25 November 2010

Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia Remembered (1882-1960)

Yesterday, 24 November, marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Grand Duchess (or perhaps more correctly translated Grand Princess*) Olga Alexandrovna of Russia. Paul Gilbert, editor of Royal Russia, has published the following article, which is well worth reading:

The Grand Duchess of Russia Olga Alexandrovna

The Grand Princess was born in 1882 as the youngest of six children born to Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna (née Princess Dagmar of Denmark). The Grand Princess managed to flee Russia after the resolution together with her second husband, Nikolai Kulikovsky and eventually settled in Canada.

See also the article The Unfaiding Light of Charity. Grand Duchess Olga As a Philanthropist And Painter at the history internet magazine History-gatchina.ru, as well as the website of Grand Princess Olga's Memorial Fund.

Ballerup Museum in Pederstrup, Denmark has a permanent exhibition containing around 100 oilpaintings and watercolours made by the late Grand Princess. She lived in Ballerup from 1930 to 1948.

The grand princess is buried at York Cemetery in Toronto, Canada, something I missed out on during my visit in 2008.

*Paul Gilbert used "Grand Duchess" in the subject title of the press release I received last night, which is why I have used it rather than "Grand Princess" in the subject title of my blog article.

The article was updated on 26 November 2010 at 11.15 (link corrected).


24 November 2010

Count Jan Bernadotte af Wisborg to marry for the 7th time

Count Carl Johan "Jan" Gustaf Wilhelm Bernadotte af Wisborg, son of Count Lennart Bernadotte af Wisborg, born Prince of Sweden, and his first wife Karin, née Nisswandt, is going to marry for the 7th time on 8 January 2011, cf. Svensk Damtidning 16 November 2010.

The bride is the 53 year old teacher Gunilla Iréne Stenfors (b. 8 April 1957), and the loacation is Hyftinge kyrka (church) in Flen municipality. The couple has been together for 3 years, so Count Jan thought it was about time to formalize the relationship. The count will celebrate his 70th birthday the day after the wedding.

According to Ratsit.se the count lives in Stjärnhov, while Ms. Stenfors resides in Flen.

(Thanks to Claes at the Scandinavian Royals Message Board for providing the link.)


23 November 2010

UK: Royal wedding date set to 29 April 2011

Clarence House announced today that the marriage of Prince William of Wales and Miss Kate Middleton will take place on Friday 29 April 2011 in Westminster Abbey. The Daily Telegraph wrote last weekend that the wedding was expected to take place at the end of April next year, so the exact date did not come as a big surprise. Neither did the location, as Kate Middleton was photographed last week outside the church after "a secret visit".

Just like last week when the engagement was announced, the tweets concerning the date and location did not link directly to the press release, which appeared on the Prince of Wales' official website some time after the tweets were posted. I am a bit puzzled that the tweets and the press release couldn't appear at the same time.

The Daily Telegraph's article about the wedding date can be read here.

Published before the announcement, but interesting nevertheless, is the magazine Time's article of 16 November 2010, Britain Cheers a Royal Wedding (And Frets About the Bill).


21 November 2010

UK: Royal wedding in April 2011?

Nothing is official yet, but according to The Daily Telegraph, Prince William of Wales and his fiancée Kate Middleton are hoping to get married at the end of April 2011.


18 November 2010

More on Kate Middleton's ancestry, part II

When I worked on my blog article More on Kate Middleton's ancestry (part I) yesterday, I had planned to add a link to The Washington Post's article of 16 November 2010 titled Prince William's financee has famous US relatives, but other commitments forced me to end the article earlier than intended.

The Washington Post article (or actually the Associated Press article) refers to The New England Historic Genealogical Society, and the original article can be find at its website Americanancestors.org with the subject title NEHGS Discovers American Kinships of Prince William's fiancée. Kate Middleton's American Connections include President, General.

Included in the article is also a link to a chart (pdf) showing the degree of relationship Miss Kate Middleton has with President George Washington and others. Unfortunately the article doesn't tell exactly how Kate is related to the said US notabilities and no references to sources are stated, which would have made the article more interesting.

The NEHGS researchers behind the discovery include the well-known genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts, who is the author of several books including Ancestors of American Presidents. His website can be found here. This gives in my opinion the information more credibility, but still it would be interesting to get more details.

I have earlier mentioned (1 and 2) William A. Reitwiesner's website Wargs.com, which includes among others Kate Middleton's ancestry table. I should have mentioned, however, that Reitwiesner did the work together with the British genealogist Michael J. Wood.


17 November 2010

More on Kate Middleton's ancestry

Soon after The Yorkshire Evening Post's article The Leeds Connection was published on 11 September 2006, I bookmarked it in case I would need it later, for instance if/when the relationship between Prince William and Miss Kate Middleton was formalised. But when the day finally came, and I was working on my blog article about the engagement, I just couldn't find the bookmark anywhere. Fortunately the link was posted on Nobiliana Forum yesterday, and I have decided to make it available here as well. Surely it would have helped if I had checked the forum before posting my article...

The British media claims that the announcement of the engagement was delayed because of the funeral of Kate Middleton's grandfather Peter Francis Middleton (1920-2010), who died in his home in the village of Vernham Dean, Hampshire, on 2 November 2010. Prince William and the Middleton family attended his funeral on Friday 12 November.

William A. Reitwiesner's website doesn't state the birthday of Peter Middleton, only the birth year 1920. It is a pity that the details were not included in the death notice mentioned above. The England & Wales Birth Index 1916-2005 at Ancestry.com lists a Peter F. Middleton of Leeds, who was born in the period July-September 1920 and whose mother's maiden name was Lupton (Vol. 9 b, p. 827). Obviously "our" man, but we are still without the exact birthdate, even if we have got closer. I have checked other sources, including Immigration & Travel, as well. I will have to work further on this, and I guess the easy solution would be to contact the family. But maybe someone out there has the informtion already?

(By the way, this happened to be my 200th blog article.)


16 November 2010

UK: Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton engaged to marry

Clarence House issued the following press statement earlier today, 16 November 2010:
"The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton.

The wedding will take place in the Spring or Summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.

Prince William and Miss Middleton became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya. Prince William has informed The Queen and other close members of his family. Prince William has also sought the permission of Miss Middleton's father.

Following the marriage, the couple will live in north Wales, where Prince William will continue to serve with the Royal Air Force."
Following the announcement, the couple met the press for a short photo session and a few questions at St. James Palace. The session can be viewed here. BBC News has - as expected - created a special Royal Wedding website. So has (among others) The Daily Telegraph, who will also issue a special souvenir edition tomorrow, Wednesday 17 November 2010.

After months, if not years, of media speculation, Prince William and Catherine "Kate" Middleton has "finally" become engaged to marry. We can look forward to a great royal wedding next year with lots of pomp and circumstance and media coverage! Speculations about where the wedding will take place as well as a possible ducal title for Prince William have already started. I will come back with more details and comments when more news are revealed.

Prince William of Wales was born at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London on 21 June 1982 as the eldest son of HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and HRH The Princess of Wales, née Diana Spencer. Prince William's fiancée, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, was born at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, on 9 January 1982, as the daughter of Michael Francis Middleton and Carole Elizabeth Goldsmith. Her ancestry table can be viewed at the late William A. Reitwiesner's website Wargs.com.*

Some other articles about Miss Middleton's ancestry
  • Revaled: Secrets of the Middleton's money and how Kate's ancestors made a fortune (Mail Online 23 March 2009) - maybe a bit too tabloid in style, but parts of the article is interesting nevertheless
  • Biographer traces Kate Middleton's ancestry to Holloway Prison (Telegraph.co.uk 30 March 2009)
  • Kate Winslet and Kate Middleton's ancestries revealed in online 1911 census (Telegraph.co.uk 17 June 2009)
Sources and references

*I really hope that William A. Reitwiesner's family makes sure that the contents of his excellent website will be secured and continue to be available for the public in some way or other.

Updated on Wednesday 17 November 2010 at 12.00 (typo corrected).


13 November 2010

William A. Reitwiesner (1954-2010)

The genealogist William A. Reitwiesner, b. 8 March 1954, died on Friday 12 November 2010, only 56 years old. His works included The American ancestors and relatives of Lady Diana Frances Spencer (1981), Matrilineal descents of the European royalty (first published in 1990), Matrilineal ancestry of the matrilineal descents (1993) and The Lesbian ancestors of Prince Rainier of Monaco, Dr. Otto von Habsburg, Brooke Shields, and the Marquis de Sade (1995).

He specialized on royal genealogy, but also worked on the ancestry of US presidents and other US American politicians, as shown at his website Wargs.com. I will always treasure all his contributions at the newsgroup alt.talk.royalty, the information he helped me with on many occasions as well his great sense of humour.

The photo of William A. Reitwiesner was taken during a lunch in September 1999 in Washington D.C.

My sincere condolences to the Reitwiesner family.


Updated on Thursday 18 November 2010 at 16.50 (link corrected).


10 November 2010

Index of noble families in Norway around 1814

Lars Ove Wangensteen has at his website Wangensteen.net in form of a flipbook recently published Alfabetisk register over adelige slekter i Norge omkring 1814 og beskrivelse av deres slektsvåpen ("Alphabetical index of noble families in Norway around 1814 and description of their arms").

The information is taken from the late Tore H. Vigerust's website http://www.vigerust.net/adel/adel1814_slektsregister.html as well as the book Nyt Dansk Adelslexicon (by A. Thiseth and P.L. Wittrup, 1904). Wangensteen adds on the flipbook's front page that the chapter "Påstått adel" ("Alleged nobility") starts on p. 36. The publication is in Norwegian only.

See also my own index of the noble families, mainly based on the historian and genealogist H.J. Huitfeldt-Kaas' survey from 1886.

Updated on 9 March 2011 at 10.10 (link added).


9 November 2010

Princess Irmingard of Bavaria (1923-2010): Obituary in The Daily Telegraph

Princess Irmingard of Bavaria, b. at Schloss Berchtesgaden on 29 May 1923, died on 23 October 2010, 87 years old. She was the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and his 2nd wife, Princess Antonia of Luxembourg.

Princess Irmingard's obituary was published in The Daily Telegraph on 8 November 2010.


Ted Sorensen (1928-2010): Obituary in The Daily Telegraph

Ted Sorensen, known among others as a political advisor to President John Kennedy and as a writer, died on 31 October 2010, 82 years old.

His obituary was published in The Daily Telegraph on 1 November 2010.

Sorensen published in 2008 his memoirs, Counselor. The role Ted Sorensen played in US American politics was so important that his memoirs is impossible to ignore... I have just ordered the Amazon Kindle version and look forward to reading it. But of course there is always a long line of books waiting to be read...


7 November 2010

Gamlehaugen, Bergen, Norway

The statue of King Haakon VII of Norway in the park of Gamlehaugen was unveiled on 25 November 1955, 50 years after King Haakon VII's arrival in Kristiania (now Oslo).

All the photos were taken during a visit to Gamlehaugen in September 2005. After Prime Minister Christian Michelsen's death in 1925 the Gamlehaugen estate became the Norwegian king's official residence in Bergen, in September 2005.

See also my previous blog article of 7 November 2010: Christian Michelsen's grave, Gamlehaugen, Bergen, Norway.


Christian Michelsen's grave, Gamlehaugen, Bergen, Norway

Peter Christian Hersleb Kjerschow Michelsen (b. 15 March 1857, d. 29 June 1925) was Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907 and thus played a central role in the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 as well as the election of Prince Carl of Denmark as King of Norway the same year.

The shipping magnate and politician Christian Michelsen was the son of Jacob Andreas Michelsen and Caroline Sophie Erastine Kjerschow. In 1881 he married Johanne Benedikte "Benny" Boalth Wallendahl (b. 10 September 1861, d. 6 October 1910), daughter of Rasmus Carolius Hansen Wallendahl and Johanne Cathinka Boalth. They had two children, Einar Michelsen (1882-1921) and Benny Michelsen (1887-1976).

Christian and Benny Michelsen got their last resting place in the park of Gamlehaugen, their residence at Fjøsanger outside Bergen. Gamlehaugen later became the Norwegian king's official residence in Bergen.

The photo was taken during a visit in September 2005.

Sources and references
Updated on Monday 8 November 2010 at 23.25 (more links to church records added).


5 November 2010

A cemetery in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

When I visited Mostar in Bosnia-Hercegovina in July 2009, I came over this cemetery with many victims from the civil war in 1993-1994. So many young people died... I have seldom been so moved as I was during this visit...

See also Rick Steves' article Travel As a Political Act. Lessons from the Former Yugoslavia: After the War - Bosnian Hormones and a Shiny New Cemetery and Scott Shephard's blog A Photo A Day.

I will post photos of Stari Most (the famous bridge) and other sights in Mostar later on.


Death announcements in Montenegro

I took this photo in Cetinje, the former capital of Montenegro, during a visit in July 2009. I found such death announcements put up on trees, walls etc., on several places I visited in Montenegro. Might be common also in the other countries of the former Yugoslavia. Quite a practical way of informing the community that a family member or friend has died and when the funeral service will take place.


A cemetery in Budva, Montenegro

The photos were taken in July 2009 in Budva, Montenegro.


4 November 2010

Østmarka (Fall 2010, Part III)


All the photos were taken on Sunday 17 October 2010 during a walk around the lake Nøklevann and along the lake Ulsrudvannet (no. 14-16) in Østmarka (one of the forests at the outskirts of Oslo, Norway). The exception is photo no. 17, which was taken at Oppsaltoppen on the same day.

Once again I must say how much I appreciate the fall colours! The photos are certainly not taken by a professional photographer, but published here to show the evident atmosphere of the fall.