German Connection: Beckmanns and Brockmans

Elfriede Sophie (Beckmann) Meissner and family in Iowa

As you can see below I haven’t been able to spend much time on this blog. My brother and I have got as about as far as we can with the George Goldsmith Kirby mystery, although we have had a bit more info from a genealogist. I may even blog about this if I get the chance, but I was thinking of closing the blog down. That was before I got an email from Ann Harrington, explaining that her great great grandmother was Elfriede Sophie Beckmann and that she is the sister of Charlotte (Rudolphine Louise) von Beckmann who is my great grandmother. Ann explained that Elfriede married Wilhelm Meissner (nephew of John A. Roebling who built the Brooklyn Bridge) and joined Wilhelm in the wilds of Iowa near Reinbeck (see picture above of Elfriede and her family in Iowa).

Elfriede‘s father Ernst Christopher Frederich von Beckman (my great great great grandfather) married them at the Holzendorf church where he was pastor. Seems like Ann has only got as far back as Johann Ludwig Beckmann from Westenbrugge as far the Beckmann ancestry is concerned, and this is about as far as I could go to (see here). Would be great to know more about my Beckmann ancestors and interesting to know how the ‘von’ got added as well. Ann also has some translations of letters written in the 1870’s between family members. Apparently, Elfriede‘s mother was (Magdalena Wilhelmine) Louise Brockmann and her family was from Rostock, and I manged to trace back her family to a Juergen Georg Brockmann in the 1500s on the Brockmann Broockmann Brokmann and other families index on RootsWeb from a link Ann sent. Turns out that Louise Brockmann journeyed to New York after Ernst had died to see five of her Iowa grandchildren baptised on Staten Island New York. As Ann pointed out, must have been an interesting train trip back to New York with five young children in those days. Ann also thinks that Louise‘s father went to Russia in the War of 1812 and never returned, and according to family lore she was raised by an aunt and uncle.

It was really interesting to find out more about our German ancestors, as well as hear about the John A. Roebling engineering connection. Elfriede‘s nephew and my great grandfather was Ernest FitzHerbert Wright. The Wright family were at the centre of the Industrial Revolution and Ernest married Lucy Fox, who was the daughter of the British Civil Enigneer Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox. Ernest and Lucy were actually cousins as Douglas Fox had married Mary Wright who was the sister of Charlotte‘s husband FitzHerbert Wright. Sir (Charles) Douglas Fox was also son of the civil engineer Sir Charles Fox, who was knighted like his son for their work on The Crystal Palace pavilion. Anyway, many thanks to Ann for renewing my interest in family history.

16 thoughts on “German Connection: Beckmanns and Brockmans

  1. Just a follow up on this family. I am pretty certain that Otto Carl Hermann Beckmann, a professor in Gottingen, and was an assistant to Rudolf Virchow, was a brother to Elfriede and Charlotte Beckmann. He was famous for his research in renal diseases but his life was cut short by TB. He died at age 27 with his mother at his bedside. (1832 – 1860) If you google Virchow’s Eulogies: Rudolf Virchow in tribute to his fellow scientists by Brian LD Coghlan and Leon P Bignold, you can find this online info about Otto. Interesting siblings. There were nine children. Love to locate the others… xxx Ann

      1. Dear Juzzie,

        I´am research stuff at the Ernst-Haeckel-Correspondence-project at the University of Jena, Germany and need some background informations on the family of Otto Karl hermann Beckmann (1832-1860) I can also add some Informations to Otto Beckmann, Son of Beckmann, Ernst Christoph Friedrich (1804-1862) and Beckmann, Magdalene Wilhelmine Louise, born Brockmann (1810-1884): he was a good friend of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), the famous geman Evolutionary Biologist. They met at Würzburg, where Otto Beckmann became Presector at the hospital while Haeckel went Assistent of Rudolf Virchow. Haeckel told his parents in a letter, that Beckmanns father was a poor man with lots of children and wanted to travel Berlin in 1856, but no money, so Haeckels parents invited him (Otto), to enjoy their home while travelling thru Berlin.

        Thanks & kind regards from Germany,


    1. Debby … thanks for your enquiry. Sadly, I know very little about my German ancestors. About everything I know can be found above and here.

  3. FitzHerbert and Charlotte Wright had a younger duaghter, Emily (or Emilie) Augusta. In c.1884 she married the Revd W. H. Draper. She died in 1914; he died in 1933. They had three sons and three daughters. Two sons died in World War 1. The eldest, Roger Francis, 1914 Anna Gardiner, of Boston, Mass. They had one son,Roger. After Roger Francis was killed in Gallipoli Anna returned to Boston, and m.Henry Richardson Shepley, by whom she had four sons and one daughter. “Young Roger” was killed in a sailing accident at the age of eleven.
    The surviving Draper son, John Godfrey Beresford Draper, m. Aileen Masefield, and had one daughter, Joan Christabel (now Mrs. Patrick Benner) and Michael William.
    The only daughter to marry was the second, Hester Muriel (b.1897). She m. in 1926 Thomas Henry Wait Armstrong (b.1898, d.1994). He was Principal of the Royal Academy of Music 1955-68, and was knighted in 1958. They had one son, Robert Temple (b.1927) and one daughter Helen Hilary (b.1930). Robert m.Serena Chance in 1953, and had two daughters: Jane Orlanda (b.1954) and Teresa Brigid (b.1957) Jane m. Joseph Whitlock Blundell and has three sons. Teresa m. Simon Littlewood and has trwo sons and a daughter. Helen Hilary is unmarried.
    Robert was Secretary of the Cabinet 1979-87, and became Lord Armstrong of Ilminster in 1988.

    1. Dear Robert … thanks for the comments and I’ll let Darryl at The Peerage know that dots can be joined on his site between FitzHerbert Wright and the Reverend W. H. Draper, which will also show how you are related to Fergie ;-)

      My brother has a portrait of what I think must be your great grandmother Charlotte Von Beckman with my great grandfather Ernest Wright, who looked after my father as a child with his wife and cousin Lucy Fox. You can see the portrait here I’ve no idea where the ‘Von’ came from because it not evident in her ancestors, but then I couldn’t get much further back than her grandfather.

      Best and cheers


  4. Hi Justin. Just bumped into a person on line who is the Great Great Granddaughter of Emil Henry Beckmann, Charlotte’s brother. He went to America. Want some info on him? He lived out his life in Grundy County Iowa USA. Hope life is good. xxx Ann

  5. Anne … great to hear from you and would love to hear from her. I know very little about these ancestors. So it would be interesting to hear more.



    1. Early days but I have a few photos. I am excited to at last found a descendant of Emil. I knew he had come to Iowa but just couldn’t connect with anyone. This person has lived her whole life in the county where my Beckmann and Meissner ancestors settled. She didn’t realize that Emil had had a sister who came to America as well. She didn’t know any information about the Holzendorf ancestors so it has been fun to share. She was born a year after me… How did I send you the Beckmann photo? I have a photo of Emil and his wife Catherine Smith if you are interested in it. Jan says she also has more photos of Catherine and their children. xxx Ann

  6. Hello

    I am looking for family tree information regarding last name Beckmann from Iowa. My grandfather was Herman Beckmann from Bettendorf Iowa and my father was Mortier Kenneth Beckmann from same. My father had a sister named Shirley, and an unknown sibling that died at an early age

    The family immigrated from Germany in the 1890s and I have no knowledge previous. Ancestry is no help

    Thanks. Mark

    1. I’m afraid I don’t know anymore than I have published, and it should contain the links to all the sources.

  7. I am the person from Iowa that years ago Ann Harrington mentioned regarding my great great grandfather, Emil H Beckman, brother to Elfriede and Charlotte Beckmann. I have much info on his family and would like to share it with you. I have a tree on that I can give you access to (need your email address to send an invite). Emil was a pretty amazing man with an equally amazing family. Let me know if you would like to receive the invitation.
    Jan Scarborough Niedermann

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