View Full Version : Family Finding Trip To Finland

29-06-04, 01:55
I leave tomorrow 29 June for Finland. I will be seeing cousins from Lillvik Grandparent, Granholm Grandparent, and Janger Grandparent. My sister, Sonja and I will be travelling from Helsinki to Sulkava, Kokkola/Terjarv and then to LappfJard followed by a ferry trip to Sweden with a Lillvik cousin to leave via Oslo on 20 July. I will be attempting to fill out my family tree with 20th and 21st century relatives.

Do the Finnish churches still keep the records as they did in the 1800's? The internet has been great up to the 1850's or so but it is difficult after that.

I haven't been in a sauna for years. Looking forward to having a number of them. Sister had a sauna business in California in the 1970s.

Does anyone know if there any poor man figures in the Terjarv or Lappfjärd areas?

29-06-04, 02:21
Have a safe trip and please update us on your progress once you return!

29-06-04, 08:15
Yes, I seem to remember a Fattig Gubbe carving at Terjärv!
I wish you best of luck on filling out your family tree. Hopefully you obtained help from the Finlander's Talko list of 1.3 million Swedish Finn names.

One genealogist in Finland told us to do the major part of our family research from the US via Internet and church records available through the Mormon Church Family search centers. Then the trip tp Finland can be spent visiting with those cousins you have found! It sounds as if that's exactly your plan.

Best wishes for a wonderful trip.

24-07-04, 02:40
Well, I am back from a wonderful trip to Finland and Sweden. The weather was fine for me but most everyone was complaining about the cold and the rain. I did find Fattig Gubbe carving at Terjärv and took a picture of it. Found many cousins and even saw June Pelo's ancestor's home in Terjarv.

Met many cousins from my grandmother's Granholm & Grano side of the family. We got into a discussion about a woman called "musta Maja" who was like a cult person who gathered young girls and received considerable money and land from people who followed her during the 1915 - 1924 time frame. Has anyone else heard of her? My Grandmother either gave or sold her home to the woman. That was one of the reasons my father left Finland. Two cousins remember their grandfathers (grandmother's brothers) talking about how angry they were that she did that.

Found a considerable amount of information in Lappfjärd area. Of particular interest was small book about the Träskvik community. As a result, I was able to find the house my father lived in and have plenty to keep me busy for weeks.

Had a chance to meet cousins Lars and Ole Granholm. Everyone was very generous with their time and information.

25-07-04, 18:20
Your description sounds like that of Maria Åkerblom. There is quite a lot written about her. You can find at least one short text about her in English on the web - please try Maria Åkerblom Movement.
She was no nice lady!

June Pelo
25-07-04, 18:40
I found this about her:

103. Björkstrand, Gustav. "Formative Factors of the Maria Åkerblom Movement." In New Religions edited by Haralds Biezais. Stockholm: Almquist and Wiksell, 1974.

Maria Åkerblom appears to have been an extraordinarily interesting person, though difficult to live with. She has been described as "egocentric, impatient, vulnerable, emotionally self-indulgent…hard, irreconcilable, morally
indifferent and endowed with a vivid and colorful imagination." As a prophet she was flawless and absolutely self-assured; theft, perjury and murder were permissible in pursuing God's work. She began her work in 1917, when Finland was threatened by the Russian revolution. Millenarism was not a prominent element in her teaching, apparently. She was early accused of sexual lapses, madness and generally inappropriate behavior for her sex. This and other forms of opposition led Åkerblom to consolidate her movement in economic
interdependency. Among other mistakes, she shot at an opponent and her followers tried to perjure her way out of the consequences. At the perjury trial, they were convicted and forced to leave the province where they had been working. They decided on a pilgrimage, supposedly to Palestine but got no further than Helsinki, where they were arrested for attempted assassination and more perjury; most were given long sentences. The group held together until just before Åkerblom's release, when another prophet discredited her. In a conclusion worthy
of Woody Allen, Björkstrand tells us that Åkerblom later did quite well in business.


25-07-04, 19:57
Thanks to Ulla and June. You have the right person. One of my cousins did mention Åkerblom. I will continue to do more research on her. Now I wonder if my Grandmother followed her to Helsinki in 1923.

Kaj Granlund
26-08-04, 21:12
The best person to know that might be the pricipal of the swedish university Åbo Akademi Gustav Björkstrand who did his doctors degree on Maria åkerblom. You could try. His e-mail is gustav.bjorkstrand%40abo.fi

03-09-04, 15:52
Thanks for the email address. I have been in touch with him and he will be sending me an English summary of his thesis that was written in Swedish.

A quick new question. In the church book that we saw in Terjärv this summer it had numerial annotations for the skill or knowledge levels of my father and his brothers. I would like to think that my father's 4's were significantly higher than my uncles' 2's. Can you explain the evaluation scale and the categories of religious knowledge that they were expected to know?

Thanks, again for all the help you have given to me and the others in the forum

Kaj Granlund
03-09-04, 18:08
Oh, you can ask tricky questions!
I’ve seen those a hundreds of times without paying much notice to them. Now it depends on when he left. There have naturally been changes. In 1888 they were supposed to a) be able to read text, b) a,b,c (basic leading skills ), c) the katechism of dr. M Luther d) the apostolic creed d) answer question about biblical topics e) the psalms of David in the Old Testament f) biblical history g) understanding of the faith h) ability to write.
These topics were evaluated with the signs from I (=poor), Y and Y. (note the dot) and and X (excellent), There might even be those that just got one small dot (extremely poor)
Then there is a column for attendance at the house meating where these skills were evaluated. There you have the numbers and they refers to a year. (every church book communionbook contains 10 years so if there is a 2 it means the year during that period ending with a 2)

In the churchrecords 1898-
The topics were: a) ability to read from a book b) biblical history c) Dr M Luthers cathechism d) the explanations in the cathechism d) abstarct understanding . evaluation like above.
So I must make you dissapointed those numbers you have just indicate which year he attended the meating called “läsförhör” (readingevaluation). That was a rather unpleasant happening. All the people from that particular farm area gathered in one house. The vicar and the church musician came and in presence of all the people they started to evaluation one by one. Everybody could hear what the others did know or didn’t know. I also undertand many vicars or musicians didn’t like the way it was to be done. The musician evaluated the reading, writing skills and the vicar the topics of christian faith. These evaluations were to be done once a year and in the spring.
It was also a opportunity for the vicar to meat all the people, to know if somebody had moved away or emigrated without asking for “the letter for moving”, and to find out if somebody was ill, needed help a.s.o.