Vladimir Gripenberg

Vladimir Gripenberg (1848 Saint Petersburg – 1900 Moscow)

Vladimir Gripenberg was born on the 3rd of March to a family of Kart Edward and Nadezhda Gripenberg née Makhotina. What is known about him in Russia is based only of fragmentary family memories passed through generations by the word of mouth.

It seems he was the first Gripenberg to be baptized into Russian Orthodoxy. He studied law in Saint Petersburg and as a young lawyer worked for some time in Wilno (Vilnius now); after that he returned to Saint Petersburg.

What Vladimir Gripenberg is first of all remembered for is that he was a Royal Chamberlain at the court of Emperor Alexander the Second. We do not know why he became that close to the royal family. What we do know is that one of the components of a Royal Chamberlain´s uniform was a symbolic gilded key for royal chambers to be worn on a sash. That very key of Vladimir´s uniform is now kept as a cherished family relic by Ingrid Grzymala-Siedlecka, Wladimir´s great-granddaughter who lives in Warsaw.

Some time around Christmas 1879, at a royal grand ball in the Winter Palace, he chose to dance all night with the same lady who was one of the ladies-in-waiting of the Empress. His choice was well noticed and meant that the next morning he had no other choice but to ask her hand. And so it happened: The Royal Chamberlain arrived at the palace of General Anton Makhotin, Chief Supervisor of Royal Officers Colleges of the Russian Empire and asked hand of the General´s only daughter, royal lady-in waiting Nadezhda Makhotina. In January 1880 they were married. He was thirty-one and she was twenty-two. In September the same year their first child Nadezha was born. Six months later, in March 181, Emperor Alexander the Second was assassinated by revolutionary terrorists. After that Vladimir Gripenberg left his court service and moved to Moscow where he joined the Moscow Chamber of Justice, which he worked for the rest of his life. The house where he lived in Moscow is still in Prechistenka Street.


Heart constriction and other information

Since his late thirties, Vladimir Gripenberg had been developing heart constriction which was gradually deteriorating. Despite quite god health otherwise and always very healthy and vigorous appearance that he was famous for, he did not live to see his daughter Nadezha being engaged and married. He died of health failure in 1900 at the age of fifty-one or fifty-two. The Filyovskoye cemetery in Moscow where he and later his wife were buried did not survive: it was closed and demolished for land redevelopment in the early 1939s.

Being half-Swedish and half-Russian when young did he speak at least some Swedish with his father and with his relatives when visiting them in Finland; his children did not.

A number of documents and photographs, including that with him appearing in a Royal Chamberlain´s full uniform, were destroyed by her daughter Nadezhda after the Russian revolution for safety reason to get rid of any proofs of her aristocratic origin. Although he was a keen photographer. A considerable collection of photos on glass made by him did not survive either. It was partly broken, partly lost, partly thrown away by some unwise family members some time after the Second World War.

The family memories and storied are among the most precious and invaluable components of our life. At least two of Vladimir´s great -great-grandsons believe so. This summary s is a contribution to actively remembering their great-great grandfather Vladimir Gripenberg. (Written by Julian Bielski, Moscow, May 2005).

The same text continues with the story of Vladimir Gripenberg´s children Nadezhda Kasatkina and Nikolai Gripenberg (died at age six) and his grandchildren Alexander Kasatkin, Irina Kasatkin and Vladimir Kasatkin and great-great grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren . The youngest mentioned is Vladimir Gripenbergs great-great-great-great-grandchild Elisaveta Surmileva (born 31.3.2005, Moskow) daughter to Alexey Surmileva and Ksenia Surmileva née Kasatkina .


Vladimir Gripenberg (1848-1900) genomgick kejserliga rättsskolan I St. Peterburg. Han utsågs till guvernementssekreterare vid ryska justitieministeriet 27.5.1870 . Han fungerade som fredsdomare i Tambov, biträdande fredsdomare i Sventsovka kretsen av guvernementet Vilna. Han usågs 20.4.1879 till sekreterare i Moskva militärdistriktskonselj. Titulärråd s.d. Kollegiiasessor 23.11.1879. Föredragande vid militärdistriktsdomstolen i Moskva. Hovråd 11.9.1882. RRYsSt3 1886. Kollegiiråd 8.5.1896. RRyA2 1899.  (Uppgifterna troligen ur Carpelan:  Ättarlängderna)

Den ryska ättegrenen

Utöver den familjegren som Vladimir Gripenberg representerar fanns i Ryssland också en familjegren representerad av Oscar Ferdinad Gripenberg.