View Full Version : Einar Swan

June Pelo
11-07-05, 21:28
A while ago I posted a query about Einar Swan for Sven Bjerstedt in Sweden, who is seeking information about Einar and his origins. Most of you Finlanders are too young to remember that Einar played trumpet with the Vincent Lopez orchestra - and he was known for writing the song "When Your Lover Has Gone." Sven just sent me this obituary for Einar's sister and it mentions their parents: John and Edla Swan Juotsen from Finland. Can anyone give me any clues about where the Joutsens were from in Finland?


Aina Swan Cutler

Mrs. Aina Swan Cutler, 91, of Appalachian Brian Estates, died Sunday afternoon, May 29, 2005, at home. She was born March 19, 1914 in Gardner, Mass., to John and Edla Swan Juotsen.

As a volunteer in the public school system, Mrs. Cutler was instrumental in establishing libraries in several Boston area elementary schools. She was
active in the Finnish-American community and for many years collaborated as a lyricist with Finnish musicians, providing original lyrics as well as translations of Finnish works. In 1995 she was awarded the Order of the White Rose by the government of Finland in recognition of her work on behalf of Finnish music.
Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Martha Cutler and Douglas Blackford of Todd; her grandson, Henry Blackford of Boone; her granddaughter, Lucy Blackford of Todd; a brother, Arthur Swan of Worcester, Mass., and numerous nephews and nieces.
Mrs. Cutler was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Henry Harrington Cutler; her daughter, Lucy Jane Cutler; and six siblings.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Hospice of Watauga County, 136 Furman Road, Boone, N.C. 28607.
The family will receive friends at Appalachian Brian Estates, Thursday afternoon, June 9, at 4 p.m. with a brief memorial service to follow at 5 p.m. Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Cutler family.

11-07-05, 22:28
A tentative search result using available databases indicates Ilmajoki in South Ostrobothnia as a candidate. The John (Juho Emil in the passport record, if he is the same) Joutsen below entered Boston so his home parish can't be verified with Ellis Island records.

Detailed passenger information

Last name

First names
Age or age group
Port of departure
Place of destination
State of destination
Country of destination
Price of ticket
USD 34
Ship from Finland
Date of departure from Finland
Ship from England
Date of departure from England
Ocean Line
Cunard Line
Port of departure in England
List and page

Detailed passport information

Last name
First names
Juho Emil
Other names
Date of birth
. .1885
Marital status
Itsellisen poika
Home parish
Passport date
Passport number
Passport valid (year:month)
Passport issued by

June Pelo
12-07-05, 01:57
Thanks, Staffan. That gives us something to work with. I received more information about Swan:

He was born March 20, 1903 in or around Fitchburg (Massachusetts Archives was unable to find him in Fitchburg, though SSDI gives this as his birthplace) and died 1940 in New York.

Does anyone have access to the birth record of daughter Aina, born 19 Mar 1914, Gardner, MA? And would there be anything about her parents' birthplace there?

Someone found this in ancestry.com:

Name: Edla Swan
SSN: 386-52-3837
Last Residence: 49920 Crystal Falls, Iron, Michigan, United States of America
Born: 8 Feb 1876
Died: Sep 1968
State (Year) SSN issued: Michigan (1965)

It looks interesting, but I have no way to follow up on it.

Evidently there is another Einar Swan who was born 1898 and died 1981 in Massachusetts. But we're looking for an Einar Aaron Swan 1914-1940.


June Pelo
12-07-05, 02:18
Just noticed I made an error in Einar Swans's birthyear. It should be 1903 (not 1914).



13-07-05, 09:26
Hi June,
I came across this site
Perhaps you have already seen it? It has an interview with Max Morath from June 5, 2002 about the book The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Popular Standards and mentions amongst other things about Einar
"....was very active here in New York, he was in the radio business, the phonograph business." Perhaps there is more in the book?

This may eliminate the Edla Swan who died in Crystal Falls.
Hematite Township Cemetery
Located in Amasa, Michigan
Last Name First Birthdate Death Date Notes Section
SWAN Edla | 00/00/1877 |/00/1968 | -- |Old New
SWAN Victor | 00/00/1869 |/00/1934 |-- |Old New
Diamond Drill Obituary Index
Transcribed by Dennis and Cheryl Stromberg
Surname Given Name Date Page # Item
Swan Edla September 19, 1968 12 Obituary

These are all the male Swans in MA in the 1910 census
Surname,GivenName,Age,Sex,Race,Birthplace,County,L ocality,T624-Roll,Part,Page,Subpage,State

There were no Juotsen listings and 1 Joutsen listing
Selma age 34 b. Finland living in Alameda CA.


June Pelo
13-07-05, 23:07

No, I haven't heard of that book. Interesting. I'll send the info. on to Sven.

It's amazing how many Swan names there were in MA. I've received some census data from Helena for the years 1920 and 1930 for a John M. Swan and Edla and their children in Worcester. We think they are Einar's parents and siblings - but no information given about the parents John M. Swan, b. ca 1878 and wife Edla M. b. ca 1877 - they came to the US in 1900 from Finland and spoke Finnish. The parents both came to the US 1900. No mention made of Joutsen, so guess we can rule that name out.

Einar's sister Aina received the Order of the White Rose from Finland and we wondered if there would be any information about Aina's parents there - but we don't know how to find a copy of the award. So unless we can locate a parish for Einar's parents, I don't think we can find data about them in Finland.

Thanks for all your efforts.


14-07-05, 00:34
Hi June,
At the Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, MA) November 19, 2001
I found
SWAN--On Nov. 17, David Packer Swan, 53,

Have you tried to follow up on Johns Naturalisation?


June Pelo
14-07-05, 22:01

Wonder who David was...

No, I haven't done anything about John's naturalization. Don't know where to look or how to begin. Any ideas?


15-07-05, 11:48
Hi June,
Here is the link for MA Archives
It looks as though they have everything needed but not searchable online.
From this link it seems Ancestry may be the key

Re David I thought it interesting that one of his sons was named Aaron and Einar Aaron came to mind.Perhaps it was just a coincidence. Did Einar have a brother Daniel?


June Pelo
15-07-05, 17:47

As far as I know Einar had brothers Ero (Walter) and Ahti (Arthur).

I'm going to forward your info to Sven. He tried to find a copy of the book you mentioned, but got a message they had never heard of Einar Swan. He has tried several other places but got no results.

Thanks again.


June Pelo
01-08-05, 21:54
Recently I posted a query for Sven Bjerstedt concerning Einar Swan. Sven has found some more info. which he hopes will produce some new clues about the ancestry of Einar. Sven sent this:

JOHN M SWAN (JOUTSEN), b (after March) 1877 in Finland, immigrant 1899 (1900?), ”carpenter” (1920), ”self-employed builder” (1930). (He probably filled in his daughter Aina's "birth record" himself. He gives his profession as ”architect builder”; someone has changed it to ”carpenter”. His signature seems to spell the first name ”Jahn”.)

Married 1901 or 1902 EDLA M SWAN (JOUTSEN), (maiden name Aalta), b (before March) 1877 in Finland, immigrant 1900. (Her first name is sometimes spelled Edna. Her maiden name is given also as Alto and Salta, alternatively.)

They live mainly in Massachusetts but around 1904-05 probably in New York and around 1909 probably in Ohio.
Address 1914-18: 167 Plesent (?) Street, Gardner, Mass.
Address 1920: 16 Glen Street, Worcester, Mass.
Address 1930: Maravista (?) Road, Worcester, Mass.

1. ELLEN V, b 1902(?) in Mass., in 1930 self-employed musician, Worcester, Mass.
2. EINAR (EINO) Aaron, b 20 March 1903 in Mass.; in 1920 wire mill clerk, Worcester, Mass.
3. WALTER Ero, b 1904(1905?) in New York; in 1930 orchestra musician, Worcester, Mass.
4. ANNE, b 1909 in Ohio; in 1930 music store sales clerk, Cambridge, Mass.
5. AINA (AINO) Sylvia, b 19 March 1914 in Gardner, Mass.
6. AHTI Ilmari, b 24 April 1915 in Gardner, Mass.; died there 2 July 1916.
7. ESTHER Pellama, b 31 August 1917 in Gardner, Mass.
8. ARTHUR (AHTI), b October(?) 1918 in Mass.
9. ELIZABETH, b February(?) 1921 in Worcester(?), Mass.

Does the surname Aalta, Alto, Salta sound familiar to anyone? Or Joutsen? Sven said he received the above information from the City Clerk's Office in Gardner, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the records only indicate Finland as the birthplace of Einar's parents. Sven wrote to #8 - Arthur, but received no reply.


June Pelo
08-08-05, 18:51

I sent you a private message, and it was rejected, saying your inbox is full! I'll try again later.


Please check and empty the "sent" and the "receipt" boxes also... /Hasse

June Pelo
08-08-05, 23:46
I thought you'd like to see this Swan family I've been writing about. Someone found this picture in "The Finnish Imprint". We knew the family was musical, and that is apparent in the photo. I also learned that John Swan directed a Kantele orchestra 1917-18 in Worcester, MA. - and we believe his wife was Edla Maria Aaltonen. We also learned there were Aarne and Rose Marie Altonen living in Worcester, but don't know if there is a link to John Swan's wife. There was a Mixed Chorus Joutsen (Swan) in Worcester 1914. But we haven't located the family data in Finland.


June Pelo
15-08-05, 17:56
Here's some info. that was sent to me regarding the Swan family. It confirms what we know, with the additional information about death dates; unfortunately no death place was given. Attempts to contact living descendants haven't brought any replies. John's middle name appears to be Matthew.:

Finnish Bands in New England year 1913 Name: KALEVA Gardner, Ma. Conductors: John M Swan, A. B. Fowler and Ville Okker

Pohjola Band Worcester, Ma. Conducter: John Matthew Swan
Cornet Einar Swan
Clarinet Ellen Swan Joutsen,Worcester, Ma.
Director Ellen Swan

In 1917-1918 an orchestra called Kantele, similar to ZITHER, was established under the direction of John Swan. Other members of the Swan family involved in the formation of the orchestra were EINA, ELLEN and EERO SWAN and ANN SWAN (Meigas)?Sp?

EDLA died 1935
JOHN died 1956
EINAR died August 1940 SS# 130-10-0094 issued NEW YORK.
AINA died 29 May 2005 North Carolina last name Cutler, daughter Martha Cutler.
ELLEN middle name Victoria JOUTSEN english SWAN
ARTHUR born 8 Nov 1918, died 2 June 2005 Worcester, Ma, 01606


June Pelo
16-08-05, 23:15
We've received some new info. from the Institute of Migration about John Swan as follows:

"Father Swan, John born in Kokkola, Finland. He was a musician, inventor, interior architect, played organ and he owned a factory called Eureka Organ Factory in Eureka California. John Swan played in many orchestras for example John Philp Souzan Band.

Sister Swan Ellen, Hancock, Michigan was a pianist.

There was a Family Orchestra in Gardner, Mass, called "Swan Family Orchestra".

This information is based on the material which the Finnish-American music expert Juha Niemela who worked at the Institute of Migration during the years 1991-2001. He has donated his research material to our Archives. In Niemelas records there were no mention about Einar Swan.

For more information you could perhaps ask from Kaustinen The Folk Arts Center, researcher Simo
Puh. 0207 291 221. E-mail: simo.westerholm*kaustinen.fi
Sven has tried to contact Simo Westerholm via e-mail, but got no response. Does anyone know Simo and could ask him to contact us?

Also, reference above states that Ellen Swan was a pianist in Hancock, MI - no time period. Would anyone know anything about her being in Hancock?

Does anyone know about the Eureka Organ factory in Eureka, CA? I checked the Net and found a John Swan, 1818 Harrison Ave., Eureka was a reader of Norden newspaper, 1940-41. I tried to find an obit for a John Swan in California. I was also told that his son Walter died in Los Angeles in 1983, but I couldn't find an obit for him, either.
Does anyone have birth records for Karleby/Kokkola for 1877 which was about the time John Swan was born?

We found an obituary for a Norman Meigs who died in 2002 in Santa Rosa, CA. Norman's sister Cynthia Meigs is mentioned. John Swan was their grandfather. If all the information above pertains to this same Swan family, it appears that some of them left Massachusetts and moved to California.

If anyone can add to this info., we'd appreciate hearing about it.


Karen Norwillo
17-08-05, 04:15
June, There are many Swan's on Ancestry in CA in the SSDI and the Calif. Death Index. A few I found are Arthur Swan 19 Aug 1909 MA-30 May 1985 Joshua Tree, San Bernadino, CA
Walter Swan 31 Mar 1914 NY-18 Sep 1983 Monrovia, Los Angeles, CA and Elin Swan 16 Oct 1888-3 Apr 1963 CA, other mentioned MA. There many, many more Swan's mentioned. I realize this Elin was older, but thought maybe a relation. I'll do more search tomorrow. Karen

June Pelo
17-08-05, 23:45
Thank you, Karen. I also was told there was a John Swan who died in Sonoma, Ca at age 76. No date of death given. We think that John Swan left MA and moved to CA where he owned the Eureka Organ Factory in Eureka. Someone told me they found a death record for a John Swan of 1956. If this John Swan in Sonoma was born ca 1877 and died at age 76, he would have died in 1953. This is all speculation, but it's all we have now.


June Pelo
17-08-05, 23:48
Does anyone know how to contact Heikki Sarmanto? He has a website but doesn't respond to mail. http://www.sarmanto.com He is said to be knowledgeable about the Swan family and we'd like to contact him.


18-08-05, 10:28
Hi June,
I searched the CA Death Index (1940-1997) for other Meigs in Sonoma and located the couple I believe to be Norman and Cynthia's parents.
The mother would appear to be John and Edla Swans 4th child
(Excerpt from another of your posting s)
4. ANNE, b 1909 in Ohio; in 1930 music store sales clerk, Cambridge, Mass.

Last Name |Birth Date|Mother |Father|Sex|Birth Place |Death |Death Date|SSN |Age
MEIGS ANNE SWAN |01/25/1909|AALTO |SWAN | F |OHIO |SONOMA|04/02/1997|559-70-7842|88 yrs
MEIGS JOHN HENRY|04/08/1905|MOORE | | M |CALIFORNIA |SONOMA|12/23/1983|546-14-5456|78 yrs
MEIGS JOHN LYNN |08/13/1946|GHOLSON|MEIGS | M |MISSOURI |SONOMA|05/27/1955| |08 yrs
SWAN JOHN | | | | M |REST (OTHER)|SONOMA|09/27/1956| |81 yrs

This is probably the John Swan someone mentioned to you which places his birthdate about 1875 if it is your John Swan. I had no luck searching for Edla Swan.

NORMAN MEIGS 21 Jun 1942 29 May 2002 (P) 95409 (Santa Rosa, Sonoma, CA) (none specified) 562-60-5161 California

I found the Meigs listed in the Santa Rosa Directory for 1970
but I don't have Ancestry so couldn't find out any more info,
perhaps Karen will have more success with this.


18-08-05, 13:50
I sent a private message to your inbox with Sarmanto's adress and cellphone number.


June Pelo
18-08-05, 19:15
Thank you, Jeanette. Yes, it looks like you've found John Swan's daughter Anne, b. 1909, and her husband John Meigs. I thought Meigs was an unusual name, but when I tried to do some searching I found loads of Meigs - but don't know if they are all part of the same family. One was an Indian chief!

It's interesting to note that Anne gave her mother's maiden name as Aalto - so the data we received about her name as Aaltonen seems to be correct. I was given a death date for Edla Maria Aaltonen as 1935, but no indication where she died. Somehow I don't think she moved to CA with John Swan, so she may have remained in MA.

Do you think it is possible to find something about Einar Swan's wife Anna Kaufmann and their daughter Pearl Swan, b. 1926-27? All I know about Anna is that she may have come from Southbridge, MA. Einar was born 1903, MA and died 1940 in NY. I think he always lived in NY after he left home. I have a copy of a Worcester, MA newspaper with an article about Einar and his musical success, playing with the Vincent Lopez orchestra, and being offered a job with Paul Whiteman's orchestra, when he was age 22. He was considered a musical genius, yet data about him is scarce. His father John Swan supposedly played for a while with the Sousa Band - and he was also a talented musician, playing 15 instruments, who toured around giving concerts - yet nothing much is known about him. It's somewhat of a mystery as to what happened to this family.


June Pelo
29-08-05, 03:00
We have learned a little more about John Swan: he was born in Evijärvi in 1878. Does anyone have access to Evijärvi birth records to see if a John Matthew Swan (Johan Matts Swan/Joutsen) was born there? He died somewhere in the US in 1956.

We were also told that he married Edla Maria Aaltonen in Massachusetts before 1902. We don't know which city. Does Massachusetts have a centralized database of marriages that can be searched?



June Pelo
29-08-05, 23:19
Staffan has found an Ellis Island record of Edla Altonen, age 23 from Vasa, who sailed from Helsinki 18 Aug 1900. The name next to her on the manifest was Maria Styf, age 20 from Vasa (Pörtum?), who was going to her brother in Hancock, MI. Does anyone have access to "Vasa" records for ca 1877 to see if Edla was born there about that time? Edla Maria Aaltonen married John Swan somewhere in Massachusetts before 1902.


Karen Norwillo
30-08-05, 04:56
June, I found an Edla Swan born 8 Feb 1876 and died Sep 1968 in Crystal Falls, MI. Her obit is listed on page 12 of the Diamond Drill of 19 Sep 1968. The Harbour House Museum in Crystal Falls has the copies of the Diamond Drill. Could this be the Edla you're searching for? She's not listed in the local cemetery, so possibly she was buried elsewhere.
Also, I found all the same info on the Meigs family, as you said there are many. I found a Martin S Meigs and his parents on the 1880 and 1900 census. 1880 for New Brighton, Staten Island, NY are Perevil and Rosamund Meigs and their son, Martin S, age 2.
1900 Santa Barbara, CA has the same family. Martin S was born Apr 1878 in NY.
1930 Census for Concord, Middlesex, MA has May W and Martin S Meigs and their 3 children living with her father, ? Weston. Children include Meigs, John H, age 25, single, born CA. This should be the John Henry Meigs that married Anne Swan. CA birth index shows the births of Norman in 1942 and his sister in 1946, mother's maiden name Swan. The John Lynn's mmn was Gholson, not the same family. Karen

June Pelo
30-08-05, 18:09

Thanks again for all the new data - my file is growing larger by the day. Now I'll try to put some of this together and see if it makes sense.


June Pelo
05-09-05, 01:02
This project becomes more and more confusing. Someone wrote there was a John Swan and wife Edla in northern Michgan, but the wife's maiden name began with G and was not Altonen.

Someone found John Swan in the 1932 City Directory in Worcester, but not in the 1933 book. They found Edla Swan in the 1934 book, but not the 1935 book. We don't know if they died or had moved.

The family is in the 1930 census, except for Einar who had moved to New York. We haven't found a death record for either John or Edla. There is a death record for a John Swan in 1956 in Sonoma, CA. But we don't know if he is the Swan from Mass. or the Swan for Michigan. We were told there was a John Swan living on Harrison Ave. in Eureka, Ca 1940-41, but we don't know which John Swan he was.

John and Edla had a daughter Ellen, b. 1902 in MA who was a self-employed musician in Worcester in 1930. We've been told her name was found in Hancock, MI as a pianist. No further info. We don't know if Ellen is the same Ellen who was on the 1930 census in MA.

We don't know where John Swan entered the US in 1899. He's not in Ellis Island records. Could he have entered through Canada? The John Swan in Michigan was a miner. The John Swan in MA was a musician and carpenter. Could there be two John Swans, b. 1877/8 who married women named Edla?

I'm slowly going mad trying to figure this out. Can someone suggest something?? :(


05-09-05, 02:10

The trace pointing to Evijärvi seems to me to be promising. A farm named Joutsen (Joutsen, Joutzen, Joutten, Jouten, Jouzen, Jouhten, Jouhtzen ) is known there from 1761 until 1850 when the current HisKi records end. The farmer Elias Abrahamsson Jouhten and his wife Maria Johansdotter had a son Matts b. 13.1.1848.

The e-mail to the parish office clerk is leena.kontiainen-AT-evl.fi . Maybe you have already tried to ask them.


June Pelo
05-09-05, 02:55

Thanks. No, I didn't have that address, but will give it a try.


Karen Norwillo
05-09-05, 17:35
June, I have contacts at Harbour House in Crystal Falls. I will try to get you a copy of the obit from the Diamond Drill for Edla Swan. They have most issues of the paper archived. If it's available, we can determine which Edla Swan this was who died in Crystal Falls. Karen

June Pelo
06-09-05, 02:24
Thanks, Karen.

Today I had an e-mail from a friend in Finland who drove to Evijärvi and went through the church books looking for John Swan/Joutsen, b. 1878. He found only 4 Johans born 1878:
Johan Eliasson Särkijärvi, b. 12 March 1878
Johannes Abrahamsson Haapajärvi, b. 3 May 1878
Johan Erik Andersson Haapajärvi, b. 19 June 1878
Johan Fredrik Lisasson Kultalahti, b. 22 Sept 1878

HisKi doesn't indicate if any of these Johans went to America, so we still don't know any more than we did. I've written to two genealogists who have Evijärvi data, but neither one replied to me.

I searched HisKi and came up with his promising info.:
Elias Abrahamsson Norr Ena, b. 15 Nov 1803 in Evijärvi, married 9 Nov 1824 to Maria Johansdotter Jouten, b. 3 Nov 1808 and they had a son Matts, b. 13 Jan 1848 at Jouten 29. Unfortunately, the records ended at 1850 so I couldn't check to see if Matts Eliasson Jouten married and had a son Johan Mattsson, b. 1878. If he had, it would seem he would be listed above. John Swan's name has been given to us as John Matthew Swan, but it could also have been Johan Mattsson and possibly changed to Johan/John Matthew.

So that's where we've come to a dead end. John Swan's daughter definitely gave his birthdate as 1878 in Evijärvi...


13-09-05, 07:50
June asked me to post the following scan of an article about the Swans.

This picture is a little too wide for the forum layouts, but I couldn't compress it to a more suitable 600 pix wide without loosing the readability.