View Full Version : Johan Jakob Snickars - Närpes to PA and back!

26-01-08, 22:44

While visiting family in Närpes, I have seen a photograph of my great-grandfather, Johan Jakob Johansson Snickars, that was taken--in thhe late 1800s--in Reading, PA, USA.

If anyone knows annything about where Finns from Närpes might have gone to in PA, in the last 30 yewars of the 1800s--and when they might have arrived there, and when they returned--I would aprpeciate hearing from you.


Group Admin: Smeds Surname DNA Project, Family Tree DNA
Y-line: Hapolgroup N (Finland)

Karen Norwillo
27-01-08, 16:00
I'm just a few miles from Reading. I'll see what I can find. Never heard of Finns in the area, but the 1800's may have drawn them for some reason. Karen

Karen Norwillo
27-01-08, 17:16
I don't find anything per se about Finns in Reading. There was a large Swedish community in PA, but near Philadelphia along the Delaware. Reading was primarily farming country, many breweries and proximetry to the steel mills. Also foundaries and factories in the 1880's. There are examples of Swedish goods in the Reading Museum so there must have been some settlers, but most of these were long before 1800. I did find a John Snickars, age 32, b. abt 1868, in Worcester, MA in 1900, boarder, wire worker, says married 7 yrs, US 1886. Karen

27-01-08, 19:49
Hi Nicholas,
I was scanning the Forum and happened to notice your post and the mention
of the link of the photo to Reading PA. I don't really have any solid,affirmative info to give you, unfortunately, but wanted let you know that I come from a swedish finn family that was/is living in that area since the 1920's. I grew up there and lived there for the first half of my life. I have been interested & looking for connections there to my background.
There isn't any established Finnish or Swedish community, past or present, that I've come across (and I've looked), but I did learn that there were Swedish and Finnish settlers in the area of eastern Berks Co.(Reading is the county seat) going back to the late 17th & early 18th cent.in the areas of little towns named Douglassville & Birdsboro. As Karen mentioned,the Reading area was an area for iron foundries and farms in that early era and those first immigrnts were involved w/that.Later on in the 19th cent.,textile mills,steel,
breweries, coal-mining, & railroads attracted another small influx of Swedes/Finns who came first from communities in the Phila./Camden NJ area, Karen noted. This is how my family came to Reading.I think that many of these immigrants came to the area for work/to make money, but few stayed on to become established there.
Sorry that I don't have much other than that, but hope this is a little illuminating for your search.There may be local historical societies in Berks Co.
with useful info.(Google them?).If there are any questions about Reading area that you feel I could help with, please be in touch.Best of luck on your search! Regards,
Christopher Hagstrom

27-01-08, 20:16
I found by looking through 1880 Census records, most of the Finns listed were sailors and seamen. :)


28-01-08, 04:39
Karen, Christopher, and Denise,

Many thanks to each of you.

My inital reaction to the photo was that it had to have been made around the 1880s, but now have learned that some technologies--especially photographic--have remained in use well beyond there generally-accepted era.

Your thoughts and comments have made me realize that I have to take a different tack on this research effort: First, I am going to try to re-confirm the date of Johan Jakob's departure/arrival, via the Port records, and via Family in Finland. Then, a trip to berks Co will be planned for springtime. And, finally, another trip to Finland (in summer) to interview the few remaining folks who might have a clue about why Reading, PA, if possible. (Maybe someone else from home was already there!)

Thanks again...