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Edvin Edberg Finds his Roots in Österbotten


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This summer Edvin Edberg from Scottsdale, AZ found over 50 relatives in Swedish Österbotten. None of the family in Finland knew that he existed. He had not known whether the roots on his father's side were in Sweden or in Finland. Now he knows.

His father Arvid Edberg emigrated from Veikars in Korsholm 1917. He married a Finnish woman from the Jyväskylä area and son Edvin was born in 1925. His parents divorced a few years later and Edwin was raised by an English-speaking couple. He eventually became a chemical engineer and established a family. He was constantly on the hunt for his descent but discovered his Swedish roots in Österbotten for the first time three years ago - and everything became clearer this summer when he came to Finland.

At the time of his Finland trip he was 70 years old and in an interview in Vasabladet he said he felt "very emotional" after meeting his relatives in Österbotten. Although he was only the second generation, he had not known more than that his mother and father were from Finland and that his father was of Swedish descent. Despite a desperate search to find his roots, it took an enormously long time before results were achieved.

Through his job as a chemical engineer he often had to make many trips and then he became self-employed seven years ago. He had a pilot's license and for a time had a charter service with a private plane. It became a habit in each new city to look in the telephone book to see if anyone lived there with the name Edberg.

When Swedish tennis player Stefan Edberg came up in the world, I thought it was strange to see the Edberg name on the TV screen - in addition, Stefan Edberg resembled me as I looked in a childhood picture, thought Edvin, who also tried to meet Stefan when he played tennis in Scottsdale.

Among his mother's belongings, Edvin found a letter from the time 1917-21. In 1992 he visited Finland for the first time and then found that his mother came from Jyväskylä. He found three cousins in Jyväskylä, Tammerfors and Toivakka. During this visit he learned the old letter was written in Swedish and appeared to come from Veikars in "Mustasaari", the old Finnish name for Korsholm. The ice was broken.

Edvin laughed when he told of the first meeting with relatives in Swedish Österbotten. A clerk in the chancery office telephoned Arne Karp and bid him to come and meet his cousin from America. Karp answered that he had no cousin in America. In any event, the meeting happened and Edvin was promptly accepted as a cousin. He resembled his relatives, especially his father's mother's family in Veikars.

No one in Finland had known of Edvin. His father Anders Arvid Edberg, born 1899, emigrated to America 1917. He died 1940 and was declared dead in Finland when he would have been 80 years old. The family had known that Arvid was married, but not that he had a son.

During the first visit I met 12 relatives on my father's side. Now this summer I met with 50; twenty of them are cousins. Forty-nine relatives were gathered for a meeting as arranged at Gästgivars in Solf, said Edvin. The trip before this I had met my father's sister Tekla Granlund, who lives in Vasa. I did not see her this summer because she was visiting her son in Sweden. She is 91 years of age.

During this summer's visit in Finland, Edvin and his wife Eunice spent most of the time with cousin Helmer Karp who has a summer cottage in Monäs, Munsala. It was Helmer and Mona Karp who traced all the family and furnished Edvin with information. It is incredible to suddenly find so many relatives that I didn't know of, he said.

Edvin was also fascinated by Finland's national registration system. He said he was pleased that he could trace the family back to the 1600's. He also found information that Arvid Edberg received his passport for travel to America on 29 June 1917.

Edvin Edberg and his wife Eunice have three children, a son and two daughters. The children presently work in the family business, reported Stig Svens in Vasabladet.

NORDEN 31 August 1995

June Pelo

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