Sperring Family

About the Sperring Family

Ida Sophia Sperring was born 10 August 1891 and died 13 November 1892. Her Gualala Cemetery headstone provides that she was the daughter of I & A Sperring, most likely Johan Isak Sperring and Anna Lisa Stolpe. No birth, death or burial records have been found in Mendocino County archives for her. However, information gathered on the Sperring family at large helps to tell their story.

Details gleaned from Census records indicate the Sperrings arrived in the United States around 1889-1890. Their emigration records have not been found. The 1890 Census record was largely destroyed by a fire at the National Archives and is unable to be searched, limiting additional knowledge surrounding the family. However, even with limited records, it is certain that this family was living on the coast at the time that Ida Sophia Sperring was born and buried as a young child in the Gualala Cemetery.

Available information indicates that Israel Sperring, Ida’s grandfather, emigrated from Malax, Finland with six of his children: Johan Isak (m. Anna Lisa Stolpe), Edla (m. Conrad Nicks), Israel Edward, August, Marie (m. Hans Toft), and Hugo. Israel left behind his wife Maria Lovina, and six additional children. The Sperring family settled in Point Arena, with Johan Isak becoming a lead employee at the Gualala Mill. By 1910 Johan Isak and his wife Anna Lisa, had moved to Palo Alto, with their four children: Arthur (b. 1893), Axel (b. 1896), Ida (b. 1897), and Chester (b. 1903). The 1900 and 1910 Census are consistent in showing that Johan Isak Sperring and Anna Lisa Stolpe had another child, who was born and died prior to 1900. This is presumed to be the Ida Sophia Sperring who is buried in the Gualala Cemetery. As per naming customs with Scandinavian families, the next female born into the family was also named Ida Sophia in remembrance of her deceased sister.

The Sperring family photograph included with this narrative suggests that Israel Sperring was living with six of his children in Point Arena in late 1893 or early1894 when this picture was taken. They are the only Sperring family known to have lived on the coast during this time, and consisted of several males:

Israel Sperring was not found in any Mendocino County records. He could have returned to Finland where his wife was still living, or he may have died in California.

Johan Isak went by “John” in census records, and “J.I. and I.J.” in other records and newspaper mentions. He was known to have been married to Anna Lisa Stolpe. John was reportedly “in charge” of the redwoods at the Gualala Mill, which established the Gualala Cemetery in the late 1870s as a private graveyard to support the millworker families and local townspeople. John and his wife Anna are documented to have given birth to a child who died prior to 1900.

Israel Edward per the 1900 U.S. Federal Census record, arrived in the United States in 1889, and was recorded as being single, living and working in Salt Point.

Hugo is not found in Census records; however, other records show he was born 20 July 1888 in Malax, Finland. He died in 1912 in San Francisco, his obituary does not mention a wife or any children. In 1891, at the time of Ida Sophia Sperring’s birth, Hugo would have only been 13 years of age.

August is not found in any records in California. He is recorded as being born in 1873 in Malax, Finland. The only mention found of August living in the United States comes from the caption of the photograph included with this narrative.

There are no living descendants of Johan Isak Sperring and Anna Lisa Stolpe who may have information on Ida Sophia’s burial in the Gualala Cemetery. Only one of their surviving children, Alex, was found to have married and had children. Alex had one child, Marilyn, who married but had no known children. Other descendants of John Isak’s siblings’ children living both in the United States and Finland have not provided any knowledge surrounding the burial.

Research compiled by Kelly Richardson, APR, AG. Anchored Genealogy. Research for this report was funded through a grant by the American Society of Genealogists.

Sperring Family Photos