Cecilia’s Album: Thecla Hochschild (Grevenkop-Castenskiold) or Thecla Wilelius (Lindskog)?


Mången gladlig stund
njöto vi tillsamman
och i fröjd och gamman
flög hvar snabb secund.

Tiden aldrig hvilar
i sin snabba fart;
ögonblicket ilar
och vi skiljas snart.

Men i troget hjerta
uti fröjd och smärta
fastän från dig skild,
gömmer jag din bild

(Many happy moments
together we enjoyed,
and in joy and happiness,
the seconds quickly flew.

Time never rests;
in haste,
the moment flies,
and soon we part.

But in my faithful heart,
in joy and pain,
though apart,
I hide your picture.)

Cecilia’s friend Thecla wrote the card for Cecilia on June 11, 1844. The school term was over and the girls were parting. But who was Thecla?

Thecla (in Sweden sometimes spelled as Tekla) was not a common name. It is of Greek origin and is famous for Saint Thecla of Iconium. In Sweden, the name Tekla is celebrated on September 23.

So who, in Cecilia’s circle of friends, could it be? One way to find out is to check the confirmations records in the parish where most of Cecilia’s friends were confirmed.

There were three girls with the name of Thecla that were confirmed in St Clara parish in Stockholm: Thecla Johanna Ståhl (b.1829), Thecla Mathilda Hochschild (b. 1829), and Thecla Cecilia Christina Wilelius (b. 1830).

  • Thecla Ståhl was listed as an illegitimate child, born to a 22-year-old mother at Stockholm’s maternity ward. Her parents were not recorded. It is doubtful that she belonged to the same social class as Cecilia.
  • Thecla Hochschild was the daughter of a Swedish diplomat and his Danish wife. Both parents came from noble families.
  • Thecla Wilelius was the daughter of an architect who had designed several churches in Sweden.

As either of the last two could have been Cecilia’s friend, it is a tossup of who to write about. I decided to focus on Thecla Hochschild.

Thecla Hochschild

Thecla was born January 11, 1829, to baron Carl Hochschild and Emilia Catharina Oxholm. Carl Hochschild  (1785-1857) had worked for the foreign ministry in Denmark and the Netherlands before moving back to Stockholm with his family. In 1844, the family lived at Drottninggatan 65, close to the Haymarket in Stockholm. Thecla was the oldest child. She had three younger siblings: Lovisa Fredrica Gustafva (b. 1830), Carl Fredric Lotharius (b. 1831), and Julia Wilhelmina Anna Helena Adelaide Emilia (b. 1843).

In 1845, Thecla was confirmed in St Clara parish together with Charlotta Ahlberg, who made a drawing for Cecilia’s album. In July of 1845, the family traveled to Lubeck. They continued their trip to Vienna where Thecla’s father was to become the Swedish attaché.

Vienna in 1845

In 1849, Thecla married the Danish chamberlain, Joachim Melchior Grevenkop-Castenskiold. His family had owned the estate Hørbygaard in Denmark since 1748. In 1854, Joachim Melchior inherited the estate and built a new manor for his family. When he died in 1878, Thecla inherited the estate.

Hörbygaard. Print from 1865. Could one of the women in front of the newly built manor be Thecla Hochschild with her children?

Thecla and her husband had 3 sons and a daughter: Carl Holten (b. 1850), Louise (b. 1853), Johan Vilhelm (b. 1855), and Henrik (b. 1862). She died in 1897 at the age of 68.

Cecilia’s Album: Constance Carolina Nyström (Flensburg) – A Bishop’s Wife and Mother of 8


Sköna står hoppets rosor för dig, hvi söker du minnets?
Hoppet och våren är slägt; minnet och hösten också.
Dock om de gömmas till dess; bindas i förtid till krans
Fläta min blomma då in, gif henne vänligt din vård.

I will not try to translate the poem into English. My interpretation of the poem is that one should have hope when young and that memories are for old age. And that the author would love to be remembered.

Constance Carolina Nyström

Constance Carolina Nyström was born in St. Clara Parish in Stockholm on October 20, 1829. Her parents were Olof Nyström (1795-1830), a yarn merchant, and his wife, Christina Regina Goutelle (1795-1869). After her husband’s death, when Constance was a year old, Christina married pharmacist Carl Åkerström who leased the famous pharmacy, Nordstjernan, from Carl Johan Fredrik Plagemann (who was the grandfather of Cecilia’s friend, Lotten Westman). The family, which included Constance and her siblings, thus lived in the house where the pharmacy was located – on Drottninggatan 84.

Constance was confirmed in St. Clara in 1846, in the same class as Erica Degerman, another friend.

The family later moved to Lund in southern Sweden, and it was there that Constance married Wilhelm Flensburg in 1854. He was a professor of practical theology at that time but would eventually become the bishop in Lund. Constance and Wilhelm had 8 children.

I can imagine that it was a full-time job to raise 8 children and be the hostess in the bishop’s residence.

A note in the Finish author Zacharias Topelius’s autobiography describes the bishop and his wife hosting King Charles XV and his son, Oscar, during the University of Lund’s 200-year-jubilee in May of 1868:

“The same evening, the King arrived from Malmö and was served small pancakes by the bishop’s wife.”

And the newspapers described how the King danced with Constance during the ball the following day.

Unfortunately, not much has been written about her. Her husband’s Wikipedia page only mentions his own accomplishments and those of their 8 children.  She is not even mentioned. All I could find online about Constance was the fact that she served pancakes and danced with the King! I am sure she was a very intelligent and resourceful woman. And she gave birth to and raised 8 successful children!

The Bishop’s Residence in Lund

Constance died in 1891.

Cecilia’s Album: Anna Charlotta Trapp – Boarding with Mademoiselle Frigel


Two everlasting flowers blossom in the human mind
One is friendship; the other memory
May these two flowers remind you of your friend


Who was Charlotte who wrote these lines for Cecilia in February of 1844? Charlotte was a popular name in the mid-1800s. One of Cecilia’s friends was Charlotte Trapp who also studied with Mademoiselle Frigel and was boarding with her from 1845 through 1847. Of course, I have no evidence that Charlotte Trapp was the girl who wrote the poem.

Anna Charlotta Trapp

Charlotta Trapp was born in Turku (Åbo), Finland on February 17, 1830. Her father was Carl Wilhelm Trapp (1801-1856), a Finnish banker and politician. He was also the chairman of the board of the Bank of Finland.

Her mother was Catharina Charlotta Hollming (1802-1852), an accomplished artist. Charlotta’s only sibling was an older brother who had died as an infant.

Charlotta Trapp’s parents: Carl Wilhelm Trapp and Catharina Charlotta Hollming. Oil paintings by Johan Erik Lindh, 1830-1840. Source: https://museovirasto.finna.fi/
One of the many drawings by Charlotte Trapp’s mother, Charlotte Hollming. Source: https://museovirasto.finna.fi/

Mademoiselle Frigel’s School

“Yesterday, I was visiting Mlle Frigel and she always asks about you and sent her warmest regards. Adèle Peyron also sent you many greetings. Erica Degermann and I are invited to Mlle Frigel on a final ball on Tuesday.” (Lotten Westman’s letter to Augusta Söderholm, 16 April 1846)

Andriette Frigel had a boarding school for girls at Drottninggatan 53 in Stockholm. She continued teaching the girls who had attended Edgren’s school after Pastor Edgren and his wife left for Morup’s parish in May of 1844.

Charlotte Trapp and Adèle Peyron were two of the girls who lived with Andriette Frigel. They were both confirmed in St Jacob parish in May of 1847.

Becoming an Artist?

What happened to Charlotte after 1847? Did she move back to her parents in Finland? Her mother died 5 years later in Helsinki (1852) and her father in 1856. According to a Finnish genealogy book, Charlotte was a painter. Last year, a portrait of a man, presumably by her, was put up at auction. I was curious about who she had depicted. It turned out to be a copy of Anthony van Dyck’s painting “Portrait of Jan van den Wouwer“. It was common to practice painting by copying famous works of art.

Anthony van Dyck’s painting and Charlotte Trapp’s copy (Bukowskis)

Not bad!

Charlotte never married. She died in Helsinki on February 10, 1912 and is buried there with her parents.  She bequeathed most of her wealth to the University of Helsinki (Rosina Heikel’s fund for female medical students). Read more about Rosina Heikel’s life – the first female medical doctor in Finland.

She also donated some of her belongings to Finska Fornminnesföreningen (Finnish Antiquities Association), for example, the oil paintings shown above of her parents. In the list of household items she donated, there was an interesting item:

Memory book of pressed red saffian, with decoration of golden vine leaves etc. and a small plate, on which is written C. C. H. (Catharina Charlotta Hollming). Contains some verses (fr. 1818 etc.) and drawings.

I wonder if Charlotta Trapp, herself, kept a memory book?

ps. Saffian was a soft Moroccan goat skin that got its name from the Moroccan town of Safi.

Cecilia’s Album: Maria Amalia Emma Mariana (Marianne) Koch – Cecilia’s Sister


De loin comme de près
toujours je t’aimerai

Afar or near
I always love you, Dear


Who was Marianne who wrote that short, sweet poem in French? The handwriting is impeccable. She didn’t include a last name or a date. Of course, with such an uncommon name in Sweden in the 1840s, there would have been no need to include a last name. Cecilia would have known who it was. But among Cecilia’s friends, there was no one named Marianne.

It wasn’t until I read a poem that someone had written for Cecilia’s funeral in 1846 that I saw the name, Marianne. One stanza of the poem read:

Shed no tears, grieving Father!
Forlorn mother, weep no more.
Among myriads of souls,
still, Cecilia smiles at you.
And in all the fates of life,
twin angels with each other,
follow you until death.
It’s her, and Marianne!

(Original text:
Derför gråt ej sorgsen Fader!

Arma moder, gråt ej mer,
bland de frälstas myriader
Än Cecilia mot er ler.
Och i livets alla öden
Tvenne englar med hvarann,
Följa eder intill döden
Det är hon, och Marianne!)

Maria Amalia Emma Mariana Koch

Cecilia had a younger half-sister, Maria Amalia Emma Mariana, called Marianne.

Cecilia was born in 1828, to Michael Koch (1792-1869) and his first wife, Johanna Amalia Fröding (1801-1830) on their estate, Vågsäter, north of Uddevalla on the Swedish west coast. Cecilia’s mother had died in childbirth in 1830, leaving her husband with 2-year-old Cecilia, a 1-year-old son, Carl Simzon, and a newborn baby, Michael.

As was common practice, Cecilia’s father remarried. He and his second wife, Emma Wilhelmina Iggeström (1809-1891), had 4 daughters and a son. The oldest of these children was Marianne, born at Vågsäter on April 15, 1834.


In the spring of 1844, Cecilia’s friends were writing poems for her memory album. She was just finishing her studies in Stockholm. Marianne was 10 years old and presumably being taught at home – maybe with her 9-year-old sister Clara. Her two older brothers and her 8-year-old brother Arthur had a private teacher who lived with the family.

And then there was little Ida, who was 3 years old and everyone’s favorite. But soon there would be one more baby in the house.


Bertha Isabella was born in March of 1845. By the summer, the little kids could play outside and it was so much easier to travel and visit family. Visiting a spa, like Gustafsberg, which was close enough to Vågsäter, was for those who wanted to socialize. This was the summer that our Augusta and some of her family members visited Gustafsberg. It was a good place to look for a suitable young man to marry. You can read about her visit here. Augusta didn’t keep a diary at this time so we don’t know if she and Cecilia met up.

In the fall, Augusta was back home, and Cecilia might have been staying with her former teachers, the Edgrens, at Morup parsonage. As winter approached, childhood diseases spread. In late November, scarlet fever was circulating and Marianne got ill. Was she the only one among the children who got a sore throat, fever, and headache? Marianne didn’t respond to any remedies they tried – trying to soothe her throat and lower her fever. She was seriously ill. On December 5, she succumbed to the disease. She was only 11 years old.

Marianne was buried in the Koch family cemetery on a peninsula by Vågsäter. In June last year, Kerstin and I visited the private cemetery. It was a beautiful day and a serene place.

The Koch family cemetery


Cecilia was buried in the same private cemetery in October 1846. She died from measles at the age of 18.

Cecilia’s Album: Carolina Åberg – Cecilia’s Cousin


Bleibe Du auch von mir ferne,
Immer froh von Herzen;
Nimm mein Theil der Lust, und gerne
Trag ich deins der Schmerzen!

The poem is a stanza from a longer poem, Liebesfeier, written by Friedrich Rückert.  Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) was a German poet and translator who mastered over 30 languages. He is famous for his translations of oriental poetry.

The stanza that Caroline copied in Cecilia’s memory album can be translated as follows in Swedish and English:

Förbliv du, om än i fjärran,
alltid av hjärtat glad
Tag min del av fröjden, så bär
jag gärna din del av smärtan

Remain thou, even if far from me,
always happy in your heart
Take my share of joy, and gladly
I will carry your pain

Carolina Åberg

Carolina Åberg was Cecilia’s cousin. She wrote the card to Cecilia on May 4, 1844, at a place called Torp. Torp is close to Uddevalla, Cecilia’s hometown.

I initially couldn’t find out if they were related or just friends until I read the details about Cecilia’s baptism. There, the pastor had documented her godparents and witnesses of the baptism. One of those was Christina Maria Koch (1788-1859) married to Fredrik Åberg (1780-1844), a wholesale merchant and a member of the Board of Commerce (kommerseråd).

Christina Maria Koch was Cecilia’s father’s oldest sister. Carolina Åberg was their daughter, born on May 24, 1824, in Uddevalla. The only thing I could find about her life was that she visited the spa in Gustafsberg. She died in Uddevalla in October of 1920, at the age of 96!

Maybe she bequeathed some belongings to relatives. But this signed handwritten greeting by her from 1844, when she was only 20 years old, is a real treasure.

Cecilia’s Album: Maria Berlin (Böös) – And her Relationships with the Families Berlin, Hedin, and Westman


Du reser hem, men jag blir kvar
att sörja, och efter dig leta,
dock likväl är det ljuvt att veta,
att jag din vänskap ännu har.

(You travel home, but I stay here
to mourn, and for you look.
Yet it is sweet for me to know,
that still, I have your friendship.)

Maria Charlotta Augusta Berlin’s family

Maria Berlin was born on December 15, 1830 in Balkåkra, Skåne. Her parents were Christian Gissel Berlin and his wife Anna Catharina Nordström.

Maria’s father, Christian Gissel Berlin was a mathematician by training, having written a dissertation with the title “An explanation of the method of least squares, as the order of magnitude” (as a biostatistician, I found that very interesting). He did not continue working in the field of mathematics; instead, was ordained and became a pastor of Balkåkra parish in 1829. The following year (the year Maria was born) he built a new parsonage for his family in Balkåkra.  Then in 1840, he was elected to represent the clergy in the Swedish legislature in Stockholm. Maybe that is how Maria Berlin came to live in Stockholm in the early 1840s.

Balkåkra parsonage in 1925. Source: Saisonen: Magasin för Konst, Nyheter och Moder, 1925, Vol. 10, page 100.

Maria’s mother, Anna Catharina Nordström was a writer of historical fiction. She published her first book in 1835 when Maria was 5 years old. She became a well-published author.

The couple had 8 children:

  1. Maria Charlotta Augusta, b. 1830
  2. Erik Johan Oscar, b. 1832 (Eric became a pastor. His youngest daughter Dagmar Berlin (b. 1880) was the mother of Sten Broman – a famous Swedish musician and TV personality)
  3. Carl Ludvig Theodor, b. 1834 (emigrated to America)
  4. Rosa Helena Christina Ulrika, b. 1836
  5. Anna Sophia Carolina, b. 1838 (married Ludwig Hedin; see below)
  6. Emma Clara Amalia, b. 1840 (painter; died in Cairo in 1913)
  7. Hulda Minerva Aurelia, b. 1843
  8. Martin Axel Christian “Mac”, b. 1845 (received a Ph.D. in mathematics and became a lector)

Maria Berlin

Maria was confirmed in St Jacob’s parish in Stockholm in 1845, the year after our Augusta. In 1852, she married Måns Abraham Böös (b. 1818) who had been ordained in 1851 and was now serving in her home parish, Balkåkra. The couple had 2 sons and 2 daughters, all born at Balkåkra:

  1. Erik Kristian Böös, b. 9 April 1853
  2. Anna Sophia Charlotta Böös, b. 14 July 1854
  3. Carl Gustaf Fredrik, b. 30 July 1862 – died a few hours after birth, on 31 July
  4. Gertrud Maria Clementia Böös, b. 16 December 1864

There is not much more written about Maria’s life. She died on December 2, 1883, at the age of 52. The cause of death was not recorded.

The Connections Between the Families Berlin, Hedin, and Westman

Some connections between the Berlin family and two other prominent families (Hedin and Westman) are worth mentioning.

Maria’s younger sister Anna married Ludwig Hedin. One of their sons was Sven Hedin, who became a famous Swedish explorer. Our Augusta’s friend Lotten Westman described a sleigh ride in 1846 with Ludwig’s siblings, Carl and Emma Hedin.

“It is good that I have had so much fun earlier this winter because now, it is the end of it. The last amusement I had was a sleigh ride to Haga that Mrs. Dimander organized; very charming. It was awfully fun. I rode with Carl Hedin, … , Emma Hedin was also with us and we drove home in the most splendid moonlight that beautifully lit up the white snow. Too bad we rode in a covered sleigh. The road conditions were perfect for the sleighs, and it was not cold. Imagine how many layers of clothing I was wearing: at least 15 shawls, cardigan, and anything one could think of….” (Letter from Lotten Westman to Augusta Söderholm, March 1846)

The siblings Hedin were Lotten’s 3rd-degree cousins. So how were they all connected?

The Westmans were a large family who had made their fortunes in brewing. Most famous was Abraham Lorenzson Westman. His nickname was the King of Brewers (Bryggarkungen). Abraham Westman had a beautiful daughter, Clara Elisabeth (1790-1834). The Swedish poet and songwriter, Carl Michael Bellman, wrote poems for and about Clara.

Clara Elisabeth Westman and Lotten’s father, Isac Ulrik Westman (1798-1835) were 2nd-degree cousins. Clara married Sven Anders Hedin (1788-1834).

Clara Elisabeth Westman (1790-1834) and her husband, Sven Anders Hedin (1788-1834).

The couple had 9 children:

  1. Carl Theodore, b. 1816
  2. Charlotta Elisabeth, b. 1818 (twin)
  3. Clara Sophia, b. 1818 (twin)
  4. Sven Anders “Svante, b. 1822 (actor)
  5. Emma Hildegard, b. 1824
  6. Abraham Ludwig, b. 1826
  7. Gustaf Henrik Leonard, b. 1828
  8. Knut Edvard, b. 1830
  9. Lorens Alfred “Appe”, b. 1832

When I realized that both Clara and Sven died in 1834, the year of the first well-documented cholera epidemic in Stockholm, I had to look up the causes of their deaths.

It turned out that they both, 3 months apart, died from the common cold. So many deaths were listed as due to the common cold and whopping cough late that spring. Was it really a common cold or was it some influenza?

When they died, their 9 children, aged 2 to 18 became orphans. So, what happened to them? As customary, some family members stepped in. In this case, the Westman family had the means to take care of them all. In late 1834, they all lived together in a house on Regeringsgatan 35 with guardians listed as Carl A. Westman (b. 1801, captain in the Royal Swedish Artillery) and C.G. Westman.

Ten years later, all siblings (except for Knut Edvard who had died in 1835) lived at Holländargatan 11. According to the census records, it was now the oldest sibling, Carl, who was in charge.

Around this time, Augusta and her friend Lotten exchange gossip about one of the brothers Hedin:

“You asked me if I heard something about my relative Hedin and you apologize for liking him only because of the polka [dance]. You do not have to apologize for that, because I also like him just for the same reason. If I am lucky, I’ll meet him on the second day after Christmas when my grandmother always hosts a dance.” (Letter from Lotten Westman to Augusta Söderholm, 18 December 1845)

Who had Augusta asked about? Was it Carl who would later take her on a sleigh ride, or Svante, who had just made his debut at the Royal Theatre, or Ludwig who would eventually marry Maria Berlin’s sister, or was it any of the two youngest brothers?

“The Highly Original Miss Charlotte Berlin”

And finally, a story about Maria Berlin’s cousin, Charlotte Berlin.

Maria had an 11-year younger cousin: Charlotte Josephina Euphrosyne Aurora Constantia Berlin. Charlotte was born in 1841, worked as a piano teacher, and never married. She was intelligent and resourceful and made a fortune by investing the inheritance from her parents. When she died, she bequeathed her home with all its inventory to the town of Ystad. It is now a museum. There is also a book published about Charlotte Berlin, with the title Den högst originella fröken Charlotte Berlin (The highly original Miss Charlotte Berlin).

Happy New Year and Welcome 2023!

Happy New Year!

I recently listened to an old cassette tape that had been in my drawer for years. On the tape, in my mother’s handwriting, I read: Christmas Stories and Music. I didn’t remember what was on the tape but had decided to finally transfer it to a digital file. I popped it into my new USB cassette player and waited. There were some scratchy sounds and then my mother started talking.

This is how we communicated in the late 1970s when I had just moved to the US. Talking on the phone was prohibitively expensive, so sending recordings was the next best thing. Of course, we still wrote letters.

What my mother had recorded on Christmas Day 1997, was of her reading Christmas Morning, a short story by the Swedish Nobel Prize-winning author Selma Lagerlöf. My mother explained that this was the story her mother used to read to her family on Christmas Eve.

During my childhood, it was my father who read a story to us on Christmas Eve. It was magical. We would all gather in the living room which was lit only by candles. My mother would bring hot chocolate, saffron buns, and gingerbread cookies and my father would light the candles on the Christmas tree. We would sit quietly waiting for my father to start reading Little Vigg’s Adventures on Christmas Eve by Viktor Rydberg. It was a tradition. My father’s grandmother had read this same book to him and his cousins every Christmas Eve when they were growing up.

Little Vigg’s Adventures on Christmas Eve by Viktor Rydberg. Illustration by Jenny Nyström.

How is it that both my parents grew up with the same tradition: their parents reading a story to the family on Christmas Eve?

My father’s grandmother, who read Little Vigg’s Adventures to her grandchildren, was Augusta’s daughter Gerda. But who had read a story to Gerda on Christmas Eve when she was a child? Gerda’s mother, Augusta, had died when Gerda was only a year old, so it was probably Augusta’s mother, Anna Söderholm, who read a story to Gerda on Christmas Eve.

The next question is, what story did she read? Little Vigg’s Adventures wasn’t published until the 1870s, and Gerda was born in 1854. The answer is obvious. Traditionally in Sweden, the Christmas Story as told in the Bible according to Luke was read aloud to the family on Christmas Eve.

The Birth of Jesus. Woodcut by Gustave Doré (1832-1883).

I never continued the tradition of reading a story on Christmas Eve. But this year, I have given it some thought. Maybe it is not too late. One could pick a meaningful and captivating short story and read it aloud on any day during the holiday. If Christmas Eve is too busy, one could pick a different day. Turn off the TV and music and dim the lights, serve some nice hot chocolate or mulled wine, and then read aloud to the family.

Twenty minutes of magic.

Making new memories; reviving a tradition.

Cecilia’s Album: Louise Wener (Nordwall) – A Childhood at Svartsjö Kungsgård

Louise Wener wrote the following poem for Cecilia in January of 1844.


(I am grateful for the translation from German to Swedish by Walter Fischer, Cecilia’s relative)

Oh! vilken önskan skall jag i din
vänskapsbok skriva?
Se, med fem ord står den här:
Väninna, var lycklig i ditt liv.       

Oh! what wish should I give you
in your memory book?
Look, it is here in five words:
Friend! Have a happy life.

Who was Louise Wener? How did Louise and Cecilia know each other and where did they meet on that last day of January 1844?

A quick search and I find a great candidate – Louise Wener, born March 4, 1828, and thus the same age as Cecilia. She was born and raised in a parish close to Stockholm. This is her story.

Emilie Louise Wener

Louise was born in Sånga parish, on the island of Färingsö or Svartsjölandet in lake Mälaren outside Stockholm. Her father, Herman Wener (b. 1788), was a wholesale merchant who leased a royal farmSvartsjö Kungsladugård. Svartsjö is one of the oldest royal estates in Sweden dating back to the 1400s. Royal estates supplied the King with food and supplies. Besides the royal farm, there is also a magnificent royal castle nearby – Svartsjö Castle, built in 1730.

Louise’s childhood

The Wener family was large. Louise’s mother, Henrietta Dorothea Emilia Kiegel (b. 1800 in Estonia) gave birth to her first child, Herman, at the age of 15. Louise was the 6th child out of 8.

Living on a farm and having a kitchen garden would have been a lot better than living in Stockholm. There would have been fresh air and plenty of space for the kids. Did Louise and her sisters venture out to the parks around the castle? Nobody lived in the castle anymore, except for a few families who maintained the gardens.

Svartsjö Castle. Drawing, 1874. It looks pretty abandoned. Source: Kungl. Konsthögskolan.

Many years later, the castle would be converted into a prison.

Svartsjö Castle has recently been restored to its original state and is open to the public.

Louise marries Premier Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, P. Theodor Nordwall

It took quite some time to find a record of Louise and Theodor’s marriage. There was no announcement in the daily newspaper. But in the census records, I found that they had a daughter born in 1858. From that, I guessed they married in 1857 and decided to search church records in Stockholm. I eventually found the couple’s marriage bans in Skeppsholmen parish (the parish for members of the royal navy). The wedding, however, took place in Louise’s home parish, Sånga, on November 10, 1857.

In 1859, the family lived in Klara parish, in a familiar house. The address was Mäster Samuelsgatan 52 in block Blåman (This is where another friend, Lotten Westman, had lived back in the 1840s.)

The family happily announced the birth of their children in the daily newspaper. But then there were also some sad death announcements.

Louise gave birth to 5 children:

1858: Anna Lovisa Ulrika
1860: Carl Eric Theodor
1864: Per Richard (died in a shooting accident in 1885 at the age of 21)
1867: Gustaf Brynolf (died from pneumonia in 1868 at the age of 8 months)
1870: Theodora Catharina Emilia (died from kidney disease following scarlet fever in 1872 at the age of 18 months)

The birth and death announcements for two of their children, Gustaf and Theodora. Source: KB.SE digitized newspapers.

Louise’s husband Theodor died in 1870, 4 months before little Theodora was born.

Louise Nordwall’s Commission Office

Starting in 1876, Louise put ads in the papers about work opportunities for women – cooks, housekeepers, nannies, and milkmaids. It read like a staffing agency. She called her service Louise Nordwall’s Commission Office (kommissionskontor).

Louise seemed to have had a fulfilled life. Her oldest daughter, Anna, married a doctor, Olof Immanuel Carlander, and had 5 children. Her oldest son, Carl Erik Theodor became a wholesale merchant like his father.

Maybe the poem she wrote to Cecilia when they were teenagers reflected her outlook on life – to be happy.

Oh! what wish should I give you
in your memory book?
Look, it is here in five words:
Friend! Have a happy life.

Louise died on July 8, 1917, at the age of 91! She was buried in the same grave as her husband and her two children, Per Richard and little Theodora. Next time I am at Djurgården in Stockholm, I will visit their grave, number 205, at Galärvarvskyrkogården.

Cecilia’s Album: Aurora Sophia af Wetterstedt – A Riddle to be Solved

It was quite common for friends to sign a memory card with just initials, or to leave out a few letters in the name. This card was signed A….re W……dt on the 16th of June. I assume it was given to Cecilia in June 1844 when she was about to leave Stockholm. But who was A….re W……dt?


Among your friends I will write a name,
Which you surely would have forgotten
If not this leaf should recall in thy mind
The friend that once loved you so much

Aurora Sophia af Wetterstedt

So who was A….re W……dt? The first name would most likely be Aurore or Aurora. In the 1800s, using different spellings for your name was common. I search for last names in various registers in Stockholm and there are a few that start with W and ends with dt. But the best fit is an Aurora af Wetterstedt who was born in Jacob parish on March 19, 1829.

Her father was nobleman Johan Erik af Wetterstedt (1784-1863), an army officer who in 1853 became the postal inspector in Malmö. Her mother was Sofia Vilhelmina Wickman (1809-1845), the daughter of the bishop in Västerås.

Aurora had a younger sister, Anna Ingeborg Erika (1834-1898). She would marry a wholesale merchant, Adolf Peyron (1823-1907), who also served as the Belgian consul in Stockholm. Anna was an artist and had several children.

Anna Ingeborg Erika af Wetterstedt (Peyron). Aurora’s younger sister. Source: Riddarhuset.

But what happened to Aurora? I start by going backwards. I search for her obituary in the digitized Swedish newspapers. She died in Malmö on November 29, 1871, at the age of 42. She never married.

But what about her life? Portraits? Pictures? Mentions in contemporary diaries? Church records? Membership in the Innocence society?

I find nothing. Only her grave in Malmö, which had now been returned to the parish as no relatives had stepped forward to take over its care (burial rights holder). In Sweden, graves are not private property that can be bought. Instead, a person has the right to a grave for 25 years. After this time, a relative can apply to be a burial rights holder for the grave and pay a fee for its upkeep. If no one steps forward, the grave will be returned to the cemetery and can be reused. It is all specified in the Swedish Burial Act.

All I know is that she probably moved with her father to Malmö and died young.

And then, I am also just assuming that she was the girl who wrote the poem for Cecilia.

Someday, maybe I will run into her name just by chance.



Cecilia’s Album: Mathilde Biel (Nordenfelt) and Elise Biel (Edman) – Two dear sisters

The start of summer vacation in 1844 was bittersweet for the girls in Edgren’s school. The school was closing, and decisions had to be made for the fall semester. The girls who had been boarding with the Edgren family, like our Augusta, had to look for new lodgings if they were to continue their schooling in Stockholm. Some girls would not come back in the fall, like Cecilia. Mademoiselle Frigel, one of the teachers, was offering girls a place to stay and she would also continue teaching the girls.

When Cecilia left Stockholm, several of her classmates wrote poems or made drawings for her memory album. Many poems were copied from other books. These are the poems Mathilde and Elise gave Cecilia.

Skall dig vänners minne fågna,
Deras trohet glädja dig;
Skall du åt dem stunden egna,
Skänk ett ögonblick åt mig!

Bland vänners antal tecknar sig,
Den i din framtid du visst glömde,
Om detta blad ej minnet gömde,
Af den som evigt älskar Dig.

I decided to not translate these poems. They simply convey a message of friendship.

Mathilde and Elise Biel

Mathilda (Mathilde) Carolina Sofia and Emilia Elisabeth (Elise) were sisters. Mathilde was born in 1830 and Elise in 1832. They also had an older brother, Fredrik August, born in 1829, and a younger brother, Carl Axel Hugo, born in 1833. Their father, Christian Friedrich Biel, was a German-born, wholesale merchant. Their mother was Augusta Mathilda Hasselström, born in Jacob parish in 1803. She was the daughter of krigsrådet Lars Adam Hasselström (A krigsråd was one of four civilian members of the Royal War Council. The other three members of the council were military leaders). The Biel family lived in a stately house at Skeppsbron 36.

Their house (Skeppsbron 36) is the one that is cut off on the right side of the large brick customs house (Ferdinand Tollin, 1841)

Christian Friedrich Biel and his business partner, Johan Albert Kantzow, owned one of the largest export and import firms in Stockholm, Kantzow & Biel. The company was a major exporter of iron to the US, and the first private Swedish firm to trade directly with China (link below). From their house, they had a great view of the ships arriving and departing Stockholm

The view from Skeppsbron (Johan Fredrik Julin, 1840-1849)

In August of 1839, Christian Friedrich Biel suddenly died. The girls’ mother was now a widow at age 36. She had four young children to care for.  She decided that the two girls, aged 8 and 10, should attend a boarding school and she chose Edgren’s school in Klara parish. Mathilde and Elise moved in with the Edgren family in 1840 and lived there through 1843. When Edgren’s school closed in 1844, Mathilde and Elise moved in with Mademoiselle Frigel, who continued teaching the girls from Edgren’s school. The two girls lived with Mademoiselle Frigel through 1847.

The rest of the family had in December 1840 moved to Kungsholmen, Garvargatan 8. In 1847, the girls’ mother died. She was only 44 years old. The cause of death was listed in church records as “wasting” (Swedish: tärande).

So what happened to Mathilde and Elise later in life?

Mathilde Biel

Mathilde Biel (Nordenfelt)

Mathilde, or Matilda, married nobleman Olof Nordenfelt in 1852. Olof was born in 1826 at Björneborg in the province of Värmland. When his father died, he inherited the estate and its ironworks. He became chamberlain at the royal court in 1860 and a member of parliament in 1867.

Olof Nordenfelt

They had 9 children:

Olof 1853,
Cecilia 1854
Matilda 1855
Sofia 1857
Johan 1859
Hugo 1862
Hjalmar 1864
Carl 1866
Ingeborg 1872.

Cecilia, Matilda, and Sofia Nordenfelt


Mathilde died in 1888 at the age of 57.

Elise Biel


Emilia Elisabeth (Elise) Edman, born Biel. Photograph by Robert Roesler. Privately owned.
Emilia Elisabeth (Elise) Edman, born Biel. Photograph by Robert Roesler. Privately owned.

Elise, or Elisabet, married Victor Edman in 1850. Victor was born in 1813 in Stockholm and this was his second marriage. His first wife had died following the birth of their second son. In 1850, he was an adjutant to the crown prince. Between 1856 and 1870, the family lived at Svanå in the province of Västmanland. Victor was the majority shareholder and manager of the Svanå ironworks.

In 1870, the family moved to Stockholm. They bought a house in the same block as where Elise and her sister had lived with Mrs. Edgren! The house was just around the corner from Mrs. Edgren’s school. They also rented a small farm, Edeby on the island of Lovön.

In 1875, Elise and Victor celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and Victor surprised Elise with a gold bracelet consisting of seven linked medallions, each containing a photograph. The photographs were portraits of Victor, in the middle, and his six children – two from his first marriage and four from his marriage with Elise. In 2017, the bracelet was gifted to the Nordic Museum in Stockholm by Victor’s great-great-grandson and namesake.

Elise died in 1907 at the age of 75.


Portraits are from www.ridarhuset.se