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The origin of the family Agrell of Värmland

Our family history begins, as far as the name Agrell is concerned, in the late 1600’s in the province of Östergötland in eastern Sweden. The farmer Jonas Andersson and his wife Anna Persdotter had a son, Johannes, who studied theology and became assistant vicar in Borg and Löth. At the time, people of the rural population usually carried their father’s name as last name (“Andersson” = son of Anders, “Persdotter” = daughter of Per), whereas most clergymen, as well as other people with academic education, had a family name, often of a Latin style. Johannes followed this custom and adopted the name Agrelius, where the first part reflects his background as a farmer’s son: Latin “ager” means “field” (Swedish “åker”).

Johannes Agrelius (1663–1724) married Margareta Landelius (1660–1745), who also, as might be guessed from her name, belonged to a family of clergymen. They had two sons, Johan and Jonas. If it was because French-sounding names were becoming more fashionable than Latin or because none of the two brothers chose a profession in the church we do not know, but they both changed their last name to Agrell.

Johan Agrell (1701–1765) was a celebrated composer and musician. He was married and had a daughter, but probably no heirs named Agrell. His brother Jonas Agrell (b. 1703) moved to Arboga, where he was a coppersmith. The heirs of Jonas had the same profession for several generations and stayed in Arboga or nearby Örebro.

Five generations after Jonas, his descendant Frans Wilhelm Agrell (1843–1900) settled in the province of Värmland. The branch of the family called “Värmlandssläkten Agrell” was born.