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Lars Frijs of Karleby and his descendants


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No expense has been spared in labor or cost to investigate Lars Frijs' origin. We have had active communication with the Nordic countries concerning the matter. It seems impossible to go back farther in time. Of the many odds and ends we received from different sources, we have a note from Emmi Hultman's collection about refugees in Sweden during the Stora Ofreden (Great Strife), (the collection is found in Helsingfors City Archives) and it reads:

Maria Mejer, Husband Imprisoned, Gets Assistance

In the militia office pay list is the name: Frijs Anders, 2nd Lieutenant with Wrangels Reg. with Nyl. Inf. Reg. 1709 5 April imprisoned.

We know that Maria Mejer, after her husband's death or captivity, moved to be with her son Lars at Visur. When one of Lars Frijs' sons was baptized, one of the godparents was noted: soldier's wife Maria Jakobsdotter. (Was this Lars' mother?) Maria Mejer also died at her son's home.

In Sweden's army during the 1600's there was an officer with the name Anders Frijs, but investigation has not been able to establish that this could have been Lars Frijs' father.

From Allardt: Liljendahls parish history pg 32:

  • Heickas farm, unimportant in itself, became prominent when, toward the close of the 1600's it achieved rank and responsibility. Heickas received the name Fredriksgård and half of Trumpetas was named Månsberg. Both properties belonged to the Meijer family.
  • page 42: - Michelspiltom was a cluster of villages on the eastern side of Forsby River; lying close to each other were Trumpetas, Heickas and Klåskas on the hillside, which later was given the name Kortasbacken after Corporal Cort (Kurt) Pels-Meijer.

This information was given by Mrs. Ella Friis, Helsingfors.

When Maria Mejer died at Visur, no doubt her son Lars Frijs took care of the death certificate. When the church parson made a notation in the church book about Maria, one can be assured that Lars notified them that his mother's father was responsible for armour in Tavastland.


Born 2 Apr 1696, died at Friis in Karleby 21 Aug 1768, staff sergeant 1st class, farmer and fisherman in Karleby, son of Anders Frijs and armour keeper's daughter Maria Meijer from Tavastland; married No. 1 on 1 Apr 1722 to:

Malin Olofsdotter Bäckström

born 8 Feb 1704 at Grisbacka farm, Umeå rural parish (Sweden), died 8 Jul 1738 at Visur in Vittsar village, Karleby (Finland). According to information from the Swedish Archive Bureau, from the year our ancestor married Lars Frijs, she would have been named after her mother Malin from Grisbacka village, Umeå parish. In the following parish list our Malin is not listed any longer. According to the list, she had a brother Nils and sisters Margeta and Carin. To all appearances the parish list from 1722 listed servants, so farmer Olof Olofsson's situation at Grisbacka cannot have been so bad when two or three servants were required, all at the same time. Not any of them stayed for a long time, except Lisbet who served there five years.

We had written on 23 Aug 1954 to the parish office of Umeå parish church Västerhiske and received the first answer 28 Jan 1955. Pastor Th. Lund wrote: "The Frijs couple is found in the marriage book. They married 1 Apr 1722. He wrote that he was: discharged sergeant Lars Frijs; unfortunately an annotation is missing as to where he came from. Concerning her position, she was from Gris-backa. But she is not found in the parish book for Grisbacka. The older build-ings at Grisbacka are nearly gone. Now the area is relatively densely built in the Backen urban district."

Umeå Census 1722-31%%% Grisbacka, Year Found in Village

  • Olof Olofsson 1722 - 1729 - 1731
  • wife Malin 1722 - 1729 - 1731
  • servant Brita 1722 - 1723
  • servant Margeta 1722 - 1726
  • servant Anna 1723
  • servant Malin 1725
  • boy Erik 1724 - 1725
  • servant Malin 1726
  • servant Cicilia 1726
  • servant Margeta 1728 - 1729 - 1731
  • servant Lisbet 1727 - 1729 - 1731
  • farmhand Pär 1729
  • servant Karin 1730 - 1731
  • servant Karin from Böle 1731

Umeå Census 1732-36 %%% Grisbacka, Year Found in Village

  • Olof Olofsson 1732 - 1735
  • wife Malin 1732 - 1735
  • son Nils 1732 - 1735
  • daughter Margeta
  • daughter Carin

The family is found later in the census book 1736-42, but following that they are not found in the same village. Where did they move? They were not found at any time in the parish census book 1742-51, and not in the death book before 1754 in Grisbacka.

On 9 Feb 1955 Theodor Lundh, pastor in Backen, Västerhiske of Lövånger's large parish wrote: "It was thus no help I could give. It would be interesting to find out about Friis and his wife, if their original place of residence could be tracked down. (Malin evidently was not native to Grisbacka, but only there by pure co-incidence, when she could not be found as a daughter to some resident there.)"

Lars Frijs married No. 2 1738 to Maria Jacobsdotter Jurvelius, born 16 Mar 1706 in Brahestad, died 11 Aug 1782 at Friis in Karleby.

The Friis Family Committee had asked the Swedish Archive Bureau in Stockholm to search for Lars Frijs descent in Sweden and his lot before he came to our country and we cite the following:

From lengthy General Inspection Roll for Life Company with Wästerbotten's Regi-ment of 1719, it appears that our ancestor in Nov 1717 was a volunteer with the Major's company. The title volunteer does not imply that he had a soldier's classification but it is generally considered that he served as a volunteer with the company. Two months later in Jan 1718 he was advanced to corporal and later to grenadier staff sergeant 1st class with Lövånger's Company on 13 Oct the same year. The Swedish genealogist considered that earlier he would have received military or other training. It appears that in the Lövånger 1720 census Lars Frijs had stayed there in 1719 and he was still found in the same parish in 1720-22, according to the census.

When Lars Frijs visited our country for the first time, he was sent here by the military. To understand how dangerous it was for Lars Frijs to undertake a mission to our country as a spy for the military, let us look at the final stage of the Swedish-Russian war. The Czar had decided to punish Sweden with terrible severity for the determination to continue the war. After he became ruler of the Baltic Sea's eastern shore, he founded a large navy, while the Swedish naval power during the war deteriorated. During the awful devastation, a large number of the country's cities and villages were stripped and burned and people were murdered or taken away in captivity. Stockholm was also threatened but was saved. The devastation was repeated during 1720-21 and because of the inability of the country to defend itself, the entire eastern coast was on its way to ruin.

On 25 May 1721 Regimental Commander H. M. von Buddenbrock had notified his Majesty the King that he had sent a group of soldiers to the east coast. On 8 July the same year von Buddenbrock notified the king that he was sending a report from Lars Frijs who had just returned. Here is the report:

Staff Sergeant Lars Friis, who on 25 Jun went from here to Österbotten to acquire knowledge, comes today with the report that on the second day early in the morning, he arrived in Gamlakarleby and then headed to Nykarleby. But a piece of news he heard at sea made him think that he probably should go farther to the south where he suspected the Russian galleon fleet was sailing, wherefore he went up to Gamlakarleby and received the following observations from pastor Jacob Falander:

  1. That the Russian fleet arrived at Vasa 16 June where they landed 300 cossacks who would use the highway to Åbo and on 20 June the galleons sailed to Åbo.
  2. As soon as they reached Åbo the army will assemble there or gather at Gefle.
  3. When some of the Russian fleet arrived this spring, there were 10,000 men, half of which were ordered south of Stockholm and the other to the north. When the army came from Stockholm, the Russians with their magnitude went to Nystad when they could more easily have come to Stockholm.
  4. Between Åbo and Petersberg there were three regiments of dragoons to keep control of the people.
  5. Russia has allowed news to be published as to where the fleet can be found in the North.
  6. Russia has allowed it to be publicized in Österbotten that if refugees come there and they took nothing they will be left alone, but whole villages and parishes shall be burned if they become obvious.
  7. In Vasa there was a commander named Sätting with a garrison of 300 dragoons and a captain in Gamlakarleby with 15 men who would liquidate throughout the country all sheriffs and farmers from the land under their disposition.
  8. There shall be respite from Åbo to Räfvell to attend the Duke of Holstein's nuptials, but the Duke will be forbidden to have a house until peace is reached. A pastor in Kronoby parish named Gustaf Boman (Bogman) told that he hid a staff sergeant away from the Russian enemy in his bedroom for one night.

If Pastor Gustaf Bogman in Kronoby hid Lars Friis one night in his bedroom, Lars Friis must have landed at Hästö. At that time pastor Hummel's home was on the highway to Gamlakarleby.

We received information from military documents about the equipment Lars Friis had when he was with Wästerbotten's Regiment and when he came over as a spy in 1721.

In 1717 Wästerbotten's Regiment took part in battle at Strömstad and followed Karl XII against Norway. The newly installed regiment was clad in rough homespun, preferably in blue; coat and hat were lined with blue and gold. In 1719 when the regiment defended the country against the Russian landing forces, their equipment was worn out. No more caps with flaps on the side to wear with heavy artillery, and no hats for the enlisted men of black felt with brim raised so that it formed three angles. White was still the color of the facing of the lining in the collar, and also turned up on the waistcoat and trousers. In 1721 the men began to use leather trousers and leather vests. (Clothing documents from War Archives in Stockholm). In 1722 Lars Friis was discharged.

The second time Lars Frijs came to our country he was married. During the time he served in the Umeå company he became acquainted with Malin Olofsdotter of Grisbacka. He married her 1 Apr 1722. Could Grisbacka have been a demesne of the Crown and presented to the city of Umeå?

The census for Umeå parish for 1715 shows Olof Jönsson: husband, wife and daughter. For the year 1716 Olof Jönsson: husband and wife. For 1722 Olof Olofsson: husband, wife, with no information about the home or Lars Frijs, but for 1724 Frijs is missing.

Lars Frijs had a war comrade called Bäckström and one can see in him a connection to Malin Frijs. In Kamma archives for Wästerbotten in 1720 there is a note: Corporal Bäckström and 1st Lieutenant Lars Frijs. They are still named there in 1721 and 1722.

According to Prof. Tallgren who did the research, Lars Frijs came to our parish as early as 1723. The oral tradition tells that when Malin Olofsdotter and Lars Frijs walked along to their home, Malin tore her silk cloak. Their home then was Palo farm; at that time the road was an untrodden forest path - the waterway was used most of the time.

The first visible proof of Lars Frijs at this place is found in the book of births and baptisms. It shows: 1724 19 May, 20 May Palo Lars Frijs Maria Back (Bock) ANNA MARIA. The couple's oldest child, son Anders, is not found in the same book. Was he born in another place? But where? And where did the Frijs couple live between 1722-24?

On 20 May godparents for Anna Maria are noted: merchant Lars Calander and wife, Monsr. Johan Wendelius, maiden Magdalena Langman and from the city Anders Haukilax and wife Maria.

Lars Frijs' first residence in Karleby was in Palo village, located near the house of Anders Haukilax. Haukilax farm is old. It was mentioned as early as 1546. Then the houses were numbered in 1750, and Haukilax was given number 1.

The "bridge burst" between the distant past and the present time when the church books in most of the parishes in the country burned or disappeared during the Stora Ofreden (Great Strife) and all search for the origins of ancestors was impossible. Also the army's list is largely incomplete.

Maria Mejer was evidently of German birth by name. According to municipal archivist Nils Staafs while searching in Stockholm he found, in a register of German parish baptism books, several named Maria Mejer were noted as born but none in the year 1650. In registers of other parish books no Maria Mejer was found. People with the same family name can be found in different parts of our country. In Helsingfors in 1624 there was Simon Mejer. In Åbo ca 1700 there were Hans, Johan, Lorentz and Wijde Mejer; also Herman Meijer.

In Mrs. Emmi Hultman's notes, found in Helsingfors City Archives, mention is made of refugees in Sweden during Stora Ofredan. We find that E. Mejer and his wife Christina left the country and traveled to Stockholm, that Maria Meijer's husband was a prisoner 1714, that Anders Frijs, skipper at Björneborg 13 Oct 1715 was fleeing to Västervik, Sweden. Perhaps this gives a clue for future genealogists.

We return to Lars Frijs' first residence in Karleby - Palo. After Stora Ofreden there were many deserted homes in our parish and many military officials' residences. Lars Frijs was looking for a suitable farm home and thought he would take one of the official's residences after a suitable period of time. There were more of these residences in Österbotten than in southern Finland. Most of the tenant officers took these residences that were deserted. And many of them became farmers which was a credit to our area.

An old document from 1733 kept at Visur revealed that Visur in Vittsar village was a military official's residence. It is among the oldest in present-day Karleby - on the southern shore of a dried up arm of an estuary of Karleby river close to the deserted port at Brantberget from which the large Fordell family carried on trade with the interior country.

According to the 1690 Land Book the Visur crown home was occupied by Jakob Visur, wife Elsa, brother Matts and sister Gertrude until 1714, time of the Russians, then there lived the writer with the Major's company, Corporal Gottfrid Bock, born 1688, died 1764. After peace in 1721 it was inhabited by Matts Jakobsson Visur, born 1670. In 1725 Matts Jakobsson Visur turned his home at Visur over to Lars Frijs, and Matts Visur moved to Paasiala in Nedervetil. Matts Visur returned to Visur and died there 8 Jul 1753 at an old age. In 1739 his son Henrik asked for the house after Lars Frijs bought the Hilli home.

Lars Frijs' Visur - the old Visur - was mentioned in a document kept at the home of family member Frithiof Andersson Björk at Liljeberg. It belongs to the Krumpila home. The place formerly was an island called Bergö. The following homes were found there starting from the estuary: Fordell, Visur, Krumpila, Vesse.

In 1812 Lars Andersson Porko, born in Kaino, was a farmer at Porko in Såka. He was the son of Carin (Catarina) Larsdotter Frijs, born 16 Sep 1753 at Kaino, daughter of Lars Frijs. Lars Andersson appraised his grandfather's former home as a surveyor! We should remember that Lars Frijs lived 8 years at Visur and it is remarkable that his daughter's son should appraise it 87 years later.

A description of old Visur follows: On the north side of the yard:

  1. An old dwelling place without fireplace, with rooms and entrance hall under a rotting birch-bark roof, broken windows and floor. On the other side of the building in front was a little cottage with open fireplace, weakened floor, roof and windows.%%%On the east side of the yard:%%%
  2. An old dwelling place with rooms and entrance hall with windows, fireplace and oven in the building with birch-bark roof.
  3. An old stable and barn with gateway and a loft above, under a birch-bark roof.
  4. An old sled shed under a decaying roof; unfit.
  5. An old cattle shed under a birch roof and a decaying floor.
  6. Another old small cattle shed under a peat roof with nothing beneath it.
  7. An old cattle shed without roof or floor.
  8. An old fodder barn under a peat roof.
  9. An old fodder barn without roof or floor.
  10. An old decayed bathing house.
  11. A grain shed.
  12. Another grain shed.

In addition was an old granary with a newer barn under a peat roof. There were 24 meadow barns, nearly all rotted. Around the house were 6 acres of average soil, a deteriorated drain, an old weakened fence. The wooded area consisted of small fir and juniper bushes.

This site was on the north side of a dried up outlet of the Karleby river. On the northeast side of the yard was a very high slope toward the river. Brant rapids was close by where a mill was constructed and not far from Brant hill is where a shipbuilder possibly lived at the time.

In the book of births and baptisms we find: 1725 23 Aug, 24 Aug Visur, Visur Corporal Lars Frijs, Maria Bock, OLOF. Godparents: Lt. Petter Grefwe, Henrik Pasanen, Matts Vessi, Johan Carlenni and wife, maiden Lisa Carlenia, soldier's widow Maria Jakobsdotter (probably the mother of Lars Frijs).

Glancing through the church book, we find: Visur 1725 24 June: Lars Frijs, wife Magdalena Back or Bäck or Bock, servant Anna Johansdotter, soldier's widow Maria Jakobsdotter (Lars' mother?), daughter Margeta Johansdotter, widow Anna Hindriksdotter, servant ... Mårtensdotter.

The only time the names were written as Frese and Magdalena Back, Bäck or Bock was at the end of the same line; at the end of the following line across and underneath Magdalena and above Jakobsdotter was the syllable "ström". Was Lars Frijs' wife also called Back, Bäck, Bock - or Backström, Bäckström, Bockström? In the church book it is a permanent variation of, as well as, the family name.

It is surely this circumstance that conveyed to Prof. Tallgren the idea that Lars Frijs was married three times. That is evident in his notes in the Helsingfors City Archives:

  • 1st time with Kristin Back-, Bäck- or Bockström, born 1704
  • 2nd time with Magdalena Bock, born 16 Mar 1706 and
  • 3rd time with Maria Jurvelia, born 1706.

Our opinion however is that Lars Frijs had two marriages and that the first wife was Malin Magdalena Olofsdotter Bäckström. It seems that if Prof. Tallgren believed she was Corporal Bock's daughter or sister, then she had already come to Karleby before Stora Ofreden.

In the following years the family increased. Now was written: 1726 19 Oct, 22 Oct Lars Frijs, Magdalena Bock OLOF. The year after that a new note in the same book: 1727 23 Dec, 24 Dec Lars Frijs, Magdalena Bock CATHARINA. God-parents: Johan Afgander, Anders Visur and wife, Erik Gunnars and wife, maiden Anna Johansdotter, Visur. Again in 1729 the children at Visur increased on 16 May with daughter MAGDALENA. And in 1732 19 Sep, 21 Sep they had a daughter MALIN, born at Visur.

During their residence at Visur Lars and his wife experienced sad events, On 21 Feb 1725 son Olof died and the following year another son with the same name. Anders Frijs seems to have died before his wife or was taken prisoner, because Maria Mejer moved later to the son at Visur and died there. In the church book we read of the event at Visur: Armour keeper's son-in-law Anders Frijs' wife Maria Mejer died 23 Apr 1729 at an old age of 77 years.

In 1732 Lars Frijs and family left Visur and took over the home of Ifwar Ifwarsson Hilli in Korplax village. In the fall of 1732 Lars Frijs moved to Jokikylä. The first child born there was Helena on 17 Nov 1733.

In 1738 we find a note of great sadness for Lars Frijs. His dear wife died at Jokikylä, only 33 years, 11 months old. In the communion book we read: Jokikylä: Lars Frijs, born 2 Apr 1696, wife Maria Jacobsdotter Jurvelia, former wife Malin Bäckström, born 8 Aug 1704, died 1738. Lars remarried the same year his wife died. He took Holy Communion that year on 21 May and 14 Sep.

The names of the couple are not found in the book of marriages. They evidently had been married in Brahestad, the home of Maria Jurvelius.

A few years after marriage to Lars Friis, Maria Jurvelius experienced a poor year in 1741 which was alleviated thanks to fishing. Another bad year was 1742, then came the Russian hussars, led by General Kindermann known in the country for his humanity.

In 1740 when a seating adjustment took place in Karleby church, we find on the women's side in bench No. 1, pastor's wife; in bench No. 2, chaplain's wife; in bench No. 3, Lt. Carlander's wife and Lt. Grefwe's wife; bench No. 4, Corporal Gottfrid Bock's wife; bench No. 11, Sergeant Lars Friis' wife Maria Jurvelius.

Maria Jurvelius was from a leading family in Brahestad. Her ancestry came from farmer Erik Ångerman or Sursill. Officially he called himself Sursill. Under that name he achieved a remarkable reputation as one of the world's greatest pro-genitors. He had three daughters and two sons as well as quite a family of ordinary children.

Eliel Sandbacka sent us an article from a Swedish newspaper about Gen. Sursilliana and "Vanha Raahe" of Paulaharju, which states as follows:

In Ångermanland in the 1500's a farmer who was then a shopkeeper went to the market at Uppsala where he went under the provincial name Ångerman. As a native of Ångermanland he also dealt with Baltic herring (later called Baltic Sea herring). During Gustaf Vasa's war of liberation 1521-23, he took a large con-signment of various herring to the army. He delivered not only the usual inexpensive salt herring but also some "sour herring", prepared pickled herring, but this delicacy was not accepted without complaints about rotten food.

Erik Ångerman was prosecuted and judged for false delivery and to everyone he acquired the nickname Sursill (sour herring). The Swedish people have always liked nicknames and in Stockholm's city book from that time one encounters names such as "Lasse Skånsk Sill" (Lasse Scanian Herring); "Martin Surlax" (Martin Sour Salmon), and others. These nicknames were immovable, but Erik Ångerman was clever enough to avoid the point of cruelty - he took the nickname as a family name and officially called himself Sursill.

His daughters all married in Österbotten and were first ancestresses for an extra-ordinarily widespread family. One son had seven daughters who also married in Finland and likewise had a large number of descendants. In the middle of the 1600's these Sursill descendants had gained such a prevalance that most of the minister's- and public official's families in Österbotten have a kinship with each other.

Through the richness in daughters, the following branches involved over time many familiar names in the large family and the Sursill descendants have such dimensions that presently hardly any family can be found in Österbotten or in all of Finland that is not connected to the Sursill genealogical tree. Many prominent people of our day belong, Baron Mannerheim in particular. (Also J. Sibelius)

The Sursill descendants have also appeared in Sweden, and many of the Swedish family names are Aminoff, Armfelt, Bonde, Horn, Knorring, von Schwerin, Lagercrantz, Palmstjerna, Nordensvan, Langensköld, Linder, Ekman, Palme, Rålamb, Tondén, Grafström, Kempe, Hernmarck, Bruzelius, Salin, Edelstam, Tigerstedt, Kalling, Liljenerantz and many others.

The simple Erik Ångerman Sursill stands as progenitor of over 1,500 large families through all classes of society, spread over the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, Germany, France and America.

Lars Friis' second wife Maria Jurvelius' line descends from Erik Sursill:

  1. Erik Ångerman or Sursill in Ångermans Teg. Noted in tax records as Teg 1539. Died ca 1548.
  2. Östen Eriksson Sursill, marshal in Umeå, 1751
  3. Christina Östensdotter Sursill, married Johan Lithovius or Corvinus, chaplain in Limingo 1593. Died 1634.
  4. Brita Johansdotter Lithovius married to Caspar Forbus, born in Danzig of a Scottish family.
  5. Chatarina Casparsdotter Forbus, married Michel Michelsson Balt, from France. Died 1676.
  6. Chatarina Michelsdotter Balt, born 1655-70, died 31 May 1731. Married to Jacob Jurvelius, born ca 1665-70, died 31 May 1731.
  7. Maria Jacobsdotter Jurvelius, married to Lars Frijs 1738 in his second marriage.


The first in this famous family was named Lars (Laurentius), farmer in Littois village in St. Karins parish near Åbo. Son Henrik Larsson (Laurentius) was named after his home village Littois, Lithovius and became the progenitor of this family. In 1583 he went to Limingo as pastor, and was among those who signed the Uppsala Conference Resolution 1593. He died 1615. From him came the Alfholm, Hoffrén families and from the female line the Topelius family. Many of the Lithovius family members, and in particular poet Z. Topelius, have been known in the field of literature; also as pastors. His son,

Henric Larsson married #1 Catharina Östensdotter Sursill. Had 3 children. He married #2, name not known. They had 7 children. It's possible that son Johannes from the first marriage married the twin sister of Henric's wife (Christina Östensdotter Sursill). He was a pastor in Ijo; son Joseph succeeded his father in office; son Christiern was a chaplain in Limingo.

Daughter Brita Lithovius from the second marriage, married Caspar Fraulsson Forbus.


This family came from Danzig to Finland via Scotland. Caspar Fraulsson Forbus married pastor's daughter Brita Lithovius-Limingius. They had 4 children; daughter Catharina Caspersdotter married Michael Balt or Baltil, from France.


He is thought to have descended from France. It is known that he took part in the work on St. Jacob's church in Stockholm and was called from there by Henric Klasson Fleming to Åbo to set up the pulpit in the cathedral. The work was done in 1650. It is also thought that he built the cathedral pulpit. Some years later we find him a well-to-do citizen in Uleåborg, married to Catharina Forbus. From his brother-in-law in Brahestad, Henric Corte, he received a commission to build a pulpit for Brahestad's church, which was paid for by Corte and was finished 1655. The next commission was interior decorating in Uleåborg's church. Then came the large task of decorating Brahestad's old church; Prof. Samuli Paulaharju in his book "Vanha Raahe" wrote of the pulpit as a holy sculpture in the church. The improvement of the pulpit in Karleby church was influenced by Michael Balt. According to Prof. Helmer Tegengren the shield that adorns the Kronoby church wall was a work of Michael Balt. In Finland's history of art he occupied a remarkable position as being a supreme wood carver. He died 1676. Daughter Catharina Michelsdotter Balt, born ca 1667-70, died 14 Jun 1731, married to Jacob Jurvelius, born ca 1665-70, died 31 May 1731, citizen of Brahestad. They had more than 10 children. Daughter Maria, born 16 Mar 1706, married Lars Frijs in 1738.

In Uleåborg's city history it says that forefather Michael Jurvelius was one of Åbo Academy's first students, law clerk on the University's council 1643-50, master of arts with the first place of honor; assisted professor of philosophy faculty 1649. Several times nominated for a professor's seat, but never succeeded. Pastor in Uleåborg 1667. His death year unknown. He published Oratio de Supberga Jugiende, Åbo 1645. His son evidently was the citizen Jacob Jurvelius who moved to Brahestad. He became progenitor for the numerous Brahestad Jurvelius families. For many generations members of this family have served as pillars in the city; sometimes they stood higher, sometimes lower on the social scale. They have been merchants, expert shoemakers and teachers of infants. The foremost families in Brahestad lived on Storgatan, such as Sovelius, Lang, Jurvelius. On the battlefields they have stood in the front ranks. In the Thirty Year War members of the Sovelius and Jurvelius families were at the front.

The books of birth, marriages and deaths in the archives of Brahestad's church begin in 1690, written Holy Communion records in 1760, but they do not give the exact birth year for either Jacob Jurvelius or his wife. It states there: 1731, citizen Jacob Jurvelius passed away 31 Jun and was buried in the church yard. Jacob Jurvelius' wife was Catharina Balt. Through her comes many farmer famlilies in Karleby that belong to this large family group. Catharina passed away 14 Jun and was buried in the church yard. They had more than 10 children. From them one can conclude that Jacob Jurvelius was born 1655-70, his wife 1665-75.

Of the many children we are most interested in Maria, born 16 Mar 1706, married to Lars Frijs from Karleby 1738. In Gamlakarleby there was a master tailor Johan Jurvelius (Jacobsson) who surely was her brother. He owned a house on Västra Kyrkogatan in the 5th block and was married to Margareta Jacobsdotter Larick, born 30 Nov 1690. Jacob Jurvelius may have had another brother and Maria another brother named Michael, magistrate in Brahestad. His son was called Michael Michaelsson Jurvelius and was the most famous of his family in Brahestad. As the name Michael goes from father to son, it can be seen that this Jacob Jurvelius should be son to the pastor in Uleåborg.

We do not have anything personal about either Malin Olofsdotter or Maria Jurvelius for their descendants. They and all the women of that time grew up, married, worked, bore children for the world and died with much toil and moil and too many childbirths. It was a common epitaph on their gravestones - if they had any.

Lars Frijs died 21 Aug 1768 of gallstones or kidney stones, at the age of 73 years, 20 days. He left 13 living children. We will attempt to give a list of the many children from both marriages. It is a problem because some of the children were not entered in the churchbooks, whereas some births or deaths of children in the second marriage have the same baptismal name as children in the first marriage. From the first marriage:

  • son Anders, born 12 Jan 1723, died 4 May 1784, married Anna Hansdotter Härmälä
  • daughter Anna Maria, born 19 May 1724, died 26 Aug 1773, married Zachris Thomasson
  • son Olof, born 23 Aug 1725, died 21 Feb 1725
  • son Olof, born 19 Oct 1726, died 1726
  • daughter Catharina, born 22 Dec 1727, died 1805, married Anders Porko
  • daughter Malin, born 16 May 1729, died 7 Dec 1729
  • son Johan, born 1731, died 1741
  • daughter Magdalena (Malin), born 19 Sep 1732, died 24 Jun 1807, married Gabriel Rönberg
  • daughter Helena, born 17 Nov 1733, married Fenrick Humble
  • son Lars, born 1735, died at age 14

Children from the second marriage:

  • daughter Margareta, born 1741, married Jakob Harald (Härmälä)
  • son Isak, born 28 May 1742, died 1 May 1779
  • daughter Anna Catharina, born 18 Jan 1744, married Hans Härmälä
  • son Erik, born 21 Apr 1745, died 2 Feb 1746
  • daughter Maria Elisabeth, born 4 Mar 1746, died 2 Mar 1785, married Jakob Väster
  • son Johannes, born 19 Mar 1747, died 1776
  • son Nathanael, born 7 Jul 1748, married #1 Anna Beata Tast
  • son Anders, born 16 Jan 1749
  • daughter Sofia, born 28 Nov 1749, died 24 Jan 1808, married Michel Christoffersson Merijärvi
  • daughter Brita, born 18 Mar 1751, died 12 Sep 1751
  • son Friedrich, born 8 Apr 1753, d. 22 Apr 1756

Daughter Helena was the first to be born in Jokikylä, as the Hilli home was called at the time and all the rest of the children were born there.

The expression "married in full dress" means that at the wedding the bride was clad in a large bridal crown (when the veil began to be used with the bridal outfit we do not know), the wedding dress and flowers across the breast from the left shoulder to approximately the middle of the right side. In our parish, the wedding traditionally was celebrated in the bridegroom's home.

When Lars Friis' daughter Catharine married, surely the wedding was at Kaino. When the second daughter Magdalena married in 1758, the wedding surely was at Hilli. Her fiancé Gabriel Rönberg was from Sweden, master gardner from Västerbotten, Bureå in Lövånger (another with the same surname, 2nd Lt. Rönberg, has been discovered in the same parish). It was written about the bride that she was clad in full dress. The newly married lived long at Hilli and it was during that time that Gabriel Rönberg was the first in all of Österbotten to cultivate potatoes.

If one checks the baptism book for the people who stood as godparents to Lars Friis' children, one frequently finds names that don't come from our area but belong to native Swedes. That these people were called godparents gives us reason to think they were from Lars Friis' best circle of friends. So we find examples of Gunnars or Gunnarsholm Corporal Gottfrid Bock, wife Brita Grewe, from Lillhonga Petter Grewe and wife Anna Boberg. Suomalax, Kauster came in front of Corporal Jonas Nordkvist in 1731; from 1734 the same person was at Visur; at Gunnars in 1738 was Lt. Callandar, 1742 Captain; Baron Friesendorf. From Wenturs Anders Gadolin, wife Anna Christina Bonge, from the pastor's house in 1725 was found Lt. Gustaf Jernfelt, wife Maria Sander. At Hakalax lived Jakob married to Falander's widow; at Domars parish writer Thomas Laiberg, wife Brita Scharpiorg; at Sofwila 1725 Captain Claas, wife Brita Grandel; from Storkåla Corp. Johan Deidrich Gyllenfalle, wife Brita, etc.

At the burial of Lars Friis on 28 Aug 1768 his widow gave the church 4 rixdollars. What did this money cover? For ringing the bell and bier clothing 1 rixdollar was usually given at the time. We should not seek his last resting place under the church floor or in the church yard. Toward the close of the 1700's people were buried like that; earlier they were in a grave under the church floor. Pastor Jakob Chydenius died two years earlier than Lars Friis and his grave was found under the altar. The old church was so little (8 graves abreast from the north to the south). In the 1600's a burial place there cost from 11-50 rixdollars. And when Kvikant Hans in 1686 bought an open grave in the bell yard it cost 6 rixdollars.

No, Lars Friis' remains were buried in a more barbaric manner. One can see a bone basket in the church yard with the year 1701 on it. One could read:

          You wretched child of a human,
          Who the world's path shall wander,
          Consider yourself mortal, and see
          Now how it is for others,
          Your haughtiness and what
          Your world built in the name of bliss.
          Here is found a poor farmer
          Who would like to rest with those
          Of higher station.
          These plentiful bones
          All have here a haven.


The dead did not lie long in the grave they were lowered in. After some years - about three - they were taken out of the graves, the coffins emptied, and their contents shoveled into the bone basket with all the muscles, tendons, etc. so the air and the sun would dry them up, whereafter the bones in time sank down through the bottom of the bone basket into a walled cellar in the ground. This bone pit or cellar was at the western wall between the window and the corner.

On 20 Oct 1768 an estate inventory was held at the Hilli home in Korplax village after deceased Lars Friis left his 13 children. From the first marriage: son Anders and daughters Anna Maria, Catharina, Magdalena and Helena. From the second marriage: sons Isak, Johan and Nathanael, also daughters Anna Catharina, Margareta, Maria Elisabet, Sophia and Brita.

Daughters from the first marriage were all married: Anna Maria to Zachris Thomasson, Catharina to farmer Anders Porko, Magdalena to Gabriel Rönberg, and Helena to Fenrich Humble.

From the second marriage, daughter Maria was married to farmer Jakob Harald, and Anna Catharina to Hans Härmälä; Maria Elisabet, Sophia and Brita were minors, also son Nathanael who was twenty years old and for whom Erich Honga became guardian.

These participants were present at the inventory, and the authorities were notified about the honesty of the estate agent's report that follows:

The house was valued at 1,500 copper coins. Personal property valued at 3426:29. Debts of 800:3 copper coins.

Lars Friis had instructed that one half of the homestead and landed property should go to son-in-law Zachris and the other half to son Isak, and after their death their inheritors would have without protest what was left.

After they jointly paid 100 copper coins to sons Johan and Nathanael, they also without protest of other inheritors shall have intact as examined above.

His widow Maria Jurvelius received as an inheritance wearing apparel, bed clothing and 1/3 of his holdings which amounted to 75 dalers, 19 1/2 öre. His portion of the residence which was valued at 1757 dalers, 6 1/2 öre brought her 87 d. 17 2/3 öre as a morning gift. Naturally she did not get all of this in ready money, but with goods as the largest share.

Among the personal property items we noted a silver bowl, a silver mug, Russian ruble coins and Swedish Karoliners, large and small plates, etc. During that period of time they customarily used a schnapps boiler, with hood and pipes missing; 4 pewter bowls, 6 flat pewter plates, 1 pewter beer pot, an old battered brass light plate, a steel pot and many kinds of iron tools.

Of the names of descendants of Lars Friis that were submitted, two were called Friesenfelt. We wonder if it was an aristocratic name or a nickname. Brita Maria Storträsk, married to Johan Sven Johansson Hilli used to say that Lars Friis was of noble rank. The same was said by Maja Lisa Kaislaranta, who recently reached 90 years - that Matts Isaksson was of noble rank. And Matts Isaksson himself now and then said to Helena Johansdotter Haukilax (Herman Haglund's mother): "You should remember who you speak to. Yes, a Storfriise who is of Swedish noble birth." In Ramsay Jully, Frälse-Släkten i Finland upp till Stora Ofreden, page 132, it states "Friis possessed King Erik of Pommern's noble letter drawn up 1 Dec 1407 for Tahvio or Friisilä of Reso parish. It ended on the male side ca 1605. Weapon unknown. Chief Magistrate Magnus Friis' signet showed a bomärke (owners' mark)."

The ancestor was above all a yeoman, like most of his descendants, who loved his native soil and in faith worked and furthered and enlarged the entire area. A deed equally important in the field of spiritual cultivation as the share other family members received. Lars Friis had a reputation and could "behave" himself better than other parish residents, which shows that he could lead the way, who organized the Karleby residents and who met King Adolf Fredrik at Kronoby when he visited Gamlakarleby.

But Lars Friis was not only a businessman and efficient farmer, he was perhaps more industrious as a fisherman. We see that he left his descendants many fishing instruments: a large seine valued at 100 rixdollars, 13 herring nets, 33 whitefish nets, bream nets, 28 pike hoop nets and 16 string bags. In addition, he had 1 sea boat with sail, 2 net boats, 1 skiff, half share of a sea boat with Härmälä. At Renö there was a residence with a fish house, a residence at Trullö, a sea boat at Storlång sound, a little net house at Fiskvik with a little cottage.

Among household things we found a large and a small chest and among the cloth items a Visigoth table cover, which gives an explanation to two other similar handwork items that exist in the parish.

Lars Friis seems not to have had any interest in books to judge from the property left behind. Only a Bible and two psalmbooks were found.

Among the livestock were 3 horses, 17 cattle and 17 sheep. Among the horse equipment, 1 saddle of old leather that is in the Museum of History in Vasa and that was exhibited at the first family meeting. It is also said that he had silver spurs which are at Österbotten's Historical Museum at Vasa. They are not mentioned in the inventory among the silver or riding equipment. Among the latter was a pair of old bridles. In the cottage was a cradle with lining and a mangle. There was not much free-standing furniture except for a drop-leaf table and 10 old chairs.

Lars Friis had claims from tanner Zetterberg, wigmaker Wippert, coppersmith Wijl and others for a total of 857 rixdollars. Among the claimants was tradesman Forsell whose estate shows that Friis had contact with Umeå, Sweden.

Maria Jurvelius outlived her husband by 14 years and her oldest son by 3 years - Isak who died 1 May 1779. Legal proceedings compelled Maria to meet with disappointment. The president of the court of appeals in Vasa and Uleå had sentenced Zachris Hilli to pay a fine in a lawsuit at district court in Gamlakarleby between him, plaintiff, and widow Maria Jurvelius from the same village, together with farmer Anders Porko as guardian for farmer Isak Hilli's minor children - as defendants, because Zachris Hilli after his sentencing 28 Jun 1775 did not commence settlement and moved his house from his Hilli lot.

Maria Jacobsdotter Jurvelius-Friis died 11 Aug 1782 at an age of 76 years. The estate inventory was conducted the 19th of the same month. Her heirs were deceased son Isak Hilli's children, sons Matts and Lars, son Nathanael Friis, coppersmith, daughters Margareta, married to Jakob Härmälä; Anna Catharina Larsdotter Friis, married to Hans Härmälä; Maria Elisabeth married to farmer's son Jakob Väster; also Sophia married to farmer's son Michel Christoffersson Mer-järvi. All were at the inventory of the estate, together with farmer Anders Porko, guardian for Isak Hilli's minor children.

The property that Maria left was valued at 101 rixdollars but it was agreed that it should be sold at auction to the highest bidders. In that way 115.25 came in and this sum was shared between the heirs. They were:

  • Zachris Granlund
  • Anders Hilli
  • Jakob Harald (wife Margareta)
  • Jakob Väster (wife Maria Elisabet)
  • Anders Porko (guardian)
  • Hans Möller (executor)
  • Nathanael Friis
  • Hans Härmälä (wife Anna Catharina)
  • Michel Merijärvi (wife Sophia)
  • Anders Härmälä (guardian)

Source: Lars Frijs i Karleby och hans ättlingar, Karleby 1989, Österbottningens Tryckeri. Editor Emma Pulkkis.

Translated by June Pelo

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