Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scottish Ancestors in Scandinavia

What you did not notice in my last post was that while writing the sentence about the various places that Scots emigrated to (Baltic, England, etc.) my little grey cells were whirling and I remembered that in my family tree was a Scot who ended up in Scandinavia. I couldn’t remember his name, but I knew that it was obvious when you saw it. So I opened Family Tree Maker (FTM) and looked and looked and looked, to no avail. Then I went to my paper files (there are only about six of them) and went through each one, even for families I knew he wasn’t connected with. Still nothing. Disappointed, because I thought it would have been a nice connection to make, I gave up and continued with the rest of the post.

The next morning I asked by mother about it and she remembered a bit of his name and found him in her FTM files. The reason he stands out – his birthplace is listed as “i. Skottland.” She had entered the birthplace in the appropriate field, I had not. She also found her copy of the article where this information was found: Nordstrom, Torkel, 1980. “Mina och mina syskons anor” in Släkt och Hävd. No. 1-2, pp. 12-59. Stockholm. (Torkel was a first cousin of my grandmother)

This is what the original says on page 48:

Erik Andersson Kiorbiauw (Kirby): F. i Skottland, d. 1646 före 13/5. Inkom till Sverige och tjänada sig upp från menig i de danska, ryska, livländska och tyska krigen på Gustav II Adolfs och Kristinas tid. Fick 1637 tillstånd att besitta Monikkala säteri i Janakkalla, so hans svärmor innehaft som änka. Adlad 1641. Var major vid Tavastehus läns kavalleriregemente, när han 1645 tog avsked för sin undfångna bråck och skada af fienden. gift med

And with some help of internet translators and dictionaries this is what I came up with in English:

Erik Andersson Kiorbiauw (Kirby). Born in Scotland, died before 13 May 1646. Arrived in Sweden and served as a private in the Danish, Russian, Livonian and German Wars during the reign of Gustavus Adolphus and Queen Christina. In 1637, he was authorized to possess Monikkala Manor in Janakkalla (Finland), which his mother-in-law held as a widow. Ennobled in 1641. Was promoted to major in Hämeenlinna County Cavalry Regiment, in 1645, when he took leave “for his undfångna hernia and injury by the enemy.” Married to (Judith Ebba von Stilken).

Monikkala Manor has been a manor since the 1500s although the current house dates from the late 18th century. It is located in Eastern Finland near Mikkell. While Janakkalla seems to have been an administrative division in the 17th century, it is now a village in southern Finland. To the northest of Janakkalla is Hameelinna.

It seems that everybody was at war in the 17th century. A couple of years ago, I heard Geoffrey Parker speaking about an unpublished work ('The Global Crisis: climate, war and catastrophe in the 17th-century world' ) who thinks a major factor was climate. The Little Ice Age was at its worst during this time period and caused all sorts of angst and not just in Europe. When you think about it, I’m not terribly nice when I’m cold and hungry either. Oh and who knew there were Livonian wars or even that there was a Livonia; it’s part of the Baltic states now. So, apparently, I have a distant ancestor who was involved with these wars and emigrated from Scotland. He also fought in places I never knew existed, not to mention I also have ancestors from Livland, as it is called in my cousin’s article.

I don’t know much about Scottish emigration within Europe, not to mention during the 17th century. But according to David Armitage (“The Scottish Diaspora” in Scotland: A History) Scots were first recorded in the Swedish Army in 1502 and migration to Sweden peaked in between 1626 and 1632. Not all Scots were in the service of the Swedish king, others went to that country as traders. While many Scots, like Erik Kirby, who served in foreign armies during the Wars of Religion settled abroad, others returned home. This time spent abroad could lead to a stable life in a new country, or to advancement once a man returned home. Or it could result in a permanent migration and burial in a foreign land.

Listen to Geoffrey Parker speak on this topic, Climate and Catastrophe: The World Crisis of the 17th Century. It can even be downloaded in iTunes. There are other podcasts from the Solomon Katz Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities at the University of Washington available.

Further Reading on Scots in this time period:
Scottish Communities Abroad In The Early Modern Period (Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, V. 107)

Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe 1603-1746 (The Northern World, 18)

Scotland: A History (Oxford Illustrated History)

In Search of Scotland

I must admit to not having read Scottish Communities or Network North as the first is $154 and the second $239 at Amazon. For a long time neither was available at a library in Ohio. I just checked and now they are, so I can add them to my reading list without breaking the bank. There is a limited preview of Network North on Google books, if you are so inclined.

There is a chapter on this time period in Jenny Wormald's book, Scotland: A History and one in In Search of Scottish History edited by Gordon Menzies. This second book was written to accompany a BBC Scotland series of the same name.  It is a good book, and is probably a bit "easier" than Scotland: A History.


Karin Bowie said...

Hi Amanda, I've just been reading Steve Murdoch's Network North so your Scoto-Finnish ancestor really brought this to life. He did well to go from private to noble! Steve points out that most Scottish emigrants to Scandinavia converted to Lutheranism as this helped them to assimilate and progress in their careers. I'd guess your ancestor did this, and also seems to have done well with his marriage!

Thanks for the post,

Amanda E. Epperson said...


Glad the post helped. I didn't think about conversions from Presbyterianism to Lutheranism, although I'm not surprised. I suppose I'll have to put Network North on my "to read" list soon. I could live from now until doomsday and never read everything I would like to. (sigh!)


Paul Milner said...


If you want to learn more about the Livonian Wars may I suggest p.43-69 (chapter 2 The Periphery of Europe: Russia expands West) in "Bayonets for Hire: Mercenaries at War 1550-1789". By Mark Urban. Greenhill Books 2007. It must have recently been remaindered for i have seen multiple copies at Half Price Books. The book also includes other examples of Scots serving as mercenaries in this time period.

Amanda E. Epperson said...

Thanks for the book recommendation Paul. I have added it to my amazon list. It's still full price there, so I will keep an eye out for it at Half Price books and at the library.

Johan sjöblom said...

i found Erik Andersson Kiorbiauw (Kirby)as one of my ancestors .do you know where in scottland he was born?
Johan sjöblom


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