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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks #55 & 56—Abel Mattila and Greta Caspersdatter

This week my Finnish line of third great-grandparents begins its turn to have their stories told. These last posts in this series will have to be brief because I know very little about these people.

Abel Andersson Mattila (1798-1852) was born about 1798 during the time when Finland was under Swedish rule. The Swedish language predominated in the country during that time, but we do not know whether Abel was bilingual. His family probably spoke Finnish, although the country kept legal records in Swedish. Abel must have had exposure to Swedish because the southern part of Finland where he lived was heavily populated with Swedes during his early years.

While Abel was still a boy, the country changed hands after several hundred years of affiliation with Sweden. Finland became a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire in 1809 when the army of Czar Alexander I took the country in the Finnish War. The Russians were more accepting of the Finnish language than the Swedes had been, but Finnish did not achieve equal legal status until 1892, long after Abel’s death.

After Abel reached adulthood, he married Greta Caspersdatter, a woman of his own age who was also born about 1798. The couple settled at Kimböle, in the Uusimaa Province of southern Finland. Abel made a living as a “bonde”, or farmer.

The couple had five known children:

  1. Eva Mattila, born 1824,
  2. Anders Abelsson Mattila, (1826-1882), my great-great grandfather,
  3. Abel Mattila, born 1829,
  4. Anna Mattila, born 1832,
  5. Johannes Mattila, born 1842.

Abel died of a heart attack on April 22, 1852 at Kimböle when he was about fifty-four years old. Heart disease was rampant in Finland in the nineteenth century, and even today many of my Finnish relatives die from it.

Abel was buried May 9, 1852 in the Lapinjärvi parish of Uusimaa.








An 18th-century Finnish farmhouse

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