Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stjärnorp, Östergötland, Sweden

There is a parish named Stjärnorp, in Gullberg's and Finspångaläns houndred of Östergötland's län, Sverige, where ancestors of my family came from. It is about 18 kilometers north-west of Linköping. Stjernorp was a manor estate, in the parish of the same name, with an unfinished and burnt down 17th century castle.
Stjärnorp church is located in the south wing of Stjärnorp Castle, built in 1658-61. The castle and church were destroyed in 1789, in a devastating fire. The church was rebuilt the same year and the old castle was never built up again. There are two wings that were not destroyed by this fire, one of them includes this little church (see the church tower standing tall above the ruins, the building closest to the cemetary in the photo above). Both wings were renovated a few years ago and now look very nice. They are now used as summer houses by the sons of the present owner. The owners are of Scottish origin and their name is Douglas. The have owned the place ever since the 1700's. The Stjärnorp estate equals Ljung in being large. (The first owner of Ljung was also Scottish. His name was Hamilton.) One can wonder why these Scottsmen fancied this part of Sweden so much!
My Great Great Grandfather's brother, Alfred Svensson (1841-1910), was the caretaker/master gardener of the castle grounds. He lived in Stjärnorps Gård with his wife Lovisa and their four children (their youngest was born there) and is remembered as a little man with rare humor. He sent these old postcard views to his brothers family in the U.S. in 1907.
When we visited Sweden in 2001, we had a small family reunion on the grounds of Stjärnorp with descendants of Alfred and Lovisa. It was exciting to meet the closest relatives we had met in Sweden, and be received so warmly. We attended a church service on the grounds with some of our new cousins after our reunion.
Stjärnorp is also the home parish of my Great Great Grandmother Carolina Swanson, and Great Grandmother Albertina Johnson. Their father, Gustav Jönsson (1805-1887), was known as "Gubben i Skuttet" in English "Old man in Skuttet". In 1964 only the foundation stones remained of Skuttet located up in the woods. He was born, lived, farmed and died in Stjärnorp parish. His birthplace was Marieberg, Grytstorp, Stjärnorp, Östergötland, he was a farmer at Grytstorp from 1827-37, a cotter in Grönlund, Kottorp from 1837-42, and from 1842 lived in Nybrofallet, Kottorp, all in Stjärnorp parish. He was married to Johanna Nilsdotter (1803-1882) in 1827 in Stjärnorp, one can only imagine if it was in the parish church we visited or a family home.

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