20 September 2016

Stang family grave, Os cemetery, Halden, Norway (Tombstone Tuesday)


© 2015 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth

Lauritz Leganger Stang (1858–1908) was a manager at Saugbrugsforeningen (a pulp and paper mill in Fredrikshald (Halden) for many years and was also a so-called suppleant (deputy) to the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) for the constituency of Fredrikshald (Halden) from 1895 to 1897. He was the son of Ulrich and Eleonore Stang and thus a nephew of Prime Minister Frederik Stang. 

Lauritz was married to Anna Christine Stang (1865–1955), daughter of N.A. Stang (Stangeløkken) (1832–1914) and Cathrine Andrea Stang, née Faye (1832–1890). Lauritz' and Anna Christine's son Niels Ulrich (1888–1915) is also interred in the family grave.

Source (the others are linked to above): Stang, Thomas.  Den fredrikshaldske slekt Stang. Med opplysninger om dens kognatiske descendens, 1959.


Date set for the funeral service for Gunnila Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg

The Swedish newspaper Expressen wrote late yesterday evening that the funeral service for Gunnila Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg, who died on Monday 12 September 2016, 93 years old, is to take place on Thursday 29 September 2016. Gunnila Bernadotte was in 1988 married to Carl Johan Bernadotte Count of Wisborg (1916–2012), an uncle of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. She was previously married to Carl-Herman Bussler from 1942 until his death in 1981.

According to the calendar at the website of the Swedish Royal Court, the funeral service is to take place at the Palace Church in Stockholm. King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia are all scheduled to attend. The director of the information and press department, Margareta Thorgren, told Expressen that the funeral service was going to be «quiet and private».

It is still not known where the late countess will be buried. One possibility is the Royal Burial Ground at Haga next to Carl Johan, but it should not be ruled out that the interment will take place at Bärbo cemetery in Nyköping where her first husband Carl-Herman and their two eldest children Louise (1943–1986) and Catharina (b. and d. 1946) are buried.

14 September 2016

Gunnila Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg (1923–2016): The fourth child

The Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden announced yesterday that Gunnila Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg, the second wife of Carl Johan Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg (1916–2012), an uncle of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, had died the day before, on Monday 12 September 2016, 93 years old.

Gunnila Märta Louise Wachtmeister, daughter of Count Nils Wachtmeister af Johannishus and Märta De Geer af Leufsta, was born in Stockholm* on 12 May 1923. In 1942 she married Carl-Herman Bussler, b. 1918, son of Karl-Gerhard Bussler and Catharina Stenbock. Carl-Herman died in 1981, and 7 years later Gunnila married Count Carl Johan, who was a widower.

Gunnila was survived by her children Madeleine, b. 1948, and Carl-Fredrik (Fred), b. 1951. The newspapers which wrote about her death mentioned that she had three children with her first husband, something that was also mentioned on Wikipedia (yes, I know) and which was pointed out in comments to a blog article written by Trond Norén Isaksen yesterday. We also discussed the question about the third child by e-mail. As a third child was not mentioned in the death announcement of Count Carl Johan in 2012, it was easy to conclude that she must have died some time earlier.

Naturally I set out to find out more details about the third child, named Louise. Very soon I found an entry in the Births from the Swedish Death Index, 1901-2006 at Ancestry.com with the following information:

Name:     Louise Märtha Catharina Bussler
Birth Date:     17 aug 1943
Birth Place:     Hedvig Eleonora, Stockholm, Sverige (Sweden)

Her parents were not listed, however. I posted a message at the Norwegian Digital Archives' users' forum and asked if someone could help me with a look-up in Sveriges Dödbok 1901–2013, which lists all deaths in Sweden in the said period. I was contacted by a fellow genealogist in Norway who had access to «the death book» and could provide me both with the details I needed as well as with a link to a cemetery register I didn't know of (I had checked other online cemetery registers before  I asked him about Louise).

While waiting for the look-up I had, by the way, also discovered that Louise was listed in Vem er hvem? Norrland Supplement Register, 1968, p. 551.

In Sveriges Dödbok Louise Bussler was listed as having died on 26 December 1986, last residence was Lund farm in Nyköping (where Fred Bussler lives today). According to the cemetery register, Gravstensinventeringen, she was buried at Bärbo kyrkogård (churchyard) in Nyköping. The register gave, however, 23 December 1986 as her death date, but when I this morning finally discovered that the search result provided a link to a page with more details, I noted that 26 December was inscribed on the gravestone, and that her father Carl-Herman was buried together with her.

The said page also gave the following details: «Far och dotter i graven. C. Bussler var bosatt på Lunds gård, Nyköping. / Bredvid hällen finns ett mindre stenkors med en dotter född 1946 och död samma år. Se detta separat.» («Father and daughter in the grave. C. Bussler lived at Lund farm, Nyköping. / Next to the [grave] plate there is a smaller stone cross with a daughter born 1946 and died the same year. See this separately.»

In other words, there seemed to be a fourth child born to Carl-Herman and Gunnila. The separate entry for the girl buried under the stone cross stated that she was named Catharina and was born on 21 July 1946 and died soon after on 8 August 1946. Sveriges Dödbok informed that she like her elder sister Louise was born in the parish Hedvig Eleonora (Stockholms stad, Uppland), and with Linnégatan 25 as the place of living. The person putting the details into the register had also written that «Bredvid korset finns faderns och en systers gravhäll.» («Next to the cross there is a grave plate for her father and a sister.»)

The evidence that there was in fact a fourth child born to Carl-Herman and Gunnila was strong, but I still felt I needed an independent source which could confirm the relationship. While the cemetery register Gravstensinventeringen as far as I can tell is based on information from visits to cemeteries and from the official cemetery administration, it is maintained by the Swedish Genealogical Society which is also responsible for the publishing of Sveriges Dödbok, so the two sources are not completely independent of each other. The details in the said register about the connection between people buried in the two graves does not come from an official source.

The churchbook which lists births in 1946 is not yet available. In order to find more details I would have to either look for Swedish newspapers published in July and August 1946 or contact the family. The latter would not be very appropriate at the time being, as Fred and Madeleine had just lost their mother and she is not even buried yet.

A selection of Swedish national newspapers is available on microfilm at the National Library in Oslo, but it would take some time before I got the opportunity to go there. Then I thought about Kungliga biblioteket (The National Library of Sweden) in Stockholm, which offers a selection of Swedish newspapers online. When searching for the name Gunnila Bussler for the year of 1946 I got the following results:


  • Svenska Dagbladet (and Dagens Nyheter) of 23 July 1946:  «Gunnila och Carl H Bussler f Wachtmeister Stockholms Privata Förlossningshem den 21 juli 1946»
  • Svenska Dagbladet 10 August 1946: «Gunnila o Carl Herman Bussler»
The editions of 1946 are still copyrighted, so I would have had to visit the library physically in order to read the newspaper online. But even though I haven't been able to read the actual notices, the search results give enough evidence that Gunnila and Carl-Herman Bussler on 21 July 1946 had a child born at the Stockholm Private Maternity Home. I don't know for sure what was in the edition of 10 August 1946. But as it was dated two days after the death of Catharina, it is not far-fetched to assume that the edition brought the death announcement

Now, I don't consider it as a groundbreaking discovery that I have found the details of a fourth child. It is not as if I will soon be invited into the Genealogists' Hall of Fame. But the short-lived child deserves a place in the genealogy books. That Gunnila Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg, brought four children into the world and survived two of them, is also a story to tell.

* Postscript 15 September 2016
Trond Norén Isaksen commented in an e-mail today that Count Carl Johan Bernadotte had told him that his wife Gunnila was born at Tistad Castle (Tista Palace) in Nyköping municipality, the home of the Wachtmeister noble family that Gunnila was born into. In other words, Stockholm as the given place of birth might not be correct.

Checking Ted Rosvall's Bernadotteättlingar from 2010, the book says on page 60 that Gunnila was born in «Stockholm/Engelbrekt», the latter referring to Engelbrekts församling (Parish of Engelbrekt). Rosvall is quite consistent in listing the parish where the person in question was christened as the place of birth. It is of course quite common that one is born one place but christened another place, even if «in older days» the christening and birth place would normally be the same, as people were born at home. In 1923, on the other hand, many people in higher classes would be born at maternity homes in the bigger cities.

I had some business to do in the library of the Norwegian Genealogical Society today, so I took the time to check the churchbooks in ArkivDigital, which the society has a subscription to.

Gunnila is listed in the churchbooks of both Bärbo församling and Engelbrekts församling:
  • 1923 års Födelsebok för Bärbo församling och dess Dopbok (Bärbo C:9 1895-1945 b 850, p. 78) (i.e. Birth book for Bärbo parish and its Book of Christenings)
  • 1923 års Födelsebok för Engelbrekts församling och dess Dopbok (Engelbrekts CI:7 1923-1925 b 280, p. 20)
In the column «Särskilda anteckningar, såsom om moderens nedkomstort (om annan än församlingen), inkomna och afsända attester m.m.» («Separate remarks such as the mother's place of delivery if different from the parish), incoming and dispatched certificates etc.)» for Bärbo one can read the text «Nedkomstort Engelbrechts förs., Stockholm, attest dat 14/7 1923» («Place of delivery Engelbrechts förs., Stockholm, certificate [reference] dat[ed] 14 July 1923»). Engelbrekts on the other hand has a reference to Bärbo, which is where Tista Castle is situated, and where Gunnila is listed. (The christening took place on 8 July 1923 and the pastor was, if I understand the handwriting, G. Rosen.)

Maybe there was a maternity home in the parish of Engelbrekt in Stockholm? On the website
Sveriges församlingar genom tiderna («Sweden's parishes through the times» one can read that Engelbrekt was separated from Hedvig Eleonora in 1906, and that births at Stocholms Private Förlossningshem (which was the place of birth for Gunnila's daughter Catharina in 1946, see above) was registered in the churchbook for Engelbrekt from 1932 to 1946, so this doesn't help us much. Catharina's birth was nevertheless registered in Hedvig Eleonora according to Sveriges Dödbok.
In other words, we have conflicting information here. Count Carl Johan was close to the person in question, while the entry in the churchbook is much closer in time to the event (the birth of Gunnila), and was quite explisite in stating the place of birth. So for now, I will keep the reference to Stockholm, but it is still important to make a note of Carl Johan's comments. There could have been a misunderstanding, of course. There is no doubt that Gunnila grew up at Tista Castle in Bärbo, Nyköping, even if the birth and christening most likely took place in Stockholm. Maybe other sources, like for instance a midwife report or copy of a passport, could solve the question once and for all sometime in the future?

Interestingly enough, Gunnila's name is spelt Gunnilla in Engelbrekts and Gunnila in Bärbo. The latter is used in official sources later, including Ratsit, which is based on the public register.

Updated on Thursday 15 September 2016 at 10 p.m.(postscript added).

13 September 2016

Grave of Michael Schmidt and family, Our Saviour's Cemetery, Oslo, Norway (Tombstone Tuesday)

© 2016 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth

Last Sunday I visited Our Saviour's Cemetery (Vår Frelsers gravlund) in Oslo in order to take photos for Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian Genealogy wiki, and for other projects.

I passed the small headstone of the Schmidt family and just had to take a photo of it. The headstone shows the names of overlærer (head teacher) Michael Scmidt, b. 27 April 1808, d. 13 April 1888, his wife Helene Adelaide, b. 6 October 1816, d. 7 April 1878 as well as Helene. You can only see parts of the latter's birth and death year, but it was 1847 and 1922 respectively, something also the cemetery register confirms.

The cemetery register tells that the grave (no. 01.016.07.010) to which the headstone shown above belongs is leased together with grave no. 01.016.07.009. However, the photo published in the register is not identical to the headstone above. In the cemetery register Michael and Helene (and other relatives) are listed in grave no. 01.016.07.010, while Helene Adaleide and others are listed in no. 01.016.07.009. There might be another headstone next to the above which I didn't photograph.

Anyway, you can find (parts of) the family in the 1865, 1875 and 1885 national censuses.

12 August 2016

Romanian Royal Family Links

The task of transferring the old pages from my old Geocities.com website to Hoelseth.com has obviously taken longer than I had expected. The main reason is, as I have also commented on earlier, that family life and work have to come first, and in the last few years I have also preferred to spend more time on working for the Norwegian Genealogical Society, genealogical research, blog writing as well as working for Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian Genealogy Wiki. I am one of the administrators for the wiki and I also contribute with articles and illustrations.

It is not that challenging work to transfer old pages from my old to my «new» website, but some structure changing and coding has to be done, as well as link renovation, and it is kind of boring. But I am happy whenever I get something done!

Yesterday evening I finally got the Romanian Royal Family Links page with its subpages up and going again. The reason for doing it now is of course that the former King Michael's wife, Queen Anne, née Princess of Bourbon-Parma, died in Switzerland on 1 August 2016. The burial will take place in Romania on 13 August.

In connection with the updating many «dead» links had to be deleted. One can always discuss if there still is a need for such index pages like the Romanian Royal Family Links page, but as it still has some links to material which is not so easy to find, I have decided to let it stay. Some of the material is from the time when information, especially constitutional details, about the monarchy was not available to the same extent as today. I still have constitutional texts in my paper archives which have to be added. So one of these days...

If you have recommendations for other websites about the Romanian royal family which you think I should include, please tell!

11 August 2016

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 19.1, Spring 2016

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, issue CIX, Volume 19.1, Spring 2016, arrived in early July, but as with the latest issue of RDQ, I have not been able to comment on it before now. The latest issue of Eurohistory is the first out since the publisher decided to turn into a quarterly magazine rather than bi-annual. The result is a rather thick volume with 64 pages full of articles and photos.

One of the official portraits taken in connection with the British Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday has found it's way on the ERHJ cover. It is a great photo, even if the «footstool» looks a bit silly. It helps the composition of the photo, of course, given Prince George's height, but they could have made a nicer version of the footstool, perhaps. All in all a nice presentation of four generations with British royals.

One of ERHJ's regular contributors, Coryne Hall, has written the opening article The Queen at 90! Then yet another regular contributor, Janet Ashton, is back with the article War On All Fronts and the End of Austria-Hungary. "Cecco Beppe has kicked the bucket!" The title gives it all, but the focus is not only on the end of the empire, but the beginning of new states like Czechoslovakia and the Kingdom of Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Kingdom of Yugoslavia). As usual the article is based on an impressive bibliography, which includes Christopher Brennan's university thesis from 2012, Reforming Austria-Hungary: beyond his control or beyond his capacity? The domestic policies of Emperor Karl I November 1916 – May 1917, which also seems to be worth looking more into.

Who Is In the Photograph? Ilana D. Miller follows ups with yet another photo presentation, this time from King Constantine of the Hellenes' christening in Athens, 1940. The photo shows Princess Alice, Prince Peter, King George II, Princess Helen, Princess Frederica (future Queen), the then Prince Constantine, Princess Katherine, Prince Paul (future King of the Hellenes) and Princess Sophie (future Queen of Spain).

Marlene Eilers Koenig then follows up with the second part of Princess Augusta of Cambridge. Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. The rather detailed article covers her married life and the first years of widowhood. We learn among others about her first ride in a motor car, which went well, even if she complained of a bach ache afterwards. Third part follows in the next issue, I presume.

Then we are taken to another continent as Katrina Warne gives an insight into the summer residence Simla. The Viceregal Lodge in what is today spelt Shimla in Himachal Pradesh in India. Simla is where Lord Mountbatten oversaw the transfer of India from the British empire to independence in 1947. Seems like a place worth visiting. We are warned about the poor gift shop, though. :-)

Coryne Hall has spent a lot of reading earlier this year, as she has this time contributed to 8 book reviews:
  • Edvard IV & Elizabeth Woodville. A True Romance by Amy Licence (Amberley, 2016, ISBN 978-1445636788)
  • In the Footsteps of the Six Wives of Henry VIII. The visitor's companion to the palaces, castles & houses associated with Henry VIII's iconic queens by Sarah Morris and Natalie Grueninger (Amberley, 2016, ISBN 978-1445642918).
  • On the Trail of the Yorks by Christie Dean (Amberley, 2016, ISBN 978-1445647135)
  • Princes at War. The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII by Deborah Cadbury (PublicAffairs, 2016, ISBN 978-1610396349)
  • The Romanovs. 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Knopf, 2016, ISBN 978-0307266521)
  • The House of Thurn und Taxis by Todd Eberle and Princess Mariae Gloria of Thurn and Taxis (Skira Rizzoli, 2015, ISBN 978-0847847143)
  • Det kungliga året 2015 (Bild & Kultur, 2015, ISBN 9789189210158)
Finally we are treated with a Royal News section, this time news from the Imperial, royal or princely houses of Albania, Austria, Hohenzollern, Liechtenstein, Oldenburg, Bourbon-Parma, Romania, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Sweden, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia (Serbia), Castell-Castell, Leiningen, Ligne, Salm-Salm, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Solms-Laubach and Toerring-Jettenbach.

The publisher of The European Royal History Royal can be reached at erhj [at] eurohistory.com.

For earlier articles on the magazine, please go here.

9 August 2016

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 2, 2016

I received my copy of Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 2, 2016 at the end of June, but had so many other matters that had to be attended to before my vacation that I have not been able to comment on the issue before now. Anyway, this time the readers are treated with a photo of the Cambridge family from the 1860s, showing from the left to right Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, Friedrich Wilhelm, Grand Duke of  Mecklenburg-Strelitz, George, Duke of Cambridge, Augusta, Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Princess mary Adelaide of Cambridge and Adolf Friedrich, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year, and in his Editor's Corner Ted Rosvall makes a pointg of this and lists other monarchs who have also reached the grand old age.

Trond Norén Isaksen has written the opening article titled Swedish Royal Dukedoms, in which he gives an outline of the Swedish dukedoms given to members of the royal house in both medieval and modern times. Isaksen has most usefully included a map of Sweden with the Swedish dukedoms bestowed since the revival of the ducal titles in 1772. I have not much to add here, but would like to say a few words concerning Isaksen's comments on Prince Oscar (1859–1953), who forfeited his rights to the Swedish throne in 1888 when he married «a private man's daughter», Ebba Munck af Fulkila: «Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, Oscar did not receive a new princely title, nor was he created Prince Bernadotte; he remained Prince Oscar, to which the surname Bernadotte was added». Isaksen is right, of course. I must admit that I am one of those who earlier thought that Prince Oscar was titled «Prince Bernadotte», due to among others the references to «Prins Bernadotte» or «Prinsen och Prinsessan Bernadotte» in the public (government) newspaper Post- och Inrikes Tidningar. But there is no record that such a title was ever given, whether formally or informally (as in «the King let it be known»). If Prince Oscar had also lost his prince title, he and his wife would have been referred to as «herr och fru Bernadotte» («Mr. and Mrs. Bernadotte»). The reference «Prince and Princess Bernadotte» thus makes sense.

Helen Rappaport has written the most wonderful article titled Mister Heath. The English Tutor who Taught Nicholas II to be the Perfect Gentleman. Rudy de Casseres has also contributed to the article. I just love articles which not only deal with royalty, but also all the people surrounding them – court and staff members, tutors and nannys etc. The tutor was Charles Heath (1826–1900).

The next article, 'My dearest Patsy'. A nurse and her royal patients: Part I by Charlotte Zeepvat comes in the same category. Here we get the story of the Scottish-born nurse Elizabeth Paterson, née Stuart, who was engaged by many royal women in connection with giving births.

Zeepvat is as usual also responsible for the traditional Family Album, this time the follow-up article titled The Royal House of Great Britain and Ireland. A Family Album II – The House of Hannover. Besides the introduction, the album includes 75 illustrations and three pages with genealogical tables.

Coryne Hall is yet another regular contributor to RDQ (and to the European Royals History Journal as well), and this time she has made the contribution An Unusual Royal Album, which deals with an album containing hairlocks of Swedish (and Norwegian) royals and their relatives. The topic is interesting, but I wish she had done more research, or that the editor had stepped in before the article was published. When she comments on the death of the then Crown Prince Carl's son Carl-Oscar, who died in 1854, 15 months old, she claims that «His death caused a crisis, as although Carl and Louisa's daughter Louisa could reign in Sweden she could not inherit the throne of Norway.» I wonder how she got into that idea. The succession law in both Sweden and Norway was agnatic. The Swedish law was not changed until 1980, in Norway as late as 1990. She later also claims that King Carl XIV Johan «incorporated Norway into Sweden», which of course is not correct. Carl Johan's role in securing the throne of Norway for the king of Sweden is well known, but it was a personal union, Norway was never «incorporated» (as in «becoming a part of») Sweden.

The latest issue also includes the obituaries of Prince Albrecht of Castell-Castell (1925–2016), written by Bearn Bilker, and of writer and Romanian royal house expert John Wimbles (1935–2015), by David Horbury.

Finally, the readers get a collection of royal news concerning the imperial, royal, princely or comital houses of Austria(Belgium (Austria-Este), Bourbon-Parma, Castell-Castell, France, Liechtenstein, Oettingen-Spielberg, Oldenburg, Sweden, Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg, Yugoslavia (Serbia) and Wurmbrand-Stuppach.

Information on Royalty Digest Quarterly can be found at its editor's website Royalbooks.se. See earlier presentation of RDQ here. See also its Facebook page.