View Full Version : Laps as our ancestors?

04-12-03, 22:54
I just read a posting on a Finnish mailing list about the question why there are many families with really dark hair and darker complexion in Ostrobothnia. As you know - Ostrobothnians are considered quite pale skinned with light hair etc.

The message was approximately like this (a very loose translation):

Translated snipplet from a book by Teuvo Lehtomaa: "Lapinmaan vuosituhannet", ie. "The Centuries of Lapland"

King Karl IX so ordered in the beginning of 1600's that the wilderness of Ilmajoki should be populated with people from Lapland. The local administration started populating the area with farmers and crofters, after which the king in 1608 informed them that this wasn't his intention. The intention was to populate the area with people who could make their living from the animals, birds, fishing and the reindeers in the ways the laplanders did it. Only these people would have the right to use the land. The forest, the lakes, bird hunting would belong to the laps and those who kept reindeers. The people should be able to keep the land as their taxable land for themselves and their descenders as their posessions for all coming times.

After the tax free years they would be taxed and pay them to the king and the Swedish crown.

The reindeer men of Ilmajoki came from the area of Torneå in south west Lapland and settled in the area of Lappajärvi-Ilmajoki-Kuortane. The border feuds and conflicts of interest with the farmers of this area finally caused King Karl XII to order the killing of all reindeer in the year 1700. The laps of Ostrobothnina then became farmers of their own land.

So - the question is - could it be possible that some "dark haired" families have sami genes?

June Pelo
05-12-03, 22:08
"Ostrobothnians are considered quite pale skinned with light hair etc." I don't know who made that statement but it can't be true. I know many people who have dark hair and dark skin - and they are not Sami but they are Ostrobothnians. I don't think anyone can use hair and skin color to determine what nationality people are - not in this day and age. My own sister has dark hair and olive colored skin while my hair is dark blonde and my skin is light colored. I had 3 cousins with flaming red hair and their dark-haired grandparents came from Finland - no one else before or after has had that red hair.


07-12-03, 05:50
I, too, have both dark haired/skinned and light haired/skinned relatives. Interestingly enough, the grandchildren (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) are mostly light skinned and hair. I wished I paid more attention in school during science when we were taught genetics. I only recall that genes often skip a generation. My siblings (6 of us) are a mix of blonde hair with blue/grey eyes and brown hair with brown eyes.

My father, when he was younger, had a red beard, though later it turned white while his hair is still dark brown with little grey. Go figure.

Gunnar Damström
07-12-03, 21:23
History is often painful- the Finnsih history no exception. The wars of the late 1600s and early 1700s decimated the male population of Finland very strongly. In 1713 the Russian army invaded Finland aiming to force Karl XII to accept a peace treaty. At the time the king was licking his wounds in Turkey after the Poltava catastrophy. The Swedish high command soon ordered the allotted army (including numerous Finnish regiments) to retreat around the Gulf of Bothnia, leaving Finland exposed to the undiciplined Russian soldiers. Whoever could fled to Sweden. The Russian occupation lasted until the 1721 peace treaty. No wonder today you find many Finns with dark complexion.

04-05-04, 19:32
The Hansa trade league had a strong presence in the merchant towns of southern Finland. In Borgå german was a common daily lanugage aside with Swedish and Finnish until the beguinning of the 18th century.
Then there were the Vallons from Belgium who came to Finland during the 16th and 17th centuries.
In medieval times the Danes ransacked our southern coast couple of times.
And the Russians were on and off together with kosacks, siberians and tatars.

And we have had gypsies here for hundreds of years.

In the 18th century here came Jews and during the Russian period there came more, because many of the Jewish soldiers in the Russian army chose to settle down in Finland for retirement.

And so on...

My point is that we have had a vast influx of people from the Eurasian contintent over the centuries, so it is no wonder we are a mixed lot.

I don't even know our family's true origin. Some say it's Italian, some say it's Jewish. I have found a genealogy in a German website where the name Portin is mentioned in the 18th century

I agree with June. You can't make any conclusion about a persons "racial" background from the looks. (I really don't like to use "race" in the context of human beings, but I wasn't able to find a more proper word at this instance).


04-05-04, 20:19
Hi Sune,
Your information interests me, considering that one of my ancestors has been a mystery in our research through documentation, while the family myth was that she married a Russian officer OR a Jew. Now I wonder if he was both.

Her family, while well-to-do, did not evidently support her in Vasa. She had her own residence according to church records. However, no husband to her two sons is recorded in LUTHERAN records. The sons went on to be educated as a doctor and a lawyer. I assumed that their father paid for the educations.

If the husband was a Russian Jew, would his information be excluded purposely from the Lutheran church records?

And if so, is there public access to a Jewish synagogue via internet? Or other means?

Syrene Forsman

05-05-04, 22:05
He might wery well have been both a Jew and a Russian officer. The sons must have been recorded either at the synagogue or the Lutheran church, not at both. It is likely that they have been recorded with their father.
To my knowlege there are only two synagogues here, one in Helsingfors and one in Åbo. Were a Jew in Vasa is recorded I do not know.

Perhaps you can get help from the Jewish community of Helsinki at http://www.jchelsinki.fi/


09-05-04, 06:40
Sometimes the sons are recorded in the Lutheran records with their mother, sometimes not. Sometimes she is shown at her father's home and sometimes not. But your suggestion is excellent. Thanks for the address!