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Källström - a musical family


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Some time ago I was given Soikkelis book "suomen lukkarien-urkurien matrikkeli". When I turned over the pages in that old reference work about Finland's sextons/organists, I noticed there were several sextons with the name of Källström and that they were all sons to sextons. They were active at different places in the country. A vague suspicion that they all belonged to the same family turned out to be right, and this musical family originated in Karleby.

The Källström family is one branch of the large Kvikant farm family from [Kvikant village] in [Karleby parish]. Ancestor Jacob Mattsson Kvikant, born 1693, died 1787, came directly after the great war to Kvikant where he was a son-in-law and, in the course of time, a farmer. One of his sons was farmer Matts Jakobsson Kvikant, born 1724, died 1787. Because Matts had many children, it was clear that they would not all be able to remain at Kvikant and they must look elsewhere for their upkeep.

Matts' son Michel Mattsson Kvikant, born 1754, had an eye for a farmer's daughter at Lågland. His intentions succeeded so well that we soon find him installed as son-in-law at Lågland. He, in this way, had a home and he soon gradually acquired a large family to support. This was the time to take courage to emigrate to Lochteå because Michel had listened to the talk of the good conditions to the north.

In 1819 he decided to move to the praised parish. In reality, visions did not fulfill the small talk. Within a few years he returned rather disappointed to Karleby, and he was quite satisfied that he could lodge his large family in Keldo croft.

When it was time to move, the oldest children were full grown and the family continued to grow with great speed. The oldest son Matts Mickelsson Keldo, born 1787, died 1868, became crofter at Keldo. Until now nothing has been heard of musical talent in the family, but when Matts married Maria Eriksdotter Storkarhu, born in Vörå 1785, died 1858, there was music in the cottage. She was richly endowed with an extraordinarily beautiful singing voice, stated unanimous witnesses. She sang smoothly and gladly so that the whole cottage from the floor to the roof was filled with harmonious euphony.

Four of her sons began to help her as soon as they could move their tongues, for they were gloriously gifted from their mother's inheritance. The oldest in the group was Matts Källström, born 1812, and he became sexton in Kelviå.

The voice did not end with him, but was passed through inheritance to his sons, of which one was sexton/organist in Pyhäjärvi.

Another son at Keldo was Anders Källström, born 1817. His son's son was Director Karl Leonard Källström, born 1880, died 1929. The family asserted that son Anders go the academic way; he became a student and studied theology but died shortly before he was to be ordained. I think they mixed together two cousins.

The third singing son, Karl Källström, born 1819, died 1878. He was selected as sexton at Karleby church in 1861. He lived at Klockars in Storby. At Klockars there were 14 children from four different marriages and many inherited the gift of singing.

As an example, the oldest son Karl Gustaf Källström, b. 1841, was first a sexton in Vetil, and then later he succeeded his father at Karleby. In Vetil he left his son Karl Gustaf Källström, born 1866, as sexton. When the latter's son Martti Johannes Lähdevirta, born 1900, became sexton in Vetil, they had four generations still in ecclesiastical singing and musical service.

The fourth singing son at Keldo croft was Leander Källström. He was sexton in Uleåborg and his son Johan Gustaf Kallas, born 1870, tried acoustics in several churches until he found the right church in Uskela parish in Egentliga Finland.

It must be pointed out that the singing gift is not only inherited in the male line, but daughters can also inherit. However in those times women could not produce the service letters of appointment so their contributions are hidden from posterity. As proof of inheritance by the female line, one can point out that sexton Karl Källström's daughter Brita Johanna Källström, born 1859, married fisherman Johan Harald here in the city and their son Captain Hugo Harald was a talented singer, known as "Bas-Hugo."

Scholars who attempted to study the musical hereditary relationship have found there is a combination of at least six different units which can match. They are a feeling for pitch, time, tone strength, rhythm, harmony and tone memory. These different components developed unusually early in the children and the greatly talented can be discovered by four years of age. A noteworthy factor is that the six components are passed on by heredity independently of each other, so that some people possess only some of the components.

It was a particulary interesting report, with a careful search through the entire Källström family, from both the father's and mother's side, and the results recorded as to how the different components were inherited and which characteristics appeared. Our country is lax in the examination of such species.

Hugo Lagström, 27 August 1946

Translated by June Pelo

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