Genealogia Sursilliana comments

Peter G. M. Dale, B.A., LL.B.


Eric, or his family, was originally from Ångermanland county and, hence, the name

Ångerman. Eric lived in Teg from at least 1539 and likely earlier. He is mentioned as a

Farmer in Teg in the parish of Umeå in the oldest tax roll in 1539. Eric was a wealthy

Farmer as evidence by tax records. He was often mentioned as a Juror. He likely died

elderly in the early 1550s. He is mentioned in the tax rolls in the year 1550 but is not

found in the following tax rolls in 1553. Erik lived in the area of the present town of

Umeå near Västerteg. His wife's name was Dordi. Eric’s son Östen is found in 1571 as a

Farmer’s representative in the Parliament. He disappears from the land registers in the


Erik’s wife Dordi was previously married. It is possible that certain of the children

attributed to Erik and Dordi are, in fact, Dordi’s children from her prior marriage.

(sources: New Finland by Yrjö Soini. Published 25.3.1972;


An introduction to the Genealogia Sursilliana by Gunnar Damström states:

“There was a farmer named Erik, born in Nordingrå, Sweden, who at the beginning of the

16th century moved to Västerteg in the vicinity of Umeå in Västerbotten. He conducted

trade with the Lapplanders and brought his merchandize to the Distingsmarket in

Uppsala. In Uppsala he took the family name Ångerman, as said after the county where he was born. As an Ångermanlander it was natural for Erik to be trading in herring - sill we say in Swedish. During the war of independence from 1521-1523 he contracted with Lars Olson Björnram, military governor of Väster-Norrland, to deliver large quantities of

herring to Gustav Vasa’s liberation army. Besides cheap, salted herring, Erik, in

appreciation of the good customer, delivered a small quantity of sursill, the famous partly

fermented herring popular in Northern Sweden. The soldiers did not understand this

delicacy, complained and a suit was brought against Erik who was found guilty of

fraudulent delivery. On top of everything Erik got the nickname Sursill which he later

assumed as his family name.

Erik Sursill had three daughters and two sons. The daughters moved to Finland and married prominent burghers and clerics in Österbotten. Each became matriarchs of extensive families. One of Erik’s sons had seven daughters who moved to Finland as well and had large families. In the middle of the 17th Century the ancestry of Erik Sursill had grown to a point where most clerical families and burger families in Österbotten were related. The next generations again counted large numbers of daughters.

The Bishop of Åbo, Johannes Terserus, started making notes of the Sursill family during his visitations to Österbotten parishes in the mid 17th century. Martinus and Gabriel Peitzius and others continued the effort over a time period covering two centuries. Their notes constitute the source material for Genealogia Sursilliana, published by Lappfjärd priest Elias Robert Alcenius in 1850. It took Alcenius almost twenty years to compile the information. Printing took three years. The first version of Genealogia Sursilliana had 345 pages.”


The history of the origin of the classic work on Finnish genealogical research, Genealogia Sursilliana, is well known from many writings: the bishop of Turku, Johannes Elai Terserus, noticed in 1660 on his visitation of Ostrobothnia that many of the region’s ministers and gentry were interrelated. The common ancestor of a wide family network was revealed to have been Erik Ångerman from Umeå in Sweden, who used the surname Sursill. This prefatory remark to Bishop Terserus’ official travels, written by E.R. Alcenius in 1847, has been repeated up to this day in many writings illuminating the history of Finnish genealogical research. Is the explanation of the origin of the pastime of Finnish genealogy such as Alcenius gave us to understand? In particular, why was Bishop Terserus, of wholly Swedish background, interested in the family roots of the gentry of


Johannes Terserus was born in 1605 to Elof Terserus and Anna Danielsdotter Svinhufvud. Elof Terserus was married again around 1610 to Margareta Säbråzynthia. Margareta was the daughter of Johannes Laurentius Bure, pastor of Härnösand. The newly refound Bure book (2010 ) in the Finnish National Archive is probably a part of the Stockholm Royal Library’s extensive Sumlen collection, whose genealogical section is missing. The [Finnish] National Archive’s Bure book is bound in precisely the same parchment cover as the Sumlen collection. How the Bure book ended up in Finland is obscure. A lead, however, is offered by the ex libris-type family arms glued to the opening of the pedigree book: the arms belong to Johannes Bureus’ cousins, Anders, Olof and Jonas Bure, ennobled in 1627.

Olof Bure worked around 1633 as vice-president of the Turku Court of Appeal, and he is

known to have possessed an extensive collection of books in Sweden. On the basis of the

ex libris, the pedigree book perhaps ended up with Olof Bure, who died in 1655. Olof

Bure’s daughter Elisabet Bure married Johan Munck af Fulkila in Finland. Elisabet

inherited her father’s whole estate together with her sister. Thus the Bure pedigree book

could have ended up in Turku, Finland , in the possession of Elisabet Bure, and been open

to viewing by the learned community of Turku. Elisabet Bure was Johannes Terserus’

first wife’s second cousin.

In the opening of the National Archive’s Bure book refound in 2010 there is a sentence, found unique from the point of view of the origin of the Genealogia Sursilliana: ‘Some are of the opinion that the great family in Ostrobothnia is from the Tegs. E.g. Erik Ångerman’s wife Dordi is possibly of the Bure family.’ Thus Johannes Bureus, like the Västerbothnians he interviewed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is clear that in Finland lived a related family which was known to be descended from Erik Ångerman of Umeå and his wife Dordi. So the Ostrobothnian Sursills could also in part be from the Bure family. Elin was married to Bengt Germundsson of Umeå Tegs, which may explain the choice of her as the foremother uniting both families. Bishop Terserus carried out his official visit to Ostrobothnia only in 1660. A strong suspicion arises that having spent his childhood and youth among the Bure family Terserus knew beforehand what he intended to do on his visit to Ostrobothnia alongside his official duties. The conclusion emerges that the genealogical observations did not in fact originate merely with the observations made in Ostrobothnia, but in Turku before the journey began. Terserus’ objective was to record the families descended from Erik Ångerman and Dordi, mentioned by Bureus. In the 1840s, Elias Robert Alcenius was not aware that Johannes Bureus had already named Erik Ångerman and Dordi and their descendants in Ostrobothnia long before Terserus. Alcenius had the original Terserus records published in 1850 in an expanded form. Thus was born the Genealogia Sursilliana, which cannot be counted as part of the Bureus pedigree book: it formed an independent entity. The pedigree book of Johannes Bureus, of Finnish descent on his father’s side, has remained unknown in Finland, even though in Sweden it has for centuries been esteemed as the most significant work of genealogical history. Suomen Sukututkimusseura, Tiina Miettinen, Genoksen päätoimittaja, Huvudredaktör för Genos” GS 1850: Östen Ericsson son of Erik Ångerman had seven daughters. His sister Magdalena Ericsdotter traveled to Pedersöre at the recommendation of her older sister Catharina Ericsdotter. According to GS 1970 Catharina took in also Östen's daughters as they arrived in Österbotten. Magdalena Ericsdotter married Pedersöre pastor Eric Johansson Tenalensis. The couple had two children Isaac and Anna. GS 1850: Magdalena Östensdotter Sursill was the granddaughter of Erik Ångerman (Sursill). She was married to Kalajoki pastor Petrus Michaelsson Arctophilacius. I see no reason to doubt the original notes by Bishop Johannes Elai Terserus and pastors Martinus and Gabriel Peitzius. Presumably the original sources, archived in the Finnish National Archive were verified for the 1970 edition of GS. The Finnish Genealogical Society’s publication says . The author is assistant Arvi Ilmoniemi is from Leppävaara (Finland) and the article is titled: Siniussuvun alkuperästä ja vähän muitakin Sursilliana tutkimuksia (About the origin of the Sinius family and some other Sursilliana research). According to Ilmoniemi a court protocol issued by the Oulu municipal court states that under oath Brita Mårtensdotter’s daughter Karin Larsdotter in 1679, with amazing precision, remembered her distant relatives’ succession; she also remembered Östen Eriksson’s wife, whom Terserus does not mention at all, and claimed that the wife’s brother was Carl the vicar of Kokkola (according to Terserus he was Östen’s brother). Iloniemi points to this discrepancy as proof that Terserus’ information is not always correct. Clarity can only be achieved if Swedish documents can be found, he concludes.”

Erik Angerman Sursill´s daughters all married in Österbotten and were first ancestress of an extraordinarily widespread family. One son [Östen] had seven daughters who also married in Finland and likewise had a large number of descendants. In the middle of the 1600s these Sursill descendants had gained such prevalence that most of the ministers’ and public officials’ families in Österbotten had 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 fieldmarshal Mannerheim in particular and also Zackarias Topelius the national poet and J. Sibelius the do. composer. 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.” (source:

dants) His daughter Catherina was the one who turned out to take the initiative for the family developing its widest breeding ground on the Ostrobothnian side. She arrived as the ladybird? [Hostess, Housekeeper] to the powerful steward/bailiff in Pedersöre, Hans

Fordell, and married the Westzynthius family’s progenitor, Henricus Nicolai, pastor of

Pedersöre. Several siblings and siblings’ daughters followed her; all those who came

over to Ostrobothnia created the framework for a long line of famous kin. Among others,

at least three of the nation’s presidents had their origin in the family: Mannerheim,

Ståhlberg, and Svinhufvud. Thanks to early genealogical labor, it is one of the best

documented families in the world today.” (source:

Gulf_of_Bothnia) Another fact is that Erik Ångerman did have a daughter Malin. She was the wife of Isak Tenalensis, Reverend in Pietarsaari from 1569-1600. Keep in mind, Sten Rigedahl says, a Swedish scholar as well as a Bure relative, that Johannes Bureus went on his travel to nothern Sweden 1600-1601 because of an heritage from a relative named Malin. Probably a daughter to Anders Jacobsson (Jappson) and did she have a daughter called Dordi so perhaps do we here have the connection wanted between Erik and Dordi Angerman Sursill and the Bure kinship. Malin, Erik Ångerman´s daughter, was married to an Östen Eriksson, who adopted his father-in-law´s name and trade. This couple produced the famous seven Sursill sisters. Östen also had an illegitimate son Hans who became Cantor in Kokkola - this might have happened before his marriage? Let´s assume that Östen died about 1580. Widowed Malin remarried to Isak Tenalensis - and brought her adolescent children to Finland! Malin´s elder sister Catharina had already established herself in Finland. She, then, as the Sursilliana book explains, brought her younger brother Carl to Kokkola, supported him and educated him in Turku Cathedral School. If Carl did not belong to the siblings, why would she have done that? Genos 13(1942), s. 123-124 also states the following: “Archaeologist Johannes Bureus mentions in his notes made in the early 1600s concerning the ‘norrlantilaista’ Bure family “den stora släkt i Österbotten, som är ifrån Teg”. According to some Bureuksen the thought is that this family descends from Erik Ångerman's spouse Dordi. (från “Erik Angermans hustru Dordi”).” The foregoing Swedish roughly translates as “the large family in western Finland, which is from Teg, descends from Eric Angermans' wife Dordi.” (sources:

Tiina Miettinen says in: Who found the Sursill family? The early stages of genealogy in Sweden and Finland Genos 2[3]/2010 (English Summary) Urban Sikeborgs tolkning:

"I read the text as follows: "Somblige go, at then store Slächten i Österbotn som är ifrå Theegh. antingen Erik Ångermans hustrus (Dordijs) eller [överstruket: thennes] skall wara af Bureätten." That is: "Some claim that the big family in Ostrobothnia that comes from Teg, either Erik Ångerman's wifes (Dordi's) or [crossed over: his] belongs to the Bure

family." The 'eller' is a bit tricky since Jo Bure started to write 'skall' but corrected it to 'eller.' Since they 'crossed over the thennes', that might indicate that he corrected himself and that it was Erik Ångerman's wife that was of the Bure family."

Abridgement SR


Sammanfattning på svenska:

Den finländska Sursillsläkten torde vara den bäst utredda av alla finländska släkter. Prästen Elias Robert Alcenius arbetade i 20 år med verket Genealogia Sursilliana och gav ut det 345 sidor stora verket 1850. I korthet berättas familjens ursprung vara Erik Ångerman som han själv kallade sig, eftersom han härstammade från det landskapet. Han omnämns första gången i skattelängder från 1539 i Umeå församling, dit han flyttat. Han var gift med Dordi (Dorotea) och hade tre döttrar och två söner. Dordi hade varit gift tidigare varför en del av barnen kan härstamma från detta äktenskap. Erik Ångerman var en driftig köpman som bl.a. handlade på Disingmarknaden i Uppsala. Han kontrakterade där med Gustav Vasas militäre ledare över Västra Norrland, Lars Olson Björnram, ett parti sill för kungens manskap. För att göra ett gott intryck lade Erik till ett parti surströmming. Surströmmingen upptogs inte väl av soldaterna och Ångerman ställdes inför rätta och fick som vanligt var då av rätten ett öknamn som straff, hans namn blev Sursill. Erik neutraliserade nesan med att anta just detta namn som sitt släktnamn. Eriks döttrar gifte sig med prominenta präster och borgare i den östra rikshalvan och detta fortsatte i nästa generation när Eriks son Östens sju döttrar också gifte sig i Österbotten. Långt tidigare än Alcenius hade Johannes Bureus i dennes i Finlands riksarkiv så sent som 2010 återfunna genealogiska anteckningar nämnt släktskapet med buresläkten. Boken med Buresläktens vapen som ex-libris. Urban Sikeborg har tytt de handskrivna raderna sålunda: ”Somliga anse att den stora släkten i Österbotten, som är från Teegh, antingen Erik Ångermans hustrus (Dordijs) eller [överstruket thennes] skall vara af Bureätten.” Märk väl att Johannes 1600 besökte Bureå för att utreda ett arv efter en Malin, sin mors släkting. Detta kan ha varit Dordis mor, ff. anm. Även biskopen i Åbo, Johannes Terserus, började redan i mitten av 1600-talet att forska efter sin släkt Sursillfamiljen. Terserus var född 1605 och son till Elof Terserus och Anna Danielsdotter Svinhufvud. Elof var gift med Margareta Zäbrozynthia, gemenligen kallad Stormor i Dalom och dotter till Johannes Laurentius Bure, präst i Härnösand. Sursillsläkten fick en utomordentlig spridning och ca 1500 stora familjer i Finland, Balticum, Sverige, Tyskland, Frankrike och Amerika har sina rötter i denna släkt. Tre av Finlands presidenter Mannerheim, Ståhlberg och Svinhufvud hör dit. Så också släkter som Topelius, Sibelius, Palme, Bonde, Horn, Knorring, von Schwerin, Lagercrantz, Palmstjerna, Nordensvan, Langensköld, Linder, Ekman, Rålamb, Tondén, Grafström, Kempe, Hernmarck, Bruzelius, Salin, Edelstam, Kalling, Liljencrantz och många fler.



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