Beyond History Blog

Andrea Bentschneider - Our founder

Heike Leiacker - 24. January 2024 - General, Genealogy, Hamburg, Historical Events, Personalities

She hardly needs an introduction: the founder of Beyond History, Andrea Bentschneider. Well known from television and various newspaper articles, she is not only the heart of the company, but also its face.

Our knowledge is based on her many years of experience and without her and her exciting resume, Beyond History would not exist. She has a background in the hotel industry and lived in New York for 10 years, where she also worked in the travel industry. Öffnet externen Link in neuem FensterHow exactly Beyond History was founded in 2004 and what she did before that can be read here. She has turned her hobby into a career and it shows! Genealogy is her passion and it is contagious.

Jewish genealogy and emigration and immigration are some of Andrea's main areas of research, but of course she also takes on many other cases - in addition to her other responsibilities as the owner of the company. It is important to her to not only find the names and dates, but also to give our clients a deeper insight into their family history and thus a very personal approach. Not for nothing did she choose the company name "Beyond History". Öffnet externen Link in neuem FensterYou can read more about the origin of the name here.

Two of her favorite cases lead into the theater milieu of Hamburg in the middle of the 19th century. One was the director of today's St. Pauli Theater Johann Peter Theodor Damm (1810-1880), who fathered seven illegitimate children with his mistress, some of them while he was already married. His wife was probably unable to have children of her own, as the couple adopted 3 children, including a daughter with the illustrious name "Mixu Petrine" (she must have been born around 1850).  But the illegitimate children were also part of the family, at least they and their mother were bequeathed a considerable sum in the couple's will.

The second case is the story of a man who was born Jewish in Hamburg in 1801, baptized a Lutheran in Frankfurt in 1821, and who also embarked on an artistic career. Until his death in 1876, he was, among other things, the director of the Hamburg City Theater on the site of today's State Opera. Many of his children also pursued creative careers and became actors, a theater directors, or writers. Andrea would be very surprised if the families did not know each other.

Speaking of knowing each other: In her own private research, Andrea also discovered that her families knew each other as early as the 1930s and 1940s. Her maternal great-grandmother was best friends with her paternal great-grandfather's sister. However, this knowledge was lost in the turmoil of the war, in which her paternal grandparents, her great-grandfather, his sister and his mother died.

But how did Andrea get into genealogy as a hobby? It all started with a photo: back in 1988, she came across a picture of her grandmother, who died in a bombing raid in 1943 and whom she had of course never met. The striking resemblance to herself immediately piqued her interest and she wanted to find out more. The decisive impulse came in the 1990s, through an e-mail from a distant relative in the USA. You can read more about it Öffnet internen Link im aktuellen Fensterhere.


A highlight of her own research was not only finding out that she has relatives in the USA. But also the opportunity to travel in the summer of 2023 to travel to the places in Michigan where the oldest known Bentschneider ancestor, her great-great-great-great-grandfather Johann Friedrich Ludwig Bentschneider, settled in 1866 at the proud age of 74 and was then buried there in 1873.


Of course, a lot has happened since Beyond History was founded and Andrea has expanded the team, starting with her husband Öffnet externen Link in neuem FensterRalf Stullich. Today, we are a small but fine team that puts its heart and soul into genealogical and probate research.

At home there is also their child and their cat Sammy.


Would you like to be part of our team? Then take a look at our Öffnet internen Link im aktuellen Fenstercurrent job openings or send us your unsolicited application! We look forward to meeting you!

New comment


Peggy Grusendorf

04. March 2024

Email address does not work, how can I contact you to do some research for me?

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