The Ancestry of Johann Friedrich Struensee (1737-1772)

by William Addams Reitwiesner

Christian VII ascended the Danish Throne on 14 January 1766, and on 8 November 1766 he married, at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, his first cousin, Princess Caroline Mathilde of Great Britain, sister of King George III. Their son Frederik (later King Frederik VI) was born at Christiansborg Castle on 28 January 1768.

Soon after his marriage, Christian VII sunk into a condition of mental stupor, and became completely controlled by his advisors, particularly the court physician, Johann Friedrich Struensee. Struensee had been exposed to Enlightenment ideas at university, and took this opportunity to reform the Danish government, state, and nation by Enlightment principles, from his appointment as maître des requêtes in December 1770 through his arrest in January 1772.

Others arrested at the same time as Struensee included Queen Caroline Mathilde, as she had helped Struensee gain power. Her relationship with Struensee had become a sexual relationship starting in the spring of 1770, a fact which complicated the birth of Caroline Mathilde's daughter, Luise Auguste, who was born at Hirschholm Palace (now Hørsholm, near Copenhagen) on 7 July 1771.

Before the conviction and execution of Struensee, the King and Queen were divorced (6 April 1772). The divorce decree specifically declares that Luise Auguste was the legitimate daughter of her mother's husband, King Christian VII.

Struensee was beheaded on 28 April 1772, and Queen Caroline Mathilde was deported to Celle on 28 May 1772, where she died on 10 May 1775. King Christian VII continued to reign under several different regencies and died at Rendsburg, in Schleswig, on 13 March 1808, when he was succeeded by his son King Frederik VI.

As for Luise Auguste, she was married Christiansborg Castle on 27 May 1786 (when she was not yet 15 years old) to a cousin of King Christian VII, namely Friedrich Christian, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, and had three children. Descendants of Luise Auguste include:

The reigning sovereigns of:

The consorts of the reigning sovereigns of: And:

The legal paternity of Princess Luise Auguste was determined when King Christian VII publicly acknowledged her as his child, and was confirmed by the language in the divorce decree of the King and Queen. As for the genetic paternity of Princess Luise Augusta, it appears likely that Struensee was her genetic father. The question of her genetic paternity has never been settled, and likely never can be settled. For the purposes of this webpage, the question is irrelevant (and will not be discussed further below). The rest of this webpage is an exploration of the ancestry of Johann Friedrich Struensee.

William Addams Reitwiesner

Ancestry of Johann Friedrich Struensee
1 Johann Friedrich Struensee
* Halle a. S. 5 VIII 1737, bapt. Kirche St. Moritz 7 VIII 1737
1757 Dr. Med.
1758 Stadsfysikus i Altona og Landfysikus i Grevskabet Rantzau
5 IV 1768 Livmedikus hos Kong Christian VII
1768 Dr. med. i Oxford
18 XII 1770 Maître des requêtes
14 VII 1771 Geheimekabinetsminister
30 IX 1771 Patent som Lehnsgreve
arrested 17 I 1772
condemned 27 IV 1772
beheaded København 28 IV 1772
2 Adam Struensee
bapt. Neuruppin 8 IX 1708
Pfarrer in Halle 1732, Altona 1757-1760
Kgl. Generalsuperintendant v. Schleswig u. Holstein 1760-1791
Dr. theol. (h. c.) v. Halle 1757
+ Rendsburg 20 VI 1791
m. Berleburg 8 V 1732
3 Maria Dorothea Carl
* Berleburg 31 VII 1716
+ Schleswig 31 XII 1792
4 Lorenz Struensee
* Neuruppin 1656
Stadtdeputier in Neuruppin
+ Neuruppin 1736
5 Elisabeth Thomschläger
6 Johann Samuel Carl
* Oehringen 1656
1699 Dr. in Halle
Hofmedikus des Grafen Isenburg-Stolberg
Leibarzt des Grafen Wittgenstein-Berleburg
1736 Leibarzt König Christians VI v. Dänemark
+ Meldorf 1757
7 Johanne Sophie von Bülow
8 Christian Struensee
* 1620
Tuchmacher u. Gildemeister, Vierundzwanziger Neuruppin
+ 1674
m. 1644
9 Katharina Schäffer
* 1623
+ Neuruppin 3 I 1705
10 Abraham Thomschläger
11 NN Witte
12 Johann Ernst Carl (Cärl)
* (1652)
Apotheker in Oehringen (Franken)
Bürger zu Marbach
+ 1706
13 Anna Maria Rapp
* 1665
18 Lorenz Schäffer
Pastor in Bantikow
19 Anna Geistorf
20 Heinrich Thomschläger
* Hamburg 24 IX 1600
Erbpächter a. Radensleben
Rats- u. Kaufherr in Neuruppin
+ Neuruppin 23 V 1659
21 Anna Maria Metzmacher
24 Thomas Kerl
Stadthauptmann zu Göttingen aus Kl. Lengden
25 Cathrin Kogeln ?
26 Johann Conrad Rapp
Lat. Schul-Kollaborator zu Öhringen
27 Anna Maria Höninger
38 Samuel Geistorf
Pastor in Wansdorf
39 NN
42 Abraham Metzmacher
Handelsmann in Neuruppin
43 Elisabeth Stenger
54 Mag. Michael Höninger (Henniger)
55 Magdalena Schuster


20 & 21 -- Heinrich Thomschläger and Anna Maria Metzmacher have other descendants, including:

Heinrich Thomschläger m. Anna Maria Metzmacher
.Catharina Thomschläger m. Matthias Lietzmann
 .Anna Lietzmann m. Jacob Lietzmann
  .Joachim Lietzmann m. Sarah Schwerdtfeger
   .Anna Elisabeth Lietzmann m. Carl Ämilius Müller
    .Charlotte Elisabeth Müller m. Wilhelm Reinhard Böckel
     .Johanna Elisabeth Böckel m. Anastasius Ludwig Mencke
      .Wilhelmine Luise Mencke m. Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand v Bismarck
       .OTTO Fst v BISMARCK (1815-1898), Deutscher Reichskanzler
For further details of this descent, see F. W. Euler, "Die Ahnen des Fürsten Otto v. Bismarck", Archiv für Sippenforschung, 31. Jahrgang, Mai 1965, Heft 18, S. 136-146.

The DGA article cited below says that Heinrich Thomschläger and Anna Maria Metzmacher were ancestors of Bismarck, Caprivi, and Tirpitz, but does not provide details of the descents.


The primary source used here for the ancestry of Johann Friedrich Struensee is Dr. Heinrich Banniza v. Bazan and Dr. Richard Müller, Deutsche Geschichte in Ahnentafeln, Band I [Berlin: Alfred Wetzner Verlag, ], S. 269-271 (Tafel 100).

Additional references used include:

Danmarks Adels Aarborg, 1927: 80-82.

Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch der Adeligen Häuser, Briefadel, 1931: 646-649.

Deutsches Familienarchiv, Band 71 [1979], S. 168-171.

I have not seen August Fjeldstrup, Ehescheidungsprozess zwischen König Christian VII und Königin Karoline Mathilde [Berlin: Janke, 1908]

William Addams Reitwiesner