The Aschan family finds its roots in a small parish in the southern part of the province of Ostergotland in the early 17th century. In the village of Aska lived a farmer, Per Bengtsson, who was known as Per from Aska (Per is a swedish shortening for Peter). He had two sons, both of whom became priests, and accordingly, as was the tradition at the time, on entering the priesthood they changed their family name to Ascanius. It was very common in those days for a priest to have a latin derived ending to his surname and Ascanius means coming from Aska village. The swedish word Aska historically has several meanings, one which relates to the ash-tree (ask in swedish) and a heraldic ash is the tree in the centre of the coat of arms. There is also a possibility that the name Ascanius was inspired by the Aeneid, a story by the roman author Virgil about the hero Aeneas, a trojan who escaped from the sacking of Troy together with his son Ascanius. There are, however, other possibilities how this family name started but these seem less plausible.
Per from Aska’s eldest son Johan, who died in 1707, is believed to be the ancestor of all of the living members of the Aschan Family. His younger brother Bengt’s, who died in 1692, descendants vanished at some point during the 19th century and his family line is considered to have ended there, but the genealogical research along his line is nearly so complete. During 18th century when the priest’s descendants took more profane occupations it was the custom to remove the latinised endings of the surname and that is how the family name came to be shortened to Aschan.
Some relatives emigrated to UK and USA during the early 20th century. Now living in UK is the family’s oldest member, Carl Aschan, who lives in Scotland and his family who live in England. In the USA are Elisabeth Walldow, (New York) and Ebba Hierta, (Michigan) together with their families.
There is a very high possibility that all families in Sweden with the surname Aschan are connected to the descendants of Per from Aska, though has yet to be fully researched.
In Finland there are two families with the surname Aschan. Both families originate from the eastern part of Finland and the name Aschan or Ascanius did first occur in the late 17th or 18th century. Finland was in those days a part of Sweden and for several hundred years the military, church and administration were closely connected to Sweden. One of these families developed along finnish lines, the other descended from a priest called Petrus Ascanius, who died in 1750, remained part of the swedish speaking minority and his descendants now live in the southern part of Finland. There is no known connection between the swedish and finnish Aschan families but The Aschan Family Society in Sweden has a long and good relation to the swedish speaking family of Aschan in Finland.
There are also various Aschans in Norway, Denmark and Austria. If or how they are related to the swedish family Aschan is not known, but some Aschans did seem to vanish into Europe during the 19th century. The genealogy of these possibly lost and broken connections is still to be researched and remains an important task for The Aschan Family Society.