Discussion:
An Illegitimate Child of Peter the Great?
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Kelsey Jackson Williams
2019-12-31 10:05:14 UTC
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Dear all,

I had thought that the children, both legitimate and illegitimate, of Peter the Great were well-known (see https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%94%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B8_%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B0_I for the current opinion) but have recently noticed an additional claimed illegitimate daughter which I'd be curious to hear s.g.m.'s opinion on (apologies that this pushes the chronological boundaries of the group!).

The lady in question is a Baltic-German noble woman and the claim appears at https://www.geni.com/people/Helene-von-Bock/6000000009827395926 with, of course, no sources whatsoever. This puzzles me and makes me suspicious to begin with, for all published and manuscript genealogies with which I'm familiar happily name her father as Christoph Wilhelm von Schulze (+ 1733), secretary to the senate and sometime secretary to the Russian embassy in Dresden. Certainly her marriage record in the Kirchenbuch of Kirchspiel Oberpahlen in Livland (EAA.1168.2.5, p. 761), the earliest contemporary record I've located for her, describes her as "fraülein Helena v. Schultze" daughter of "Herrn Senats Secretarii Wilhelm v. Schultze".

Is anyone aware of how this claim that she was Peter's daughter began?

Many thanks,
Kelsey
Carl-Henry Geschwind
2019-12-31 11:55:19 UTC
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Post by Kelsey Jackson Williams
Dear all,
I had thought that the children, both legitimate and illegitimate, of Peter the Great were well-known (see https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%94%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B8_%D0%9F%D0%B5%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B0_I for the current opinion) but have recently noticed an additional claimed illegitimate daughter which I'd be curious to hear s.g.m.'s opinion on (apologies that this pushes the chronological boundaries of the group!).
The lady in question is a Baltic-German noble woman and the claim appears at https://www.geni.com/people/Helene-von-Bock/6000000009827395926 with, of course, no sources whatsoever. This puzzles me and makes me suspicious to begin with, for all published and manuscript genealogies with which I'm familiar happily name her father as Christoph Wilhelm von Schulze (+ 1733), secretary to the senate and sometime secretary to the Russian embassy in Dresden. Certainly her marriage record in the Kirchenbuch of Kirchspiel Oberpahlen in Livland (EAA.1168.2.5, p. 761), the earliest contemporary record I've located for her, describes her as "fraülein Helena v. Schultze" daughter of "Herrn Senats Secretarii Wilhelm v. Schultze".
Is anyone aware of how this claim that she was Peter's daughter began?
Many thanks,
Kelsey
Per Google, the claim appeared as "family tradition" in Patrick O'Meara, "Timotheus von Bock: Prisoner of Alexander I," The Slavonic and East European Review, 90 (2012): 98-123. I can only see a snippet of this, unfortunately (https://www.google.com/search?ei=NzQLXvCAD4f5tAbQ_oXgDw&q=%22Helene+von+Schultze%22). O'Meara is an Emeritus Professor of Russian at Durham University, and this is a serious academic publication, but not necessarily one whose peer reviewers would be interested in genealogical precision.
Kelsey Jackson Williams
2020-01-01 09:18:49 UTC
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Thanks for this, Carl-Henry. I've looked at the article and it would seem that the "family tradition" comes from Jaan Kross's notes to his historical novel about Timo von Bock. I've ordered a copy of the novel, "The Czar's Madman", and will report back on whether this is anything more than judicious literary invention....

Kelsey
Kelsey Jackson Williams
2020-01-04 11:55:53 UTC
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Post by Kelsey Jackson Williams
Thanks for this, Carl-Henry. I've looked at the article and it would seem that the "family tradition" comes from Jaan Kross's notes to his historical novel about Timo von Bock. I've ordered a copy of the novel, "The Czar's Madman", and will report back on whether this is anything more than judicious literary invention....
Kelsey
I've now had the chance to look at Kross's novel. The relevant passage appears in his notes and is as follows:

"In Stockholm in October 1979, Mrs Margarethe Weckman, née von Bock, presented me with copies of the large genealogical work Bockiana. From these notes made in 1935 at the Uue-Pernu [sic; Neu-Bornhusen] manor in Estonia it becomes apparent that, according to family tradition, Timo's grandmother Helene von Schultze (born in Moscow on the twelfth of August, 1722, died at Voisiku on the fourteenth of August, 1783) was the daughter of the imperial lady-in-waiting Sophie von Fick and Czar Peter the Great. What this means is that Timo was in all likelihood aware of the fact that he was a great-grandson of Peter the Great. " [1]

Margarethe Elisabeth Weckman, geb. von Bock, was * 9.v.1926, Fellin, to Berend Wilhelm Valentin von Bock (1893-1945) and his wife Elfriede Antonie Kimberg.[2] Berend, in turn, was the grandson of Heinrich Ludwig Valentin von Bock (1831-1911), sometime owner of Neu-Bornhusen, and it seems likely that he must have been the author of the notes Kross describes.[3] This is still at several removes from the individuals in question, but it does indicate that the belief of an illegitimate daughter of Peter the Great marrying into this family predates the fantasies of the twenty-first-century internet.

All the best,
Kelsey

[1] Jaan Kross, _The Czar's Madman_, tr. Anselm Hollo (1978; Eng. trans., London, 1992), 349.
[2] St. Olai, Reval, Personalbuch, 1928-1939, TLA.236.1.52, p. 46.
[3] EAA.1674.2.34, fol. 14v.

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