongs to the princely line to this day. Their younger relatives bear the name Graf / Gräfin , while the head of the Schönhausen line carries the former first-born title of prince in non-official social relations .

coat of arms

Seal of Rudolf von Bismarck (1365)
Coat of arms of those von Bismarck ( Renaissance style)

The family coat of arms shows a golden shamrock decorated with three (2: 1) silver oak leaves in blue. On the helmet with blue-silver covers a golden crown of leaves wedged between two blue-silver (also silver-blue) buffalo horns divided across the corner .

The coats of arms of some lines, or later " improved coats of arms ", are different. The coat of arms seal of Ludolf von Bismarck from 1465, for example, shows eight-ended deer antlers as a helmet ornament .

Name bearers / trunk lines

Stendal-Burgstaller line

  • Herbordus de Bismarck (approx. 1200 – approx. 1280), mayor of Stendal and guild master of the dressmaker's guild
    • Heinrich I von Bismarck (approx. 1256–1320), guild master and councilor in Stendal
      • Rule I. von Bismarck, (around 1280–1340), councilor in Stendal and member of the dressmaker's guild
        • Nikolaus von Bismarck (1307–1377), Stendal patrician, merchant and councilor, governor of the Magdeburg archbishopric, councilor of Brandenburg margravial and court master
          • Nikolaus II. (Klaus II.) Von Bismarck (approx. 1342-1403), was in the service of the Archbishop of Magdeburg
            • Nicholas III (Klaus III.) Von Bismarck (approx. 1385 – after 1431), squire
              • Ludolf I. von Bismarck (around 1410 – around 1488)
                • Pantaleon I of Bismarck (around 1460–1526)
                  • Henry III. von Bismarck (... - around 1523)
                    • Friedrich I. von Bismarck (1513–1589), led the negotiations in 1562 regarding the compulsory exchange of Burgstall Castle for Krevese and Schönhausen. Is the progenitor of all Bismarcks living today.
                      • Pantaleon II. Von Bismarck (1539–1604) → s. Line Crevese
                      • Ludolf IV. Von Bismarck (1541–1590) → s. Schönhausen line
                      • Abraham von Bismarck (1544–1589), participated with his brother Ludolf IV. Von Bismarck in the Huguenot Wars in France, where he was seriously wounded and was taken prisoner by the Catholics. Was shot dead by neighbors on Krumke in a border dispute.
                        • Anna VII von Bismarck (1580– around 1641), married to Ludolf von Münchhausen (1570–1640), humanist and landlord.

Line Crevese

  • Pantaleon II. Von Bismarck (1539–1604), Canon zu Havelberg, progenitor of the older line of Krevese and buried in the monastery church there
    • Christoph II. Von Bismarck (1583–1655), Canon of Magdeburg and Brandenburg War Commissioner of the Altmark
      • Levin-Friedrich I. von Bismarck (1623–1696), electoral Brandenburg director and war commissioner of the Altmark
        • Christoph-Georg von Bismarck (1667–1730), electoral Brandenburg district administrator and director of Altmark, married to Anna-Elisabeth von Katte a. d. H. Wust (1670–1714) (sister of Dorothea-Sophia v. Katte). Their parents, Hans von Katte and Dorothea-Katharina v. Witzleben are the last common ancestors of all today's Bismarcks.
          • Levin-Friedrich von Bismarck (1703–1774) → s. Branch Briest
          • Hans Christoph III. von Bismarck (1704–1773) → s. Döbbelin branch
          • Georg Achatz von Bismarck (1708–1765), landlord and court lord on Krevese, canon of Magdeburg, progenitor of the younger Krevese line.

Branch Briest

  • Levin-Friedrich von Bismarck (1703–1774), Prussian Minister of Justice
    Levin-Friedrich von Bismarck (1703–1774), Prussian Minister of Justice, married to Sophie-Amalie von der Schulenburg a. d. H. Angern (1717–1782), progenitor of the Briest family near Tangerhütte ( Briest Castle has been owned by the family since 1345 with interruptions during the GDR era)
    • Achatz Christoph von Bismarck (1737–1796), on Birkholz , chamberlain and canon of Halberstadt, Knights of St. John
      • Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Achatz von Bismarck (1786–1856), lieutenant and adventurer - took part in the Lützow Freicorps in the Wars of Liberation in 1813 . In 1856 his autobiography was published.
    • Georg Wilhelm I. von Bismarck (1741–1808), on Briest, Welle, etc., royal Prussian war and domain council
      • Levin Friedrich von Bismarck (1771–1847), Prussian district president
        • Wilhelm von Bismarck-Briest (1803–1877), German politician and member of the Reichstag
          • Achatz von Bismarck (1833–1874), district administrator of the Ostprignitz district
          • Ludolf August von Bismarck (1834–1924), district administrator of the Stendal district
            • Wilhelm von Bismarck (District Administrator) (1867–1935), District Administrator of the Stendal district, heir to Briest
              • Ulrich von Bismarck (1904–1943), retired forester D., Lieutenant Colonel of the Reserve, died in Soviet captivity
              • Levin-Friedrich III. von Bismarck (1908–1993), farmer on Sollstedt and Wülfingerode, legal knight and honorary commander of the Order of St. John
              • William III. von Bismarck (1913 – fallen 1945), captain & Batl.Kommandeur
            • Rule von Bismarck (1869–1947), Lieutenant Colonel a. D., progenitor of the Klein-Briest branch
              • Ludolf von Bismarck (1900–1979), Dipl.agr. Dr.phil., Legal knight of the Order of St. John
              • Friedrich-Wilhelm von Bismarck (1918 – fallen 1943), first lieutenant
            • Bernhard Ludolf von Bismarck (1876–1935), major, landlord of the Welle estate , progenitor of the Welle branch
              • Adalbert von Bismarck (1903–1976), farmer on the Welle estate
              • Heinrich von Bismarck (1905–1991), farmer, legal knight of the Order of St. John
              • Jobst-Ludolf von Bismarck (1911–1988), farmer and businessman in Brazil
          • Ulrich von Bismarck (1844–1897), Prussian major general and brigade commander
            • Kurd von Bismarck (1879–1943), major general and military district commander
            • Olga (1881–1958) ∞ Leopold von Rauch (1876–1955), Colonel a. D. in the Great General Staff
        • Klaus V. von Bismarck (1812–1867), major
          • Friedrich V. von Bismarck (1848–1922), lieutenant colonel
          • Klaus VI. von Bismarck (1851–1923), royal Prussian state forest master
    • August Wilhelm von Bismarck (1750–1783), Prussian Minister of War and Finance

Döbbelin branch

  • Hans Christoph III. von Bismarck (1704–1773), Königl.-Pruss. Privy Councilor of Justice, Chief President of the Stendal Higher Court, Vice Governor of the Altmark, Knight of the Order of St. John, ancestor of the House of Döbbelin (Döbbelin has been in the family's possession since 1344 with interruptions during the GDR period until today)
    • Christoph Georg Friedrich von Bismarck (1732–1818), President of the Higher Court in Stendal
      • Hans von Bismarck (1769–1812), captain, took part in battles of the Rhine Army against France, heir to Döbbelin
        • Heinrich von Bismarck (1799–1832), lieutenant
        • Friedrich von Bismarck (1803–1879), Premier-Lieutenant, heir to Döbbelin
          • Klaus von Bismarck (1853–1921), Colonel, co-owner of Döbbelin
            • Gertrud von Bismarck (1880–1963), landowner of Döbbelin, married to Wulf Freiherr von Nordeck
          • Friedrich von Bismarck (1857–1927), major, Knight of St. John, co-owner of Döbbelin
        • Albert von Bismarck (1805–1880), major
        • Hans von Bismarck (1809-1889), major
        • Hermann von Bismarck (1811–1870), Lieutenant Colonel
        • Georg von Bismarck (1813–1861), major
      • Johann von Bismarck (1772-1814), major, fought in the Rhine Army and in the Wars of Liberation against France
    • Heinrich von Bismarck (1735–1806), royal prussia. Rittmeister a. D., District Administrator
      • Otto von Bismarck (1767-1816), Major, fought against France in the Rhine Army
      • Karl von Bismarck (1770-1813), major, took part in battles of the Rhine Army against France
      • Ernst von Bismarck (1771–1837), lieutenant
    • Karl Wilhelm von Bismarck (1740–1812), Canon of Magdeburg, Secret Finance Councilor
      • Hans von Bismarck (1769-1840), major

Schönhausen line

Schönhausen Palace I (1921)
Schönhausen II Palace


The following ranks were raised for Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898), who came from the Schönhausen line :

  • Prussian count as von Bismarck-Schönhausen Berlin September 16, 1865 (hereditary unrestrictedly to all legitimate offspring in the male line)
  • Prussian princely status as von Bismarck (hereditary according to the law of the Primogenitur ) with the address Your Highness Berlin March 21, 1871 and January 27, 1872, diploma there from April 23, 1873
  • Prussian Duke of Lauenburg (only in person) Berlin March 20, 1890
  • (The later born bear the name Graf or Countess von Bismarck-Schönhausen )

Stem row

  • Ludolf IV von Bismarck (1541–1590), fought in the Huguenot Wars in France in 1569, ancestor of the Schönhausen family
    • Valentin von Bismarck (approx. 1580–1620)
      • Augustus I von Bismarck (1611–1670), colonel from Kurbrandenburg and commandant of Peitz ∞ (I) Helene Elisabeth von Kottwitz , ∞ (II) Dorothea Elisabeth von Katte , ∞ (III) Frederike Sophie von Möllendorf
        • Augustus II. Von Bismarck (1666–1732), district administrator of the Altmark ∞ Dorothea-Sophia von Katte ad H. Wust (sister of Anna-Elisabeth von Katte). Their parents, Hans von Katte and Dorothea-Katharina von Witzleben, are the last common ancestors of all today's Bismarcks.
      • Valentin Busso von Bismarck (1613–1679), captain, was in Swedish service during the Thirty Years' War

Bismarck planks branch

St. Gertraud Hospital

In 1350, Nikolaus von Bismarck, together with the brothers Johann and Burkhard Sweder, founded the Sankt-Gertrud-Hospital zu Stendal, which is located in front of the Uenglinger Tor . The hospital was used to receive poor pilgrims and travelers. The founder Klaus I. von Bismarck reserved the patronage of the Sankt-Gertrud-Hospital for himself and for his descendants for "eternal time". This was maintained until 1945 by the estates of Briest, Welle and Schönhausen.


  • Burgstall (1345–1562) - Borde / Altmark district
  • Döbbelin (1344–1945 & since 1991) - Stendal / Altmark district
  • Briest (1345–1945 & since approx. 1997) - Stendal / Altmark district
  • Uenglingen (1375 - end of the 19th century) - Stendal / Altmark district
  • Krevese (1562-1818) - District of Stendal / Altmark (in exchange for Burgstall)
  • Schönhausen I. (1562–1945) - Stendal / Altmark district (in exchange for Burgstall)
  • Schönhausen II. (1562-1830 & 1885-1945) - Stendal / Altmark district (in exchange for Burgstall)
  • Kniephof (1725–1945) - Naugard / Pomerania district
  • Jarchlin (1725–1945) - Naugard / Pomerania district
  • Külz (1727–1945) - Naugard / Pomerania district
  • Birkholz (1739–1856) - Stendal / Altmark district
  • Welle (1780–1945) - Stendal / Altmark district
  • Zehntenhof Schierstein (1809–1906) - Wiesbaden, Hesse
  • Karlsburg (1818–1945) - Greifswald / Vorpommern district (inherited from the von Bohlen family)
  • Niederhof (1818–1945) - Grimmen / Western Pomerania district
  • Lasbeck (1854–1945) - Regenwalde / Pomerania district
  • Varzin (1867–1945) - District of Rummelsburg / Pommern (acquired by Otto v. B.)
  • Gut Lilienhof (1870 – approx. 1918) - Breisgau / Baden
  • Reinfeld (1871–1945) - Rummelsburg / Pommern district (inheritedfrom Johanna von Puttkamer , wife of Otto v. B.)
  • Friedrichsruh (since 1871) - Duchy of Lauenburg district (imperial donation to Otto v. B. as thanks for founding an empire)
  • Heydebreck (1895–1945) - Regenwalde / Pomerania district
  • Plathe (1895–1945) - Regenwalde / Pomerania district
  • Woblanse (1919–1945) - District of Rummelsburg / Pomerania
  • Wülfingerode (1936–1945) - District of Northern Harz / Thuringia
  • Sollstedt (1936–1945) - District of Northern Harz / Thuringia
  • Wangeritz (1938–1945) - Naugard / Pomerania district

As a result of expropriations in the course of the land reform in the Soviet occupation zone and the expulsion from Western Pomerania, most of the property was lost in 1945. Only Friedrichsruh , located in West Germany, with the Sachsenwald remained as the seat of the princely line of Schönhausen, even if the castle was destroyed in the war. Otto von Bismarck's birthplace, Schönhausen I Palace, was blown up in 1958 at the instigation of the GDR leadership out of ideological hatred of the founder of the Reich.

With Briest and Döbbelin, two important ancestral seats in the Altmark, which had been in the family from 1344 and 1345 until the expropriation, could be bought back by family members after German reunification ; Related descendants bought the Welle manor back. Other agricultural or forestry operations were newly acquired by family members, such as Gut Braunsroda in Thuringia.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Document in the Stendal City Archives, from Adolph Friedrich Riedel : Codex diplomaticus Brandenburgensis , I, XV, 82
  2. RT. Heinrich Erfurter Wappenbuch part 3 ISBN = 9783739285092
  3. ^ B. Rogge, F. Geppert, A. Matthias: Otto von Bismarck: Three early biographies in the anthology 2013 SEVERUS Verlag
  4. ^ Georg Schmidt: The Bismarck family. Berlin 1908.
  5. Document collection of von Bismarck in the secret state archive in Berlin, with Adolph Friedrich Riedel : Codex diplomaticus Brandenburgensis , I, XVII, 499
  6. Adolph Friedrich Riedel , History of the noble family of Bismarck , who sat in the castle , (= Märkische Forschungen , Volume XI, published by the Association for the History of the Mark Brandenburg, Berlin 1867, seal plate )
  8. Christian Popp: The St. Nikolaus Abbey in Stendal (= Max Planck Institute for History (ed.), Nathalie Kruppa (editor): Germania Sacra . New episode 49, The dioceses of the ecclesiastical province of Mainz. The Diocese of Halberstadt . Volume 1 ). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-019535-4 ( full text in res doctae [PDF; 7.2 MB; accessed on July 29, 2019]), § 26. Care of the poor, p. 129 –131, Sankt-Gertrud-Hospital zu Stendal: pp. 129–130.


Web links

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