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Michigan Family Sought and Found Their Roots in Lappfjärd


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At the end of September the Ådjers family in Lappfjärd received a surprise welcome visit from one of their least known relatives in the United States.

American Larry Carlsson has searched his roots for a long time, and the search led him to Lappfjärd in Finland. This autumn the research was crowned by a personal visit to Lappfjärd and Kristinestad.

Larry said it was something he wanted to do while his old father is alive. "For his sake I have tried to find out if we have relatives in Finland. The result is more than gratifying. At a family meeting in the community hall in Lappfjärd, we met 40 people from the family."

Father's Father from Lappfjärd

To go back to the beginning, at least as far back as Larry Carlsson's research has led, his father's father Frans Victor Ådjers, b. 2 November 1884, moved from Lappfjärd to Michigan in 1903. His wife was Maria Emelia Furness (Förnäs), b. 14 February 1887 in Lappfjärd. Larry's father Victor Hilding Carlsson, has long fretted that none of his relatives in the US has traveled to Finland to find if there are relatives still living.

The father's ill health and old age, 82 years, caused Larry to take action. He obtained a telephone directory of Finland and Kristinestad and checked out all the Ådjers names in Kristinestad. Then he sat and wrote letters to 7 different people named Ådjers, also in Lappfjärd parish. "And I certainly received answers. One letter mentioned that father's father had at least six brothers and a sister. The family tree was not entirely completed," said Larry.

Through letters Larry made contact with Erik and Helga Ådjers in Kristinestad, also their daughters Margareta Ådjers-Laakso and Nina Ådjers. They also arranged the surprise family meeting. Margareta who lives in Vanda, arranged to meet Larry and Sandra at the airport and they stayed in Helsingfors two days. Later the entire group drove to Kristinestad to Erik Ådjers, who is a small cousin of Larry.

Knew His Home

And in Kristinestad Larry immediately recognized that home. He was born and grew up in Gladstone, Michigan where he first went to school. Later he trained as an electrical engineer and gradually bought his own electrical firm to sell electrical appliances and equipment. In the fall Larry and Sandra took a business trip to Germany. On the way home they visited Kristinestad.

Visit The Grave

During the short visit to Kristinestad, Larry found time to acquaint himself with the farm area around the church in Lappfjärd, the area where the Ådjers family originally lived. "We thought we'd find the place where father's father was born." They remembered that he always said that he lived barely a stone's throw from the church and that turned out to be very close.

Larry also visited the graves of family and relatives. They also found relatives of their father's mother Marie Emelia Förnäs, and received a little documentation of the family.

Family Meeting in Lappfjärd

The high point during the visit was the family meeting in the parish hall in Lappfjärd where about 40 distant relatives gathered to meet the American guest.

At the meeting Rafael Honkaniemi, son of Tyra Alexandra Ådjers, presented a family analysis he had prepared a long time ago. "In 1991 I began to research the Honkaniemi family and continued later with Ådjers. When I heard of Larry Carlsson's visit, I gathered everything together in a separate folder and took it to the meeting," said Rafael. He has gone back to 1681 when the first Ådjers progenitor was documented - then under the name Åggers. Henrik Henriksson Åggers was born that year and died 6 February 1774. He was married to Margaretha Andersdotter.

Rafael has searched further and found that Carl Henrik Gustavsson Ådjers was the father of Larry's father's father Frans Viktor Ådjers.

At the meeting in Lappfjärd, it was Svea Agnäs who represented the closest relative to Larry. She is a cousin of Larry's father Viktor Hilding, about whom she had not known. "It was a surprise and interesting to hear that I have a living cousin in the US, someone that I never met nor knew about," said Svea.

Larry and Sandra have returned to Michigan but they mentioned they would probably return. "I would like to see more of Finland, perhaps visit Lappland or participate in some autumn hunting for elk. Also our sons Eric and Scott are interested in their roots and would like to follow up with a trip," said Larry, who also has taken his forefather's old homeland to his heart. A bit of a genuine Lappfjärd resident lives in American born Larry.

By Rita Nordström Norden Newspaper 20 Nov 1997

June Pelo

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