View Full Version : Terveisiä from Canada

02-08-05, 05:59
Greetings to all from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
I have been researching my own and my husband’s Finnish roots for several years. This is my first posting, although, I’ve followed this site with interest and am hoping someone out there is researching, or may have knowledge, of the same family trees or some of its branches and long roots. It’s always a thrill to read of someone discovering long lost branches of their family or resolving family mysteries of long lost relatives. I’m happy to say that I have been able to learn about ancestors in both my own and my husband’s families and have even made contact with relatives we never knew existed. While hoping I find some help out there to fill in some of the blanks, I will be happy to share information I have gathered on our Finnish roots.
I still have many puzzles to solve but the one that has been niggling our family for many years is the lack of knowledge of when my g-grandfather died and where he is buried. Isak Wiita, b. 1856 in Parkano. According to immigration records he immigrated to Michigan in 1899. Finnish records show he was declared dead January 1, 1945. However, according to relatives, word was received in the late 20s or perhaps early 30s that he had died.
Michigan 1920 census records indicate that he was living in Drummond, Chippewa, Michigan with his son Joseph living close by. Joseph and his family appear in the 1930 census living in Chassell, Michigan but there is no record of Isak. I should note that in a previous search couple of years ago on another forum I did get much appreciated help from Alicia, Leena and Roger about Joseph’s family but I still haven’t been able to answer the above questions about Isak’s demise, most likely on Drummond Island.
If anyone can help with this information I would be most grateful.


02-08-05, 07:36
Hi Pirjo and welcome to sfhs!

I just found this website but I could not find him listed on Drummond Island plus there are many cemeteries listed. Perhaps you might recognize a name?



02-08-05, 18:04
Thank you Chuck for your help. Unfortunately I didn't find Isak Wiita on any of the lists. I think I've searched through every cemetary list in Michigan without success, very frustrating. Perhaps his stone, if he had one, has crumbled over the years. Many had only wooden markers which have returned to earth. I'm hoping there is a record of his passing somewhere out there.
Thanks again.

02-08-05, 22:27
Hi Pirjo,
just out of curiousity...How much info do you have of Isak Wiita? I come from Parkano myself and am collecting data of emigrants from Parkano, for my own amusement. Parkano is such a small place that we might share some roots, too.

03-08-05, 17:05
Hi Merja,
I note that you jumped on the Parkano name. It's a name that doesn't come up often on this forum. My roots go deep in Parkano and Ikaalinen. I spent my early years between the two and still get back there quite often. It would not surprise me if we were somehow conected as Parkano is not a large place and I do have a lot of relatives there and the surrounding area.
As to Isak Emanuel Wiita (Isoviita), I don't have a lot of information on his ancesters but a bit more on his decendents, few still living in Parkano. His two sons followed him to the US, my grandmother remained in Parkano where she married and raised a large family. His 2nd wife Serafina also remained behind (there were no children from the 2nd marriage). Gr-uncle Joseph Wiita married and raised a family in the US. Gr-uncle Nikodemus returned to Parkano after a mine accident in Michigan. He married and had a family after returning to Finland.
An interesting fact is that both of Isak's wifes were named Serafina and both were considerably older than he was.
I have been intending to contact you on another branch of my family tree that I'm trying to untangle that you may have information on, however, I will do that later.
If you are interested in specific dates for Isak I will forward those to you.
I was pleased to hear from you.

Kay Voth
03-08-05, 19:43
Just saying hello to you in Thunder Bay. I have a penpal, Impi, there who is also Finnish. Sorry I do not have any information for whom you are looking for. Kay

05-08-05, 16:00
Hi Pirjo,

I would appreciate the dates of your g-gfather very much. Is he from Isoviita in Vuorijärvi? I do not know that village very well as I have lived my childhood in Lamminkoski, in the northern part of the community and later in the center. Today, however, in Tampere where the church books of Parkano are available in the library. I visit the library at least once a week, researching to Parkano church books when I don´t have anything else to check. Please, feel free to contact me regarding your family-tree!
Best regards,

Karen Norwillo
05-08-05, 18:29
Perjo, I have had good response with finding someone associated with Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness to do a look-up at the courthouse for the death record of my relatives. Perhaps you could contact someone in Chippewa County to search the records from 1920-1930 for a death registration. Or if all else fails, you can request a multi-year search from the county or state, but it will cost you. I was lucky enough to find someone who made copies and all I paid for was the cost of copying. Karen

05-08-05, 19:17
Hello Merja,
Lovely to hear from you. Tampere is one of my favourite cities, you are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place.
Thank you for your interest in Isak. I would welcome any additional information about him and his parents etc.
Isak Emanuel Isoviita (changed name to Wiita after he moved to the US) was born in April 10, 1855 in Parkano. His father was Samuel. Isak moved to Jalasjärvi (? when & ?why) then back to Parkano in 1874. He married Serafina Antintytär 14.4.1878 (b. 21.4.1850 Parkano- d. 13.5.1885 Parkano). Second marriage to Serafina 26.6.1891 (b. 20.4.1840 ?born - she moved to Parkano from Karvia in 1886 - d. 26.11.1918 Parkano). From the first marriage there were 3 children: My grandmother Edla b.1879 - d. 1947 Parkano, Josef b. 1881 Parkano d. 1944 and is buried in Chasell Cemetary, HoughtonMichigan and Nikodemus b. 1883 Parkano d. 1940 Ikaalinen. Josef and Nikodemus emigrated in 1902.
Isak, Joseph and Nikodemus are clasic samples of a confusion of names. If my cousin in Parkano had not sent me this information I'm certain I would still be searching. Before moving to the states, as stated earlier, my gr-grandfather was Isoviita, and shortened it to Wiita. Josef name was Rantanen changed to Wiita upon his arrival in US. Nikodemus was Lehtonen and like the other two changed his name to Wiita while in the USA and then to Viita on his return to Finland. There are several variations of spelling for their given names.
I would be delighted to receive any additional information about Isak, Serafina and the great uncles. My intention has been to come to Finland again soon to visit friends and family and to fill in more brances on the family tree.
My step-mother lives in Tampere so I usually spend most of my time there but of course return to Parkano and Ikaalinen as well.
Do you have access to the Ikaalinen books?
I look forward to hearing from you again.

18-08-05, 20:06
Thank you Karen for your suggestion about the Random Acts of kindness. I too have had help from them on other searches and may need to seek their help again.


18-08-05, 20:18
just noticed that I have totally forgotten to answer you! Sorry about that.
Yes, I do have access to the Ikaalinen books as well. The oldest ones are available online, too ( see www.digiarkisto.org ). The last book online is the church book 1784-1794.
I´ll look up your family when I have the time, probably next week, I hope.

19-08-05, 07:38
I also have relatives from Parkano, my maternal grandmother's parents. His name was Nestor Wiinamäki (changed to Koski), married Hilda Paulina Rantala in 1890 and emigrated to the US in 1892. She came in 1898. The settled just outside of Hibbing, Minnesota. I went to Finland in 2003 and visited the beautiful church that they were married in. It had just been restored to the way it was in 1890, the year they were married. I don't know about any other relatives in the Parkano area, but would like to find out more.

Susan Martimo
Roseville, CA

19-08-05, 20:40
Hi Susan,
I already answered you on another thread, before noticing this. The name Wiinamäki is quite familiar. ( I suppose you know what it means, Liquor Hill. Kids with the name were unfortunately teased about that at school ). There are several Rantala families in Parkano, one of them in the village I grew up in.
I have access to the church books of Parkano up to 1900. Any newer records are only available in the church office in Parkano which I don´t have the possibility to visit more than once a year, if that but will be happy to help with any older records if you like.
I was married in the same church as your great-grandparents. It was painted white at the time but is much more beautiful today. It is only such a pity the congregation does not have the money to restore the beautiful wall-paintings in the church, now covered by panelling.

21-08-05, 20:51
My family too has many connections to the beautiful Parkano church. My mother used to be the church secretary many years ago. My parents were married there and later it was where I was christened. My mother now suffers from Alzheimer's Disease; still, one of her favourite things that she refers to fondly and often is the picture of the Parkano church on her wall.
While I do not have direct relationship to the Rantala's, my aunt was married to a Rantala from a near by village.


Karen Norwillo
21-08-05, 23:24
I, too, have Rantala connections. My mother's half-brother, my uncle, was married to a Rantala. I later found she was also a distant cousin on my Paternal grandmothers side. They were from Alahärma.

June Pelo
22-08-05, 00:29
There has been a discussion on Finngen about Rantala by someone named Riita from Calgary, Canada and Irina Sallinen from Porlammi, Finland.


23-08-05, 22:33
I did look up your family in the church books on Saturday but did not have time for much. Some of what I found connected with some older records I have. This is what came up:
Samuel Samuelinpoika b. 18th March 1829 in Jalasjärvi married Maria Matintytär Mäenpää b. 14th May 1831 in Parkano. The marriage took place 27th March 1851.Maria´s parents are Matti Jaakonpoika b.29th Sept 1789 and Maria Heikintytär Mäenpää b.14th May 1797. Parents for Maria Heikintytär are Heikki Juhanpoika Mäenpää b.13th May 1773, d.6th Oct 1808 in Parkano Kihniö village Mäenpää farm and Vappu Jaakontytär b. 5th Feb 1775.
Maria and Samuel had at least three kids, Helena b.2nd Aug 1852 in Parkano, Samuel b. 17th Sept 1853 in Parkano and Iisakki Emmanuel b. 10th Apt 1855 in Parkano, Kihniö village, Toivonen farm, Huhta croft. The whole family moved to Jalasjärvi 18th June 1857. Iisakki returned 1874 and worked as a farm-hand in several Kihniö village farms, first in Palolahti farm. 1875 he was working in the farms of Piikkilä and Aho in Kihniö. 1876-77 he worked in the village of Kankarinkylä in Törmä farm, 1878-79 in Itäpää farm where he married Serafina Antintytär, b.21th Apr 1850 in Parkano. Serafina was working in the same farm as a maid. The records say this was a second marriage for Iisakki, the first for Serafia but I did not find any earlier marriage for him in Parkano.
Hope some of this information is news to you. No mention of Isoviita in these records, perhaps that came up later?

24-08-05, 07:09
Thank you very much Merja for the information. I appreciate you taking the time to look it up for me. Most of the information is new to me and I will enter it into my program. I had no information regarding the parents on either Iisak or Serafina. I wasn’t aware of an earlier marriage for Iisak either, although, as mentioned in my previous e-mail, he did marry again to another Serafina in 1891. The first Serafina, my gr-grandmother, died in 1885.
Another interesting fact is the name of Iisak’s mother, Maria Mäenpää. This name stood out for because my husband’s gr-grandfather was also a Mäenpää. It’s doubtful that there is any connection since that branch of his family was from Orvais/Alahärmä area, quite a distance in the 1800s. Still it’s an interesting coincidence.
I don’t know where the Isoviita name came from. To the best of my knowledge my grandmother’s maiden name was Viita before her marriage. The name changes certainly make this hunt for facts more challenging if not more frustrating.
Thanks again Merja.