Johann Holtorf – German or Danish?

Johann Holtorf was born in Bimöhlen, a tiny village in the Duchy of Holstein, on April 6, 1828. He left Holstein in 1856 when he was 28 years old. He was unmarried and travelled alone to Australia where he subsequently built a life for himself. He died in 1898 at the age of 70, father... Continue Reading →


Nineteenth century Germany

In an attempt to understand where my German ancestors came from, I have tracked down this useful map from Wikipedia. There was no Germany as we know it in the nineteenth century, rather a confederation of German speaking kingdoms and duchies (the German Confederation or Der Deutsche Bund). On the map below it is Holstein... Continue Reading →

The Holtorf family of Bramstedt

The following is an undated version of an article posted here previously, but which was inaccurate on a number of counts. The information now contains my understanding of the Holtorf family as of today’s date, 20 September 2014. Such are the joys of family history research. The story changes as new information comes to light... Continue Reading →

Holford: evolution of a name

Our family name has evolved over the last 300 years from Holtorp to Holford. With the help of a family tree drawn up by Victoria Reevey, publicly available on, I have managed to trace the Holford family name back to the end of the 1600s. Of course there are dozens of others involved but... Continue Reading →

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