19 July 2015

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.2, April 2015

I was pleased to find the latest issue of the European Royal History Journal – in my mailbox last Sunday when I returned home from the first part of my summer vacation. Great to have good reading material on my way to and home from work.

The latest issue's first article is the traditional The Who Is In the Photo series, this time a photo of the Battenberg family taken around 1895 – Princess Louise, Princess Alice, Princess Victoria, Prince George and Prince Louis (Ludwig) of Battenberg. The one missing is Prince Louis the younger, later Earl Mountbatten of Burma, obviously because he had not been born yet. Ilana D. Miller outlines the history of this branch of the Battenbergs.

The next one out is the Part II of An Interdisciplinary Discussion. The Nassaus of Luxembourg by Roberto Cortez Gonzáles, and yet again we get a thorough presentation of the history of the Grand Ducal family of Luxembourg, with many details I either didn't know or have forgotten about. I have 2-3 books on the Luxembourgs in my collection, but it has been a while since I have read them.

The author and Queen Victoria Descendants genealogist Marlene A. Eilers Koenig has this time contributed with an article titled Frederica of Hanover. A Pasionate & Obstinate Princess. Frederica (Friederike) (1848–1926) was the 2nd child of King Georg V of Hannover and Queen Marie, née Princess of Saxe-Altenburg.The article stops well before Frederica's marriage to Baron Alfons von Pawel-Rammingen (1843–1932), but fortunately the article is "to be concluded", so the readers have more to look forward to. Royals who go against the flow are always interesting to read about. Thinking about royals often listed as examples of enterring "non-equal marriages", it seems that Frederica most often is not mentioned.

Coryne Hall has contrbutied to many articles in both ERHJ and Royalty Digest Quarterly over the years, and this time she focuses on the Danish Royal Family with the article titled The Descendants of King Christian IX of Denmark. APAPA. Even if the title suggests otherwise, she has limited her work on the Danish. The article doesn't suggest that this is is "only" the first part of a series on the KCD (does this abbreviation work as well as QVD (Queen Victoria's Descendants), by the way?), but let's hope so!

I really enjoyed reading part I of Janet Ashton's article "Our ally has shamefully betrayed us". Italy Enters the Great War in volume 18.1, and the second and final part included in the April issue was as enjoyable. Now also with a full bibliography, so I can understand better the notes from last and current issues! The two-part article more or less covers the great war up to 1916, so I wonder if Janet Ashton will write more about Italy's role in WW1 later on?

The latest issue also has a book review column, and Coryne Hall returns with her review of Royal Gatherings. Volume II. 1914-1939 by Ilana D. Miller and Arturo E. Beéche, the latter being the ERHJ editor and publisher. As Hall contributes so often to the ERHJ, one wonders if the task could have been left to someone "outside the circle". Not that there is anything wrong with the review itself, but I sometimes feel that the world of royalty writers is too small. Anyway, here is Marlene A. Eilers Koenig's review in her blog Royal Book News.

Finally, we get the traditional Royal News section, which this time includes news from Brazil, Bulgaria, Reuss, Saxe-Coburg & Gotha, Two Sicilies, Prussia, United Kingdom, Hohenlohe-Oehringen and Wied. Of course, when you read these genealogical news they are already old, but considering the fact that many websites come and disappear again, it is useful to have these news on paper for the record.

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

For earlier articles on the magazine, please go here.

15 July 2015

Grave of Lorene Yarnell Jansson (Sandar Church and Cemetery, Sandefjord, Norway, Part III)


I was pleased to receive several comments to my articles about Sandar Church and Cemetery, Sandefjord, Norway (part I and part II), of 2010, both in the message field and by e-mail. Earlier this year I received among others a request to take a photo of the grave of the California-born mime dancer and Muppet Show particpant Lorene Yarnell Jansson (1944-2010) and publish it at Findagrave.com, a website dovoted to graves and cemeteries all over the world. According to its FAQ, its mission "is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience".

Earlier this month I finally got the time and opportunity to visit Sandar kirkegård (churchyard/cemetery) again, and last Sunday I published two photos on the said website.

Yarnell married the Norwegian Bjørn Jansson - her fourth husband - and in early 1998 moved with him to his hometown Sandefjord. She died there of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm in 2010. I must admit that I had never heard about her before, but at least the local newspaper Sandefjords Blad knew about her claim of fame, as it made a portrait interview with her and also covered her death. For more details, see the Wikipedia article.

Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 2, 2015

The second issue this year of Royalty Digest Quarterly arrived in my mailbox in early July, just before I left for the first part of my summer vacation. Always nice to bring great reading material with you on your travels!

Most articles this time are devoted to Italy and/or the Italian Royal Family (House of Savoy), and the photo on the front page shows four generations of the royal family: The later King Umberto II as baby, being held by his mother, Queen Elena, née Princess of Montenegro. To the left Umberto's great-grandmother Elisabeth, and to the right the baby's grandmother Queen Margherita.

Not surprisingly the editor and publisher of RDQ,  Ted Rosvall, spends his Editor's Corner on the major royal events in Sweden earlier this year - Prince Carl Philip's marriage to Sofia Hellqvist and the birth of Prince Nicolas.

In my article about the first issue of RDQ this year, I mentioned that I wouldn't be surprised if Coryne Hall, author of Princesses on the Wards. Royal Women in Nursing Through Wars and Revolutions (2014) would continue to cover more royal nurses in future issues of the RDQ. Queen Elena of Italy, née Princess of Montenegro, was not a trained nurse, but she nevertheless made great efforts in setting up hospitals during the wars and other national catastrophes, and in Hall's article Elena - the "Shepherdess" Queen of Italy, we can for instance read about how she nursed the injured after the earthquake in Messina in 1908.

The next article out is written by the periodical's historical consultant, Charlotte Zeepvat, finishing the story about Princess (Helena) Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, 'So loyal and strong in her affections...'. She was quite an character, and the article is well written. One could perhaps have wanted more details about the last part of her life, but maybe it was not as eventful as the first part.

If you are interested in royal history, you can literally spend all your vacations in Germany, as there are so many royal palaces, castles, lodges and other buildings to explore! One example is Kranichstein, the hunting lodge of the Hesse-Darmstadt family. Elizabeth Jane Timms has written a nice presentation of the lodge and its history.

Then Charlotte Zeepvat returns with her traditional family albums, this time the Royal House of Italy gets all the attention. Besides a two pages' long introduction, the reader can enjoy 108 illustrations, most are of various members of the Savoy dynasty, while the first photo is of Castello di Racconigi (yet another castle I have to visit one day). Finally, as always, Zeepvat brings 3 pages showing the family genealogy.

The next one out is the short article Getting the Message about how royal postcards "were the emails of the early twentieth century", written either by the royals or by other people on cards of royalty. The article is just signed "CMZ". I gather the author is Zeepvat once again. :-)

Richard Thornton has contributed to the last article of this issue, titled With the Tecks and friends in Florence. Unfortunately there are no book reviews this time either (I hope that Rosvall has not dropped including book reviews altogether). But as usual we are treated with The World Wide Web of Royalty, this times with news from Austria, Bulgaria, Fugger von Babenhausen, Erbach-Schönberg, Great Britain, Hannover, Prussia, Saxony, Sweden, Two Sicilies and Ysenburg and Büdingen.

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.

18 June 2015

Sweden and Spain: A new princess, a new prince and a revoked title

HRH Prince Carl Philip and HRH Princess Sofia. Photo: ©Mattias Edwall, Kungahuset.se.
I haven't been able to update my blog lately, with the exception of the Ferner article of Tuesday this week, so I thought I should summarize the events of the last few days.

1. Sweden got a new princess on Saturday 13 June 2015 when Prince Carl Philip, b. 1979, only son of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married Sofia Hellqvist, b. 1984, the second daughter of Erik Hellqvist and Marie Hellqvist, née Rotman, at the Palace Church in Stockholm. The officiants at the wedding ceremony were Lars-Göran Lönnermark, head predicate and bishop emeritus, and Michael Bjerkhagen, pastor of the Royal Court Parish. Prince Carl Philip's best man was his school friend Jan-Åke Hansson.Sofia didn't have a maid-of-honor, while Princess Estelle, Tiara Larsson, Anaïs Sommerlath and Chloé Sommerlath were bridesmaids.

Because I attended a party on Saturday, I was not able to watch the televised wedding ceremony, but came home just in time to watch and listen to Prince Carl Philip's impressive speech at the gala dinner.

More details about the wedding, including the guest list, can be found at the official website.

Last year I wrote an article about Princess Sofia's ancestry, based on among others research made by Ted Rosvall. In connection with the wedding I read that Princess Sofia also has Forest Finns (Finnish migrants who settled in forest areas in Sweden and Norway during the 16th and 17th centuries) among her ancestors (through her mother's line, I gather). However, no source was stated, and as I can't find where I read it, the reader should put a big question mark over it for the time being. Interestingly enough, also Prince Daniel has Forest Finn roots through his father. Anyway, it would be interesting to hear if more research has been done on Princess Sofia's ancestry since the above-mentioned article was posted in early July last year.

Time will show how Princess Sofia will be received by the Swedish people. Many find her background somewhat problematic, so the princess will have to work hard to impress. How the princess will communicate and connect with people is of course a key here. I am hardly the only one who has been impressed by how the couple, and especially Princess Sofia, has handled the press so far (at least from the engagement was announced and onward). The start of her "princess career" can only be described as promising.

2. Only two days after the wedding, the bridegroom's younger sister, Princess Madeleine, and her husband, Chris O'Neill, became parents for the second time. A boy was born at Danderyd Hospital in Danderyd municipality (Stockholm County) on 15 June 2015 at 1.45 p.m. The little prince weighed 3,08 kg at birth and was 49 cm long. Danderyd Hosoital is, by the way, also where Princess Sofia was born in 1984.

In the traditional Council of State held at Stockholm Palace on 17 June 2015, the names and titles of the little boy, currently 6th in line of succession to the Swedish throne, were announced: HRH Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf, Duke of Ångermanland. His name in daily use will be Nicolas. Considering the fact that Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill had chosen Leonore as the call name for their firstborn child, a name not based on Swedish royal traditions, I wasn't surprised that the parents followed up with the name Nicolas for the second one. They could have landed on the more Swedish-sounding name Niklas, but seems to have wanted a more "international" name. Even spelt the French way. Well, the Bernadotte dynasty is after all French of origin. However, one can find several examples of Nicolas in various forms (Nicholas, Nicolaus, Nikolaus, Nikolai etc.) throughout European royal history. Within the Bernadotte family one can point at the former Prince Lennart (Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul) (1909-2004), Prince August (Carl Nikolaus August) (1831-1873) and Prince Eugen (Eugen Napeleon Nicolaus).

Most people had guessed that Paul would be one of the names, as Chris O'Neill's father was named Paul Cesar O'Neill. And thankfully the third name Gustaf is a common name in Swedish royal history, and is of course the second name of King Carl XVI Gustaf. All in all, I am not too disappointed with the names (my opinion is of course irrelevant, but when has that ever stopped me from commenting), although I as usual would have preferred a more traditional Swedish royal name as call name.

3. On Thursday 11 June 2015 in form of a royal decree, published in the Official Gazzette (BOE) the day after, King Felipe of Spain decided to strip his sister, Infanta Cristina of her title Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, which she had received by her father, the former King Juan Carlos, in connection with her wedding in 1997 to Iñaki Urdangarin Liebert. The reason behind the decision to revoke the title is of course the tax evasion charges against the couple, a scandal that has seriously embarrassed the monarchy, to say the least. Cristina remains an Infanta of Spain, so the real motivation behind the decision might be to stop her husband, most likely "the main crook", from using his (courtesy) title. Although the scandal is serious enough regardless of the outcome of the trial (no date has yet been set), I still find the timing of the decision somewhat unmusical.

16 June 2015

Last resting place for Johan Martin Ferner

Johan Martin Ferner, the husband of Princess Astrid, died on 24 January 2015, 87 years old. The funeral service took place at Holmenkollen Chapel in Oslo on 2 February. According to the website of Gravferdsetaten i Oslo (the Cemetery Administration in Oslo), the urn was interred at Ris Cemetery in Oslo on Monday 15 June 2015. The urn grave has been leased together with 3 other (now empty) urn graves.

As one can see from the photos, the headstone has not yet been put up, so I will have to pay the cemetery another visit later this year to take new photos.

The urn grave can be found at section 20 close to the church. A map of the cemetery can be viewed here.







© 2015 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth

More photos of Ris Church and Cemetery can be viewed at Lokalhistoriewiki (here and here).

4 June 2015

Eurohistory. The European Royal History Journal, Vol. 18.1, February 2015

The latest issue of Eurohistory. The Europan Royal History Journal, issue CIII, Volume 18.1, February 2015 (yes, that is an handful!), arrived last month, but only now I have found the time to write a few comments. The main difference from last year's issues is that the binding (cover paper) of ERHJ is different (thicker). I have been looking for the right expression to describe it all night, but have to let it pass for now. Anyway, I agree that the new binding increases "the overall quality of the magazine", but I am not convinced that it is really worth the expanded printing time. The February 2015 arrived in the last part of May, while issue CIV (April 2015) first will be posted at the end of June. Still. the contents of the magazine is after all the most important thing.

The front cover of issue CIII (i.e. no. 103!) shows a photo of the Battenbergs - Prince Maurice, Prince Alexander and Prince Leopold, i.e. the sons of Prince Henry of Battenberg (1858–1896) and Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom (1857-1944). The first article of this issue, written by Marlene Eilers Koenig, deals with Prince Maurice (1891-1914), who was killed during WW1. The article is certainly interesting and readable enough, but I can't fail to think that I have read many articles about him before. As I have also commented on Royalty Digest, I would like more variation in topics, because some times I feel the topics are just circulated. There are so many people from so many royal, princely and mediatized houses to write about!

Ilana D. Miller, author of The Four Graces. Queen Victoria's Hessian Granddaughters (2011) is the next one out with her article Who Is In the Photo ... Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna and Her Descendants. The photo which is the starting point for the article shows Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia, Dowager Grand Duchess Anastasia of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Princess Alexandrine (later Queen) of Denmark and her sons, Prince Knud and Prince Frederik (later King Frederik IX). It is a good way of telling the story of family connections, but I wish Miller could have done some more research. The story with King Christian X of Denmark wearing the yellow star during WW2 just isn't true. See for instance Snopes.com or JTA.

Roberto Cortez Gonzáles has contributed with a long and very detailed article called An Interdisciplinary Discussion. The Nassaus of Luxembourg, which I really enjoyed. And it was only part one! Still, I wish the author had read more about the constitutional affairs of Nassau and Luxembourg, as the succession law that prevailed in Luxembourg until 1912 was not Salic, but semi-Salic.

Greg King is perhaps mostly known for his books and articles on the Romanovs, but he also writes about other royal topics, and this time he has given a presentation of the Palace of Queluz outside Lisbon, Portugal. I didn't find the time to visit Queluz when I visited Portugal last summer, and even though I am going to Portugal again this year, I will most likely miss it. But Portugal is certainly a country I would like to return to even a third or fourth time, and the said palace certainly looks interesting to visit.

Italy and it's royal history during WW1 has also been covered many times before, but it is my impression that Janet Ashton's article "Our ally has shamefully betrayed us". Italy Enters the Great War is based on a more varied and "new" selection of sources, and I look forward to reading part 2. The notes on the authors and their works could have been expanded on, though.

And there are many great book reviews, all written by Coryne Hall: "Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna" (by Galina Korneva & Tatiana Cheboksarova), Eurohistory.com/Likki Rossi Publishing, 2014; "Storfyrstinde Olga i eksil" (by Karsten Fledelius, Kim Frederichsen and Anne Hedeager Krag), Paul Kristensens Forlag, 2014; "Our Duty With The Queen" (by Dickie Arbiter), Blink Publishing, 2014; and finally "The Prussian Princesses. The Sisters of Kaiser Wilhelm II" (by the well-known John van der Kiste), Fonthill Media, 2014 (e-book)/2015 (hard cover).

Finally, Eurohistory brings a selection of Royal News, covering Bavaria, Norway, Parma, Prussia, Sweden, UK, Croy, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn and Thurn and Taxis.

All in all, issue CIII provides plenty to read and ponder about, and I hope the next issue will arrive soon!

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

For earlier articles on the magazine, go here.

Updated on 19 July 2015 (incorrect link deleted).

28 May 2015

Genealogen no. 1, 2015

The latest issue of Genealogen, the newsletter of Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (The Norwegian Genealogical Society), arrived around 3 weeks ago, so it is on time to write a few lines about its contents.

The cover photo shows a seal stamp found in 1998 at the farm Huseby in Stange in the county of Hedmark. The stamp is dated to the late 14th century, and the genealogist Frode Myrheim has written an article about the finding, the owner of the seal stamp, Goden Jonsson and how it could have ended up at Huseby.

There are many other rather interesting articles in the issue. Per Ole Sollie, Grete Singstad Paulsen and Lars Østensen have documented new information about the Arctander family, Torbjørn Pihl has written about the Brøgger family and the librarian Sølvi Løchen has written about genealogical sources and records at the NTNU Gunnerus Library in Trondheim. Elaine Hasleton has contributed with an obituary of the Norwegian-American genealogist Priscilla (Sorknes) Grefsrud (1932-2014), while Are S. Gustavsen has written about the late historian and genealogist Gunnar Christie Wasberg (1923-2015).

This time I have contributed with 3 articles. Wilhelmine Brandt is hardly known outside the boarders of Norway, and I don't think many knows her name within the boarders either, but in January 2015 it was 100 years since she died. Brandt is regarded as one of the first truly professional genealogists in Norway, and from 1893 until her death in 1915 she even received a grant from the Norwegian state. Her main work was Slægten Benkestok published in 1904. My article about Brandt is titled Hundre år siden Wilhelmine Brandt døde ("Hundred years since Wilhelmine Brandt died").

In 2012 the 100th anniversary of the Norwegian author and artist (among others) Thorbjørn Egner was marked all over the country. Even the Norwegian Genealogical Society contributed to the anniversary, as it published - on 12 December 2012, which would have been his 100th birthday - a draft of Egner's ancestry at Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian Genealogy Wiki. Earlier the same year Anders Heger published the biography Egner. En norsk dannelseshistorie. In the book Heger points to the fact that Egner was born on 12 December 1912 (12.12.12), and writes that Egner himself had been told by his parents that he was even born at 12 o'clock (noon). Heger more than suggests that Egner's parents had stretched the time a bit to underscore "the time of birth's magical symmetry". But as I have written about earlier, there are ways of finding out when people were born even 100 years ago. The midwife reported the birth to the Oslo (then Kristiania) Health Council, and the birth reports are stored in Oslo City Archives. So it was a rather easy task to visit the archives, find the birth report for Thorbjørn Egner and then write the article Sannhet eller myte om Thorbjørn Egner's fødselstidspunkt ("Fact or myth about Thorbjørn Egner's time of birth"). And the answer? Yes! According to the midwife, Egner was born exactly at 12 o'clock. A copy of the birth report is published together with the article.

My third article this time around deals with the late Johan Martin Ferner (husband of Princess Astrid) and his family: Da Ferner Jacobsens barn fikk Ferner til etternavn ("When Ferner Jacobsen's children adopted Ferner as surname"). I have written about this several times before, last time when Johan Martin Ferner died in January 2015:
By the Ministry of Justice and Police's grant of 21 November 1927 Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were given the right to adopt their father's given name Ferner as their surname. The grant published in Norsk Kundgjørelsestidende said:
Ved Justisdepartementets bevilling av 21. november 1927 er kjøpmann Ferner Jacobsen og hustru Ragnhild Jacobsens barn Inger, Finn Christian Ferner og Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo meddelt tillatelse til å anta navnet Ferner som slektsnavn.
("By the Ministry of Justice's grant of 21 November 1927 shopkeeper Ferner Jacobsen and wife Ragnhild Jacobsen's children Inger, Finn Christian Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo, were given permission to adopt Ferner as surname.")
Johan Martin Ferner himself commented on the grant in his 70th birthday interview in Aftenposten in 1997. So this is hardly news. Still, VG.no claimed in an article at the time of his death that he got the surname as an adult... Not very accurate when he was 4 months old! What is new, however, are the details about the grant, which I received from the National Archives. The act relating to personal names of 1923 allowed people to adopt a new surname, but surnames which were "not widespread" were protected. If you wanted such a surname, you needed the permission of those carrying it. At the time there was no national register, so it was the National Archives which got the task to find out if  there were others with the surname Ferner in Norway. The National Archives referred to Per Edvard Ferner's family, who lived at Høybråten in Aker (now part of Oslo). Ferner Jacobsen received permission from Per Edvard Ferner, b. 1866, and his family, and in this way Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were granted permission to adopt Ferner as surname. It is interesting to mention, however, that according to the 1910 census there was also another Ferner family living in Trysil (Vilhelm Ferner, b. 1872), and as far as I can tell there are numerous descendants of that family living in Norway even today, but the National Archives never mentioned them. Was there a connection between Wilhelm and Per Edvard Ferner, by the way? I hope someone will follow up on that question some time in the future.

The documents about the Ferner name grant can be viewed here.

Updated on Thursday 23 July 2015 at 14.45 (typo corrected).