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Beginners => Family History Beginners Board => Topic started by: Jason Vitala on Thursday 23 June 16 17:19 BST (UK)

Title: Overseas research question regarding research in Finland or Sweden
Post by: Jason Vitala on Thursday 23 June 16 17:19 BST (UK)
Hello, I am fairly new to do family tree research and am having a booger of a time gfinding any info on my Great Grandfather. He immigrated rather late into the US, 1902. Im pretty sure I have all the info that can be foound in the states. On all but one document he lists himself and his parents as being born in Finland. The other he put Sweden. I have heard a story or two that he fled a conflict with some other men, apparently before 1902, where he and a few others killed a milirtary officer or something. Supposedly they fled to neighboring countries and changed their names to a common surname of that country. My question is, how can I check records from Finland or Sweden and try and find, if any exist, birth records that match his birthdate with his first and middle name? Supposedly, his original name was some derivitive of Schoumann/Showmann/Schouman etc. I know its a stretch and I probably will never know, but I have to at least try. I have an aquaintance who speaks both languages of Sweden and Finland that might be able to look for me if I can find an online solution to this. Thanks! Also, any other advice that I could look into here in the states would much appreciated.
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: KGarrad on Thursday 23 June 16 21:15 BST (UK)
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Finland

Most of the region was a part of Sweden until 1809.
Then the majority of the Finnish speaking areas were ceded to Russia, as the Grand Duchy of Finland.
Finland declared independence in 1917.
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Thursday 23 June 16 23:49 BST (UK)
Hi Jason

Can you give me your great grandfather's name and date of birth please. Also his parents' names. I can then take look here in Sweden and Finland for you.

Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: Jason Vitala on Friday 24 June 16 02:38 BST (UK)
The only thing I know is his American name, and his name he used when immigrating aboard the SS Commonwealth into the US. His name used aboard the ship was "Emil Wiitala", born 18 June 1882 from Wasa/Vaasa/Vasa Finland. From what Ive uncovered, that name was fairly common. But I wonder what the odds of multiple people with that name being born on that date in that city/town? His name he used in the US was "Matt Emil Vitala." I have found lots of info in the US after 1902, but I know nothing prior to his immigration into the US.
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 08:29 BST (UK)
You don't happen to have his parents' names do you.

Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 10:37 BST (UK)
The only other name to go on at the moment is his uncle Isak Kainänen on the passenger list to Boston.

Ian


Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: Jason Vitala on Friday 24 June 16 14:13 BST (UK)
I think I maybe found them now. I think his mothers name was Hilda. You say his uncle was with him? I have seen several Emil Vitala/Wiitala on the same boat. What all info does the list you see have?
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 14:27 BST (UK)
He was visiting his uncle. I will post the passenger list link shortly.

Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 15:13 BST (UK)
Here is the list: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hv5/

He was going to Ishpeming, Michigan.

Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 15:56 BST (UK)
Hi

He said he was from Vaasa which is a city in Ostrobothnia on the west coast of Finland. There happens to be a village Viitala near Petalax which was a municipality of Ostrobothnia just south of Vaasa. You will see the name Viitala under "History" here: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hv6/

It was quite common that Finns changed their name to the village they lived in. Sometimes the name followed them, sometimes not. According to his death record : http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hv7/ he was born in Finland and his parents born in Sweden.

Also, according to the 1920 Census his parents were again Swedish: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hv8/


Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 16:08 BST (UK)
Then according to the 1910 Census his parents were born in Finland:
http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hv9/


Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 16:36 BST (UK)
Here is his uncle's 1910 Census, Isaac Keinonen: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hva/

Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 22:04 BST (UK)
I have managed to track the family down. His parents were married in Lappu. He was born in Revolax.

Matti Mattsson Wiitala and Hilda Rehnbäck marriage - nr 62: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvf/

Matti Emil Wiitala Birth: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvg/


Ian


Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 22:24 BST (UK)
2 Siblings:

August Valentin birth - 24 Feb 1880: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvh/
Wäinö Waldemar birth - 16 Sept 1877: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvi/


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 22:47 BST (UK)
A couple more records of siblings:

The family census 1880: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvj/

Hugo Hjälmar birth - 15 Nov 1874: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvl/
Fanny Alexandra birth - 21 Apr 1876: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvk/
Fanny Alexandra death: No record but she died 30 Nov 1876


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 22:53 BST (UK)
I forgot to add that all Matti Emil's brothers and sister were born in Revonlahti (Revolax).


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 24 June 16 23:31 BST (UK)
Here is the last one:
Matti Mattsson birth - 21 Sept 1850: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvm/
I cannot find Hilda's birth. She was apparently born in Storkyro (Isokyrö) on 1 dec 1854.

Matti Mattson was a "Klockare" - a church bell ringer.

Here are some links for you:
http://hiski.genealogia.fi/hiski/756uf5?en
http://www.sukuhistoria.fi/sshy/index_eng.htm

The language in these books is mostly Swedish but there is also Finnish.
If you need any help just ask.

Regards Ian


Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Saturday 25 June 16 00:01 BST (UK)
I have heard a story or two that he fled a conflict with some other men, apparently before 1902, where he and a few others killed a milirtary officer or something. Supposedly they fled to neighboring countries and changed their names to a common surname of that country.

The minister had written in the census book for 1905 that Matti Emil had left for America in 1902. I looked through the 1902 "moving out" book and he wasn't listed. This usually means he left without reporting to the minister first stating his whereabouts. So your story could be correct. This record unfortunately is available for members only. I remember reading somewhere on his naturalisation record in USA stating that he left from Hanko in the south of Finland, but I cannot find that record for the time being. I did have it.

Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: garstonite on Saturday 25 June 16 05:47 BST (UK)
Here is the list: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hv5/

He was going to Ishpeming, Michigan.

Ian

Brilliant research Ian - a well deserved pat on the back ...
found 4   Keinonen in Michigan
Onnen
Prudy
Charles
Henry ......all in Pentland Twp , Mackinac Michigan - on a few records Onnen is Onnie ..
just wondering if Onnie is a female name and is she Isaacs wife and Prudy,Charles and Henry their children ??
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Saturday 25 June 16 08:15 BST (UK)
Brilliant research Ian - a well deserved pat on the back ...

Thank you Mr garstonite.

Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Saturday 25 June 16 09:04 BST (UK)
I was intrigued to know where the Wiitala name came from.
Here is the Matti's household from 1867 in Lapua, Kaapakoski, Wiitala village, house nr 1:
http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hvr/

Matts Isaksson
Anna Isaksdotter
Lisa
Herman
Johan
Matti
August


Ian
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: Jason Vitala on Monday 27 June 16 14:38 BST (UK)
Thank you for all the help. I apologize fo my absence the past few days. I had an internet connectivity issue that I just resolved. Ive been keeping up on my phone though. I have a question or two. I too noticed that on most early records he reported himself  and parents as being born in Finland and then later in life he reported Sweden/Swedish instead. I wonder why? My grandmother told me a story that Matt Emil had fled Finland because he killed an officer and changed his name from Schauman. But everything I have found is contrary to that story, well the name change part. He may have indeed fled to the US to escape punishment from the cassacs and to avoid the draft. But I still wonder. It had been many, many years since she heard the story, so perhaps she mixed up two stories or just misunderstood it.
  Also, what is the correct spelling? Wiitala, or Viitala? Ive read that both letters are interchangeable  and that the "W" is really not used in the Finnish language.
  I also found a document that places in Marquette, MI which is where he stated he was headed once he got to the US to meet his Uncle. SO perhaps I can trace his Uncles lineage here in America and possibly find distant cousins here in America. What I really want is a picture of Matt Emil. My family on my father side was very small and we have no pictures other than his parents and siblings. Perhaps his uncles family here in America have some photos when Matt Emil immigrated her and met up with his uncle in Michigan.
 Again, thank you so much for your help. Youve helped me answer questions Ive wondered my entire life. My grandfather, Edward Emil Vitala died in 1985 when I was 15, so its been tough to really find out any info on the Vitala name. From my research, the name means "from the land of young tress/forest."
 One other thing, how do I know which parent of Matt Emil the uncle is a sibling to? I cant seem to find any definitive info on the uncle here in the states. I did find a death record of a Frank Isaac in Ishpeming, MI. It listed him as single at the time of his death. Im trying to find if he had any children.
Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Thursday 30 June 16 12:04 BST (UK)
Here is a translation for the marriage record for Matti Mattsson Wiitala:
Farmers son and church bell ringer student, bachelor Matti Mattsson Wiitala, Sax and spinster Hilda Rehnbäck from Kyrkoby, both from Lappo Parish. Speaker: farmers son Herman Mattsson Wiitala.


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Thursday 30 June 16 12:08 BST (UK)
I too noticed that on most early records he reported himself  and parents as being born in Finland and then later in life he reported Sweden/Swedish instead. I wonder why?

I am not an expert in this field but I think because the majority of the population spoke Swedish they perhaps thought they were Swedish. I think Emil spoke Swedish and most probably Finnish and couldn't decide what to write on the census.


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Thursday 30 June 16 12:09 BST (UK)
Also, what is the correct spelling? Wiitala, or Viitala? Ive read that both letters are interchangeable  and that the "W" is really not used in the Finnish language.

All the spellings I have seen are Wiitala.


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 01 July 16 00:08 BST (UK)
While trying to trace this uncle Isaac I have found a number of records for the Wiitala family:


Matti Mattsson Wiitala Census 1855: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx1/
Matti Mattsson Wiitala Census 1860: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx0/
Matti Mattsson Wiitala Census 1873: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx3/

Hilda Rehnbäck Birth 1854: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx6/
Hilda Rehnbäck Census 1873: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx4/
Hilda Rehnbäck Census 1874: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx5/
Hilda Rehnbäck Census 1857: http://www.rootschat.com/links/01hx7/


Ian



Title: Re: Overseas research question regarding research in Finland or Sweden
Post by: Jason Vitala on Friday 15 July 16 03:08 BST (UK)
Thank you for all of your help. His uncle was difficult to find info on. I found his death certificate, but I cant find any offspring. I have a feeling, if he had any, they mayve changed the spelling of their name to a more Americanized name. I will look at the links that you provided in your last post. Again, youve been a great help. I wouldve never found all of this without it!!
Title: Re: Overseas research question regarding research in Finland or Sweden
Post by: jamcat95 on Friday 15 July 16 10:07 BST (UK)
Cheers Jason.
Is his death record online?
I have tried to locate him in Finland without much success unfortunately.


Ian

Title: Re: Overseas research question regarding research in Finland or Sweden
Post by: Jason Vitala on Friday 15 July 16 13:35 BST (UK)
I have attached it here. I wonder who he is a sibling of to make him Matti's uncle?
Title: Re: Overseas research question regarding research in Finland or Sweden
Post by: jamcat95 on Sunday 17 July 16 18:35 BST (UK)
Not much on him really. This is all I could find that I was certain of.

Here he is with his mother Maria Evasdotter Peräla who was a widow at this time. I cannot find a birth record unfortunately. His was recorded as Frans Isak Israel Keinänensson.

http://www.rootschat.com/links/01i0w/


Ian