The family name Gripenberg

Each noble family got a letter of privileges and the right to a coat of arms. For the Gripenberg family there are two different coats of arms, one for the noble family and another for the baronial family. The family name is protected in that only those who belong to the family are allowed to use it. This has been the case since the conception of the name, possibly excepting a brief period right after Finland was ceded to Russia. The Finnish House of Nobility has established statutes outlining which family members will be incorporated in the Peerage Book. These statutes determine that the children of female family members are not considered members of the noble family because the family name follows the male line.

The Finnish law regarding names (§ 694/1985) follows different rules and gives married women and their descendants the right to use the family name of the woman if they so choose.

Moreover there is a family named Gripenberg with origins in the northern part of Ostrobothnia. This family, which originally was named Döragrip, took the family name Gripenberg during a period when the noble names weren’t protected in Finland. This family Gripenberg does not have any family connection to the noble family Gripenberg.

Both a castle and a village in the province of Jönköping, Östergötland in Sweden carry the name Gripenberg. The castle was built in the 1660’s by Field marshal Carl Gustav Wrangel, and it was named Gripenberg in honor of Margareta Grip, the mother of the person who commissioned it. The village was named after the castle. However, neither the castle nor the village has any familial connection to the Gripenberg family.

Most of the people with the surname Gripenberg who are connected to the noble family live in the Helsinki region and/or the region Nyland/Uusimaa, but there are also some Gripenbergs in the Åland Islands and the rest of Finland. There have been Gripenbergs in Sweden for several generations, and during the Russian Grand Duchy period there was also a branch of the family in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Descendants of this branch are still living in Russia, although none are now named Gripenberg. Members of the family and descendants thereof can also be found in Western Europe and North America.