By Elaine Lillback, FHM reporter

KatarinaIn continuing our genealogical reporting at the Finnish Heritage Museum, Anna Pohto introduced our first speaker of the evening, Pat Sandhill Spivak. She spoke about her grandfather Charles (Kalle) Hietamaki who had changed his name to Sandhill in 1942. (Kalle's father), Kustaa Kaappo Hietamaki (born August 11, 1851) was the son Jaakko Hietamaki of Kauhava, Finland. Kustta had married Katarina Ylitalo in December 20, 1877 in Finland.

Katarina came to her husband in America in 1890 with their two children, Kalle and Anna. Kustaa had come to Michigan, May1,1883, and from there he moved to Fairport, March 26, 1889. He was in time, having worked on the docks, and was offered the opportunity to build his own home on dock land with the promise, he would move his house to another location when the company needed their land returned. The house built on stilts, was moved in 1903 to 344 Eagle Street, the new lot costing $1,000.00 (a pricey fee at that time). The family is shown on the left.

This was one of the houses that had been built in Finn Hollow, and now had been moved and still continued to have some of the original family people living in it. The house grew to become an eight-room home. It offered spacious room for the family. Charles worked for the dock, on many other different jobs in Fairport, and as commissioner helped to lay the water lines of the village. The mother Katarina sold the house in 1915 to Charles for $1.00 and lived with them until she died in 1934. Charles died in 1958 leaving behind many good deeds an d grandchildren.

II. Anne next introduced Sharon Ojanpa Mackey who spoke about the Salo family. Her great-great Salo3grandfather was Jaakko Juhan’s son Lakia, born in 1817 in Ylistaro, Finland, dying there in 1865. His wife was Maria, Matin’s daughter born in 1822, and who died in 1891. After Jaakko died, Maria married a man whose last name was Salo. She had 9 children by her first husband, Jaakko. Sharon’s great-grandfather was the sixth child. He had married Hedvig Serafina Saaminen in 1880. They had four daughters. Isaac and Helvi came to the U.S., to Fairport, where a fifth daughter, Ida Justiina was born in 1894.

Helvi died in 1917 from a heart condition. Their youngest daughter, Ida was just thirteen years old. Isaac died within the year from an accident at work.

The oldest daughter of Isaac and Helvi was Sharon’s grandmother. She married John Victor Ojanpa when she was 17 years old in 1898. They birthed Hilda, but she died of childbed fever. Altogether, they had 11 children; her dad Edwin was born in 1917. Helvi died in 1959 of a stroke.

Daughter Edna married Matti Hietanen and they had had 9 children. Matti Hietanen built the old Zion Lutheran Church pulpit. Edna died in 1961 of a heart attack. Emma married Victor Klein in 1905, and they had four children. The fourth sister, Helmi Sofia, married Tuomas Syrjala in1911 in Fairport. In less than a year, he died of pneumonia. They had a son Raymond who died 11 days later from pneumonia. Three years later, in 1916 Helmi married Jacob Haapala. However, one month later, Jacob died of a head Injury at the ore docks. Two years after that, Helmi married Mattias Lahti in 1918. He had two daughters, Vieno and Ruth. Helmi died in 1961, Matti died in 1963.

The youngest Salo daughter married Homer Woodland in 1917 in Perry. They had one daughter Dorothy, who married Delmar Gray who was lieutenant in the Army Air Corps. He was killed in battle. They had one son, Dennis. They were divorced in 1922. Ida married Lawrence Armstrong in Fairport and had two children.

OscarwifeIII. Ann Pohto introduced Carol Dodge Vrabel, remembering Oscar Hautamaki (Hill). The meaning of Hautamaki in English is “Grave Hill.” Therefore, when some of the family immigrated to the United States, they used the name Hill rather than Grave Hill.

To present their family history, Carol and her husband John Vrabel had devised a large chart with the Hautamaki family name. It made a good study of the Finnish name and family by first and last names.

At the left is Oscar Hil and his lovely wife posing for their wedding picture.

In 2008 a group of 20 left Fairport to visit Finland. During that trip, Carol was able to meet 28 of her cousins. During 2010, the Kitinoija family came to visit in America bringing news of some of their family in Canada.





IV. Anne Pohto next introduced Lee Silvi as the presenter for the John Silvi family. John Siivertii Silvi was born in Kalajoki, Finland on October 15, 1866, came to the U.S, and changed his last name to Silvi. He worked for the docks and then for the “Diamond”. He married Maria Ulrika Sikasaari in 1893. They had two children: John, who married Lillian Hirvi, and Otilia Sofia who married Jacob Lurvey. He was one of the first Diamond employees, a village councilman, and a volunteer Fairport policeman.

Lee Silvi presents his program on the right and below.




His son, John Siivert Silvi, Jr., born 1896, was second generation in public service, fought in World War I, and had a number of heroism awards. He was married to Lillian Justina Hervey.

Lee Silvi enjoys searching for family roots. He was astonished to meet by email some Hirvi relatives from Minnesota. (contacted through Finnish American Reporter)




V. “This is the closing report for tonight,” said Ann as she introduced the brother-in-law, Tim Hadden. He was reviewing the history of Matilda Saari Vainionpaa. It all began with the wedding of Johan Johansson and Liisa Falk in Ylistaro, Finland in the 1800’s. They were the parents of the three (Ailiin, Helen, and Mary) Saari girls’ father Jaakko Saari and their mother Bertta. Tim said: “What a story can be told when we check our genealogy lists. They have been listed as the possible czarinas through their father’s history. We do not know, nor can we control our past birth structure. It is all very interesting.” HaddenHiltTim is the husband of Helen, and they all made a fabulous trip to Finland just a week before our meeting.

On the right Lasse and Tim Hadden laugh over the SIZE of the Marriage License. That on the wall would certainly announce that the couple were married.

President Lasse Hiltunen announced that September would have the first of two presentations on Finns and Fairport businesses.

Fantastic refreshments were provided and served by Eileen Andrews, Mary Jane Biller, and Helen Hadden. We thank you for those new Finland recipes. They were delicious!

Open Face sandwiches, cakes, and whipped concoctions flavored everyone's palate. Below, Helen Hadden on the left, and Ailiin Andrews put the finishing touches on the serving table. All Finns take real pride in the presentation and serving of their foods. Obviously this was no exception.SaariGirls


Photos © Jeff Troutman, Text © Elaine Lillback and FHM 2012


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