One Hundred Years of Finland’s Independence


Dec 6, 2017, is the day Finland will officially celebrate its centennial as an independent country. In the lead-up to that momentous day, it is appropriate that Finland has a website with information about the centennial: Suomi Finland 100.

The page on that website that is very interesting to me is “One hundred years of Finland’s independence“.

It provides a 100-year timeline of events and developments year-by-year in Finland and elsewhere in the world.

By reviewing the timeline. I have greatly expanded my knowledge and understanding of the country of origin of my paternal grandparents.

Thanks to Cousin Matti in Finland for suggesting that I look at this website.


Take Your Ethnic Purity Business Elsewhere


This email was distributed to subscribers of the Ancestry Blog a couple days ago. Especially appropriate for us as genealogists is what Ancestry states in the third paragraph:

The entire Ancestry family is horrified and appalled by the tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville. We not only condemn the violence that occurred but are deeply disturbed by the ideologies of the white supremacist groups who marched there.

As a company, we believe in the importance of diversity, unity and acceptance, as well as the fundamental truth that we are all more alike than not. Our purpose as a company, and the intent of our products, is to bring our shared diversity into the spotlight in order to promote understanding and equality. To be clear, we are against any use of our product in an attempt to promote divisiveness or justify twisted ideologies.

Our product is built on science, which illustrates the diversity in all of us. People looking to use our services to prove they are ethnically “pure” are going to be deeply disappointed. We encourage them to take their business elsewhere.

Diversity is quite literally part of every person in this country and this planet. We built our AncestryDNA and family history products to celebrate just that—the diversity within each of us and the connections that bring us closer together. Diversity, after all, is in all of our DNA and is the very foundation of Ancestry.

Thanks Ancestry for making this statement about modern society.

Hello to Finnish Cousins


I just received word via email that notice of my recent posts about Cousin Matti sending Kaapro Huuskonen’s biography to me, and how he and my brother Walfrid translated it into English, has been circulated to other Huuskonen (original spelling of surname) cousins.

For their benefit, in case they take a look at this blog, I thought I might write a bit about my interest in my Finnish ancestry and include some links to earlier posts about my grandparents.

In 1995, I traveled to Salt Lake City for a business conference on steelmaking. After the day’s activities were over, a colleague said he was going to visit the Family History Library (now called FamilySearch Library — see photo) to do some family research. Having nothing better to do for the evening, I went along.

While I was looking at databases on CDs for people with my surname, I heard an announcement over the public address system that there would be a short seminar on Finnish Genealogy Research starting in a few minutes. I told my colleague that I had to take advantage of this opportunity.

The instructor was able to convince me that even though I didn’t read or speak Finnish I could still research about my ancestors. She provided a list of key Finnish words and their English translations that would be essential to understanding Finnish records.

The first thing I did when I returned home was to contact my brother Walfrid in Oklahoma. Ironically, while I was being exposed to the idea of researching Finnish ancestry in Salt Lake City, he was in Portland, Oregon, attending FinnFest 1995. He said that he had obtained passport and passenger ticket information for our grandparents and their travel to America.

FinnFest USA is an annual gathering of people of Finnish ancestry at various sites around America. My brother and I arranged to attend FinnFest 1996 together in Marquette, Michigan. We picked up a little more information about genealogical research, and we were exposed to many aspects of Finnish culture.

Subsequently, we attended FinnFest 2007 in Ashtabula, Ohio (and had a mini family reunion) and I attended FinnFest 2013 in Houghton, Michigan. I presented talks at the 2007 and 2013 events describing how I had collected more information about my Finnish Ancestry.

In October 2011, I started the blog, Given that my motherdescended from immigrants to America during the colonial period, part of the blog content deals with that part of my genealogy and family history. But many of the posts cover what I have learned about my Finnish ancestry. Here are some examples:

From Finland to America: How the Evert Huuskonen Family Traveled to Ashtabula County, Ohio

Grandpa Evert Huuskonen’s Journey to America 

Evert and Ida Huuskonen from Vesanto and Rautalampi, Finland 

Evert Huskonen — Laborer, Farm Operator, Farm Owner, Retired Farmer 

Grandma Was an Alien! 

More on Grandma Huskonen’s Alien Registration 

Grandpa Huskonen Becomes a U.S. Citizen 

These can be read like chapters in a book about my grandparents. Eventually, I want to add material about their parents and other relatives in Finland.




Burning the Turnip Patch


In today’s earlier post containing Kaapro (aka Gabriel) Huuskonen’s biography, there was the following statement about his farming practices in Finland: “Every summer he burned off a small patch for turnips … ” This intrigued me so I did a Google Search and came up with an interesting website exactly about this practice in Finland.

On the website, there is an extensive discussion of “Landscapes Moulded by Slash-and-Burn.” I had read about slash-and-burn farming before but never in this much detail. To see the web page with details, go to

Talkkamaki is a preserve where traditional farming methods are practiced. Don’t worry, it’s all translated into understandable — if not idiomatic — English.  And it does specifically mention planting turnips:

Crops grown on slash-and-burn land include turnips, rye, barley, buckwheat, oats and flax. If the turnip it is grown, it is sown during the week before the Mid-Summer celebration in late June. The old way to sow turnip seeds is putting them in the mouth and spitting them out down to the ground. The area is raked before and after sowing.

Turnips have been traditionally grown in Finland because they can grow and mature in the relatively short growing season. Also, they can be stored and used during the winter months.

I seem to remember having turnip dishes occasionally as a child, but not recently. Does anybody reading this eat turnip dishes? A quick Google search turned up this website with four recipes that sound palatable:

More on Gift of Family History from Finland


Yesterday, I received the email below from my brother, Walfrid. It was a follow-up to the subject of my post on Aug 8 ( )

Attached is my translation of Kaapro Kustaanpoika Huuskonen.  I had help from Matti [a cousin in Finland and the provider of the subject biography] in translating a couple of places, in particular about the burn off for the turnip patch and Mustalais-Kallu.  Mustalais-Kallu and Korhos-Kalle are the same construction form but in the first Mustalais- is taken from the adjective gypsy and in the second Korhos-is taken from Korhonen.

Here is his translation of the attached biography of Kaapro Kustaanpoika  (aka Gabriel, son of Gustav. calculated him to be my 1st cousin, two times removed). It is an entry similar to those seen in American county histories published in the late 1800s or early 1900s. I have inserted some explanatory material in square brackets [ ]:

Huuskosen Suku I [Huuskonen Family I]
Aarne Huuskonen [the compiler/author]
Published by the Huuskosten Sukuseura r.y. [Huskonen Family Association]
Helsinki 1972
Lindellin Kirjapaino Oy [printing company, still in existance. See: ]

(Pages 89-90)

Kaapro Kustaanpoika Huuskonen, born 11 March 1859 in the then Rautalampi, died 22 April 1950 at Majo [farm name], Vesanto [Rautalampi was the original parish; Vesanto a daughter parish established in the 1880s].  He cared for his large farm with enthusiasm and skill, maintaining his house in good condition, truly still keeping up traditional forms of agriculture.  Every summer he burned off a small patch for turnips, took an interest in cutting leaves and deciduous tree branches for fodder) and had tall manure piles.  Crops were in good condition.  He continued working until his death.  Even as a ninety-year-old he split all the firewood needed for the house.  He hated laziness and indolence.  Servants stayed at Majo for years because the employer paid the hired help well.  Some, who did not marry, were at Majo their entire lives and the farm offered good care in their old age

Kaapro was also clever with his hands; but not, it is said as good as his brother August, Rutkolan [another farm name] head of household, to whom he sometimes went for sharpening his scythes and other things. The farm yard and fields at Majo were in unusually good order.  You did not see farm tools thrown about or machinery outside.  Everything was in its place, it sheds and other storage places.  No wonder Oskar Hämäläinen (professor Albert Hämäläinen’s brother) sang, that “At Majo there is a model house, where the places gleam, the girls are fine, they steal your heart…”

Kaapro particularly liked his daughters.  The relationship with his sons was difficult, which lead to Kalle and Nestori going to America.  That trait of old Huuskonens.  Certainly Kaapro, as a father, demanded hard work from his daughters, but gave money and clothes to them more easily than to his boys.  Fifty years ago when the first womens’ bicycles appeared in Vesanto, the girls of Majo began to want them.  Their mother was of the opinion that they should buy only two although there were four girls, but their father said that if they buy any they would buy one for each.  Certainly, in the village they were amazed when Majo’s girls rode to church in a row and how much money had been spent for them.

In the 1800’s and later Majo engaged in the practice of fishing and so there was good fishing equipment in the household.  Kaapro liked fish very much, in particular smelt was his favorite.  It is true that it was not found in Keitele (lake) but was in Vesijärvi (lake) and they resorted to the help of people from Rutkola.  Kaapro was unusually kind-hearted.  During one winter Mustalais- Kallu (gysy Kallu), or another way of looking at it a tramp or vagrant was supported at Majo for months; as was Korhos-Kalle or Kalle Korhonen.  No one left Majo without help, even if it was a question of money, grain seed, or seed potatoes.  Also, he helped related students.

He read the Bible diligently and always aloud.  Many times he was heard preaching from the field.  The bible was from the middle of the 1800s.  He was not able to write except to sign his name.

Kaapro loved his family and wanted to keep Majo in the family.  When both boys had gone to America, where Kalle died, he wanted Nestori to come back to take the farm for himself.  Nestori finally came and married Olga Ritvanen from Mäkelä, and he received the farm in his name.  Kaapro’s wife was Emma Liimatainen, from Alatalo, Särkisalo.

Kaapro was modest and avoided publicity.  The girls secretly arranged a small celebration for his 75th birthday.  As the guests arrived the man of the hour disappeared and was later found sitting on a rock on the shore of Keitele lake.  He was also headstrong, he stopped smoking as an 80-year-old.

I am now working to reconcile this information with entries in my family tree. I intend to consult MyHeritage and FamilySearch in this effort at locating documentation. I also will consult Finnish websites for this data.


Uncle Walter’s Marriage Found Online


Today, I opened one of the hints on and it led me to the marriage record of my great uncle Walter Chase Dingman. I had visited the Archives for Trumbull County, Ohio, in Warren, more than 15 years ago to obtain a paper copy of this marriage record. Now it is available online. If you guessed that I hadn’t scanned the paper copy and added it to my tree yet, you would be correct. Now all that was required to add the digital image to Walter’s profile in my family tree was a click of the computer mouse. Such is the progress of online records for genealogy.

I had heard a couple years ago that the marriage records held in Warren would be unavailable for awhile — because they were being digitized by FamilySearch volunteers. I don’t know when this record was put online, but I’m glad I found it today.

The hint from Ancestry led me to the marriage record image at This is another example of the cooperation/collaboration between Ancestry and FamilySearch.

Now for the facts from the marriage record: It was Uncle Walter’s first marriage at age 67 (he reported to the clerk that he was only 65). It was Mina Mae (Waid) Woolley’s second marriage (her first husband was deceased) and she reported that she was 61 years of age. They were married on 1 May 1948 by Horace J. Braden, M.G. [minister of God].

The couple resided in the house she owned in Kinsman, Ohio.

Avoiding Danger when Checking Missed Calls on My iPhone


I have been getting a lot of incoming calls from unknown telephone numbers recently on my iPhone.

Here is a recent example: 763-275-1399.

I didn’t recognize the area code. Later, in my missed call log, the iPhone indicated that the call was from Becker, MN. I don’t know anybody in this little town (pop. 4,500 according to Wikipedia). When I went to the Reverse Phone Lookup on Whitepages on the Internet, the report I got was that this number was probably a “Scam or Fraud” source. This free service identified the number as being made over VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol (a method of making telephone calls using a computer). Furthermore, the number was flagged as “Telemarketer” by others receiving calls from it, and, even more scary, as having a Spam/Fraud Potential of “High Risk.”

I’m picturing somebody sitting in in front of a computer in his or her bedroom making calls to try to scam money from unsuspecting mobile phone users.

In the last two months, I have declined to pick up more than a dozen calls to my iPhone from unknown telephone numbers. Checking them out later on Whitepages produces the same report: Scam or Fraud.

So, here is what my practice will be going forward: If I don’t recognize a telephone number and particularly if I don’t know anybody in the area code it was made from, I won’t pick up. Then I check the Reverse Phone Search feature of Whitepages before possibly calling back.

Sadly, the same is true with my land line telephone number (yes, I still have a land line, also). I screen the calls by letting them go into voice mail. Most leave no message, which tells me that the caller was a telemarketer–or worse!





A Gift of Family Info from Finland


My brother Walfrid has maintained regular correspondence with cousins in Finland. Recently, I asked him exactly what the relationship was. He responded with his best explanation. I entered the info in my tree.

There were some missing “leaves” so I decided last evening to contact our cousin Matti myself by email and ask for more information. This morning, I opened my email and there was Matti’s answer with the specific info I was looking for–and much more! Here is what our cousin provided:

I add my information with pleasure [and he proceeded to do just that]
I also add the tables from Martti Huuskonen´s book “Huuskosen suvun vaiheita”, where you can see following:
– Aatami (1798) in table 156
– Kustaa (1828, my side) in table 158
– Otto (1832, your side) in table 161
There is also a book from Leila Ahto, ”Huuskosten sukuseura : 1955-2005 : dokumentteja ja muita muisteloita”, where are many documents (unfortunately in finnish, maybe Wally from OK [Walfrid] can help to translate) according [to] correspondence between “official” Huuskosten sukuseura and later founded Martti Huuskonen´s “Läntisten Huuskosten sukuhaaran kerho”.
I am not sure if they are interesting, but anyway I attach them.

The whole point of this post is that if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have received this package of information.

Now I will be spending time, working with Walfrid (who can read Finnish) and using Google Translate, to mine additional family history information from the package cousin Matti has provided.

Learning about German Genealogical Research


While attending the Monday (7 Aug 2017) evening meeting of the East Cuyahoga County Genealogical Society,  I announced that the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society would be holding a FREE seminar on German genealogical research on Saturday, 9 Sep 2017, at the Independence (Ohio) Civic Center. I mentioned that the presenter was a representative the Palatines to America organization (see below for details).

Afterward, ECCGS member Jerry Kliot took the time to mention to me about viewing on television a program that featured the immigration of Palatine Germans to America and how a group of them figured importantly in the American Revolution.

Following the meeting, he took the time to look up details of the television show and pass them on to me by email:

The episode of The Generations Project on the BYU channel is called “PJ & Heidi” and the Palatine section starts 28 minutes into the episode. It first aired on 4/26/2011. The version I watched was aired on 8/6/2017 at 7:00AM.


I did some Google research and was able to learn that the episode was available over the Internet. I emailed back to him:

Thanks, Jerry, for providing this info.

I was able to view The Generations Project episode by going to this page:
In our conversation, do you remember my suggestion that the key battle you talked about in the episode was possibly the Battle of Oriskany? I don’t know of any ancestors who participated in it, but I have seen many references to it in my research into ancestors on my mother’s side who lived in that general area of upstate New York.
One of the experts featured in the episode was Don Teeple. I have collateral ancestors named Teeple in Montgomery County, New York, so maybe we are related somehow.
As for my direct-line German ancestors, they came later and from other regions of present-day Germany, so far as I know.
Thanks again, Jerry.
Watching this episode of the Brigham Young University television series enhanced my knowledge of the history of emigration from Germany. I am looking forward to the seminar on Sep 9.  Here are details from the Cuyahoga Valley Genealogical Society website:

“Finding your German Roots” and “The 19th Century Traveler”

Independence Civic Center, 6316 Selig Blvd. – Independence
September 9, 2017, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Presented by Nancy Ottman

CVGS will kick off the 2017-18 season with a special Saturday meeting featuring two presentations by Nancy Ottman of the Ohio Chapter of Palatines to America. “Finding your German Roots” includes such topics as gathering and recording family information, understanding naming patterns, primary and secondary documentation, and German church and civil records. “The 19th Century German Traveler” reviews causes for emigration, ports of embarkation, ports of arrival and a transcription of one German traveler’s diary from Germany to America.

Nancy is a member of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Palatines to America, and the Kansas Genealogical Society. She has spoken to numerous genealogical and historical societies and fraternal organizations, as well as the Columbus Metropolitan Library. In 2014 she completed a study with the University of North Carolina on American gravestones and cemeteries. Nancy was recently published in Your Genealogy Today magazine.

I have several ancestors that trace their roots back to Germany, so I am taking advantage of every opportunity to learn more about German genealogical research. If you have the same interest, maybe we’ll see you in Independence on Sep. 9.


MyHeritage Acquires the Legacy Family Tree Software and Webinar Platform


Another major acquisition in the genealogy database and software space! See the following MyHeritage announcement:

We’re delighted to announce today that we’ve acquired Millennia Corporation, makers of the popular Legacy Family Tree genealogy desktop software and well-attended genealogy webinar platform, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. This is our 9th acquisition to date. We consider Legacy’s products to be highly complementary to our wide range of features and services. The acquisition will introduce MyHeritage users to Legacy’s valuable genealogical webinars, and will also provide Legacy’s hundreds of thousands of users with improved resources and access to new services.

Legacy’s webinars, which have been around since 2010, have become the most popular source of education in the genealogy industry. Viewers enjoy talks accompanied by presentations and tutorials on a wide variety of genealogy content from the comfort of their own homes while learning from speakers who are leaders in their field, such as Judy G. RussellBlaine BettingerLisa Louise Cooke, and Thomas MacEntee. Topics include genealogical research methodology, DNA, historical records, and more. The webinars will continue to feature diverse and high-quality educational content. The webinar platform will also enjoy infrastructure upgrades to support larger audiences.

Legacy Family Tree’s desktop software has been in existence for twenty years and is consistently ranked (along with MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder) among the top genealogy software products in the industry. Legacy Family Tree software will continue operating as before, enjoying improvements backed by MyHeritage’s innovative technological resources. We plan to release a new version of Legacy Family Tree software, Legacy Family Tree 10, together. Version 10 will include the optional capability to sync family trees to the MyHeritage website and allow users to make updates to their family trees on the Legacy software using the MyHeritage mobile app.

We are also continuing to develop our Family Tree Builder software separately, and it will not be merged with Legacy’s software. At MyHeritage, we value giving our users the ability to choose their preferred genealogy tools, and allow them to work offline with robust functionality. While some other companies no longer develop genealogy software, we believe that people should be able to discover and preserve their family history on whatever platform they are comfortable with.

We welcome Legacy’s users to MyHeritage to enhance their genealogical research with our advanced products and services. Legacy Family Tree users will now be able to take advantage of MyHeritage’s world-class website features for online family trees, research their family history through historical records, and utilize MyHeritage DNA tests for genealogy and ethnicity.

To celebrate the acquisition, we offer all users of MyHeritage a limited time discount of 50% on annual Legacy Family Tree Webinars memberships through August 13th. We encourage our users to check out the webinar series on and take advantage of this opportunity to discover an exciting and fun world of genealogical wisdom delivered by the top experts.

We extend a warm welcome to Dave, Ken, Geoff, Luc and the rest of the Legacy team who are joining the growing MyHeritage team, and we look forward to the road ahead, as we work together to make family history easier and more accessible for everyone.