Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wistful Wednesday : Roots

We all have roots, some are just more exposed and easier to find and comprehend than others.

Lets go back a few years to my Father’s family. Which of course takes us to Finland.

Josef Haapakangas ( my Great Great Great Grandfather) Born February 27, 1785.  Married Britha Lampisaari ( my Great Great Great Grandmother) on October 30, 1823. She was younger than him, she was born December 17, 1796.  So she was 26 and Josef was 37.  Josef died October 25, 1843 at the age of 57.  Britha died March 10, 1863 at the age of 67.  They had eight children.  One of which was my Great  Great Grandmother  Briita Liisa Haapakangas who was born on April 20, 1838 in Salon emas, Finland.  She was  just four years old when her father died.

Briita Liisa my Great Great Grandmother was married three times.

Her first husband was Anders Viiret they were married May 2, 860. Briita would have been 22.  They had one child August Viiret who was born May 15, 1861 and died on May 10, 1862. He was just shy of one year old.   Possibly her husband died the same year the records are unclear…December 4 1862? or 1869?  ( If he died in 1869 then she must have divorced him…I will guess that he died in 1862.)

Her second husband was Alexander Impola and they were married on November 3, 1864.  Briita would have been 26 years old. Alexander was just 22 years old.   They had two children John Heikki (Impola) Newman Born on January 19 1865 (that was a fast baby) and my Great Grandmother Margaretta (Gretta Gustava) Impola Yliniemi who was born April 3, 1867 when her mother was 29 years old.  Sadly just a year later in 1868 Alexander would die at the ripe old age of 26.  My Great Grandmother was 1 year and three months old when her father died.

Briitas third Husband was John Leinonen she married him in 1870, she would have been 33 years old.  They had seven children together.  Anna-Liisa leinonen who was born and died in 1870, and was just one month and five days old at the time of her death.  Maria Augusta Leinonen Johnson was born September 18, 1871 she married Nels Johnson and they had ten children, they lived in Annandale MN.  Matti Leinonen was born October 17, 1873.  He married Anna Sofia and they had eleven children, six died as children, they lived in Annandale MN.  Johan August Leinonen was born February 20, 1876 and died December 11, 1877 in Finland. Antti Aukusti Leinonen Born March 28 1878 married Edna and they had seven children, they lived in Annandale MN. Liisa Matilda Leinonen Gronroos Born April 15, 1880 married Albert and they had seven children and lived in Oregon.  Kaarlo Pietari Leinonen Born February 8, 1883 married Elvie and they had eight children and lived at Annandale MN.

Birthdates and names from research done by my sister Julie and my cousin Will.

These photos are from my cousin Verniel.  Thanks to all the relatives that share photos and information!

John Newman my Great Grandmother’s only Full Brother.  He married a lady named Mary and they had five children and lived in Montana. He died September 18, 1930 he was 65 years old.
Gretas Brother Possibly John Newman
My Great Great Grandmother Briita Liisa and her third husband Johan Leinonen.Leinonens (2)
Briita Liisa died on September 7, 1901 in Annandale MN she was 63 years old.  Johan would live a few years longer than her, he died on May 5, 1917  in Annandale MN, he would have been about 75 years old give or take a few years ( His birthdate is October 11, 1842 or 1846?)

Things I don’t know.  What year did they immigrate? It was before 1885.   Which ship did they came over on?  What city did they come to?  Why in the world did they come to Minnesota?  How did they manage travelling with all those children?

Briita had ten children, three died in Finland. ( I wonder how she felt leaving them behind.) Seven would have made the trip from Finland to America.  Lets just say they immigrated in 1884.  The children would have been 19, 17, 13, 11, 7, 5 and 1.

Of course if my Great Grandmother Margaretta or Greta as she was called had kept a diary we would know some of those answers…sadly she didn’t.  She would have been 17 years old back in 1884.
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Update:  Iggy found that Briita Liisa immigrated in 1883 and in the 1895 Minnesota Census she is listed as Lizzie.
Info from Verniel:  Johan immigrated to America in 1882 and established a farm in section 25 near the Crow River near French Lake Minnesota.  Briita Liisa came on February 8 1883 along with the children.  Note Kaarlo Pietari ( Charley) Leinonen was  Born February 8, 1883.


  1. Wow, you know so much about you ancestors. I know relatively little except that they came from the Black Forest region of Germany. It was my great-grandparents that immigrated here. My mother's side of the family were farmers and my father's side of the family lived in the city.

  2. Amazing to see that lineage. You do come from some very hardy stock, that's for sure. I guess it wasn't unusual to have ten children back then, but I can hardly imagine it today. And I sure like the look of Johan. Very handsome guy. :-)

  3. Wouldn't you just love to go back to their generation to sit down and visit with them for a spell?

  4. The 1895 Minnesota Census says they immigrated in 1883 - and that Briita Liisa was called Lizzie.

  5. When we research family history it's always full of interesting things isn't it? We have a friend who's grandparents were among the first settlers in a nearby town, and helped build it into what it is today. Kind of a interesting background to come from.


  6. Diaries are invaluable. I predict your blog will be invaluable to future generations.

  7. How great to know so much about your ancestors:) I know very little about mine.

  8. There are some very unusual names here. I love your Great Great Grandmother's name..Briita Liisa. They were a nice looking couple.

  9. You have a great piece of family history. somebody had to do a lot of work to find such information.

  10. Can you imagine Briita's life, leaving her home, immigrating to a wilderness, then losing two husbands and a child so quickly? I often wonder how they did it. And how did not the mosquitoes drive them insane!

  11. many questions are left unanswered when family members die. unfortunately, there are some answers that i will never know. thats why its important to pass on information to the youth now. but it does help if the youth ask great questions now. great post. cheers!!

  12. Love your history posts Connie, so interesting and loving the pictures too, Blessings Francine.

  13. Boy...your great, great(?) grandmother was hard on husbands! I have a picture of my grandparents on my mother's side but that's all and they were all gone by the time I was born. I think it's all fascinating. A cousin did a bunch of research but she hasn't offered to share much of it. So wonderful to have all that information.

  14. Love reading the history- I have so many ancestors that I know nothing about!

  15. Well, that sure means a lot of distant cousins for you! And it sure is nice to have your sister and cousin collaborating on the family history. Have you ever traveled back to Finland to see the towns they traveled from?

    I suspect the main reason your ancestors chose Minnesota is that they followed others they knew from Finland who also chose Minnesota, maybe for abundance of a specific type of work during that time period.

    Also, because Minnesota is so far north--and such a challenge to travel overland from an eastern seaboard port like New York--perhaps your family traveled via the waterways in Canada: Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. I've found that's how our Irish immigrants entered the U.S. Kinda like slipping in the back door and bypassing all the formalities.

  16. Fascinating, we have lots of family info too. When someone like your ancestors left Finland, it must have been doubly hard because it was a final goodbye. It was unlikely they would return ever. Brave souls.

  17. I have relatives who came over from Sweden. Apparently the land was the draw--it looked a lot like "home" to them and they knew how to work it. You know so much. My sister is the one in my family who worked on the tree for a few years, but I have never found out all she discovered. Hard to go back and investigate in a foreign country from here in Minnesota, though. You guys have found out a LOT! So fascinating! And you have pictures, too. :)

  18. Family history is so interesting isn't it? I know so much about my mother's father's family (from Wales, then England, then America in the 1660s, back to Ireland and then England again!) and some about my mother's mother's family (from the west of Ireland) many of them now in the US or Canada. But hardly anything at all about my father's family. Every so often I try to find out more but I always get stuck.


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie