View Full Version : My introduction

06-01-05, 08:36
I hope I'm doing this right - have never posted here before.

My name is Chris Korstange and I live in Grand Rapids MI, USA. I'm here to try to figure out how to research the line of my family that came from Karleby Finland before 1900.

My great great grandfather was Anders Emil Bjork born Aug 14 1872 and he married in 1899 at Ashland WI USA to Hilma Johanna Sten (I've been told her name was Hilma Johanna Benjaminsdotter Kiviniemi) born June 21 1879. I have their marriage license which lists her parents as Benjamin Sten and Lisa Greta Anderson. I have recently discovered that Hilma had a sister Anna Sten born Jan 25 1882 who also married at Ashland in 1900 to Erick Newman.

Emil had a sister Anna Irene born May 6 1883 and died in 1907 in Finland that married Matts Viktor Hallis and had a daughter Gerda who married Edmund Haga. I've been in touch with her sons Bo and Boris who still live in Finland. They did research on the Bjork family but I'm still in the dark on the Sten or Kiviniemi family.

This forum looks very promising and appears to have very helpful and friendly posters so I thought I'd give this a shot.

I hope I'm doing this right!:D

Hasse Andtbacka
06-01-05, 09:43
Hello Chris,

we have in our database Anders Emil Andersson Hällis, b. 14.8.1872 in Såka, Karleby. He married in USA Hilma Johanna Benjaminsdr Kiviniemi, b. 21.6.1879. Her parents were Benjamin Henriksson Kiviniemi, b. 14.2.1859 in Kivijärvi and Lisa Greta Känsäkangas, b. 18.1.1855 in Kaustinen.

Anders Emil's Ahnentafel is attached.

Welcome to Finlander!

Hasse Andtbacka

Hasse Andtbacka
06-01-05, 09:49
The attachment didn't show up, so here it is:

1. Anders Emil Andersson Hällis, b. 14-08-1872 in Björndahl, Karleby.

Married in USA, Hilma Johanna Benjamsdr Hällis Kiviniemi, b. 21-06-1879.


2. Anders Gustaf Andersson Hällis Björndahl, b. 26-09-1852 in i Karleby, d. 26-01-1884 in Hällis, occupation bonde på Hällis. Married 11-06-1871 in Karleby, Greta Sofia Johansdr Hällis Björk.

3. Greta Sofia Johansdr Hällis Björk, b. 06-06-1849, d. 09-07-1887.

Grand Parents

4. Anders Jakobsson Björndahl, b. 23-03-1828 in i Rödsö, d. 02-05-1861 drunknat. Married 20-06-1851 in Karleby, Anna Brita Andersdotter Kulla f Björndal.

5. Anna Brita Andersdotter Kulla f Björndal, b. 17-04-1834 in Karleby, d. 03-09-1916. Gift i Såka med "Styrmans Alexanders". (1) Married 20-06-1851 in Karleby, Anders Jakobsson Björndahl, b. 23-03-1828 in i Rödsö, d. 02-05-1861 in drunknat. (2) Married 03-04-1864 in Karleby, Alexander Mattsson Kulla, b. 12-08-1835 in i Karleby, d. 10-03-1901, occupation bonde på Kulla i Såka.

6. Johan Andersson Björkbacka-Björk, b. 28-12-1811 in i Karleby, d. 11-03-1888, occupation bonde på Björk i Såka. (1) Married 1834 in Karleby, Anna Eriksdotter Björk Kallis, b. 04-11-1813 in Karleby, d. 03-09-1846. (2) He married Anna Simonsd Björkbacka Storvikar, b. 06-08-1819 in Kronoby, d. 13-04-1878 in i Karleby.

7. Anna Simonsd Björkbacka Storvikar, b. 06-08-1819 in Kronoby, d. 13-04-1878 in Karleby.

Great Grand Parents

8. Jakob Johansson Björndahl-Kankkonen, b. 16-12-1798 in i Rödsö, d. 20-01-1836 in av svullnad, occupation måg på Björndahl 1835-. Married 11-06-1825 in Karleby, Anna Eriksdr Känsälä-Kankkonen Björndahl.

9. Anna Eriksdr Känsälä-Kankkonen Björndahl, b. 09-01-1802 in i Palo, d. 24-11-1845 in i barnsbörd.

10. Anders Andersson Björndal, b. 26-08-1810, d. 19-06-1881 in i feber, occupation bonde, häradsdomare. Married C:A 1833 in Karleby, Helena Larsdotter Björndal Hassinen.

11. Helena Larsdotter Björndal Hassinen, b. 03-10-1808, d. 14-06-1882 av ålderdom.

Hasse A

06-01-05, 19:30

Thanks a ton for the information you found! I can't believe there was that much information that quickly! I'll have to compare it to the information that Bo and Boris Haga had found - the info you posted looks to be much more complete and had some names in it I don't recognize.

I wanted to ask someone that's actually in Finland - how often were pictures taken back around 1900? I would love to find a picture of Anders Emil's grandmother Anna Brita Andersdotter Kulla f Björndal, b. 17-04-1834 in Karleby, d. 03-09-1916. There were definitely cameras back at that time! I've spoken with the only known cousins in Finland and they don't know of any photos. Is it possible that she had children with her second husband who may have descendants that have photos? I would give anything to get copies of them. Emil had several grandparents that lived until the late 1880s - I have pictures from here in the states that date that far back but am not sure if they have them in Finland.

Thanks again! I'll post more information regarding the family when I get back where I have my database.


07-01-05, 06:30
Hi Chris,

Regarding Child #1 below - My maternal great-grandfather was married to EDLA SOFIA ANDERSDR FORSBACKA HÄLLIS. EDLA was another sister to EMIL and ESTER. You mentioned the two of them. EDLA's third husband was my great-grandfather, Johan Viktor Andersson Smedjebacka. Two of Edla's sons came to the State of Washington and lived here until they died. Neither of the sons had any children. Hasse Andtbacka and his wife have excellent genealogical records for the area, as you could certainly tell by his quick response to your inquiry.

I haven't figured out the relationship yet, but I also knew a "Herman Hallis" who lived here in Tacoma until he died on February 9, 1996. He used to talk about having visited my grandmother's family while she lived in Terjarv, but I never realized there was such a close connection via my great-grandfather and his second wife, Edla. Small world.

1) EDLA SOFIA ANDERSDR FORSBACKA HÄLLIS, b. June 30, 1871, i Karleby på Björndahl; d. March 10, 1949.
2) ANDERS EMIL ANDERSSON HÄLLIS, b. August 14, 1872, på Björndahl i Karleby; m. HILMA JOHANNA BENJAMSDR HÄLLIS KIVINIEMI, USA1; b. June 21, 18791.
3) ESTER ELIN ANDERSDR HÄLLIS, b. May 16, 1878, på Hällis i Karleby; d. February 03, 1894.

Good luck with your search. You are on the right track! If there is a helpful place online, this is it.

Debbie Halinen Santelli
Tacoma, WA

07-01-05, 06:40

I had no idea that Edla lived long enough to have children - one of her sisters Anna Irene died young but has 2 grandsons who have researched the family and they indicated that Edla died in 1896. I looked over the information Hasse sent and it's more in depth and complete than what the grandsons had found so I tend to put more stock into Hasse's information (I've actually made changes to my file to reflect his information).

If Edla survived that long are there any pictures of her in existance? Did anyone in her family have any pictures of her and Emil's parents? Emil had a brother Johan Herman who settled in White Cloud Michigan and has a few descendants still around. He was born Dec 28th, 1881 and died in 1937. I've talked to the descendants of him and of Anna Irene's and neither has any pictures.

If you or anyone else is interested in a picture of Emil and Hilma I have one on my website which is listed in my profile. I will be putting some pictures of Hilma's sister Anna and her husband Erick Newman up when I get around to updating.

Thanks again!

07-01-05, 06:45
I've been told (and come to realize) that there is a different way of carrying surnames on in Finnish society but am wondering now exactly what that is? Everyone is posting that my great great grandfather Emil Burke's surname was Hallis - wondering why he ended up with an Americanized version of Bjork instead of just keeping Hallis.....not sure how to put this into my family tree maker - I'm guessing by everyone's info that Hallis is what is in the official documents regarding his birth?

07-01-05, 08:29
I would suggest that you browse the articles in our article collections, for example June's articles %40:

Link (http://delphi.eget.net/index.php?June%20Pelo%B4s%20articles)

Jim Bailey
07-01-05, 19:24
Hej, Chris ----

A hearty welcome to the list.

My grandparents too were married and raised their family in Ashland, WI. They lived at 700 18th Avenue West. I too have their wedding certificate - about 18" by 24" and in Swedish. It hangs on the wall in our family room.

I've checked the names you gave against my database, but none of them rings a bell.

My grandmother Hilda Sofia (Nylund) Sandstrom was the secretary of the Runeberg Society in Ashland for some years. I have some Runeberg records (including an old photo book) and will keep checking your names from time to time, as I have the opportunity.

Like you, I'm a Michigander (born and raised mostly in Ann Arbor, with the Escanaba stint during the 1940s.) As you can see, I'm "exiled" down here in the cornfields of Indiana ... a retired law professor, absolutely enchanted with retirement. Nonetheless, I continue intoxicated with Michigan, especially the U.P. and Upper-Mitten river and lake country.

You've joined a GREAT list. Hasse and all the members have been superb, and I simply cannot say enough positive things about them all.

Very cordially,

Jim Bailey
Greenfield, Indiana

07-01-05, 19:38
Hello Jim,

Thanks for the warm welcome. I've only been on this board for a couple of days and already feel like I've been here forever. The people are wonderful!

The wedding certificate I have is a photocopy of the original that was in the Ashland Town Clerk's office. Unlike here in Grand Rapids where they'd have laughed me out of town I placed a call to Ashland and the woman looked the certificate up for me while I was on the phone and mailed me a copy for free! I'm still working on the history of my family in Ashland - all of Emil and Hilma's children that ever were in Ashland are deceased. There youngest son is still alive and kicking at 84 years young and I'm meeting with him next Saturday but don't hold much hope that he'll have much info I don't already have.

I've been in contact with a Lawrence Newman out of Arizona who is descended from Hilma's sister Anna and he has sent me a picture of the home that Emil helped his grandfather Erick Newman build in Ashland in 1905. He said that Walmart tore it down in 1990 to make room for their store there (Oh how I hate Walmart!). He listed the address as 2410 E Front Street (now Lake Shore Drive)

You're right about Northern Michigan - I've lived in Grand Rapids my entire life and although I can't complain too much I like nothing more than packing the car and heading north. Unfortunately everything is spreading north and you have to drive further and further to find the "pristine" woods. And, having my job as a 911 operator I'm inundated daily with the worst of our society so it skews my opinions of my hometown. Thanks again for the reply. If you find anything pertaining to the family in Ashland I'd be greatly appreciative!


June Pelo
07-01-05, 22:24

In her marriage to Alexander Mattsson Kulla, Anna Brita had a son Matts Viljam Andersson Kullström, b. 14 Sep 1864 in Karleby, married 1885 in Karleby to Edla Johanna Johansdotter Sunde, 1863-1946 (from Kronoby), and they had a daughter Agnes Therese, b. 26 Apr 1908 in Karleby. Agnes married Ernst Ragnar Ventjärvi, b. 30 Sep 1907 in Karleby - they had the following children:
1. Brita Ragnhild Therese, b. 5 Nov 1929
2. Ulla Margareta, b. 6 Jan 1935
3. Tora Katarina, b. 14 May 1937

I don't have any further info. about the children and marriages, but I would assume they are still living around Karleby. Maybe someone on Finlander will recognize the names.


07-01-05, 22:44

Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU! I would think that those people would still be alive and that gives me great hope for finding a picture of her! This forum is fantastic!

Hasse Andtbacka
07-01-05, 22:45
The Ventjärvi sisters are my second cousins. I can put you in contact with them if you want to.

Hasse Andtbacka

07-01-05, 22:50

That would be great! I can't believe how tied together everyone here is! Are they all still living? Do you know if any of the 3 are more into genealogy than the others? I would guess the oldest one would possibly have the pictures but I guess any of the 3 could have grabbed them if they had more interest.

Thanks again! :D :D

June Pelo
07-01-05, 22:57
I had a hunch that Hasse would know them - and I was right! Thanks, Hasse. :p


Hasse Andtbacka
07-01-05, 23:00
It is now late night here, 11 pm. I will ask Britta or Tora tomorrow, they surely know if there are any pictures of Anna Brita.


07-01-05, 23:11
Thank you Hasse. I appreciate your help!


Hasse Andtbacka
08-01-05, 12:39
Gave Tora Barkar (Wentjärvi) a call. She has a portrait of Anna Brita on the wall. Tomorrow we will go to her house in Esse, take a picture of the portrait and put it on Finlander.

She is interested in who you are, could you send me your connection to Anders Emil Andersson; please send it privately to hasse.andtbacka%40pp.kpnet.fi . Then it is easy to show her how you are related.

Have a nice day,

Hasse A

08-01-05, 18:45
I have emailed Hasse the information and look forward to the picture he's been able to track down for me. Thanks again June for your assistance in opening this "lead" up for me.

Hasse asked me to let him know how I'm related to Anders Emil Bjork so I thought perhaps I'd list the children of Emil and Hilma Burke and also of Hilma's sister Anna and her husband Erick Newman in case anyone on the forum recognized any of the names. Both families started out in Ashland WI and it seems that quite a few people on here are familiar with Ashland.

Anders Emil Andersson Bjork
bd. 14 Aug 1872, Karleby Finland
dd. 26 May 1963, Muskegon MI
brd. Oakwood Cemetary, Muskegon MI
| Anna E Burke - my great grandmother
| bd. 22 May 1907, White Cloud MI
| occ. Worked at Meyer Sanitary Rag Co on Front Ave
| dd. 14 Aug 1953, Grand Rapids MI
| brd. Fairplains Cemetary
| Carl Emil Burke
| bd. 30 Mar 1914, White Cloud, Newaygo Co MI
| occ. Engineer
| dd. 2 Sep 1997, Livonia MI
| Jennie J Burke
| bd. 14 Jan 1902, Ashland Wi
| dd. Mar 1985, Muskegon MI
| brd. Oakwood Cemetary, Muskegon MI
| Ellen Burke
| bd. 24 Jun 1900, Ashland WI
| dd. 14 Jun 1992, Grand Rapids MI
| brd. Fairplains Cemetery
| Elmer Burke
| bd. 1903, Ashland WI
| dd. 1926
| brd. Oakwood Cemetary, Muskegon MI
| Arnold William Burke
| bd. 14 Sep 1905, White Cloud MI
| dd. 17 Aug 1992, Jacksonville IL
| Paul Edwin Burke
| bd. 22 Jul 1921, Muskegon, Muskegon Co MI
| Arthur E Burke
| bd. 1909
| occ. hospital orderly
| dd. 1933
| brd. Oakwood Cemetary, Muskegon MI
| Mildred Marie Burke
| bd. 15 Feb 1916, White Cloud, Newaygo Co MI
| dd. 18 Apr 1987, Lansing MI
| Ruth Esther Burke
| bd. 4 Mar 1911, White Cloud MI
| dd. 29 Aug 1999, Lansing MI

Erick Newman and Anna Kiviniemi
bd. 1 Jun 1878, Kvevlax Finland
dd. 15 Aug 1946, Ashland WI
| John Edwin "Ed" Newman
| bd. 12 Mar 1901, Ashland WI
| dd. 3 Apr 1951, Antigo WI
| Eskil William Newman
| bd. 11 Jul 1909
| dd. 5 Jan 2000, Lake Zurich IL
| Ellen Elizabeth Elina Newman
| bd. 14 May 1911
| dd. 6 Mar 1991

08-01-05, 18:49
I mentioned a home that Emil Burke helped his brother in law Erick Newman build in Ashland WI in 1905 in an earlier response to Jim Bailey. I thought I'd give it a shot posting a picture of the home here on the forum in case anyone is interested. The address of the home is listed in the earlier post. It is now gone as Walmart tore it down for their store in 1990.

June Pelo
08-01-05, 19:22
In the book "White Cloud's Swedetown" by Velma Matson, I found a story about Herman Burke, b. 1881 in Finland, who married Sophia Anderson, b. 1882 in Finland. They had 4 Children: Tura, b. 1905; Edwin, b. 1908; Judith, b. 1910; and Andrew, b. 1912. It states that in 1919 Herman Burke tore down the old rooming house and greenhouse of (Uncle) Charley Burke and with the help of his brother Emil of Muskegon, they built the house where Herman and Sophia had lived. It indiates that Emil Burke had once lived on a farm near White Cloud. I thought I'd find something to tie these people into "your" Björk/Burke family, but there's not enough information to do so. Anyway, the book deals with the lives of so many people from Karleby, Finland who settled in White Cloud.


08-01-05, 19:30

Actually it is enough to tie them into my family. I've known that Emil's brother Herman also settled in White Cloud. He died in 1937. I've been in contact in the past with one of his grandsons Collin Fry who still lives in Muskegon - I've been unable to reach him recently but figure he travels a lot so he's out where it's warm :p

I have a picture of the farmhouse that Emil Burke built in White Cloud up on my website. It shows him and Hilma sitting on their front porch (it's very distant though so not of much value as a picture of them)

Anyway, Collin had mentioned his mother's name was Tura but I had forgotten the name until you mentioned it. I have the obituary for Andrew Burke but was never able to tie him into the family - now I am. The biggest mystery in what you wrote is "Uncle Charley" - was there an uncle that came to the US with them? That I had never heard before. I'll have to look that book up.

Thanks again!

June Pelo
08-01-05, 23:52
Here's what the book says:
"On Newell Street, just west of the tracks and on the south side of the road, abutting on railroad property was the rooming house and greenhouse of an early Swede, Charles Burke. Very little is known about him. His nephew, Herman Burke, born in Finland in 1881, came to the US when he was seventeen years of age and settled in White Cloud because "Uncle Charley" was there. At first, Herman worked in the logging and lumbering industry, but later became a laborer on the railroad who rose to section foreman.... In 1919, Herman tore down the old rooming house and greenhouse of Charley Burke and with the help of his brother Emil of Muskegon built the house where Herman and Sophia lived until their deaths. (Emil Burke and family had once lived on a farm near White Cloud also). Herman became superintendent at the Swedish Mission Church, a position he held for many years. He also took care of the church janitorial duties, sometimes getting up very early to get the wood fire burning well enough to heat the building in time for services. Itinerant ministers often stayed at Herman and Sophia's home and Rev. Elmer Christenson lived there from 1935 until his marriage in 1937...Herman contracted tuberculosis in 1927 and was ill until his death in 1937... Sophia was independent and made a living by weaving rag rugs and taking in washings. Then there's a paragraph about Tura Burke. There's also a paragraph about Bertha Bjork who married Albert Brandt.

I have several distant relatives who also went to White Cloud before moving on to Ludington, MI.


09-01-05, 00:47
I called my grandpa today and he recalls Emil talking about an Uncle Charley - he seems to think he owned the sawmill up there and Emil worked for him. The land papers show that Emil lived on land owned by Charles Burke. I guess I'm going to have to take a trip up to Newaygo County again and poke around. I would have to guess if there was "little known about him" when they wrote the book that there won't be much to find. I just wonder who this guy is! I'm sure his Finnish name wasn't Charley!

Emil cut trees down in White Cloud and turned them into boards at Charleys sawmill and then took them by horse and buggy to Muskegon where he built the family home at 1751 Wood St (I think those are the numbers - corner of Wood/Larch). The house burned down quite a few years ago and is now just a vacant lot in the middle of the "hood" :mad:

09-01-05, 01:54
Ok, as you all probably guessed one of my biggest hopes on this forum is to track down pictures of distant relatives. With Hasse's and June's help a picture of my 4X great grandmother has been tracked down. Now I'm curious.....

I'm sure if someone on this board had Hilma or Anna Kiviniemi in their file they'd have posted the information so I'm not sure if this could result in anything but.......is the Kiviniemi name a common one in Finland? Hilma and Anna's parents were born in 1859 and 1855 - it's very feasible that they lived long enough to have pictures taken also - anyone have any suggestions on what route to take in this research? I don't know when the parents died and I don't know if they had other children that stayed in Finland. I've been so caught up in all the wonderful posts here I never got around to asking about doing the research! Any suggestions?

June Pelo
09-01-05, 18:29
I took a look at all the Kiviniemi names in my database - most were from Karleby, but also Kaustby, Halso, and Pyhäjoki and Kalajoki. Perhaps the name is also found elsewhere. And, yes, photos were taken in the 1850s.

Charley wasn't a name used in Finland - most likely his name was Carl or Kalle.

I, too, had relatives living in Ashland named Erickson/Eriksson. I also knew a Tast/Slangar family in Ashland.


09-01-05, 18:36
Photos in the 1850's? I didn't know they went back that far. I have been figuring that all the ancestors of Emil Burke that died in the 1880's could possibly have photos but didn't think they went back much further than that.

Hasse got 2 incredible pictures today of Anna Brita Andersdotter Kulla Bjorndahl and emailed them to me. I appreciate everyone's efforts on this - I'm meeting with Emil's last surviving son Saturday and I'm going to be able to show him a picture of his great grandmother! I hope that more pictures are able to be tracked down - I'm convinced they're out there!

I spoke with one surviving "granddaughter in law" of Anna Newman (Kiviniemi) and she very vividly remembers Anna speaking of a sick sister back in Finland - this would have been around 1940 - that leads me to believe that there are probably cousins over there on that side of the family too!