Petter Petersson

Petter Petersson was born August 5, 1816, in Fröbbestorp, Kalmar Co., Sweden, and died March 21, 1896, in Karsbo, Sweden at age 75. He is the son of Petter "Per" Larsson of Fröbbestorp, Kalmar Co., Sweden, and Gertrud Persdotter of Karsbo, Sweden.

Ingrid Petersdotter was born Unknown, and died Unknown. She is the daughter of Unknown.

Petter Petersson and Ingrid Petersdotter were married about 1852 in Sweden.

Petter Petersson and Ingrid Petersdotter had at least one child:

  1. Petter Petersson: Born July 31, 1853 in Slatafly, Sweden; Died 1917 in Sweden.


Petter Petersson was born August 5, 1816 in Fröbbestorp, Kalmar Co., Sweden.

Ingrid Petersdotter was born Unknown.

Petter Petersson and Ingrid Petersdotter were married about 1852 in Sweden.

Petter Petersson died March 21, 1896, in Karsbo, Sweden at age 75.

December 2006

Hello, Leigh!

Are you preparing for Christmas? Your Swedish relatives are preparing for another occasion, called Lucia. Do you recognize it? It’s in honour of the young lady Lucia who was burned to death in Syracusa on Sicily 304. Lucia, in Sweden, is celebrated on December 13th. By the way, thanks Evan for the last email. It’s so beautiful and reminds us how happy we should be of what we have and that the majority of the world’s population don’t have.

I thought it was time to give some additional information about the family. This issue could be pretty complicated; who is who and who is related to who and how. Not all of the stories are pleasant though. I have put in what Jaime wrote in order to describe the Lucia celebration in Seattle. Family matters can be pretty complicated, so just let me know if there was something below that you didn’t understand and/or if you had any interest in it at all.

I have added some information regarding our relative in Africa. Her name was Vanette Thorsell and her great grandfather, Peter, was the uncle of Olaus Larsson. Peter was vaccinated in the 1810's. Sweden was if not the first, at least one of the first countries in the world that give the population an extended vaccination. Almost every little child in the 1810's and after went through this process. But it didn't help Peter from getting another diseases. He later was "crippled with rheumatism". Olaus Larsson's father, Lars, got small poxes. One of Lars' sister, either Cajsa or Stina, also had small poxes. But she survived as well. Peter became a peasant and got many children. One of them, Petter, was a school teacher and chaned his last name from Petersson to Thorsell. Petter Thorsell also had many children of whom four moved to USA and settled down there. Klaes (Charles) Thorsell had - as to the best of my knowledge - two children; Vanette and Stanley. Vanette Thorsell appears to have lived an exciting and dangerous life, since Congo/Zaire for decades has been affected by civil war and dictatorship. It was most likely not a bed of roses. I have put in what Diane Prior (the niece of Vanette Thorsell) wrote to me about Vanette Thorsell.

Vanette Thorsell was my father’s sister.  She was a missionary for Swedish Mission Covenant Church in the Belgium Congo (Zaire, Dem. Republic of Congo … the country had many name changes since the 1960’s).  She died in Zaire in 1991 and is buried there.  She spoke many languages including French, Lingala (Congo trade language), some Spanish, Swedish and of course English.  I studied French in high school but that was a long time ago.  Her father, my grandfather was Charles Thorsell.  He was in the Merchant Marine (we don’t call it “navy” as “navy” refers to the military).  Part of his career was as captain of the ship; he was known as “Red Charlie” because of his red hair.  He died in 1940 of an illness while the ship he was on was in Oregon or Washington (state, not D.C.).

You asked about our Lucia is held this coming Sunday night, and unfortunately this year I have a concert conflict.  (I have joined the Seattle Flute Society Flute Choir and we have a rehearsal at that time, so now we are unable to go as we usually do.) Even though I am involved in several Christmas concerts, the Santa Lucia service is one we have attended, rather than performed in. We are not  formal 'participants' at the Swedish ceremony, but rather participate in the congregational responses and singing.  We have attended this service for many years and enjoy it immensely.  My girls have never been a Lucia bride (except for fun at home)...the church chooses young ladies from their own congregation for this honor.  (We attend a different fellowship). If I find a program from the past, I will let you know the particular songs we do each year.  I will look for one and let you know what they are.

Another tradition in Sweden was the cemetery dances on Midsummer Eve Night and the Botvid Night were common in the old days on many places in southern Sweden. The young people gathered and danced, sang bawdy and scandalous songs and sometimes even made love on the cemetery. The origin of this tradition is duskily, but the cemetery is a place which is connected with both love and death. Complaints came from the bishop in Lund but to no avail. The tradition continued, for how long I don’t know though. The author Vilhelm Moberg has written about this in the book The Brides’ Spring.

The church wasn’t always the sacred place that we might think. Our ancestors danced on every party. They danced at the harvest and feasts and even at the wake. The reason was that it was not only pleasant but necessary. It was important, during the wake, that the deceased would resume dead and not return (ghost). They tried to conjure up the deceased so that wouldn’t happen. If the relatives and friends also could give the fresh body a nice last moment before he or she forever was put in the earth, so much better. But the church didn’t agree. The exhilarated dances at the wake met a stern destiny. The phenomenon was banned in Norway (1607), Denmark (1656) and Sweden (1644).

But our ancestors in Sweden had been the centre of the church’s interest 300 years earlier. On a bishop meeting in Slesvig (1222) promulgated the papal legate Gregorious de Crescentio an edict that banned ring dance, games, drama and scuffle in the church buildings, something that clearly shows what the Scandinavians thought was fun and natural to do.

But the complaints continued. People were sitting on the organ loft; played cards and spitted on the people sitting in the benches under the loft. Church visitors consumed alcohol outside the church and some even threw up in the church and some fell asleep. This was the situation in the area where our ancestors and relatives lived around 1750. Even the priest was not immune. There were indications that he was unfaithful and broke against the church’s own rules, however he got support from some people in the community and one of them was our ancestor, Nils Andersson, which is rather interesting especially when you consider what the priest was accused of.

From 1731 farmers who paid an extra tax were allowed to hooch or moonshine for so-called “household requirements”. There were also speakeasies in Torsås too. I’ll see if I can come up with some pictures of the Lucia celebration in Sweden on 13th December.

Per Carlzon