22 September 2010

Countess Aagot von Ostheim, née Midling

A few days ago when I was reorganising some folders on my PC, I rediscovered a file about the Norwegian-born Aagot (Susanne) Midling, who in 1918 married Count Herman von Ostheim, a former Prince of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. The file contained copies of two entries I had made in the genealogy newsgroup no.fritid.slektsforsking.etterlysning as far back as 2003. My intention had been to go to the National Archives (Riksarkivet) at Kringsjå in Oslo in order to check out Aagot Midling's birth records - the scanned versions of the churchbooks (digitised parish registers) were not yet available at the time - but obviously I forgot all about it and moved on to other projects instead.

The starting point for my newsgroup entry in 2003 was an article I had found in Aftenposten 15 August 1918 No. 407, which covered the marriage between the said Count Herman von Ostheim and Aagot Susanne Midling. Ms. Midling lived in Stgockholm at the time, but was born in Norway. The article said - here in my English translation - that "Miss Midling is the daughter of a former Drammensian, Director Midling, who for many years ago moved from Norway and by his outstanding ability had captured a leading position in the Swedish wood pulp industry. He had in his time the highest salary in Sweden, as his total annual salary was as much as 150.000 (Swedish) kroner, which in those days was a "fenomenal amount" considering a salary".

Herman, the Count von Ostheim was born as Prince of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1886-1964), as the oldest son of Prince Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1853-1924) and Princess Gerta, née Princess of Isenburg-Büdingen (1863-1945), but renounced his succession rights on 2 August 1909 - and got the title Count von Ostheim instead - in connection with his first marriage to the actress Wanda Paola Lottero. Herman and Wanda got divorced already in 1911. In An Online Gotha. Saxony one could read at the time I wrote the newsgroup article that Aagot Midling was born in "Louvig, Norway 3 Mar 1886" ("Louvig" later corrected to Larvik) and died in Paris on 16 October 1931. The couple, who married in Heidelberg, Germany on 4 August 1918, had one son, Count Alexander-Kyrill (1922-1943), which means that the Ostheim line has died out.

The birth record of Aagot Midling can easily be found in the the churchbook of Larvik, 1886 (Langestrand in Larvik, Parish register (official) no. II 4 (1884-1902) and Langestrand in Larvik, Parish register copy no. II 3 (1867-1899) - see the first image). The birth record tells that Aagot was born in Larvik on 3 March 1886 and christened on 1 May the same year. Her parents were kontorsjef ("office manager" or "head clerk") Anton Oscar Ring Midling, b. 1846, and Anna Christine Knudsen, b. 1856.

Sponsors at the christening were Mrs. Bernhardine Christine Knudsen, Miss Anne Josefine Midling, Miss Anne Sophie Kjøsterud, overretssagfører (a historical title that could be translated into appeal court attorney) Zacharias Backer, kjøbmand (shopkeeper) Nils Rosenberg, kjøbmand Axel William Knudsen and kjøbmand L. Kippax Newall. The first-mentioned parish register (see the second image) tells that the family moved to Sundsvall in Sweden in 1891.

It is possibly a little mystery that the future Countess von Ostheim is only listed with the given name Aagot, while several online genealogies present her with the name Suzanne/Susanne Aagot (see examples 1, 2 or 3). Normally I would in such circumstances have checked other genealogical resources in Norway, for instance the census of 1900, the confirmation entry or marriage records, but as the family moved to Sweden in 1891, that possibility is ruled out. I wonder if there are any primary sources in Sweden that could tell more about the name Susanne?

Anyway, Aagot's father Anton Oscar can easily be found in the census of 1865, when he was registered as living at the farm Gravdahl in Askøy outside Bergen, working as an assistant clerk for Consul Konow. His birth entry (Bergen county, Domkirken, Parish register (official) no. B 2 (1841-1851)) tells that he was born in Bergen on 14 October 1846 as the son of Wilhelm Christian Midling and Gustava Dorthea, née Forsberg. According to one reply I got in 2003, Wilhelm Christian was the son of Claus Miedling and Inga Catrina Andreasdatter Lind, and the Midling family seems to come from Bremen in Germany originally).

After Countess Aagot's death in 1931, Count Herman married for the third time the New York-born Isabel Nielson (1895-1981). I am not sure where Herman and Isabel are buried - in London, perhaps? I have found Aagot's last resting place, though. Afther her death in 1931, her body was transported back to Stockholm where she was interred on 29 January 1932 at Norra begravningsplatsen (cemetery). She was later joined by her son Alexander-Kyrill, cf. the Stockholm burial records, Hittagraven.stockholm.se. A woman named Anna Charlotta Midling - perhaps a sister of Aagot - is also buried at the same place. Interestingly enough, Aagot is listed in the cemetery register as "Suzanne von Ostheim".

Updated on Wednesday 22 September 2010 at 23.30 (concerning Aagot's cemetery record).

Postscript 5 October 2010 at 21.00: After having read the most relevant parts of Margit Rogne's genealogical work Slekten Hübert fra Kristiansand med opplysninger om flere inngiftede slekter (Kristiansand, 1974) as well as having skimmed through Anna Midling's autobiography Från två fosterland 1856-1931 (Stockholm, 1931), it appears that the Aftenposten article quoted from above contains a funny error. The newspaper referred to Aagot Midling as "frøken" ("miss"), which is stretching the truth a bit too far, as she was married from 1905 to 1915 Lieutenant Seve Axell and had two children by him!

The above-mentioned "Anna Charlotte Midling", who was interred at Norra begravningsplatsen in 1939, is most likely identical with Anna Christine Midling, née Knudsen, who died in 1937. Oscar Midling on the other hand was buried at Hudiksvall kyrkogård in 1910, where also their son Einar (1888-1892) and Anna's brother Axel Wilhelm are interred. In the family grave at Norra cemetery in Stockholm also Anna's mother Bernhardine Christine Knudsen, née Hübert, d. 1919, has found her last resting place.

I will come back with more details on Countess Aagot von Ostheim and her family in a later blog article.

Postscript updated on Thursday 5 October 2010 at 21.40 (typo corrected!).


1 comment:

  1. Thanks! Interesting facts about my father's mother's mother!

    Kind regards,

    Peter Dickson