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jonnee Kohler
26-05-06, 12:31
I notice that the Finns who came were literate though poor, but when they arrived in USA, the literacy rate here amongst the average person was not that great.

Finns looking at USA records might not realize how variable the spelling might me in old records. Americans were coping with immigrants from many countries and cultures and religions, so the confusion is understandable.

For example, my grandmother was first written as Ida Charlemagne on my dad's birth certificate. Since she didn't read or speak English ever, she had no way to check the accuracy of what someone wrote down. That is the worst mangling of facts I have found in my line. But the very helpful lady who worked in 2003 at the Crystal Lake Cemetary in Minneapolis thought the strange names on the graves at the top of the hill (the old Finn section) were Russian or something. She was amazed to find out they were Finnish.:cool:

granskare
26-05-06, 22:54
Let me give you a little story about how American English speakers can misinterpret Finnish nowadays.
I was going to make a presentation about "kantele". When I saw the newsletter, I was listed as giving a talk about the "gondola".
The British are fairly obnoxious about pronunciation of other people's languages. To them, the "sauna:" (sow nah) is a (saw nah) so whenever I hear somebody using Britspeak, I correct them.

As to the literacy of the early Finnish emigrants, it is usally the English speaking recorder, in the church or at Ellis Island, who did not bother to allow the emigrant to see what he wrote for this person. Jeanette had found in the 1910 census my Kujansuu recorded by the census taker as Koyonson. In the 1900 census, father's father's name as Maggee, not Maki. I guess these officials thought they knew best. It never occurred to them to check with the individuals. Were these officials anti-immigrant? My grandfather, Viktor Maki, would certainly have pointed out the officials error. My other grandfather would have pointed out the error as well.
Even in Finnish church records, the spellings were not standardized as they are today. When vicar Kaj Granlund in Finland and I collaborated on the gathering of names of UP Michigan Finnish emigrants, Kaj would, among other things, provide the current spelling of the name of the parish. I have seem them spelled in several ways and the pastor here was the man who recorded the names. Now anybody looking for their UP Finnish born relatives and wanting to visit that parish would be able to find the place instead of roaming around.

jonnee Kohler
29-05-06, 20:36
Ancestry.com members can add alternate name to their census records. This is service you subscribe to by the year, and I paid pretty much for the last few years, but it has been pretty helpful, except when the name is wrong on the transcription.

You can click on the right side of the screen and they will accept alternate (names only) to help people search when there are these spelling problems. The knowledge from Ms. Norwillo that my father was listed as Samsa instead of Lamsa solved a mystery of why he fell off the earth after the 1910 census. So I added the name Lamsa, and also Lampsa, which was correct, actually. Also someone had a record that was Lanosa also added as alternate in some record somewhere for the 1920 census. These help make the search function helpful instead of frustrating.

jonnee Kohler
29-05-06, 20:38
It hadn't occurred to me it might be on purpose, because the horror is just too much.

Ancestry.com members can add alternate name to their census records. This is service you subscribe to by the year, and I paid pretty much for the last few years, but it has been pretty helpful, except when the name is wrong on the transcription.

You can click on the right side of the screen and they will accept alternate (names only) to help people search when there are these spelling problems. The knowledge from Ms. Norwillo that my father was listed as Samsa instead of Lamsa solved a mystery of why he fell off the earth after the 1910 census. So I added the name Lamsa, and also Lampsa, which was correct, actually. Also someone had a record that was Lanosa also added as alternate in some record somewhere for the 1920 census. These help make the search function helpful instead of frustrating.

Kaj Granlund
29-05-06, 22:40
Authorities can sometimes be rather stubborn. They know best! So I suppose with all those people immigrating they didn't mind ask the immigrants for the correct spelling.
The same happened here to oas the vicar entered the christian name he had heard the parents say. My aunt was long recorded as Helmi (which she disliked) instead of Helny. And there was a lot of negotiations ber my granmother was able to convince the authorities that her daugheter never had been Helmi.

I still have the same problem as persons call from Sweden. They have changed their original familynames of Svenson or Anderson to whatever, for us strange names. I often have to ask them to spell their names to get it correct. Using the same language is no problem. But with immigrants that used Finnish or Swedish there might have been some problems! They weren't able to even spell their names in English.

About literate Finns. In the year of 1741 the bishop of Turku encouraged the parishes to start confirmation classes. Rather soon the skills in reading and writing were tested during these 2 year confirmation period. It was the task of the "klockare" (finnish: Lukkari) to check these skills. (Klockare later the one who plays the organ, musician, but originally "the one who rings the churchbells")