Where is buried Dorothea Benze, the mother of Carl Friedrich Gauss, a famous German mathematician?

Input data: some sources include her last name as Benze, some say Bentze. She could have adopted her husband’s name, Gauss. Her first name is also not clear: Dorthea vs Dorothea.

Benze, Dorthea: geni.com
Bentze, Dorothea: familysearch.org

According to available information, she died in Göttingen, Germany on April 18th, 1839.

Here are her date of birth and date of death: June 18th, 1743 - April 18th, 1839, source: familysearch.org

But this biography contains her date of birth as 1742 and her name as Dorothea Benze: archive.org

On the same site (familysearch.org) is written that she was buried in Oldenburg, Germany, but that is not certain either.

Now, it seems to be the case that all versions of names are 'correct': Dorthea and Dorothea, Benze and Bentze, as for one the 'exact spelling of names' back then was not really 'a thing', yet, and consequently one can find different versions of those names in different sources. As a matter of fact, Gauß' own family was written as 'Gooss' previously, one name that still appears in quite few variations in the region today, although by now solidified for administrative control reasons in the different lineages.

I tried google search and findagrave.com search. None of it worked.

EDIT: There has been an addition to the Gauss' grave in the previous 24 months. It consists of a small white monument on the right. Please visit link to Google Maps photo gallery. There is a German text there saying that it is a family grave but it does not specify who exactly is there buried.


2 Answers 2


The book you linked at archive.org, Gauss zum Gedächtniss by Wolfgang Sartorius von Waltershausen, from 1856, appears to say she was buried at the observatory in Gottingen. The relevant text (and translation via google translate) from the book:

enter image description here

The (approximate) translation (emphasis mine):

The daughter Dorothea, born in 1742, came to Brunswick around 1769 and married her there to Gauss' father in 1776. She was a woman of naturally clever mind, a simple, humoristic, cheerful mind and a firm character. Her great son was her only child, her stole! She clung to him with the greatest respect and love, as he clung to her with deep respect in her last hour. In good health, although blind from black cataracts in the last years of her life, she reached the unusual age of 97 years and died under the faithful care of our observatory, where she has been since, 22 years, on April 19, 1839.

(Note: The OP in comments says this interpretation is incorrect according to individuals on a German language forum.)

Another possible answer popped up in a much more modern work, though unsourced from what I could tell. A 2014 title, Creators of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, by Ravi P Agarwal, Syamal K Sen, mention the mothers burial in reference to that of Gauss himself (emphasis mine):

He was buried at St. Albans Cemetery in Göttingen next to the unmarked grave of his mother.

  • I have asked in a German language forum. Native German speaker said that this passage from the book contains info about where she lived and died, but not about the burial location. link to the thread
    – Jane B.
    Nov 19 at 10:16
  • 1
    "wo sie seit 22 Jahren gewohnt hatte" means "where she had lived for the past 22 years". So as Jane B. points out, this text excerpt only tells us where she lived and died, not where she was buried.
    – njuffa
    Nov 20 at 9:37

Gauß was simply buried in the family grave of the Albani cemetery in Göttingen, next to his mother. So there she is/was, as almost all 'graves' on the cemetery were eventually destroyed, that of Gauß being of continued interest, and big to begin with, so still visible:

Trauerfeier in der Sternwarte und Begräbnis auf dem Albani-Friedhof in Göttingen (Familiengrab)

Axel Wittmann: Tabellarischer Lebenslauf von Carl Friedrich Gauß


Die Stadt war ohne Zweifel der Mittelpunkt seines Lebens, hier wurden bis auf den ältesten Sohn alle seine Kinder geboren, hier musste er seine beiden Ehefrauen begraben, hier wirkte er als weltbekannter Wissen- schaftler, und hier fand er auf dem Albanifriedhof seine letzte Ruhe.

GAUSS ALS MENSCH – GAUSS IN GÖTTINGEN Göttingen zur Zeit von Carl Friedrich Gauß Ernst Böhme



„Wie der Blitz einschlägt, hat sich das Räthsel gelöst“ Carl Friedrich Gauß in Göttingen

Göttingen 2005

Just to complement the question's confusion over the names to be found all around: the church register (Kirchenbuch) lists his father's name as Ge_b_hard Diterich (as he was called, but officially: Gerhard Dietrich), and his mother's maiden name as Benze_n_.

  • 2
    As most people on this site don't understand much (or any) German, please provide a translation for the passages you have cited. Thank you :) Nov 20 at 2:34
  • 1
    Re "and his mother's maiden name as Benze_n_" That is due to old colloquial usage in some regions of Germany. A woman with the official name Alma Budde would colloquially be referred to as Budden Alma, and Mrs. Müller would be "die Müllern". In other German-speaking regions, a suffix of -e, -in, or -sche would likewise be attached to a woman's family name.
    – njuffa
    Nov 20 at 9:30
  • I have just edited the original question providing more info.
    – Jane B.
    Nov 22 at 16:27

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.