I was probably standing right on the spot …

My plan for today was to go Christmas shopping in Stockholm. Getting off the commuter train at the Central Station, I followed the crowd of early commuters through the hallways that lead to the subway escalators. But instead of going down another floor, I took the elevator up to the new station exit at Klarabergsgatan. I was met by the low, bright December sun blinding me as I stepped out on the street.

This new entrance, with a conveniently located Starbucks café, is two blocks from The Church of Saint Clare or Clara Church (Klara Kyrka). And that is when it hit me – I was probably standing right on the spot where Augusta used to stay on some visits to Stockholm. A Starbucks café, of all places!

The Stockholm families most often named in Augusta’s diaries are Ribbing, Boheman, and Hjort. The family Ribbing (“Ribbingens”) and the baroness Ribbing are always paid visits or they accompany Augusta to opera performances. She also stays with the Ribbings. So who were they? Through a digitalized census registry of inhabitants in Stockholm 1845, I discovered that she must have been Ulrika Charlotta Jacquette Fredriksdotter Sparre af Rossvik who was a widow of Seved Lennartsson Ribbing af Zernava. Her address was listed as Clara parish, quarter Uggleskants, house no. 5 on Clara Strand Street. And then, I realized that a detailed map of Stockholm in 1847 (http://stockholmskallan.stockholm.se/) was also digitalized and I could see where she had lived!!

As I turned my back to Starbucks and started walking in the direction of Clara Church, there are still some 3-story, old buildings nestled among later art nouveau residences and 20th century concrete buildings. These are the few that survived the widespread demolition-spree in the 1960’s. My quest is now to find old etchings of what Clara parish looked like in the mid-1800s and maybe some later photos of the old houses. Maybe even one of the Ribbing family house.

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