Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Finnish and Lapland Family Ties. Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg, Walter Mattson's Mother

The Tornberg Family Coat of Arms

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family,
Do you remember Mom (Luella) telling us we had family that originated in the very north of Sweden? We’re talking Lapland here. Today I wanted to track that down and discover for myself if her memory was correct. This post is the result of several hours searching (most of Sunday to be exact). Remember, most records are in Swedish. Thank goodness Google offers a web page translation system or we’d all be up the frozen Swedish creek!

First, I know that the Mattson family came from the south of Sweden, across the straits from Denmark. That branch of our family couldn’t be the ones telling the tale of the far north.

That left Luella’s Grandmother Ida Josefina Tornberg. Her records show that she was born on January 1, 1886 in Karl Gustafs, Norrbotten, Sweden.

Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg (seated) holding her son, Walter Mattson.

That place was problematic. Only after an hour or so of searching did I realize that she was actually born in the Karl Gustafs Parish in the County of Norrbotten Sweden. With that understanding I was able to proceed.

The Karl Gustafs Church in Haparanda, Sweden

Church of Karl Gustav

The Parish of Karl Gustav was founded in 1782. Until that it had been Alatornio Parish Chapel. The church was taken into use in 1796. There is a recorded guidance in Swedish, Finnish, English and German in the church.

Karungi, Haparanda.
Tel. +46 (0)922 292 90

Haparanda, Sweden

Haparanda Sweden sits opposite the city of Tornio, Finland with the Tornio River flowing between them. The Tornio River is the border between Sweden and Finland.

When Sweden lost Finland in 1809, the border was drawn along the Rivers Tornio and Muonio. The town of Tornio, located on the island Suensaari in the river delta became part of the Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire as czar Alexander I insisted. (Finland declared independence in 1917).

At that time the town of Tornio was dominated by Swedish-speaking merchants and crafters, forming a linguistic island surrounded by Finns on the country side. After the war many of the Swedes started to develop the small village Haaparanta across the border instead, eventually leaving Tornio unilingually Finnish. Haparanda was made a market town (köping) in 1821 and received its city charter in 1842.

The Location of our Great Grandmothers Birth

Norrbotten County, Sweden (the most northern of Sweden's counties).
Haparanda is the County Seat and Home to Karl Gustaf Parish
So now we come to the question of Lapland. Did Great Grandmother Ida come from the region called Lapland? Well, let's let the map below answer that for us.

You see, the answer is yes. Great Grandmother Ida lived in the very most southern point of the regions commonly referred to as Lapland.

Another document of interest. This is the certificate awarded to Great Grandmother Ida from an agricultual school in Sweden. Of course, I can't read Swedish. Google Translation helped with some of it but the handwriting is difficult to read.

Update (August 4, 2010) A possible family contact in Sweden / Finland responded to an email and was kind enough to offer a translation of the above document.

Examination Certificate

For dairy student of state Ida Josefina Tornberg who has partaken of a year long education under rules for governmental dairy stations at Vojakala dairy station and an additional year here at the local dairy station.

The student who born on January 2nd 1886 in Karunki village in Lower Tornio municipality in Norrbotten province has at completion of the study course achieved the following marks in:

universal base of dairy economy accepted
accounting honorably accepted
preparing butter with satisfaction accepted
fat rich cheese accepted
half fat cheese accepted

skimmed milk cheese with satisfaction accepted
ability to estimate milk, cream and butter with satisfaction accepted
ability to take care of separator honorably accepted
to take care of steam engine with satisfaction accepted

And while staying at the dairy station, Ida Josefina Tornberg has fulfilled all working activities properly and with good cleanliness and diligence and has behaved very well, so she has proved her suitability for her future profession.

Antnäs on Oct. 12th.1906

N. E. Nilsson
Director of the station

Certified by
Anna Gustafsson

In the dairies of the station, the following operations have been executed:
Milk has been skimmed by separator and (ice method?)
Cream has been churned (???)
Following cheese sorts have been prepared: 1/1 fat (??? Ireland method?), 1/2 fat (mansion method?), as well as cheese of skimmed milk.

The Translation was provided by

Pertti Ervasti
Thank you!

The Tornberg Family Association

In 2005 the Tornberg Family Association held a family reunion in Finland. Family members from many locations gathered. Many in attendance were from Haparanda, birthplace of our Great Grandmother. In fact, if you visit the reunions web site below, you'll see many pictures from the reunion. If you read the picture's captions you'll see Tornbergs from Haparanda.


Considering Haparanda has a population of 4,778 inhabitants (2005) then I must assume we are related to this branch of the Tornberg family.

Well, enough for today. We will continue this search in a future post.


1 comment:

  1. Also need to add a section for Mable Vercellino who married John Edward Hastie in Lead SD who trace back to Finland and a Pehr HASTI. So there is another link to Finland.