Linnaeus’ family in Småland

The parents of Linnaeus

Linnaeus grew up in the province of Småland where his family had lived for many generations. His father was Nils Linnaeus, 1674–1748. He came from a family with many farmers and clergymen. Nils was a farmer's son but he became the Vicar of Stenbrohult. When Nils died in 1748 his son had already become a professor at Uppsala University and was at the height of his career.

Linnaeus’ father, Nils Linnaeus.
This portrait by an unknown artist may
be seen at Linnaeus’ Hammarby

Linnaeus’ mother, Christina Brodersonia.
The original oil painting, by an unknown
artist, may be seen at Linnaeus’ Hammarby.

Carl's mother Christina, 1688–1733, was the daughter of Samuel Brodersonius who preceded Nils Linnaeus as Vicar of Stenbrohult. According to the custom of the time, she kept her patronym Brodersonia (note the feminine ending -a) even after her marriage. She came from a family where clergymen predominated.

Five sibblings

Nils and Christina were married on March 6th, 1706. They had five children:

Carl Linnaeus, 1707–1778, their firstborn son

Carl was knighted in 1757 and was then called Carl von Linné. He married Sara Elisabeth Moraea in 1739. They had seven children of whom one boy and four girls reached maturity. The son, Carl von Linné Jr, never married and the "von Linné" name thus came to an end.

Anna Maria Linnaea 1710–1769

She married Gabriel Höök, a clergyman, and had ten children.

Sophia Juliana Linnaea 1714–1771

She married Johan Svensson Collin, a clergyman, and had ten children.

Samuel Linnaeus 1718–1797

He succeeded his father as Vicar of Stenbrohult. Samuel is sometimes called "the Bee King" as he kept bees and wrote a handbook on bee-keeping. He married Anna Helena Osander and had twelve children, five of them sons. Only one son reached maturity but died at the age of 27 without marrying. Thus the "Linnaeus" family name came to an end.

Emerentia Linnaea 1723 –1753

She married a local sheriff, Carl Ammon Branting, and had four children.

What Linnaeus said about family history

It is generally accepted to begin one's life story with one's distinguished ancestry; for no plant comes without seed and root. But it is so with all people, when they go a little further back in their family, they become far too humiliated. It is of little honour to draw your heritage from great men, when you yourself have degenerated in goodness. But it is a great thing to grow from a rotten stump into a tall and shady tree with the most honest fruit. It is a great thing to, from poverty in an evil world, work your way up with virtue towards the wind of happiness, to a favourable situation.

Also from a small cottage, a great man may step forth.

Linnaean fun facts
At Råshult, where Linnaeus' family lived until Carl was two years old, his father Nils had planted a raised round flowerbed which resembled a dining room table. He had planted flowers to form the dinner plates and around the "table" there were  bushes to symbolise the dinner guests.
Last modified: 2021-11-05