Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jussi Björling

One of Sweden´s most known and famous persons is Jussi Björling (Bjorling or Bjoerling often used outside Sweden). He was an opera-singer (tenor) with a unique and great voice.

His real name was Johan Jonatan and Jussi just a nickname that he got from his grandmother when he was a child.

Jussi (upper right) with his father and brothers.
Jussi was born 1911 in Dalarna and died 1960 in Stockholm. He was a singer already when he was 4 years old, and as a child he toured and performed all over USA together with his brothers and their father; David Björling. They performed under the name "The Bjoerling Male Quartet".

Later the brothers also became quite known and successful as singers, but Jussi became the real superstar and is still, more than 50 years after his death, considered as one of the best opera-singers in the world.

When I started out with genealogy in 1982 and was 16 years old, I had of course heard of Jussi Björling, even if I actually did not listen much to opera or that kind of music.

I guess the most famous song here in Sweden that we associate to Jussi is "Till havs" (here is a youtube video when he sings this in Swedish television 1953.)

After some years of genealogical research I found out that I actually was related to Jussi Björling. And as most genealogists I find it very exciting when finding a relative that are known since there are usually lots of pictures and documentation available.

My mother and Jussi Björling are 6th cousins and our common ancestor was the shoemaker Johan Parman (1673-1744).and his wife Katarina Waller (1700-1773).

Their daughters Anna and Maria both came to Voxna parish in Hälsingland and from them our lineage looks like this;

Jussí´s line;
Anna Parman (1725-1788) - Lars Norberg (1751-1827) - Margareta Norberg (1784-1864) - Lars Björn (1809-1896) - Lars Johan Björling (1842-1909) - Karl David Björling (1873-1926) - Johan Jonatan "Jussi" Björling (1911-1960)

My mother Agneta´s line;
Maria Parman (1730-1808) - Johannes Larsson (1762-?) - Stina Johansdotter (1803-1887) - Per Trygg (184-1916) - Sara Kristina Trygg (1874-1925) - Edit Svedlund (1915-2005) - Agneta (1948-)

The surname Björling came out of the surname Björn (Bear in Swedish) and as stories tell the name Björn was in this case worn by an extremely strong man and that this physical strength really was passed down his lineage. And Jussi was known also for his great physical strength, winning many matches of arm-wrestling...

Jussi Björling did not get old, only 49 years, but he most likely experienced more during this time than most of the rest of us ever will do. He had a serious problem with alcohol, but despite that he managed to perform and have a rather long career and made an impact in most countries in the world, and still does!

If you ever visit Sweden and Borlänge, please check out the "Jussi Björling Museum" they have there.