The Thorburn-Macfie Family Society in Sweden was founded in 1937 by descendants of William Thorburn and his wife Jessy (née Macfie) who in July 1823 removed to Sweden from Leith in Scotland.
William was the eldest son of William Thorburn of Leith, an industrious and well known tea merchant. In 1813 he (William Jr.) married Jessy Macfie, the youngest daughter of Robert Macfie of Greenock and Langhouse. The Thorburn and Macfie families were already related, as John Macfie, the third son of Robert Macfie, in 1810 had married Alison Thorburn, second daughter of William Thorburn of Leith.
William and Jessy settled at Kasen, an estate near the town of Uddevalla, about 46 miles north of Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast.
One of their children, Jessie Thorburn, married in January 1839 her first cousin, William Andrew Macfie, youngest son of her mothers sister Margaret and her husband James Macfie.
Also William Andrew and Jessie settled in Sweden in 1845, at Anfasteröd, about 14 miles from Kasen. It is from this branch the Macfie families in Sweden are descended.
The Thorburn-Macfie Family Society was at the start in 1937 concentrated to the town of Uddevalla, as most members of the family still lived in this neighbourhood.
In 1996 the family counts several hundred descendants of William and Jessy Thorburn, in fact some branches has reached the ninth generation. Each descendant of William and Jessy, and persons married into the family, can be identified by means of a family number. The descendants are spread all over Sweden, and also abroad. Not all of these are members of the Thorburn-Macfie Family Society. In 1996 the number of members counts over 200.
According to the statutes, the purpose of the Society is to maintain and promote the feeling of affinity among the descendants of William and Jessy.
The Thorburn-Macfie Family Society has therefore since 1938 annualy issued a Family Chronicle ('Släktkrönikan'), containing family news, articles by and about relatives, but also historical material, to remind today's generation of their ancestors.
This chronicle is distributed to each registered member of the Society, but also to a number of non-members, who has shown a particular interest in the Thorburn-Macfie Family Society.
The Society also arranges Family Reunions, usually held the first Saturday in July every third year, normally in the neighbourhood of Uddevalla, and gathers family members of all ages and from all parts of Sweden, and sometimes also from abroad.
The Reunion in 1992 gathered about 140 relatives from the age of only a few months to above 90. At the Reunion in 1995 we had the pleasure to welcome relatives from both England, Scotland and Canada.
A Family Register is also maintained by the Society, containing all descendants of William and Jessy Thorburn. This register is updated and re-issued every tenth year.
The history of the Thorburn and Macfie families is very interesting, and is well documented, in articles by family members in the Family Chronicle, and not least by a uniquely preserved Family Archive, at the Record Office in Gothenburg, Sweden.