View Full Version : Orphan auction

June Pelo
18-03-05, 01:40
Some of you have probably read the mail on Finngen about this subject. I asked a knowledgeable relative in Finland about it; he wrote this:

"About the orphans (the same thing had to do with old people without family too, and I think that was more common for elderly). I do not think that this practise was very widespread in Finland. I really think it was more common in Sweden. The idea of the auction was that a peasant (farmer) who promised to take care of an orphan or an elderly for the smallest sum was the one who got compensated by the parish. The reason I think this was more widespread in Sweden is that it has been much more mentioned in literature from Sweden. I think that in Finland it was more common for the "rote" to have the responsibility for an elderly within the "rote" like they had the responsibility to send a soldier to the army. Thus you didn't have to arrange an auction. I haven't heard that orphans should have had special names as I do believe that the extended family took care of them. The caretaking was often done by some family member who were without their own children. My grandmother Maria Pelo is an excellent example of this, and so is my grandfather Edward Alexander Forsberg who was given to Fredrik Klockars and his sister when his mother left with baron Fredrik Magnus Stackelberg for Helsingfors when Edward was about 6 months old. The elderly who were taken care of by the rote were called "rothjon" in Finland. The rothjon was taken care of by all the farms belonging to the rote and moved from farm to farm according to the rule within the rote. Thus the need to auction the person in Finland seems to me of less importance. What they called the auctioned children in Finland in Swedish I do not know. I don't think any community in Österbotten had many examples of children of this kind. In Finnish the auctioned children and eldery were called "huutolaiset". I think the name in Finnish goes mostly for the elderly too. Huutaa means in Finnish yelling, i.e, what you do in an auction. In Finnish the auction is "huutokauppa"."


Kaj Granlund
20-03-05, 12:28
It happened also in Finland. Maybe there were local variations depending on if there was a larger family. But there are still people living here whose parents as child were auctioned, as their own parents died. Which means the tradition also with children still was alive at 1910-ies.