Finlands ridderskaps och adels vapenbok from 1889 (reprinted 2017)

A review by Tomas Bragesjö

Intro about Finlands Riddarhus

Finlands Riddarhus was created during the time Finland was a Russian Grand Principality. A difference between (Swedish) Riddarhuset and Finlands Riddarhus is partly that the rank of furste (prince) exists. However, no one today living family has that rank.

Another difference is that, unlike Sweden, all members of the family are noble, regardless of the year in which the person was ennobled. In Sweden all houses ennobled or promoted after 1809 was given the condition that only one person got the nobilety title or new rank at the same time, always inherited at the oldest male line from the ennobled. But when introduced at Finland all members on male lines got the title. An example is af Schulten, when ennobled in Sweden only one person became noble at the same time but when naturalized at Finlands Riddarhus all members on male lines became nobles as well.

Nor does Finlands Riddarhus have any Kommendörsätter since it was linked to the Swedish Royal orders during Gustav III and Gustav IV.

Finlands Riddarhus consists mostly of former Swedish descendant noble houses that lived in Finland that became naturalized with new numbers as a result. But there are also houses that was ennobled during Russian Grand Principality period. Some noble houses therefore exist at both (Swedish) Riddarhuset and at Finlands Riddarhus.

Prince at Finlands Riddarhus

One may also note is that a General Governor of Finland, Alexander Menschikoff, was promoted to the furste (prince) rank by the Tsar in 1833 at Finlands Riddarhus to become Finlands foremost nobleman. The house was extinct in 1893. No later Governor or other person was promoted into that rank. The title of prince (furste) itself does not mean king, ie sovereign prince, but is a high rank of nobility, unless it is a prince of an area such as the Prince of Pontecorvo, then it is a head of state. The word "furste" is sometimes incorrectly translated into prince as it is the same word as "furste" in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

The book

The book can of course not be compared with Magnus Bäckmark's books about the coat of arms of (Swedish) Riddarhuset, as Magnus's projects are more modern and more ambitious with photos of coat of arms plates. The book is also thinner and only part because there are less houses at Finlands Riddarhus. The book also covers Finnish counties coat of arms. The book was written in 1889 by G Granfelt on the behalf of Finlands Riddarhus.

The book is written entirely in Old Swedish as the book was written in 1889 and begins with an introduction to heraldry where terms are also explained. After that comes a brief description of the houses and blazon. Then comes the coat of arms drawings.

The coat of arms drawings are divided into three categories, Prince (Furste) and Counts, then Barons and last ordinary nobles. The families come in numerical order within each category.

The coat of arms drawings are nicely drawn in color print and unlike Finlands Riddarhus websites pictures you can clearly see what the motifs represent. A quick check shows that there are some houses with Swedish flags and some with Russian flags. Another quick check is that the House Ugglas owl is is blue in Finland and silver colored in Sweden.

Not covered houses

The book ends with additions and corrections that were added after pictures were taken and the texts were written. However it is unclear exactly when the corrections was made but houses introduced after 1889 are not covered. The book mentions that in 1892 Henrik Teodor Tallqvist and Wilhelm Brunner also received Finnish nobility but that their coat of arms are not recorded in the book because when they created the book they had not registered for the introduction. Brummer was introduced in 1894. There was previously another family of Brummer at Finlands Riddarhus, who is included in the book, and who for a similar but not identical coat of arms. The different Brummer Houses both decendat from Livonia and the Brummer covered shows the house original coat of arms from Livonia while the uncovered has some addons at the top of the shield.

Further reading

I have written articles for both Svenska Heraldiska Föreningens magazine Vapenbilden and also for Svenska Heraldiska Föreningens homepage.

I have also written som articles in English for use on this site that is not going to be published else where. Some articles are translations and slight modifications of articles I wrote for Svenska Heraldiska Föreningen.