In 1949, my mother and grandmother visited grand-uncle Arthur and his wife Heja at her place in Finland called Jeppas. There were lots of photos and the stories were wonderful to hear. My cousins and I started to look for Jeppas to see if the villa was still there, if Heja's descendants were still there. It was a very long search, mostly because some of my mother's memories were not accurate. She implied Jeppas was an island unto itself -- it turns out to be on an island called Sarvisalo in Loviisa Finland. Mother said to get there in 1949, they sailed to Helsinki then took a train through a Russian zone (Porkkala), which would place Jeppas west of Helsinki, but Sarvisalo is in fact east of Helsinki. Mother said Heja's name before she married uncle Arthur was Söderblom, but in fact it was Söderholm -- after Heja married granduncle Arthur, she married some called Forsblom -- hence my mother's confusion.

BUT, thanks to the huge and time consuming efforts of very many people, we now know Jeppas and the pig farm were on Sarvisalo, the villa is still there and Heja's descendants still own the property, which is next door to the Zabludowicz Collection art gallery. My cousin's wife, Leena, broke it open when she contacted "Tempus Fugit" at their Facebook Page and website: http://tempusfugit.sivustot.fi/kuvat/. People there found a eulogy written for Heja who died in 1999., mentioning Jeppas on Sarvisalo. A huge thank you to Leena and everyone at Tempus Fugit who helped solve this mystery; I know very many people spent a lot of time looking for Jeppas.  And another huge thank you to Pertti, the Finnish sea captain who made huge efforts and contacts to find Jeppas. And then more thank yous to Caragh at the Zabludowicz Collection who took the time to read my emails and answer them and put me in touch with Heja's descendants. My cousins and I are truly thrilled to find the Jeppas of our parents and grandmother! One ancestor mystery really solved.

Here is my Swedish grandmother wearing a pin in the shape of a shield at her neck. I believe she made the pin—she was a jeweler, among her other talents. I think the pin’s design was based on the coat of arms used by King Oscar I in 1844 to represent the union of Sweden and Norway. The top of the shield sports two identical intricate crowns. Under the left crown, she fashioned the three Swedish crowns on a background of blue enamel. This was the national emblem of Sweden dating back to the 1300s. It seems there has been some discussion on what the three crowns represented. What do you think?

Some say the three crowns originated with Albrekt of Mecklenburg, who ruled Sweden from 1364 to 1389, and the crowns stood for Sweden, Finland and Mecklenburg. They were definitely found on the coins of Magnus Erikson, marking his kingdoms of Sweden, Norway and Scania (now Skåne, including Malmö). The three crowns had quite a checkered history, even playing a part in a war between Denmark and Sweden when both wanted to use the symbol in 1563.

Under the crowns, there is a silver lion on a tri-corner shield of bold blue and white stripes. This was the first coat of arms of Sweden, also originating in the 1300s. Under the right crown, there is a larger golden lion, wearing his own crown and brandishing an ax on a background of red. This is the coat of arms of Norway, used since the Sverre dynasty in the 1100s.

In the middle of the pin, there is an oval divided in half. The oval represented the arms of the current dynasty of the Bernadottes. On the left, a sheaf of wheat represents the Vasa rule and on the right, a bridge was depicted from the principality of Pontecorvo, a gift from Emperor Napoleon in 1806. The eagle of Napoleon flew over the bridge and seven stars in the sky stood for the Marshal of France. But my grandmother only put five stars – maybe she ran out of room. I guess all Swedes and Norwegians are thoroughly familiar with all this, but I enjoyed finding out about this pin, which I now wear occasionally.

Information is from from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Crowns. Accessed 30 May 2014. Please feel free to correct any mistakes I have made and weigh in on those three crowns.





We received the following comment:

I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/05/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-may-23-2014.html
Have a great weekend!"

Thanks Jana!!

This is a photo of a relative in the extended family who was born in Sweden around 1850. As shown, he was a Knight of the Polar Star (RNO) Knight of the Vasa Order (RWO), Knight Third Class of the Order of the Crown of Prussia, Knight of the Order of the White Falcon and Esteemed Commander of the Order of the Griffin.

The Order of the Polar Star was for chivalry and civic merits. It was created by King Frederick I of Sweden in 1748. The Order of the Vasa was given to Swedes for service to the state and society.

The Order of the Crown of Prussia was instituted in 1861 for chivalry and given to commissioned officers or civilians of equal status. The Order of the White Falcon came from the Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (which ended in 1918). The Order of the Griffin was founded by the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1884.

My question is the following: Would a member of the Swedish noble class automatically be awarded German medals for his status, or might this relative have been in Germany around the turn of the century. As far as we know, he was in Sweden, working with traffic and the railways, but then, he is one of our mysteries.

A "gökotta" is an old tradition of getting up and out before sunrise to observe the birds that appear at the beginning of spring. "Gök" is a cuckoo bird and "otta" is early in the morning. This one happened in 1898 at a regimental site called Polacksbacken in Uppsala and my grand-aunt and -uncle are in there. Today the word just means "early in the morning."

One of my Swedish great-grandfathers got the King's Medal from Oscar II in the late 1800s for work he did on restoring a major church. You see him here.

The other great-grandfather got the Order of the Vasa, presumably for work he did with the Swedish Railways.

Can any Swedes or other experts tell me which would have been considered a greater honor?

PS. Please have a look at "Your Mysteries" also on this site, where we have a guest mystery to solve. Send in one yourself.

We have interesting progress on the picnic island; see photos at the top of the blog. Jay Fonkert kindly consulted NGA GEOnet Names Server (http://earth-info.nga.mil/gns/html/; last updated Mar 25, 2014) and found 12 other islands or "rocks" called Kråkskär !!! Just proves you need to know your resources so you can do the research most thoroughly. Thank you, Jay! One of them was half way up Finland's west coast, so that is ruled out (too far from Helsinki by train in 1949 and the Russian zone of Porkkala). Most of the others were near Mariehamn, half way back to Sweden, so it would have been easier to take a boat from there if Jeppas is close to any of those Kråkskär places. So for now I am sticking with the Kråkskär that is about 40 km SSW of Turku. It is the easternmost possibility. I think Jeppas must be in there somewhere closer to Turku because my mother said they sailed out into the archipelago for the picnics on Kråkskär (and could see Russian patrol boats).

Jay also found a "rock" in Finland called Jeppkläpp (NGA GEOnet Names Server). It is a possibility for Jeppas, although I think Jeppas was more than a rock. See photo to the left, another of the main villa. The "rock" was another 25-30 km further SW from Kråkskär (and about 70 km from Turku), so not in my hypothesized direction. It looks about equidistant from Mariehamn and Turku, so if that's where they were going, it would have been easier to go from Mariehamn.

In this photo, I have often wondered what that statue on the pedestal behind grandmother depicts. It should be a pig, since they ran a pig farm on Jeppas. But it looks more like a bear to me. I wonder if it is still there.....

Kråleskön (?) was the place where the picnic took place that is shown in the photos at the top of this blog. My mother wrote on the back of a photo that it was hard to land the sailboat on this rocky island in the Finnish archipelago. She did all the work while her uncle stood around. Eventually she tied the boat to some bushes 200 yards [an exaggeration, I doubt she had a rope that long] up the rocky cliff. Then she labelled the place as the following:
Post-blog note: Kerstin on Facebook said the word looks like "Kråleskär" and when I searched that place in Finland, the search engine asked me if I meant "Kråkskär," which turns out to be a possibly  "austere" island about 30 miles south west of Turku. Looks good. So maybe Jeppas is within a few hours sail (for a picnic) away. (I always had a hard time reading my mother's handwriting.)
Carrying on with my Swedish grandfather's cookbook (see part 1 below), here is a recipe called Lotta's Lingonberries. For every one can or jug of lingonberries, use about (a little more than) 1 skålpund (425 gm) sugar, put a little water into the pan and boil and skim off the foam well before the sugar is added thereafter the whole thing is boiled and skimmed. When the lingonberries have been poured into a bowl, grate in a little orris root (to taste). (Lotta in Boda).

Whoever heard of orris root? Apparently it has been used medicinally and in perfumes. When it is dried it smells like violets (hence it is called "violrot" in Swedish) and it is said it tastes like raspberries.

My Swedish grandfather was a well known "household tyrant," as my mother put it. However, he had a soft spot for his food. Having traveled and worked in North and South America, he developed a taste for exotic foods, like artichokes and Stilton cheese. When he had guests for dinner back in Sweden, he supervised every detail of the meal and its serving. The maids had to put soup bowls full of steaming water under each guest's plate to keep the food warm. My grandfather chose the wines with care. He grew up in a household that always had a cook and his household had one also. And yet, in 1910, the year he and my grandmother returned to Sweden, he presented her with a handwritten cookbook! Many of the recipes were attributed to his own mother, who must have enjoyed baking. Other recipes are attributed to people I never heard of. On the one hand, I find this an endearingly tender thing to do. On the other hand, he might have done it because he wanted his food perfectly cooked and my grandmother should see to it! He was perfectionist in everything. After they divorced, she added some of her own recipes.

CORRECTION: A SWEDISH READER OF THE FACEBOOK SITE TOLD ME THIS IS NOT A COOKIE RECIPE, IT IS FOR A SPICE CAKE! THANK YOU.......The recipe pictured is for soft ginger [cookies] CAKE and he has pronounced them especially good. The recipe is attributed to his mother. It starts with 1/2
skålpund (about 210 grams) brown sugar and 4 eggs and one whips them for a half hour! Into this one blends 11 lod (a lod is 1/32 of a skålpund, or about 13 grams) wheat flour, 1 knifsudd (a measure for powders equal to 1-10 cubic mms) [hjortronssalt] CORRECTION THIS SHOULD SAY HJORTHORNSSALT which means deer antler salt, see comments, which is a substance like bicarbonate, giving a yeast-like effect, plus cloves, cinnamon and orange peel to taste. One should use a form that is well-buttered and dusted with flour. Apparently everyone knew how hot the oven should be and how long to bake the cookies because the recipe stops there. One of these days I must try it out. I've done my own translation here, so please, any Swedes feel free to correct me. (See Comments for correction to my translation and the deer antler salt!)