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John_Gasstrom
04-01-05, 19:53
Hi, my name is John Gasstrom. I was born in NY as the grandson of two Swede-Finns who immigrated from Nedervetil and Karleby.

My Grandfather was John Elis Gasstrom (sometimes listed as Johan). He was born in Nedervetil c. 1892 and came to America aboard the Mauertania in 1910. The story I heard was that he had built an organ for the Church in Nedervetil in order to finance his voyage. When he got to America, he went to work to earn money to bring his other siblings over. In 1914, his older brother Herman came over, and the two worked together founding the Eagle Rule Company. My father told me many stories of their old factory (in Brooklyn, I believe). Apparently, the two were quite handy. My Grandfather was the inventor/engineer - designing, building, and maintaining most of the equipment. His brother ran the business side of things. I have found a couple of patents that are listed in Herman's name, which I believe my grandfather was responsible for inventing. An interesting one is for a spring clip for a folding wooden ruler that was commonly used in construction (I believe this was before tape measures became very common).

My Grandmother was Elna M. Mattila, born in Gamlakarleby in 1896. She came to America in 1913. She was an incredibly beautiful woman, who was offered a career as a model in Finland. She instead chose to come to America to work as a bookkeeper. She often told me how sad it was when she left, in that she buried her mother the morning before she left, and told off her abusive father - never speaking to him again. She had hoped to work as a bookkeeper for her brother, Wm. Mattila, at his grocery store in NY, but that never came to be. I don't know why - perhaps it was a language issue, or maybe the economics didn't work. My grandmother spoke fluent Swedish and Finnish (if she had to), but almost no English, so it was hard to find work. She ended up working as a housekeeper. When I asked her how she knew what to do, she said she "just guessed". If someone pointed at something, she cleaned it - and made enough money to survive, marry my grandfather, and have a very nice family life.

I have many pictures of them (picture-postcards mostly), and other Swede-Finns from the 1910's-20's. I hope to scan them all in soon, and post them online for others to view. I can easily pick out my grandmother, grandfather, and great-uncles - but most of the others are unfamiliar to me. Sometimes there is a first name scribbled on the back.

Well, that's my long-winded introduction. I hope not too boring for anyone who made it this far in reading it. I look forward to resuming my genealogy research - most of which I started in the late 90's and only got as far as I did with lots of help from June Pelo. (By the way, if I never said it before - Thanks so much for all your help June).

-John

June Pelo
05-01-05, 00:55
Hello John,

I'm happy to see your name as a new member of Finlander Forum. I tried to send you an e-mail recently and it was returned - so I guess you have moved and changed your address. I may be able to send you more data since the last time we wrote.

Your introduction was very interesting.

June

Gita Wiklund
05-01-05, 01:43
Very welcome John!

I enjoyed reading your introduction, and I´m looking forward to seeing the pictures you mentioned. Hope you will be able to put them online soon.



:) Gita

John_Gasstrom
05-01-05, 19:04
Thank you for the warm welcome!

You inspired me to get my scanner out and start putting some pictures online. If anyone can help with translations, or recognizes a name, face or place in one of these photos, please use the indicated link to email me about it.

Old Photos (http://www.gasstrom.com/family)

Thanks again!

-John

Gita Wiklund
05-01-05, 21:40
That was fast! Nice
:)

I have already made some translations from swedish to english for you. I mailed them from the site.

By the way, both of your grandparents were very handsome!

Gita ;)

John_Gasstrom
05-01-05, 21:57
Gita, Thank you so much for the translations. It is so interesting after all these years to know what some of these things say.

Also, many thanks to Henrik Romar who has also provided some translations.

When I get the rest of the pictures scanned, I will post them as well.

Thanks again to all!

-John

June Pelo
05-01-05, 22:09
John,

The picture of the pulpit in the church could be the Nedervetil church if it looks like this. Your picture is dark, but it looks the same to me. I'll see if I can find a larger picture.

June

June Pelo
05-01-05, 23:00
John,

Pictures 1, 2, 3 are all taken at a studio in NY. Maybe someone familiar with NY would know about Redfield(?) studio.
Picture 8 is Storgatan in Gamlakarleby - it is across from the railroad station. Picture 9 refers to Lundqvist's house (probably in GK). Picture 10 is a restaurant in the park in GK. Picture 11 mentions Polson Camp (there is a Polson, Montana, but don't think this is the same place.)
I have lots of pictures of old houses in Karleby and Nedervetil and looked at all of them, but did not find either of those old houses. I'm going to contact Göran Cainberg and Lasse Granholm to see if they recognize the houses. Tom Hansén - do you recognize the houses in pictures 5 and 6? I have more old pictures that I'll look through.

June

John_Gasstrom
06-01-05, 04:54
I have added 8 more photos to my photo page.
I have posted the translations that I have received so far.

Link repeated for your convenience (http://www.gasstrom.com/family)

Thanks again to all!

-John

syrene
06-01-05, 05:07
There were a lot of Swedish Finns who worked for the Polson Logging Company in Aberdeen/Hoquiam Washington. Polsons had at least 6 Camps. Could that be the Polson in question?
And welcome! I love to see pictures identified.
Syrene

John_Gasstrom
06-01-05, 06:27
I can decipher "Hoquiam Wash." at the bottom of the one postcard. I sent a couple of emails to the Polson Museum to see if they knew anything about it.

Thanks for the warm welcome.

-John