Konditori 100, The Chest

Granfors, origin

Parts of family tree
A house

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You don't see the family name Granfors often - even more rare are the norwegian spelling Granfoss.

Now and then during lots of years I've contacted people with the name Granfors/Granfoss, and tried to put the family pieces together. In phone books etc (1972-spring 1997) I've found some 40 Granfors in Finland, 60 in Sweden, 2 in Norway, 150 in U.S.A. 1 in Canada and 1 with e-mail address in Japan. In the early summer of 1997 I got in contact with Allan Granfors in Sundom, Finland, who do research about the origin of the family name.

Here I tell you what Allan has discovered, and what I know about one of the families later branches on one family tree. Parts of the family tree will give a better view (I hope). It is not a complete description, but hopefully it gives some information of the origin to other Granfors-people. And maybe Allan can get some complementary information. (Reservations for misspellings and dates.)

The location and the name
In Övermark, about fifty kilometres south of Vasa in Finland, there is a rapid in Närpes stream. Some time very long ago it got the name "Granforsen" ("Grenfossin" on local dialect).

Of the crowns (states) areas close to the rapid were a homestead ("hemman") founded. When this was transferred to the first farmer it got the name "Granfors". During the 18th century at least three families lived on this homestead. At the time it was customary (in Finland a o countries) that the children got their surnames partly from the first name of their father and partly from the location where they lived. (Example: Anders lives in London. His sons will be named Erik Andersson London and his daughters Lisa Andersdotter London. See more in the part of the family tree.)

Apparently there are today at least three different families Granfors who have their origin in the same location in Finland.

One of the families
Isaac Mattsson and his wife Elisabeth lived in Yttermark, Kroksmossa, after their marriage. On May 28 1793 they got, with appointment from the royalty, the right to 3/8 assessment unit of land of Granfors homestead in Övermark.

After the death of the parents the eldest son Mathias took care of the homestead, on condition that he should care for his sisters and brothers until they were 18 years old. The homestead was valued to 60 rubel + personal property 180 rubel.

One of the other sons, Mickel Isaacsson Granfors, married Helena Mickelsdotter (unknown third name) on February 10 1830. They got nine children, among them Maja Lisa.

Maja Lisa Mickelsdotter Granfors married Gustaf Johansson Schmidt. In November 1855 Maja Lisa and Gustaf took care of the croft on Granfors homestead, from Maja Lisas parents. (This is mentioned in the book "Vi ser deras möda" (We see their toil/hard work), Övermark, page 111.) The croft was not large. It is mentioned a courtyard of fifteen fathoms (one "famnar": appr 1,8 meters / 6 feet) at the edge of a forest, some meadow-land and some arable land. (The farmer Matts Mathiasson Granfors signed the document - probably a neighbour in another family living on the homestead "Granfors".) Maja Lisa and Gustaf got seven children:

  • Petter (August 31 1858) went to Sweden. Further history unknown.
  • Cajsa Stina Gustafsdotter Schmidt (December 15 1861) married Erik Wilhelm Johansson Storthors on April 27 1884. They gave birth to two children: Maria Alina and Johannes. (According to one "source" Erik Wilhelm had the family name Hedman, and they had eight children: Oskar, Johannes, Ivar, Fina, Marie, Katharina, Hilda and Elsa.)
  • Helena Maria (July 15 1864) married someone in Nämpnäs (? not easy to read the old handwritten text) and gave birth to Kalle and Ivar. Kalle went to Sweden, but later married in Finland and settled on a farm in Nämpnäs. Ivar married, got some children and settled in the same locality.
  • Karl Erik (February 14 1867) went to England. Further history unknown.
  • Johannes (June 22 1870) went to Norway, and married there. He got six children, of which most got the family name Schmidt but one son got the family name Granfoss (norwegian spelling).
  • Carl Gustaf and Alfred died as children.
If anyone can add information about the Granfors families, you are welcome to contact me.

Short historical background
The present Sweden and Finland have had various connections from time immemorial. Parts of Finland have in various grade been a part of Sweden, from somewhere during the Viking age until 1809. The people in western Finland still have swedish as their main language, in large.

(The history of Europe is filled with wars between nations and unions of nations. In early 19th century Sweden too is involved in the wars around Napoleon, the emperor of France. In February 1808 Russia attacks the Swedes in Finland. After pressure from Russia, Denmark-Norway declare war on Sweden, and get support of troops from Spain-France. Sweden and Russia make peace in 1809, and Sweden give up the entire Finland and the islands Åland.)

Another piece of Granfors
With an Internet search engine I once found some web pages when searching for Granfors, but later I haven't been able to find them. One of these pages had the address www.avana.net/pages/page2/dennison/d0001/g0000004.htm and the following "search result info":
I46: Linda NICOSIA ( - ) 98% : John GRANFORS Family 1: Lena CARLSON MARRIAGE: ABT 1893, Deluth; MN Edna Marie GRANFORS Edith GRANFORS Esie GRANFORS Peggy GRANFORS

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Updated December 22, 1998 (and a contact name removed 2009-06-17)
Text: Arne Granfoss © (if nothing else is said)
Production: AG Informice