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Peter Cavat (Jonsson)

Birthplace: Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden
Death: 1759 (22-31)
Battle of Demmin, Demmin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany (Captured in battle and presumed killed)
Immediate Family:

Husband of Cajsa Ingrid Johansdotter
Father of Jonas Svanström and Annika Pettersdotter

Occupation: Soldier
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Peter Cavat

Petter Jönsson Cavat (c1732-1759), infantry soldier. His ancestry is uncertain.


In 1752 he joined the army and took the military surname Cavat, which means "plucky" or "brave". He served in the Sevedes Company of the Royal Kalmar Regiment (Infantry). The regiment consisted of 1,184 men in two battalions of four companies. Each company had 137 privates and 11 officers, NCOs and musicians.

Petter was assigned to live at Kamdalen (Rote No. 9 Svenserum), a soldier's croft about seven miles southwest of Gärdserum, on the shore of a small lake, Hemgöl. Prior to enlisting, Petter Cavat was probably a tenant of Eric Gerdeman (1710-1779), of Svenserum, perhaps a relative, or at least a resident of the parish of Gärdserum.

From 1756 to 1763 Europe was disrupted by the Seven Years War with Sweden, Austria, France, Russia and Spain on one side, against England and Prussia on the other. In the North American colonies this conflict was called the French and Indian War. The Swedish name for the war was Pommerska kriget (the Pomeranian War). A military roll dated 1757 says Peter Cavat was 23-1/2 years old and had served 4-3/4 years in the army. Peter's regiment remained in Sweden at the outbreak of the war, but in 1758 six companies (900 men) were sent to Pomerania as reinforcements against the Prussians, probably when Count Gustav David Hamilton took command on June 27. There are few details. On 18 November 1758 some elements of the regiment were present at the Battle of Güstow. On 25 November 1758, 160 men from the regiment were occupying a redoubt outside Werbelow, when a party of 40 men from another regiment took refuge there. The 200 men held off a Prussian assault until reinforcements arrived. Peter Cavat might have been involved in one or both these battles.

Gen. Hamilton resigned on 23 November 1758. Jacob Albrecht von Lantinghausen was appointed commander on 19 December. The Swedish forces wintered in Pomerania. In early 1759 Gen. Lantinghausen lost the garrisons in Demmin, Anklam and Peenemünde after a brave resistance, and retreated to Stralsund.

In 1759 Peter Cavat was taken prisoner by the Prussians at Demmin, probably on 17 January, when the Prussian army captured the town, but perhaps on 21 October when the Prussians surprised the town, seized the Swedish war chest, and retired to Malchin. Peter Cavat never returned. The Prussians had a tremendous hatred for the Swedes and he was probably killed by them. He was deleted from military rolls on 30 June 1764.

For more on the Pomeranian war, see Project SYW,, visited 17 Sept. 2009.

DNA Testing

DNA testing shows the Cavats, Svanströms, Ögrims and other paternally related families are relatively close relatives of a Briese family in Prussia and Poland, probably with a common ancestor who lived about 1700. They belong to Z326 > A5588, a subgroup of yDNA haplogroup R1b. There are, however, men who are less closely related who are spread throughout Scandinavia and Scotland, with a concentration in Frisia.

Members of the Briese family first appear in the mid-18th century in Potrzymowo, Poland, and Luben, Deutch-Krone, West Prussia. Michael Briese, born about 1738 was a property owner (Eigenthümer) at Potzymowo in what is now Poland. Many German families settled in this area in the mid-1700s at the request of the local Polish nobility, who wanted to re-build estates that had been decimated by cholera and war. At the Second Partition of Poland in 1793, this area became part of Prussia.

For more information on the Briese families, see Family Tree DNA, Briese Surname Project.


Petter Cavat's parents are unknown, but his patronymic indicates that his father's name must have been Jon or Jonas. There are two traditions about his ancestry, but neither of them has been proved.

First, Petter is said to have been Scottish, or the illegitimate son of a Scottish nobleman. This tradition is plausible but unlikely. Many Scots settled in Sweden during the 17th and 18th centuries. The tradition appears both among his Swedish Ögrim descendants and his American Swanström descendants, so it probably dates back to the 1830s, to the lifetime of their common ancestor, Petter's grandson Jonas Svanström (1794-1881). (From Evy: His father was "Ryttmästare troligen illegitim son till en skottsk adelsman som flytt till sverige och här blev utsedd till ryttmästare vid hovet. Ej bekräftad uppgift. (Captain probably illegitimate son of a Scottish nobleman who fled to Sweden and was named a cavalry captain. Not confirmed.) A Jon Cawat or Cawot, a Scot in Sweden was a ryttmästare (cavalry captain).")

However, because the yDNA signature of the Svanströms shows they are probably a German or Pomeranian family, this tradition probably remembers a different ancestor, Jonas Svensson Wåhlstrand, who was bailiff for Baron Sven Johan Duwall. The baron was descended from the Scottish MacDowall family.

Secondly, Petter is said to have been related in some way to the Gärdeman / Gelsenius family. Specifically, the first Svanström soldier (probably Petter's son Jonas Svanström) is said to have been related in some way to his landlord (probably Eric Gerdeman, a farmer at Svenserum),

Several theories about Petter's ancestry are currently being investigated:

  • Petter was probably a son of Jon Olsson (1703-1774) and Annicka Larsdotter of Bastorp in Gärdserum. The naming patterns are consistent with this theory.
  • Petter might have been a relative of Greta Belliewitz, who married Johan Frost, of Kvistrum about 1710. Greta is likely to have been a member of the extensive Pomeranian Bielewicz family. The Svanström's Pomeranian yDNA makes this an attractive theory. Further, Johan Frost was the son of Anders Persson Frost, who was factor for Kvistrum landlord Olof Rosenstierna, whose grandfather came from Pomerania.
  • Petter might have been a son of Jons Nilsson (1688-1737), of Ukna.
  • Petter might have been a son of Jonas Jonsson (1689-1743), of Börsebo.
  • Petter might have been a son of Jonas Persson Ödman (1683-1742) and brother of Nils Vedberg.
  • Petter might have been a relative of the Ingeborg Persdotter Svanström (1713-1781), of Sjöbacka, Åtvid, who married Nils Vedberg (above).
  • Petter Cavat might have been the Petter Johansson, born 21 July 1732 at Målilla to Johan Samuelsson and Christina Jonsdotter (, but the identification is a long shot. Peter (Per), Jonas and Johan were common names, and the surname Cavat was probably not hereditary.

The following theories about Petter's ancestry are unlikely:

  • Petter was probably not a grandson of Jonas Svenonis Gelsenius (1653-1694), of Målilla. Only two of Jonas' children are known, both daughters.
  • Petter was probably not a son of Johan Frost (c1669-?), Kvisterum. Petter's father was probably named Jonas, not Johan. Further, Johan was about 63 when Petter was born.
  • Petter was probably not a son of Jon Jönsson (1668-1730), of Tingetorp. Jon was about 64 when Petter was born.

Three theories about Petter's ancestry have been disproved:

  • Petter was not the Per Jonasson, born 14 November 1732 in Kvarntorp, son of Jonas Presser (1675-1753). That Per had a different wife and children. (Behrendtz 2007)
  • Petter was not the son of Jonas Johansson (1701-1758), a man whose family was active in the parish. There are baptism records for this Jonas' children, but there is no Petter among them. (Behrendtz 2014)
  • Petter was not a son of Jonas Larsson Råberg (1698-?), a soldier at Falerum rota. The children of this Jonas are known, and did not include a son Petter. (Behrendtz 2014)

Cavat Family

The surname Cavat means bold or plucky. It seems to have been the name used for several soldiers at Gårdveda in Målilla in the Royal Kalmar Regiment (Livkompaniet). The four Cavats listed in Centrala Soldatregistret all came from that unit. None were named Johan or Jonas, so none would have been father of Peter Jönsson Cavat:

The Scottish surname Cavat is concentrated in Galloway. It is often said to be a corruption of MacDavitt. Black's Surnames of Scotland says, "MACCAVAT: Ir. MacDhaibheid, ‘son of David, q.v. Thomas M’Cabet, a witness; appears in 1527 and Joh. M’Cavethe was burgess of Ayr, 1529 (RMS., III, 500,786). Letters of legitimation were granted to Michael M’Cavett, natural son of Thomas M’Cavett in Mekill Sonnetes [Meikle Synnyness], barony of Glenluce, 1543 (ibid., 2872). Also Englished Cavet and Kevvitt." (George Fraser Black, The Surnames of Scotland (1946).


The soldiers known to have served at Svenserum were:

  • Olof Andersson, unknown
  • Per Nilsson, unknown
  • Per Persson, unknown
  • Per Torsson, unknown
  • Sven Nilsson Lustig, cavalry soldier, born 1685, died 10 January 1739
  • Joel Broberg, cavalry soldier, born 1692
  • Lars Gerdström, cavalry soldier born 1721
  • Peter Jönsson Cavat, infantry soldier, died 1759
  • Jonas Svanström, cavalry soldier, born 30 July 1754, died 1811
  • Nils Andersson Nelli, born 1786
  • Carl Berggren, born 1787
  • Anders Blücker, born 1793, died 4 March 1850
  • Lars Petter Larsson Sund, born 23 January 1821
  • Anders Petter Johansson Spjut, born 29 April 1835, died 23 March 1919
  • Gustaf Albin Finn, born 21 February 1866
view all

Peter Cavat's Timeline

Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden
July 30, 1754
Kamdalen u Svenserum, Gärdserum, Åtvidaberg, Östergötland, Sweden
September 24, 1756
Kamdalen u Svenserum, Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden
Age 27
Battle of Demmin, Demmin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany