View Full Version : Houghton County, Michigan

23-01-06, 03:55
Hi....does anyone have census records for Houghton County Michigan?? I'm looking for my grandfathers brother:

August Karfsor (Johnson) born in Kvevlax Finland 1877, died in Dollar Bay, Michigan July 27, 1908. Family history is that he was buried in the Lakeview Cemetary in Hancock in the Johnson plot but there is no head stone there for him.

He was married in Houghton to Matilda Enstrom, born in Kvevlax 1875, they had 2 daughters:

1) Signe born February 2, 1905 in Dollar Bay, Michigan
2) Ingrid born March 19, 1908 in Dollar Bay, Michigan

August died when he was 31, his wife and daughters went back to Finland, but I don't know how he died or when the wife and daughter went back to Finland.

Thanks much

23-01-06, 08:32
go to > http://www.genealogia.fi/hiski/n3ua7w?fi+0216

there is some Enström.

Page is finnish finder, ( link is Kvevlax ).

10-02-06, 02:56
Hi Marcy,

Censuses probably will not be helpful since the vital events are between 1900 and 1910. The Houghton County Clerk's office (906-482-1150) is helpful - specify you want the information for genealogical purposes.

On-site research is possible, but space is very limited (2 tables). Call for an appointment for on-site.

Certified copies for legal purposes are $10 a pop. There used to be much lower fees for xerox copies - ask the staff. I do not know whether there are fees for off-site services - or how much time the staff has to look up things - ask.

Sorry, I do not have the time to do look-ups or call-ups, except for close cousins (like Sarell).


10-02-06, 03:40

Try this place, lots of goodies and even a Finnish section. You may get lucky.

I checked the latest dbase for Houghton Co, not yet online but your Johnson and Enstrom are not there but no surprise because only about 35% of emigrants joined a church.

They maybe have had kids baptised though and maybe the parents were buried using one of these Swedish language churches but I don't exactly know what you want to know.

If you have specifics, give me an emial at granskare (at symbol) netexpress.net and I will check for you at Swenson Swedish Center here in town.

10-02-06, 04:12

Here are some Web pages

Houghton Co. Clerk's Office (I think the fees may have gone up)


The Finnish American Heritage Center might also be helpful.





Its director Jim Kurtti is reasonably fluent in the latter (and in the former as well - at least when I spoke with him last).

General things F-A: The Finnish American Reporter


Also edited by Kurtti - sample Feb articles on-line.

Hancock - capital of Finnish America


For Marcy (Dollar Bay articles)



Both by Lydia I. Holmes, friend of our Steve family (yeh, "Styf" - but that's another thread) - Anders Myhrman, Finlandssvenskar i Amerika (Helsingfors 1972) has the Swedish translation.

Brief mention of my grandfather John Steve.

Horner Flooring - made in Dollar Bay


An international company (really - if you doubt that argue with Doug Hamar)


Good family; good guys; good flooring.


10-02-06, 14:03
Continuation of webpages

I must have been a little fuzzy last nite, since I passed by the question that was asked. Here is the scoop for Michigan 1820 - 1930 Census Records (Google will find you more):


Only the 1870 census (photos of the rolls) is online at Houghton County MIGenWeb.

Generally, make sure you look at the Houghton County MIGenWeb:


Links to Neighboring Areas at lower right of index. This site has a good amount of information and links. If you are lucky, you will hit gold.

Here are some examples.

Link to 1870 Federal Census - Online with images (but, most Finns came here after 1870)


Link to 1904 Map (which links to the 1904 Michigan Place Index):



Link to Land Records - Land Patents (a fun site for me - all sick lawyer jokes are also acceptable)


An example you get is: JUNTUNEN AUGUST 9 51 N 35 W 0.00 09 4355 1905/12/13

Using this information, you can access the Bureau of Land Management web site and view a copy of the original document.


Follow the search directions. You get this data: JUNTUNEN, AUGUST MI Houghton 12/13/1905 Marquette 4355 MI3320__.084 and a chance to push the button and get the picture (in four different graphic formats).

It is much fun (especially if the patent was to your ancestor). A great wall hanging. Or, if you are a lawyer or land title person who needs a copy of the original patent for proof.

Actualy, the Land Patent website offers a quicker solution. If you know the name, you can go to any state - without going through the above fa-fa. So, at


enter the State (in both examples here, Wisconsin) and name - Rose, Thomas, getting

ROSE, THOMAS WI Jefferson 8/1/1844 Milwaukee 10469 WI2670__.402 - and hit the picture button.

Same for Stafford, Walden - getting

STAFFORD, WALDEN M WI Adams 12/1/1857 Stevens Point 7886 WI3350__.452

Now, you have the two land patents issued to my wife's ancestors who moved from New York and settled in Wisconsin ca. 1850. Why you would want them (or her) is another issue; but that is how it is done - just did it.

Also linked at Houghton County MIGenWeb, the next site below

The Finnish of Houghton Co. and the U.P. (also at the following site, links to Copper Country Online Files)


This site has an index of males and females from S. Ilmonen, Amerikan Suomalainsten Historia II Ja Elämäkertoja (1923). For example, the following:

Last Name (USA), First Name/Middle, Last (Finland), Immigration, Born, Died
Abramson, Johan Henrik, Alanenpää, 1870, 27 Nov 1843, Hietaniemellä, 24 Aug 1915

So, Johan Henrik Abramson Alanenpää became Johan Henrik Abramson. If both the farmname and village (Hietaniemellä) were lost to future generations, you have the "Bermuda Triangle" of Finnish-American genealogy.

Also we have marriages (probably a relative of Johan Henrik; possibly a brother):

Groom/Last Name, Groom/First Name, Bride’s Name, Place/Year
Abramson (Alanenpää), Isak Wm., Maria Kaisa Hietala, Calumet

At the same site, Names at Places from S. Ilmonen, Michigan American Suomalaisten Historia (1926).

An example,


Johan Hiltunen, Lauri Kanniainen, Johan Kempainen and Antti Luttinen, Puolanka. Antti and Matti Ruohoniemi, Ylistaro. Johan Rautio, Kälviä. Matti Kinnunen and Lauri Moilanen, Pudasjärvi. Antti Pippo, Pippola. August Seppälä , Kuortane. Johan Stein, Laihia.Matti Luhta, Isokyrö. Johan Pyykkönen, antti Karvonen, Johan Tauriainen and Jacob Kinnunen, Puolanka.

Not Massachusetts, but a mining location north of Hancock. Heavy on Puolanka area people, including Iso Louie Moilanen. For the story on him (still a folk hero in Puolanka), see


My partner Hiltunen (his family also from Puolanka) has Iso Louie's Savage 99 deer rifle for a wall hanging.

"Little Gems" (at this site and others) might be found in "Why Did They Go? - Immigration of people of Finnish origin from the Tornio Valley in Sweden by Sture Torikka". Great if they are your ancestors - otherwise, juxt a good read.


12-02-06, 04:46
Here are some good histories by and of Finnish-Americans in Houghton County.

Giants, Historians and Wolves

Solomon Ilmonen (born in Ilmajoki) graduated from the first seminary class (1906) of Suomi College - Theological Seminary (now Finlandia University), with John Wargelin (born in Isokyrö). Both had graduated earlier (1904) from Suomi's first seven-year course (a little bit of grammar school and high school in that). That class of 10 included two women (Lydia Kangas and Liisa Paavola).

Ilmonen authored a classic study of Finnish-American history and culture, Amerikan suomilaisten sivistyshistoria ... [the title then goes on for a couple of pages], 2 vols (Hancock, 1930-1931). He had written earlier, Amerikan Ensimmäiset Suomalaiset (Hancock, 1916). He wrote a number of other works. Ilmonen's works were limited to his linguistic audience (so, he was not exactly a best selling author in the U.S.).

Clemens Niemi, Americanization of the Finnish People in Houghton County, Michigan (Duluth, 1921), seems to have written the first major work by a Finnish-American historian (in English) on the Houghton County Finns. That work arose out of his master's thesis (in sociology, University of Chicago, 1919), which covered the same topic. But, it was soon followed by a harder-hitting little classic (it is a small book, physically) by John Wargelin.

While John Wargelin was born in Isokyrö (1881), he came, as a child with his parents, to Champion, Michigan. At that time, Champion was a community of ethnic diversity, as was much of the Copper Country. So, in many ways, Wargelin was more a second generation Finnish-American than a first generation migrant.

As noted above, he graduated from both Suomi College and its Theological Seminary. He then went on to the University of Michigan (master's in education, 1923). He soon published, Americanization of the Finns (Hancock, 1924). If you happen to have an early copy of that classic, you might consider putting it in a shadow box - not because of its monetary worth; but for its worth as a symbol of Finnish-American history.

The Wargelins go back a long way. Wargelin's ggg-grandfather Anders Wargelin (1718-1804) was a pastor in Lapua; his gg-grandfather Isak Wargelin (1753-1813) was a pastor in Härma. So, the Wargelins came from "Puukko Country" (which lies between my grandfather's region to the southwest, and my grandmother's region to the north).

A number of Finnish-American historians (who were not based in Hancock) published significant works. We have, for example, John I. Kolehmainen (best known at Heidelberg College, in Ohio; but briefly a visiting scholar at Suomi in 1945-1946). The best way to access him is to Google him (he wrote so many works on Finnish-American history and culture). Another prolific Finnish-American author is A. William Hoglund, e.g., Finnish Immigrants in America, 1880-1920 (Madison, 1960). Which brings us to Holmio, my current favorite read in this area.

Armas K.E. Holmio, of Hancock, had a distinguished career in the ministry, and as a teacher at Suomi College. For us, his lasting contribution is his, History of the Finns in Michigan (WSU Press, Detroit, 2001; trans. Ellen M. Ryynanen; forward by A. William Hoglund). In Finnish, Michiganin suomalaiten historia (Hancock, 1967). It is simply a great history book, well written, fully referenced, and worth buying.

Holmio's book is mainly of "Finsk-Finns". I know of no equivalent study of "Svensk-Finns" in English (if there is, let me know - I do miss things). So, the Swedish-speaking Finnish-Americans are largely left to Anders Myhrman, Finlandssvenskar i Amerika (Helsinki 1972). It is also a great work (if you can read it). That gap has been filled in part by the fine work of June Pelo and her compatriots in writing and transalation, here and elsewhere.


The Wargelin surname probably was derived from the Swedish varg (a by-name for "wolf").

Since we have the Swedish ulv (directly cognate to "wolf", from "Common Germanic"), why varg (warg, wargh) ? Here is my understanding of one derivation (to which, I freely will accept correction from one more informed).

The idea was, that to use "ulv" would call the wolf into the home (a distinct problem in 1700's Finland and earlier). So, instead, let us use a by-name for the animal ("varg"), which it will not understand. Perhaps, that is only a folktale, but I like it.

Whatever its origins, Warg became a popular farmname in Finland. For example, I seem to have two distinct Warg ancestries - both appear to be distinct from that of the Wargelins. For one, see, Leo Nyholm, Warg (Genos 68(1997), s. 180-181), at


See also, June's translation at


My other one (seemingly a distinct line at Nykarleby) has not yet been researched completely. So, presently, I consider it a hypothesis - I will later post it as a separate thread if it works out.

All of us "Wargs" would probably like an ancestry back to Nykki Vargh (Voypala, Sääksmäki), who was something of a rebel. He was cited in Paavi Benedictus XII ja Sääksmäen pannabulla 1340 ("Pope Benedict's Letter to Sääksmäki - 1340"). Read it here:


If anyone has a report showing the descents from him, I would like to see it (not because I expect a link; but to fill out my file on that historical 1340 event).


12-02-06, 06:53
Wow...thanks everyone for all the info.

JMM....my head is spinning you have supplied me with so much information, should keep me busy searching for a good long time.

Next time I'm in the Copper Country I'll have to allow myself a few days just to do research.

Thanks, Marcy

June Pelo
12-02-06, 18:29
My Warg line dates back to Anders Andersson Warg, b. ca 1480, probably in Kaustby. The family has used the names of Warg/Varg, Dunkar and Kåkz. Ca 1671 Johan Eriksson Dunkar took the name Kåkz when he moved from Kaustby to Kåkz in Karleby. In 1695 he took the name Warg when he moved to Warg in Karleby. My Warg line has remained there. My grandfather changed his name to Wargström when he emigrated. In 1777 one Warg descendant moved from Karleby to Clemetsö in Korsholm and took the name Clemetsö.


13-02-06, 00:04
You are very welcome, Marcy, I appreciate it.

Also, hi June. Jaska and I are working on some things. As usual, the good input is coming from one direction (from Finland). Our cousin is one great genealogist - although he tries not to admit his expertise. Thought I would get a plug in for him.


Jaska Sarell
13-02-06, 00:39
Putting a little non-genealogical link here as to Swedish words ulv and varg. Similar explanation is given here (http://www.ordbruket.com/webcross/artiklar/varg.htm) (in Swedish).

JMM, I'll have a question about our common relatives in Houghton Co. Coming soon...

:) Jaska

June Pelo
13-02-06, 01:34
One of my relatives was named Vasilius Björn and when he came to the US and was asked what his name was, he said it was Björn. They mistook what he said and began to call him Wassborr (was Björn) - get it?

So his name from then on was recorded as Wassborr.


13-02-06, 03:28
Just spent a few minutes looking for an English language article (I hoped on the PhD level) about the derivation of the Germanic word "Warg".

Well, I didn't find one, but I learned sonething new. Tolkien created a Warg family. You now know I do not read Tolkien, and have not seen the Trilogy.

I once bought the books because of a girl. Never read them, but my mother (a female "Warg") loved them.

Anyway, here is a brief article on Tolkien and Wargs:


Now, to get this thread back on topic. Attached are photos of two Copper Country Wargs (from mid-1950's).

The Grainger Warg killed several of Grainger's hounds, before Grainger shot it.

The DMWolf Warg was one of two taken by my father. The top of my mom's head didn't quite make the frame.

Hmm. guess I can attach only one per post - so Grainger Warg here. DMWolf next.


13-02-06, 03:31
Here's the DMWolf Warg. Sorry, mom, about your head. Missed my aim a little on that one.