Hans-Thorald Michaelis

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Hans Thorald Michaelis

Hans-Thorald Michaelis (born April 23, 1925 in Hanover ; † December 18, 2004 in Aachen ) was a German historian , Germanist and genealogist .


The son of the engineer Reinhold Michaelis (1896–1974) and Gerda von Boehmer (1899–1925), daughter of the engineer Hugo Erich von Boehmer , studied history, German, philosophy and Protestant theology in Frankfurt am Main , Mainz , Göttingen and Marburg the career of a high school teacher. In 1963 he received his doctorate with the topic: " The county of Büdingen in the field of disputes about the religious and political unity of the empire 1517–1555 ".

From 1966 to 1971 he was largely entrusted with setting up and running the evening high school in Wiesbaden . In these politically turbulent times, he campaigned very early on for this new second educational path , for the “democratization of schools” and, as a result, for a modern student council .

From 1965 to 1973 he was also an active member of the Wiesbaden SPD and published historical reviews in the Festschrift for its 100th anniversary in 1967. In addition, Michaelis was co-founder of the Free Voting Association (FWG) after his time in the SPD in 1977. Wiesbaden and from 1965 to 1981 member of the Frankfurt Round Table , a politically and initially still economically liberal discussion group. Until he left, he tried to counteract the threatening right-wing tendency of this organization with socially critical submissions and essays, but he was unable to prevent the trend as a lateral entrant from another political camp and with his attitude towards the “ political center ”.

As part of his long-term work in the Protestant Church , he also campaigned for ecumenism in the church very early on , and in 1968 he took part as a delegate at the 4th General Assembly of the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Uppsala . In 1976 he joined the Brotherly Circle , an order- like community of Protestant character, which has its origins in the Baltic Brotherhood founded in 1926.

After his retirement in 1982 he was entrusted with setting up and managing the archive of the German Rifle Federation in Wiesbaden. During this time he wrote more than ten historical publications about the German shooting scene and organized several exhibitions.

Since his early youth, Hans-Thorald Michaelis was interested in genealogy . On the basis of the genealogical documents already available in the various branches of the family, he traveled to Germany and abroad to complete the data sets. A database of more than 10,000 people was created for the Michaelis , Böhmer / von Boehmer , von Görschen and Weitbrecht families . To this end, he published more than 50 publications, supplemented with corresponding historical events and contexts. Thanks to this research, he was able to prove, for example, that all direct descendants of his great-grandmother Mary Barbara Rennie (1836-1920) from Kilsyth / North Lanarkshire are direct descendants of the pilgrim father William Bradford (colonial governor) . These persons are thus entitled to be members of the renowned Mayflower Society based in Plymouth (Massachusetts) . In 1963 he joined the working group of East German family researchers and shortly before the working group for central German family research , in whose journals Ostdeutsche Familienkunde and Mitteldeutsche Familienkunde , published by Degener-Verlag , he published extensive work.

Hans-Thorald Michaelis was married to the music educator Roselinde Marie von Görschen (1923–1995), daughter of the Prussian lieutenant colonel Horst Friedrich von Görschen and granddaughter of lieutenant colonel Otto von Görschen .

Fonts (selection)

  • The county of Büdingen in the field of disputes over the religious and political unity of the empire (1517–1555). Hessian Church History Association (Darmstadt); Bindernagel, Friedberg (Hessen) 1965.
  • The child in the perspective of more recent Protestant and Catholic theology . Journal for ecumenical encounters, Una Sancta , Kyries-Verlag GmbH, Meitingen 1966.
  • History of the von Boehmer family in continuation of the genealogy written by Hugo Erich von Boehmer in 1982 of the Boehmer and von Boehmer families descended from Justus Henning Boehmer as well as some of the families related by marriage to them. Rheinische Verlagsanstalt, Bad Godesberg 1978. (Title in the Library of Congress: [1] )
  • Rifle guilds . Origin - tradition - development. Keyser's Small Cultural History, 1985 (special print)
  • Under a black-red-gold banner and the sign of the double-headed eagle . Failed popular arming and unification efforts in the German National Movement and in the German Rifle Federation 1859–1869. Elements of a German tragedy. Peter Lang-Verlag für Europäische Hochschulschriften, 3/549, Frankfurt am Main and Bern 1993. (Title in the Library of Congress : [2] )
  • Carinthia's fate of exiles during the Counter Reformation . A contribution to the history of the religiously motivated expulsion policy of Archduke Ferdinand II in Carinthia in the years 1596–1637. in: Yearbook for the History of Protestantism in Austria 112th year, Vienna 1996.
  • How Wiesbaden escaped total destruction 50 years ago: a courageous decision by [Volkssturmführer] Heinrich Michaelis on the night of March 28, 1945 and its beneficial consequences in: Wiesbadener Leben , vol. 44, no. 5, pp. 4-7 , Wiesbaden, 1995

as well as various genealogical publications for the journals Genealogy and East German, North German and Central German Family Studies from Degener-Verlag (Insingen)


  • Literature by and about Hans-Thorald Michaelis in the catalog of the German National Library
  • Dieter Gilles and Angelika Michaelis-Gilles: The research of Hans-Thorald Michaelis on the families Michaelis, von Boehmer, von Görschen and Weitbrecht. A résumé with additions based on recent research. in: Genealogy, Volume 57, 2008, Issue 3, pp. 215–236.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ AGoFF archive in Herne, membership file no.428
  2. Peter Bahl : Complete table of contents for the journals Mitteldeutsche Familienkunde (MFK), Familienforschung in Mitteldeutschland (FFM), Zeitschrift für Mitteldeutsche Familiengeschichte (ZMFG) . In: Zeitschrift für Mitteldeutsche Familiengeschichte 50 (2009), pp. 193–278, here p. 244.