View Full Version : Search for Simon Snickars AKA Sam Johnson

15-02-08, 22:37
Are there instructions or examples on using the talko database?
Neather the names on here or the American names triggered a response. Also, how does one correct the death dates on the individuals below?


Jane Pelo wrote:

Simon Eric Johansson Snickars, b. 17 Aug 1879, Solf, d. 1 Nov 1975, America, was the son of Johan Johansson Snickars, b. 18 July 1854, Solf, who married 18 Apr 1875 in Solf to Anna Bata Mattsdotter Brors, b. 5 Apr 1857, Solf.

Simon Eric married 14 Oct 1900, Solf, to Brita Erika Hermansdotter Uppgård, b. 17 Jul 1881, Sundom, d. 1 Nov 1975, America, who was the daughter of Herman Johan Pettersson Uppgård, b. 2 Oct 1844, Sundom, married to Brita Jonasdotter Huggar, b. 5 Jun 1847, Sundom.

Simon Eric and Brita had a daughter E. E. Snickars.

Both of these families can be traced back through the Talko database.

The Internet address: solfs.forsamling*evl.fi (use the 'at' symbol instead of the star).

Mailing address:
Solf Evangelical Lutheran Church
Västersolfvägen 12
65450 Solf

I used the Swedish because Solf is/was a Swedish-speaking parish. Sulva is the Finnish name.

June Pelo
16-02-08, 00:31
I copied the data that someone submitted to the Talko database. If there are errors, you would need to contact the submitter. When I use Talko, I usually submit the first name and patronymic and the birth year on the search form - nothing else. Then I get a list of people who match that criteria and you can pick out the one who seems to be who you're looking for. If you put too much information into the search form, you limit the results - and may not get a match. I seldom use surnames, or last names because they may not be the name the submitter has in his database.


17-02-08, 00:56
Thank you Jane, using the first names and birth years worked very well.

18-02-08, 01:00
Attached is a copy of the newsletter that just went out to my family. Thought you might be interested in the outcome of all the assistance provided. Thanks to everyone.

The pictures did not copy onto the message. They may be to big. It is a shame as they really enrich the story.

Johnson Family Chronicle II
By Wanda Johnson
January 1, 2008


Sam and Brita Johnson known as
Simon & Brita Snickars in Finland
About 1900
Photo taken by Julia Widgrèn
Wasa Finland
Vasa was called Wasa prior to 1855

Johnson Family Legend
Dictated by Signe King
Recorded by Debbie Beetely
December 1995.

“Samuel left Vossa, Finland in 1900 by ship, arriving in Salt Lake City, Utah 6-7 weeks latter. He was there alone seven years when Bertha (Rika) and Ellen came across from Finland and arrived in Utah in 1907.”

Destination Amerikka
By Wanda Johnson

Twenty-one year old Simon Eric Snickars from Vasa Province, Finland begins his journey to America in mid June 1901 from Hangö, Finland. He is leaving behind his 19 year old wife, Brita Erika Snickars and his four month-old daughter Elin Erika Snickars. Brita and Elin will remain with Simon’s family for the next six years until they join Simon in Utah.

Traveling by train from Vasa to Hangö took several days because the trains ran during the day only. In the early 1900’s the locomotives most often used were the 4-4-0 Baldwin Steam Locomotives that could travel up to 15 miles per hour depending on the load of freight and passengers. The trip from Vasa was about 350 miles, or 23 hours so our relative was likely to have spent a night or two in an emigrant inn at Seinäjoki, or Hyvinkää before arriving at the Hangö train station (see picture below)

Simon spent the night of June 21, 1901 in Hangö (Hanko to the Finns), a port city located on a peninsula at the southern tip of Finland. The city has 80 miles of beaches and sandy coastline consisting of over 90 small islands and inlets within the city limits. Sounds like a good place to fish. Hangö had a swelling population of emigrants in 1901, which left many new arrivals to wonder the streets at night, since the inns were filled to capacity. If one did acquire a billet is was primitive. In 1902 a hotel was constructed close to the railway station. Our ancestor, Simon, was in Utah by then but other ancestors including Brita and Elin may have stayed in the hotel. I am still looking for Brita Erika Snickar's passport information. She immigrated to Utah on the SS Cedric from Liverpool June 15, 1907 under the name Erika Snickars.

It was important to arrive in Hangöa day early to fill out necessary paperwork and purchase a ticket if one had not already done so. Ship line tickets included land transportation and steam ship fair from England to America. Simon Snickars paid 449 FIM for his ticket, about $95 US dollars in 1901. Today the cost of that ticket would be about $2,400. us dollars.

As part of the process travelers were required by American authorities to make a refundable deposit in a Finish Bank called a “landing credit”. Landing credits were redeemed upon reaching the final destination. This insured that those who immigrated had the means to take care of themselves until they could find employment. In 1905 the landing credit was $50. (About two to three months pay in the US)

Simon’s Passport, dated June 21, 1901, shows his home parish as Solf (Sulva in Finish , in the Province of Vasa (Vaasa in Finish). His destination is Amerikka. His religion is Lutheran (all Scandinavians were Lutheran by law until 1850). He was married and leaving a wife and one child in Finland.
Simon’s occupation was listed as “Tololl.pka” which translates to “Farmer’s son”. If Simon’s father owned a farm, the oldest son would inherit the land. So Amerikka offered the hope of becoming a landowner.

To get a passport Finns needed a church-issued birth certificate or Ämbetsbetyg and a certificate of non-objection from the local police. Simon left just prior to the conscription law of July 1901 went into effect. This law required men of conscription age to serve in the Russian army. In 1901 the Finnish army was incorporated into the Russian army and was made available for duty worldwide. Prior to this date Finnish solders only served to defend Finland. Men eligible for conscription were called up to serve under the new law in 1902. By 1903 men of conscription age were required to submit proof of military service to obtain a passport.

On June 22, 1901 Simon boarded the ship Arcturus bound for Hull, England. Hundreds of white barrels of butter were stowed in the holds of the vessel. Butter was a major agricultural export for Finland. The 280-foot white steamer boasted cabin space for 200 but was known to cram up to 700 emigrants on board per voyage.

(picture and text)

One of the most long-lived passenger steamers at the Hangö-Copenhagen-Hull route was the ARCTURUS, a 2155 gross ton vessel, built by Gourlay Bros & Co, Dundee in 1898 for the Finland Steamship Co (Finska Ångfartygs Aktiebolaget - FÅA). She sailed between Hangö / Åbo and Hull until WW2 and took 67-1:st and 72-2:nd class passengers. She was in FÅA:s service for 57 years. The major incidence was when she collided with and sank the OBERON, owned by the same company on 19th Dec.1930 in the Kattegat. OBERON sank almost immediately with the loss of 40 lives. The commanders of the two ships were brothers. Damaged on Jan. 13 1940 in a Soviet air raid at Turku. Arrived from Antwerp on her last voyage on 22nd Oct. 1956 and was sold to Lübeck in 1957 to be scrapped
Postcard picture of the Arcturus by courtesy of Aleksi Lindström

The Arcturus should make the port of Hull, England by Monday morning. If she landed early the male passengers were allowed to disembark and explore the seaport of Hull. Then return to the ship for the evening. Women and children were required to remain on board ship until Monday morning. The passengers were then escorted to an emigrant inn for a light meal then to the Paragon Railway Station in Hull. The emigrant train was scheduled on Mondays departing at around 11:00 am and reaching its destination of Liverpool by about 3:00 pm.

On July 2, 1901 Simon sailed on the Allan Line Ocean Liner SS Coirnthian departing from Liverpool, England and arriving at the port of Quebec, Canada on July 10,1901 with just $14. in his pocket he was going to his brother in Eureka, Utah.

In Canada Simon entrained on the Canadian Pacific Railway and crossed into the United States in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. He continued on to Eurika, Utah. Where he met his brother. Simon’s brother’s name on the manifest for the SS Coirnthian is illegible but I did find a book by Klippiga Bergen K-G Olin Utah namnlistan (name list) on SFHS Finlander website that has Wm Johnson Snickars listed from Solf and living in Bingham, Utah. Source: Finska Amerikanaren 4.7.1912.

Simon changed his sir name from his family name, Snickars, to his Patronymic name of Johnson and his first name to Sam. Sam Johnson found employment in the mines of Bingham, Utah. Copper mining was flourishing in the early 1900. In 1910 we find the family in a housing area called Highland Boy in Salt Lake County, Utah.

(picture of
Highland Boy Copper Mine, Utah 1909)

Brita and Elin joined Sam in Bingham, Utah in June 1907. Bingham was a small town in a valley between two mountain ranges where led, copper, gold and coal were mined. Bingham was seven miles long but less than a half-mile wide. With a company store and 30 saloons. The road curved through a valley with houses stacked up the mountain like they were built one on top of the other. Out houses were built over Bingham creek and the creek became a sewer filled with copper, arsenic, sulfur and sewage. In the hay days 30 nationalities over 20,000 people were split into different parts of the town, nicknamed for their origin - Jap Camp, Frog Town, Finn Town etc. Miners and their families could only buy from the company store. Still, work was more available, wages were higher and hours were shorter, food and clothing was available. So despite the conditions of Utah living in the USA was safer than Finland under Russian rule with War pending.

Between 1942 and 1949 the Johnson family purchased a farm at RD1 Twin Lakes, MI.
Carl Edward Johnson’s Army Enlistment Records show that he lived at 353 Meeking Street, Muskegon, Michigan in 1942 but his “home” address changed to Twin Lakes when he reenlisted in 1946.

1) Does anyone know the date the farm was purchased?

2) What are your first memories of the farm? What did you like or dislike about the farm?

3) What did the dwelling look like? How many rooms did it have? What did the exterior look like (construction)? What type of furnishings and floor coverings did it have? Do your remember any special photograph or paintings displayed? How was it heated? What type of fuel was used for cooking? Describe the kitchen, Bathroom, Bedrooms, Living room.

4) Who lived on the farm? Did you ever live on the farm? If so do you recall the dates?

5) How many acres was the farm?

6) How far was the farm from a main road?

7) Was the Johnson Farm a homestead or a working farm? What was grown on the farm? What type of animals do you remember? What type of trees or plants were on the farm? Fruit trees? Nut trees? Hardwoods used in the sawmill?

8) Do you remember planting or harvesting anything on the property?

9) What was your favorite or least favorite activity when visiting the farm?

10) What are your fondest memories of the farm and the family members that lived on it?

11) Do you have any pictures of the farm or of family activities on the farm?

12) Do your remember any special occasions or celebrations hosted at the farm?

13) What did you like or dislike about the farm?

09-03-08, 00:11
June, Thank-you for the Internet connection to Solf Evangelical Lutheran Church. I E-mailed asking for the price of an Ämbetsbetyg and a few short weeks latter I received the church documents for Both Simon Eric Johansson SNICKARS and Brita Erika Hermansdotter UPPGÅRD.

What a pleasant surprise! There was no letter or request for a fee or donation but I would like to send a donation. What is the appropriate sum for such documents?

Again, Thanks for all your help. It has taken our family decades into the past in Finland.

Wanda Johnson

June Pelo
09-03-08, 00:38

That's wonderful news. That certainly was nice of them to send you the information. I'm not sure what amount would be appropriate to send them. Perhaps some member in Finland would have a suggestion?