Friday, September 23, 2005

The Baroness

It’s sheer torture to have to talk about myself, but since “wifey” (to use her vernacular) has asked me to talk about the family history, I’ve succumbed at the risk of sounding snobby and pretentious (which I’ll pretend I’m not). This will, of course, completely blow her cover and by the time you’ve read this I’ll have taken the family into hiding in a remote village in New Guinea (as opposed to the remote village in the Canadian North we currently reside in). I don’t trust you bloggers. Particularly those who spend their free time sniggering at my wife.

My family are Swedish Barons. As my uncle likes to say, “That and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee.” Cheap truck-stop coffee at that. In Swedish law, families granted title before 1789 pass their title down through ALL male descendents as opposed to the British system we are more familiar with in which the title passes only through the eldest son.

My 5th Great-Grandfather, Gabriel Falkenberg af Trystorp, Governor of the Swedish province of Sodermanland, was granted the title of Baron in 1733 but the family line goes back to 1450. Our children will inherit the title, though it only passes through our son. Our daughter gets the title but her husband and children will not.

How did this family come to live in Canada? My second Great-Grandfather, Baron Gerhard Knut Alfrid Falkenberg came to Canada first as a political refuge (after freeing a political prisoner he was placed in charge of and sympathised with) and later (after his friends came to power in Sweden) as Swedish and Norwegian Consul to British North America, based in Quebec City. The family stayed, though this is only a branch of the Falkenberg af Trystorp family, most of whom remain in Sweden. I can claim descent from a good deal of Swedish nobility, including Gustav Vasa, the first King of Modern Sweden. I am also descended from most of the early noble houses of Europe and have Charlemagne as an ancestor.

There is a ton more family history on my family tree website – lots of photos and paintings. Feel free to take a look. I think my wife has mentioned that I have an interest in genealogy. I'm lucky enough to have an incredibly rich family history. In addition to the European lines, my Grandfather was a WWI flying ace, a Great-Grandfather (Philippe Roy) was the Canadian ambassador to France. Others were some of the first settlers in Western Canada and early Canadian politicians. It made an interest in history and genealogy second nature to me.

I have friends whose eyes glaze over when I begin talking about my family history. It's not a topic I generally bring up in public as it tends to generate more than a little cynicism but I do love it and am proud of my background. However, I'll not burden you with it any longer and turn this blog back over to my wife!

Baron "Hubby"


AverageMom said...

If he bores you, just nod and say "uh-huh". Trust me, it works.

Anonymous said...

What a great family history!
And what a good writer hubby is!
You can tell him that, or would that swell his head too much???!!!

I had those nasty 'anonymous' spammers on my site too. I had to turn on the 'word verification' and that seems to be keeping them away. How annoying!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Spammers go around looking for royalty people because they know you got all the money.

That was fascinating, Hubs, and I thank you very much for the story.

When I was growing up (1930's) we kids would sometimes say, "My name is Yohn Yohnson, I come from Wisconsin, I worked in the lumber mills dere." So maybe you can tell me: Is this language Swedish or Norwegian? It's one of those...

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's a Swedish accent alright. Just purely speculating but in Norwegian the song would read, "My name is Yan Yanson (Jan Janson)" and in Danish would be, "My name is Yen Yensen (Jen Jenson)." Some serious academic study has been done of this song and it's many dirty verses here:


debby said...

wow, more royalty - howdy kin!

Beth said...

Wow!! My daughter is a Baroness!! Good thing you got it through marriage because on this side of the family, I fear it's nothing but 'gypsys, tramps & thieves'!! Actually I'm more impressed that you got Tim to post to your blog!!

Malnurtured Snay said...

My dad's family is Swedish too. I just thought I'd mention that. :)

HF said...

I love to read about family history. Thanks for sharing!

Sleeping Mommy said...

Ah My Lord and Lady I never knew I was in such illustrious company. ;)