Sharon Mackey, FAR Reporter
The Finnish Heritage Museum’s (FHM) monthly meeting was held on February 13, 2017. The program for the evening was about researching your family tree, presented by Jovette Hiltunen. Jovette remembers that when she first met Lasse Hiltunen’s mother, Mrs. Hiltunen asked her, “Whose girl you?” We will probably never know for sure whether that question sparked Jovette’s interest in genealogy, but we are glad something did.
Jovette has been researching her family tree for several years now, using Ancestry.com. She readily admits that this hobby is highly addictive, often keeping her up until four in the morning, or later. Finding one relative can give you a connection to a whole new family. Jovette has long known that her background is mainly Scottish and English. What she was surprised to find out is that she is also 1% Finnish.
Ancestry.com doesn’t just give you birth, marriage, and death records; it does much more, including tapping into U.S. Census Bureau information. There are land deeds to be found; military and war records that may not have been known; travel records of ancestors coming to or leaving the U.S.; even the livelihood of some ancestors. A picture of the area where your ancestor lived could be available. If there is a leaf attached to one of your relative’s names, you should click on that leaf, as it may take you in another direction entirely, one that you may have never thought about.
Jovette stressed that genealogy is not a precise and exact science. There are a lot of misspellings in the birth, marriage, and death records, but you should not be discouraged by this. Sometimes you need to go back and change or even remove someone from your tree. Ancestry.com makes it easier to do this than doing it by hand. Of course Ancestry isn’t the only program that can help you with your research, but it could be the most well-known. It can give you a life story – parents, spouses, birth dates, marriage dates, how many children were born into any one family, dates of death. You can even have your DNA analyzed.
Once you get started on the search, be prepared to be hooked. You may find yourself taking trips to cemeteries, churches, and town halls to find out who you are, and how you became the person you are now. You may even discover stories that the family would rather remain hidden. Be prepared for some disagreements or even arguments among various family members.
If you undertake the search for your ancestors, you will be ready when someone asks you, “Whose girl (or boy) you?
When Jovette finished her presentation, Museum President Lasse Hiltunen introduced Lisa Yanofsky. Lisa discussed what the new Create / Make / Perform program would include in the coming months. For the second year, FHM has received a grant for a Creative Aging Project from the Ohio Arts Council. We are pleased at the vote of confidence for what was done last year. Once again, the project will be led by Park Cofield, Program Director, and Lisa Yanofsky, Project Manager. Lisa introduced Anna Galipo, Project Assistant, who will be joining them in helping to put the whole thing together. According to Lisa, we will take feedback from last year’s Create / Make / Perform project and 2015’s Sisu is in the Heart play and build on that feedback.
The focus will be changed slightly, to a cohesive ensemble involving two major categories – movement and music. Also, we are taking the show on the road, including both the cities of Kirtland and Eastlake by using their libraries for workshops and rehearsals. Fairport Harbor will continue to be home base. If you are in the Fairport Harbor area this spring, please stop in for a workshop or two and see what we are coming up with. It will be fun and well worthwhile.
Be sure to look up the calendar for FHM on our website – HYPERLINK "http://www.finnishheritagemuseum.org" www.finnishheritagemuseum.org. While there, please take note of all the activities, both at the Museum and in town. Come in and introduce yourself; we are looking forward to meeting you.
Text © Sharon Mackey, Photos © Bill Lukshaw 2017