Finnish heritage newsletter available

Posted Sept. 27, 2009, at 5:39 p.m.

What is “Iltatahti?”

It’s the newsletter of the Finnish Heritage House, located at 172 St. George Road, South Thomaston.

The fall newsletter is very nice, noting that the newly completed fellowship room at the Finnish Congregational Church in South Thomaston has been named Jura Hall in honor of Art and Joyce Jura.

The Finnish Heritage House is planning to offer six weeks of Finnish language lessons beginning in mid-October. For information, contact Jackie Harjula at 354-6547 or jackielee207@gmail.com.

Other features of the fall newsletter include a recipe for kugel — even though it’s not a Finnish dish — and two pages of “Summer 2009 in pictures,” photos by Steve Gifford.

A century ago, there were numerous Finns in Knox County, many of them employed as “stone cutters” and “paving cutters” according to the 1900 census. Many Finns in the Monson area in Piscataquis County worked in the slate quarries.

Names of Finland-born people found in the 1900 census for Knox County included Ericson, Gronburg, Haijula, Harjula, Hendrickson, Johnson and Mattison.

The Finnish Heritage House has a Web site at www.FinnHeritage.org.

It has links to resources such as The Genealogical Society of Finland’s HisKi project.

I chose the town of Kerimaki in South Savo and looked for the name surname Heinonen.

For marriages, I found:

— 14.6.1863, village of Turtianniemi, man Dreng unk Karl Heinonen, wife Pigan Davidsdr Rautiainen.

— 13.7.1884, village of Punkaniemi, man Renki poikamies Kalle Heinonen, wife Piiki Ulrika Paakkunainen.

— 7.3.1886, village of Turtianniemesta, man Renki nm. Antti Kallenpoika Heinonen, wife Loisentytar Maria Kristina Behm.

— 17.4.1897, village of Turtianiemesta, man Lois leski Kalle Kallenp Heinonen, wife Torpparin nato Henrika Silvennoinen, from village of Kauvonniemesta.

The Finnish Heritage House is open 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays, mid-March through mid-December. It also is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. mid-June to mid-October. St. George Road is also State Route 131.

Items available for sale in the “Tori” include Finnish flag T-shirts for children, Finnish flags, gift baskets, dish towels and scarves, and CDs and books.

The CD “Finnish American Folk and Dance Music, Oivan Ilo (Oiva’s Joy),” costs $12.

There are several books available as well, including:

— “Norden,” by Art Jura, on researching genealogy in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Aland, and the Lappish peoples of Sapmi,” 115 pages, $15.

— “Fenni,” by Art Jura, history on Finland, why Finns left, where they settled, and the organizations, churches and families they founded, 260 pages, $29.50.

— “Fenni-2,” by Art Jura, history on Maine Finnish families, organizations, churches, vital records, plus North Dakota, Ohio and Cape Cod, plus 15 short stories, 293 pages, $34.50.

— “Finnish Immigrants on the Georges River Road,” by Mac Jackson, 14 pages, $6.

— “Knox County Finns,” by Mac Jackson, 136 pages, $30.

Other books are listed on the Web site, as well. You also can order these books by mail from Finnish Heritage House, PO Box 293, South Thomaston, 04858. The minimum shipping charge is $3.

With Christmas coming up, this would be a good time to visit the Finnish Heritage House and see what else they have, including books on Finnish cooking, music and Christmas traditions.

The Finnish Heritage House is affiliated with the FinnAm Society of Midcoast Maine and the Finnish Congregational Church of South Thomaston.

To join the Finnish Heritage House and receive its newsletter, send $10 for a one-year membership, or $45 for a five-year membership, to FHH, PO Box 293, South Thomaston, ME 04858. They also accept gift memberships.

Art Jura’s books, “Norden,” “Fenni” and “Fenni-2,” are available at Maine State Library.

Send queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, PO Box 1329, Bangor, 04402; or e-mail familyti@bangordailynews.net

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