Nagu church in Nagu, Finland
built in the 13th century
Sometimes as I look at the faces and life histories of my ancestors, I wonder if I am anything like them. Do my physical features resemble them in any way? I question whether any had similar thoughts, strong feelings or desires as I do.
My great grandfather, Parley Anderson was born in Ephraim, Utah in 1876. He was the son of Andrew Ole Anderson and Johanna Henrietta Stormfeldt both of whom were born in Sweden. Parley's early life was heavily influenced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he was probably a very good man, Parley did not seem to have a need for religion in his life.
Looking at him as an outsider, I think Parley's forebears were different from him. His mother Johanna's ancestral line began with the births of her parents both in Sweden and continued back a few more generations there. Johanna's great grandfather, Axel Fredrick Salonius was born in Abo, Turku-Pori, Finland and his ancestry extended in Finland for many generations.
In Sweden, Axel chose to work as a captain of small fishing vessels. Axel's father Erich Gustafsson Salonius was a tax assesor in Turku-Pori, Finland. But from Erich on back many generations, this paternal line chose to be vicars and priests in the Lutheran church of Finland.
Erich's father Gustaf Ericksson Salonius was ordained as a priest of the Turku diocese on May 26, 1693. At that time, Finland was part of the Swedish empire and was at war with Russia and Poland. In 1713 Gustaf and other priests fled to Sweden after Russia won the war and took control of Finland. Gustaf was able to return to Finland and his ministry in 1722 and served as a priest until his death in 1737. I could go back further on the Salonius line but won't at this writing.
Axel's mother, Hedvig Magdalena Wittfooth, is a direct descendant of Martin Luther, the sixteenth-century German religious leader who had been a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. He later became the founder of Protestantism and began the Reformation by posting his Ninety-five Theses, which attacked the Catholic church for allowing the sale of indulgences.
I am amazed at the courage and faith of so many in my family line, and while my physical body may not resemble those of my Finnish or German ancestors, I too need religion in my life. I have faith in my Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ and this gives me the hope that after the last chapter of my earthly book is closed, I can meet all of the wonderful people who are the reason I live today.