Etikettarkiv: Pettersson

Augusta and her Confirmation Class of 1844

When I first found Augusta’s confirmation record in St Jacob’s parish, I realized that the pastor had ranked the girls based on their fathers’ status (title, name, and profession). In all other parishes in Stockholm, the pupils were listed alphabetically (St Clara’s parish) or simply in the order they entered the confirmation class.

The pastor in St Jacob’s parish in 1844 was Abraham Zakarias Pettersson. Ebba Ramsey (born Karström) describes Pastor Petterson in her autobiography. She was listed as number 11 in the confirmation class the following year, 1845.

We went at this time to St. Jacob, where Dr. Abraham Zakarias Pettersson was then pastor. This winter was unforgettable for me because almost all my close friends would be confirmed at the same time but in different parishes. Dr. Pettersson had an unusual ability to talk to young people. He didn’t dryly keep to the text, and his explanations were profound. As my foundation in Christianity was good, I often had to answer for the others.
(Source: Ebba Ramsey. Om flydda tider: ur en gammal dagbok. Jönköping 1905)

Pastor Pettersson

Augusta was ranked as number 10 of the 92 girls in 1844. It made me curious. Who were the top 20 girls in the class? What were their family backgrounds and what happened to them later in life?

What this small microhistory study highlighted was the challenges that even women from wealthy or well-connected families faced:

  • Being born out of wedlock
  • Having a child out of wedlock
  • Becoming an orphan (cholera epidemics)
  • Legally, not being entitled to managing your own affairs, not even  the wealth you brought into the marriage
  • Having a guardian
  • Becoming a widow and having to forgo any inheritance so as to not be responsible for your husband’s debts
  • Dying early from infectious diseases (for which there are now vaccines and treatments)
  • Divorcing

Below is the list of the 20 girls. For the girls who got married, I have included the husband’s family name in parenthesis. Click on the hyperlinks to read more about each girl.


 1. Eva Charlotta (Lotten) Mörner af Morlanda

Lotten came from Växjö where her father, a Count, was the provincial governor. She never married and was endearingly known for an expensive teacup she owned.

2. Hilda Theophila Lagerheim

Hilda’s father was a Supreme Court justice. He died in the cholera epidemic of 1834. Hilda never married and received a pension because of her nobility.

3. Oscara Fredrica Leopoldina Wahlström (Michaeli)

Oscara’s father was a justice of the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsråd). She married a merchant, lived by Kungsträdgården in Stockholm, and had her portrait painted.

4. Laetitia (Letty) Charlotta Juliania Backman (Norman)

Letty’s father was the director of the Royal Theatre. She married a merchant in Gävle who went bankrupt. They then moved to Stockholm and raised 4 kids.

5. Elisabeth Mathilda Schwan (Cassel)

Elisabeth belonged to a wealthy merchant family. She was beautiful and favored at the balls. She and her husband purchased Stjernsund Castle from the royal family where they raised 5 sons.

6. Sofia Antoinette Eugenia (Eugénie) Björkman (Almqvist)

Sofia’s father was very wealthy and owned Görväln outside Stockholm. Her husband became the Minister of Justice and they had several children.

7. Emma Ling (Stuart)

Emma’s father had founded an institute for gymnastics and was a professor. She married a nobleman who owned a glassworks in Piteå in northern Sweden. She became a widow at 26 and raised their only daughter.

8. Christina Mathilda Georgina af Trolle (Lindqvist)

Georgina’s father was an aristocrat who, after retiring as an officer, bought a farm outside Stockholm. Georgina got pregnant and then married the 13-year-older man. She had 3 surviving children before dying at age 29, presumably from TB.

9. Johanna Cecilia Mary Lovisa Koch

Cecilia was from Vågsäter north of Uddevalla on the Swedish west coast. Her father was a major in the navy. She died from measles at the age of 18.

10. Rosalie Emelie Augusta Söderholm (Nordvall)

Augusta was our great-great-grandmother. She married Adolf Nordvall, a doctor of philosophy- They had one daughter. Augusta died from TB at the age of 28.

11. Selma Christina Wretman (Wretman)

Selma’s father was a wholesale merchant. Selma married her cousin who later became a justice of the Swedish Supreme Court. They lived at Hamngatan close to Blanch’s Café.

12. Augusta Mariana Rütterskjöld

Augusta’s father owned some ironworks, but he also squandered his wife’s inheritance. Eventually, Augusta’s parents separated and Augusta and her siblings were taken care of by their mother and her sister, Netta Dimander. Augusta never married.

13. Augusta Amalia Jakobina Sjöstedt (Gyllensköld)

Augusta’s father was a wealthy brewer. There is a beautiful portrait in oil of Augusta playing the piano. She married and had 6 daughters, the youngest became a famous pianist and started a music institute in Stockholm

14. Sophia Augusta Preumayr

Sophia Augusta’s father was considered to be the best bassoonist ever in Sweden and he became the director of the military corps of music. Sophia Augusta’s mother was the daughter of Sweden’s most famous clarinet player and composer, Bernhard Crusell. Sophia Augusta died from gastric fever at age 19.

15. Johanna Maria Wennberg (Sievers)

Johanna’s father was a wholesale merchant. She married a young German wholesale merchant and had 4 children. When her husband died at age 34, she continued the business.

16. Therese Gustafva Aspegren

Therese’s father was a wholesale merchant. Theresa had 8 siblings and they lived in the Old Town. Her mother died in the cholera epidemic of 1834. Therese was a governess in the Malmborg family at Lilla Wåxnäs by Karlstad between 1844 and 1847. She moved back to Stockholm but left no traces of the rest of her life.

17. Anna Elisabeth Sofia (Sofi) Carlstrand (Osbeck)

Sofi’s was an orphan but her father had been a pastor, first in St Jacob’s church in Stockholm, and then in Brunskog in western Sweden. She married Herrman Osbeck, an entrepreneur who started a “railyard service”. When he died, she took over the business and had the title “Manager of City Porters”

18. Emma Olivia Wilhelmina Wiiger (Kihlberg)

Emma’s father was Norwegian and served as the Royal Secretary for Norwegian affairs in Stockholm. Emma married and 3 children. She then divorced her husband. She died from pneumonia at the age of 35.

19. Hedvig (Hedda) Sofia von Sydow (Heijkenskjöld)

Hedda’s father was a counsel at the Department of Commerce. Hedda was born out of wedlock and in secrecy. Her mother was her father’s maid and Hedda was raised somewhere else until she was 6 years old. Hedda married and had one son.

20. Virginia Sophie Augusta Carlsson Daguin

In Virginia’s birth certificate, her parents were listed as “not reported”. The reason was that her mother was Sophie Daguin, a famous ballerina at the Royal Theatre. Virginia never married but supported herself as a foreign language teacher.

Confirmation. Oil painting by  Hildegard Norberg (1844-1917). Nordiska Museet.


10. Rosalie Emelie Augusta Söderholm – Our great-great-grandmother

Rosalie Emelie Augusta Söderholm, our great-great-grandmother whose writings were our inspiration for Augusta’s Journey, was ranked 10 out of the 92 girls who were confirmed in St Jacob’s parish in May of 1844.

If you have followed Augusta’s Journey, you probably already know Augusta. But if you are new to our project, here are a few lines about Augusta Söderholm.

Augusta was born in Slaka parish outside Linköping in 1827. She was the youngest child of Anna Catharina and Johan Petter Söderholm. When her father died in 1835, Augusta’s brother-in-law, Gustaf Lejdenfrost, took care of the family at his estate, Loddby, outside Norrköping.

Augusta Söderholm

In the fall of 1841, 14-year-old Augusta was sent to Stockholm to get a first-class education. She would learn French, German, and some English, and she would meet families in high society. Augusta moved in with the Edgren family who ran a private boarding school in St Klara’s parish in Stockholm.

In 1844, Augusta also had to study for her upcoming confirmation. She was living in St Klara’s parish but we know that she was confirmed in another parish in Stockholm – St Jacob’s parish. Why?

Augusta’s close friend, Cecilia Koch, had also come to Stockholm to study. Both were confirmed in St Jacob’s parish. Was it a joint decision? Did they choose St Jacob’s parish because it was led by Pastor Abraham Zacharias Pettersson, a well-liked and respected pastor? Or did their parents’ have a personal connection with Pastor Pettersson? Or did the families with the highest status in Stockholm live in St Jacob’s parish? What seemed to be unique for this parish was that the pastor listed the children according to their perceived status. So for girls like Augusta and Cecilia, who were sent to Stockholm as teenagers to get educated and making their debut in society, this was probably the parish with the “right” families.

Augusta continued to study in Stockholm for one more year, now in a school run by Miss Andriette Frigel. During this year, she boarded with the family of Baroness Jaquette Ribbing.

After having studied in Stockholm, Augusta returned to her country home at Loddby and kept in touch with her friends in Stockholm. In the summer of 1847, she and her mother made the memorable journey through Germany down to Prague which she chronicled in her diary. After their return, she continued to write in her diary about how lonely she was at Loddby.

But in January of 1849, she returned to Stockholm to spend the social season going to balls, theatres, and concerts. She was 22 years old and she wrote in her diary about her suitors and her exciting and carefree life.

Then in July, she was back home at her “calm, quiet home.” Her brother had contracted tuberculosis and by the end of the year, Augusta was bedridden and coughing. For the rest of her life, she struggled with the disease. But she found love, a man who appreciated her intellect and who didn’t mind debates. Adolf Leonard Nordvall was a doctor of philosophy who also wrote wonderful love letters. They married in 1853 and had a daughter (our great-grandmother) in 1854. Their happiness didn’t last long – Augusta died a year later at the age of 28.