The Gripenberg family consists of two branches: the untitled noble branch and the baronial branch.
The noble family is considered to have been founded when the war commissioner, later vice governor Johan Wittman (born 1637, died 1703) was raised to the peerage on 8 June1678 by the Swedish king Charles XI. Wittman, who originally came from the Swedish region Östergötland (East Gothland), moved to Finland, the most eastern region of Sweden, in 1671. He was introduced to the Swedish House of Nobility as number 931. After Finland was ceded to Russia the family was accepted into the Finnish House of Nobility on 6 February 1818 as number 69. The original letter showing the coat of arms, which was given to the principal of the family in 1848, has since gone missing.
Johan Ulrik Sebastian Gripenberg, Lieutenant Colonel and Senator of the department of economy in Finland, was granted the title of baron on 13 January 1866 by Alexander II, Grand Duke of Finland and emperor of Russia. He was introduced to the Finnish Noble House in 1866 with the motto ”Caesari et patrie” (”For the emperor and the fatherland”). The branch of the family descended from the Baron is listed as number 48 in the Peerage Book published regularly by the Finnish House of Nobility.
Johan Wittman was born in Östergötland (East Gothland) as son of the inspector (landbofogde) Jakob Jöransson Witte (died 1659). It has not been possible to ascertain where this Witte family originally came from, but it seems the family moved to Sweden from Riga, the largest city of the Swedish kingdom at the time. It is possible that the Witte family were among the many people who moved to Riga around this time, especially from the Netherlands and Germany.
Read also in Swedish about our ancestors at the page Anteckningar