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Every Finn is at heart, musical and poetic.
the people handed their stories down in the music of the stringed kantele. Their songs became the Kalevala, epic of Finland.
The ancient Finns believed that people are born with a chance
to repair the heartbreak of their fathers.
Listen to the kantele while I tell you this story...
"Finland, with its deep bays and inlets,
its granite mountains and its lakes,
its change of long sad winters
with short and warm springs and summers,
with its dense forests and roaring water-falls,
is the consecrated ground of the dreamy imagination,
which now rises to embrace the terrible and the huge,
and now sinks to take in the minute and particular.
The men are strongly built,
with pleasant faces and prominent cheek-bones;
their hair is light, but later in life turns brown;
their beards are thin, and their eyes gray.
Their anger is slow and quiet, their speech earnest,
and their faith always pledged by their words.
The Finn believes, as no one else does,
in the power of words, and with him words
disposed in a song have a magical influence."
from the Kalevala by John A. Porter
Come to the Kalevala
"Golden friend, and dearest brother,
Brother dear of mine in childhood,
Come and sing with me the stories,
Come and chant with me the legends,
Legends of the times forgotten,
Since we now are here together,
Come together from our roamings.
Seldom do we come for singing,
Seldom to the one, the other,
O'er this cold and cruel country,
O'er the poor soil of the Northland,
Let us clasp our hands together
That we thus may best remember.
Sentences the trees created,
Rolled together into bundles,
Moved them to my ancient dwelling,
On the sledges to my cottage,
Tied them to my garret rafters,
Hung them on my dwelling-portals,
Laid them in a chest of boxes,
Boxes lined with shining copper.
Long they lay within my dwelling
Through the chilling winds of winter,
In my dwelling-place for ages.
Shall I bring these songs together
From the cold and frost collect them ?
Shall I bring this nest of boxes,
Keepers of these golden legends,
To the table in my cabin,
Underneath the painted rafters,
In this house renowned and ancient ?
Shall I now these boxes open,
Boxes filled with
wondrous stories ?"
The Kalevala, is the epic song of Finland gathered from the ancient
songs of the people. Magical power is created through the kantele of Väinämöinen, the hero-musician who
later inspired Tolkien. Translation,
From the Kalevala, by John Martin Crawford.
|Jussi Huovinen, Last Living Rune Singer
The Names are Written
Matts, Born August 9, 1859
Son of Johan and Johanna Bränny
|SSHY - Suomen Sukuhistoriallinen Yhdistys
|Gratitude to Finland's Family History Association
The Names are Written in Swedish
Laihia Parish, Yrjäälä Village, Erving Farm
Swedish: Matts, Son of inhyses (farm-hand) Johan Andersson (son of Anders) Bränny and Johanna Jakobsdotter
(daughter of Jakob) BRÄNNY, earlier ERVING. Fadras (God Parents): Bonde (Farmer) Johan Tomasson ERVING
and Wife Anna Jakobsdotter. Bondsman (Son of Farmer) Jakob Johansson SAARI and Greta Es_____ BRÄNNY. Minister,
Finnish: Son of Juho (Juho or Juha or Jussi) Antinpoika (son of Antti, Anders) BRÄNNY and Johanna Jaakontytär
(daughter of Jakob)
The Family Bränny
Matts had 2 brothers and 1 sister
Laihia Parish, Yrjäläby Kylän Maata, The Common Land of the Village
Place: Bränny 46-131
Johan Andersson Bränny...7 August 1828
Johanna Jakobsdotter...........9 March 1833
Johan..............13 December 1856
Matts...................9 August 1859
Sanna Lena..........16 March 1865
Maria Naskali, Born May 14, 1864
Daughter of Henrik (Heikki) Naskali and Lisa Konster(i-a)
|Family of Maria Naskali
|Suortila Village, Finland
The names are written in Swedish:
Swedish: Maria, daughter of Henrik Mickelsson
(son of Mickel) Naskali, Konster and Liisa Jacobsdotter (daughter of Jakob)
Finnish: Maria Heikintytär (daughter of Heikki Mickelinpoika (Son of Mickel) NASKALI , KONSTER and
Liisa Jaakontytär (daughter of Jakob) Konster, earlier Haka.
The Family Naskali
Maria had 2 sisters and 2 brothers
Laihia Parish, Suorttila Village, Naskali Farm
Henrik/Heikki ......... 16 Oct 1829
Lisa...........................28 Apr 1828
Anna Naskali.............3 Oct 1850
Mikel.......................11 Sept 1852
Lisa.........................21 May 1856
Maria.....11 Sep 1858, died 1860
Jacob.......................30 Sept 1861
Maria Naskali........14 May 1864
People went by the name of the land.
When they moved, did they leave the name behind ?
Matts and Maria
Maria (age 18) and Matts (age 23) married on May 27, 1882.
Their son, our Grandpa Edward Johan, was born Feb 8, 1883.
|Marriage of Matts and Maria on May 27, 1882
We see the mystery of our name for the first time.
|Church Records from Laihia Parish, 1883
year was 1883.
The new family was Hummeri.
records are written in Finnish:
(son of Juhan) Hummeri, earlier Erving
(daughter of Heikki) Naskali, earlier Konster
Child, Juho Eetvartti Hummeri (Grandpa Edward)
poika = son
tytär = daughter
On the next page is written
|Matti To Amerika, after June 7, 1883
June 7, 1883
Matti attended his church in Laihia for the last time.
Juho Edvard was 6 months old.
This name appears only once in the record
Swedish Emigration Records
Name: Matti Hummeri
Birth Year: abt 1859
Gender: Man (Male)
Place of Origin:
Destination: New York (In 1883, arrivals at Castle Garden)
Record Date: 24 aug 1883
Database Name: EmiHamn
Archive Call Number: 23:211:18579
Emigranten Populär, 1783-1951
What happened to Matti in America....we do not know yet...
Summer 1883 to Winter 1899
Maria went to work on the Laitinen farm in Miettylä Village, and the Suortti farm in Suorttila
She waited, but Matti never sent for her.
Seven years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Hilda Maria.
When Hilda Maria was two years old, Maria and Hermanni Matinpoika KURU from Laihia asked for permission
to get married. The request was denied, because Maria was formally married to Matti in America.
A divorce from Matti was granted on 17 November 1892.
On 23 December 1893, Maria married another man,
Mikko Tuomaanpoika AHLHOLM later ANNALA.
Juho was 10 and Hilda Maria was 3 years old.
Mikko Annala, Maria, Juho Edvard and Hilda Maria became a family.
We don't know if Maria ever heard from Matti again.
August 1898 to January 1899
Russian Oppression Drives 200,000 Finns into the United States
Every steamer that sails carried a heavy load of Finns
A Revolt Threatens Finland. Profound discontent is said to be everywhere evident.
New York Times, Jan 29, 1899
In August of 1898, Czar Nicholas II called for the Russification of Finland. No longer was Finland
to be an independent Duchy with her own language, culture and military officers. In protest, the Finnish people
gathered half a million signatures over the next two weeks, traveling through the countryside in winter on
Their voices were ignored by the Czar. The entire country went into the black dress of mourning.
The Manifesto of February 15 was signed by the Czar on February 3rd, 1899
January 18, 1899
Edward filed for a Passport to America.
He took the name Johan Edvard Annala.
His Step-Father's Name
He was 15 years old and he would travel alone.
Application for Passport:
Last Name: Annala
First name: Johan Edvard
Date of birth . .1883
Occupation: Loisen pka (dependent lodger's son)
Province VAA (Vaasa)
Passport date 18.01.1899 (January 18, 1899)
Passport number 74
Passport issued by VAA
January 21, 1899
On this day, Johan Edvard left Laihia,
and never returned
He bought a ticket in Vaasa from the Finish Steamship Agency.
|Finnish Steamship Agency
|Click to see larger
Recollections compiled from
emigrant stories by John I. Kolehmainen
"There was no time for goodbyes
or tears of parting.
One had to hurry aboard if he wished to go.
All that he heard were
He traveled by train, or by boat from Vaasa, south to the coast of Hanko
|Vasa to Hanko. Map Courtesy David Rumsey
|Click for larger image
|Emigrants at Hanko Awaiting Finnish Steamer
|Courtesty Genealogy Society of Finland
Port of Hanko
"On the afternoon of the third day, the black-stacked steamer screeched a shrill warning whistle, and
the emigrants came scurrying to the wharf. They crowded the foot of the gangplank, where officers dressed in blue uniforms
aglimmer with brass buttons, examined their passports, tickets, and belongings coldly and impassively.
Just as the lines to the dock were being released, a group of young "Rabbits", fleeing military service,
scrambled in over the side. They boasted of having bribed the Russians with a few Finnish marks and several bottles of whiskey.
Now that the ship was putting a margin of safety between them and their adversaries, their hitherto discreet valor blossomed
out in a disdainful shout:
"Goodbye, you Russians, goodbye!"
He Boarded the SS Astraea
|Edward's Ship from Hanko to Hull, England
|Departure January 21, 1899.
SS Astraea Passenger List
Last name Annala
First name J. E.
Port of departure Vaasa
Place of destination Boston
Price of ticket USD 34
Ship from Finland
Date of departure from Finland 21.01.1899 (Janary 21, 1899)
Ship from England *
List and page 5/2
Leaving Our Land
"The small steamer slowly traced the tortuous channel that wound in between and around a thousand islands
to the Baltic Sea.
Inside of me there were fleeting doubts about the wisdom of this venture, a vague sense of sorrow for
leaving behind in the disappearing horizon all of my past life.
Yet I felt the sharp-edged sensation of emancipation and the breath of adventure as the unknown future
came close enough to touch."
The excerpts on this page are from John Kolehmainen's book, A History of the Finns in Ohio, Pennsylvania
and West Virginia. He compiled stories from immigrants in Northeast Ohio for this diary, and he tells us that all the
episodes and quotations are authentic. In his story, the small steamer that took the immigrants from Hango to
Hull was the Arcturus, a sister ship of the Astraea.
|The Astraea Finnish Steamer
Length: 70.65 m (231 f)
Beam: 9.8 m (32 f)
Passengers: I class: 22 II class: 34 III class: 186
Speed: 12 knots
GRT: 1,186 tons
Engine: Triple steam engine 3 cy. Horse
powers 1,500 IHP
Built: Wigham Richardson & Co., Newcastle
Operator: Finland Steamship Co Ltd.
In Hanko - Hull service until 1899 and was then moved to the Turku - Copenhagen - Hull line.
Sold to H. A. Elfving,
Hanko 20.2.1930. Sold on 15.7.1936 for demolition to Thomas Young, Sunderland.
On the Astaea from Hanko to Liverpool
"There was no medical or nursing care for the ailing; no books, newspapers, or planned recreation for those
who remained on their feet. We were given coffee but once during the three and one-half day journey to England. Herring, sour
bread, and thin bone soup, ladled into little tin cups by the ship's cook from an enormous cauldron, made up our fare. Neither
women nor children nor the infirm were given special rank.
I could not help contrasting our situation, not only with that of the sixty or so first-class passengers who
occupied elegant cabins, but with the cargo of butter which the ship was carrying to England.
How spotlessly clean and white were the butter kegs; how carefully they had been lifted into the ship's hold;
how frequently the crew checked the temperature of the butter rooms to make certain that the newly-installed refrigeration
system was working properly.
Butter and human beings; what a contrast in treatment. Never again could I eat butter without thinking about
Compiled by John I. Kolehmainen
|The Urania and Astraea were Sister Ships
|This is the Urania Finnish Steamer in 1893, going to Hull
From Hull, he took the train to Liverpool
"The towns looked sooty and dingy, pervaded by a thick and pungent murkiness that issued from row upon row
of factory smoke-stacks. Here and there in pleasant variance we saw open fields, green hills, and large flocks of sheep.
We were in a holiday mood. As the train passed through the more densely populated districts, we call
out to the residents,
"Gut bail !" The Britishers politely raised their caps and waved
their hands in return.
February 2, 1899
He Boarded the SS Canada to Boston
for a voyage that would take him 2700 miles
|Edward's Ship: Liverpool to Boston: Feb 2-12, 1899
|Click to See Larger Image
February 3, 1899
The Steamer stopped at Queenstown, Ireland.
She took on her last passengers and set course for America.
S.S. Canada (1896) Dominion Line:
500' x 58' (514' o.l.)
Twin screw, 15 knots. Two masts and one funnel.
First twin screw steamship built for the Canadian service.
Tonnage: 9,415. Tonnage was originally listed as 8,806.
Built by Harland & Wolff, Belfast, Ireland, she was launched
in 1896 and took her maiden voyage, Liverpool-Québec-Montréal, on 1 October 1896. During the Boer War (1899-1902) she served
as a troop transport, but otherwise she served Canada during the summers and Boston in winter. In August 1914, while in Canada,
she was taken over and used to transport troops to England. Upon her arrival there, she was used as an accommodation ship
for German prisoners for the rest of the year. From 1915 until the end of World War I, she was used as a transport ship. Her
first voyage after the war was from Liverpool to Portland, Maine, in November 1918. Although she was transferred to Leyland
Line ownership in 1921, she retained her name and continued to carry Dominion's livery. She remained in service until August
1926, when she made her final voyage on the same route as her maiden voyage. She was scrapped in Italy.
Johan Edvard Annala on the Passenger List of the SS Canada
Lines 12 and 13
|Johan Edvard Annala Hummer on the SS Canada.
|Voyage Feb 2-12, 1899
Click document to see actual size
"Where are you going ?"
DOMINION LINE LIST OR MANIFEST OF ALIEN IMMIGRANTS
SS Canada Sailing from Liverpool, Feb 2, 1899
Arriving at Port of Boston, Feb 12, 1899
Number on List: 12 and 13
Name in Full: Johan Edvard Annala
Ugift, Married, crossed out
Single, written over
Calling or Occupation: Arbetare, Laborer
Last Residence: Laihela
Seaport for Port: Halifax (crossed out)
Seaport for Landing: Boston
Destination: Bessemer, Mich
Fare Paid: Maria, Mikki Annala
Cash in Pocket, $5
Where are you going ?
To my Father and Mother, Mikki and Maria Annala
"I am going to my father and mother."
Mikko, Maria, Hilda Maria, and second daughter, Anna Liisa, all came to America, but we can only find
record of their voyage in 1901, after Edward, not before. And where did they go ? This is a mystery
still to be found.....
February 4-7, 1899
|Click to see larger
|Cunard Line Steerage, possibly similar to SS Canada
"Steerage quarters were cold, damp, and dirty. Food was scant and unpalatable; the emigrants would
have welcomed a simple regimen of salt, bread, and clean water.
On less frequent occasions we
were moved to serious contemplation, perhaps by the wide expanse of water and sky which spoke of the endlessness and
timelessness of God's universe.
This mood often came at eventide,
when the soft snow churned by the ship's screws quickly melted away into the darkening sea; or again at dawn, when a red ball
of fire rose over the eastern horizon, driving away the shapeless horsemen who had ridden through the night on the gray fog."
John I Kolehmainen
|From Liverpool to Boston CLICK TO SEE
|Ocean Route and Currents
February 8, 1899
The day was Edward's 16th Birthday.
Did anyone know ?
He was the youngest person sailing alone---one of 122 people in steerage,
the only passenger from Laihia.
The Blizzard of February 1899
Edward sailed to America during storms that became known as the Great
Blizzard of 1899.
The strength of this weather across the Atlantic and the Eastern Seaboard from
Maine to Florida has never been surpassed.
|Blizzard of February 1899
The New York Times
HOW NEW ENGLAND FARED
snowstorm which has prevailed here since Saturday, February 11th, increased to-day and a driving northeast wind banked
up great masses of snow, delaying traffic in spite of all efforts to keep
the lines clear. No change is promised before to-morrow.
various New England points show that there have been an extraordinary fall of snow and high winds, which have caused high drifts, and in many instances completely
cut off traffic on the railway lines.
the heaviest snowstorm experienced for years prevailed and a mountainous sea was running off the Cape;
A large number
of sail craft put into the harbor badly damaged by ice.
At Plymouth a blizzard hurled snow drifts ten feet high, causing a complete blockade of street traffic.
The Boston and New York trains due at White River Junction, Vt, at 1:30 P.M. had not arrived late to-night. Street railway traffic was suspended.
The fiercest snowstorm ever experienced at Northhampton has been raging all day.
NYT Published Feb 14, 1899
Boston Daily News
February 10, 1899
SS Canada Two Days Late
NO NEWS OF PAVONIA
Tugs May be Sent Out From Liverpool to Search
Nine Other Transatlantic Liners Are Overdue at This Port
Boston Feb 10: Several other European steamers are also overdue, and some of them may be in
the same predicament as the Cunarder.
The list includes the steamships Alesia from Hamburg, Barrowmore from London, Moravia from Hamburg
via Falmouth. Sachem from Liverpool, Philadelphian from Liverpool, Mourne from Shields, Carinthia from Liverpool,
Strathtay from Hamburg and Canada from Liverpool and Queenstown.
February 11, 1899
SURROUNDED BY ICE FIELDS
Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard Cut Off from Communication with the Outside World.
BOSTON, Feb. 11. -- A dispatch from Woodstock says Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard are both cut
off from communication with the outside world, vast fields of ice having formed solid barriers across the
mouths of the harbors at those places.
The present cold wave has continued longer than any other during the last dozen years along this
coast, and the ice has attained a greater thickness than has ever before been known.
The fleet of tugs, barges, and schooners off here are making no attempt to get under way, and there
is no shipping through the Sound.
Buzzard's Bay is a solid mass of ice as far as the eye can see,
and the rivers and harbors along the coast are frozen solid.
|Boston Harbor CLICK TO SEE
|Edward's Port of Arrival
ICE FLOES' FRIGID
and Other Navigation Guides Carried Away--Shipping Menaced.
Lightship Goes Adrift--Shovelful Lightship Carried a Mile From Her Station--Sailing Vessels Helpless, and in Danger of Being
Crushed --Steam Vessels Coming Into Port Badly Iced Up.
|Edward's Ship Coming Up the Harbor on Feb 12, 1899
|Click to See Larger Image
AFTER A TEMPESTUOUS VOYAGE.
Steamer Canada Arrives in Port Badly Iced Up.
The Immense Vessel Looks Like a Veritable Marble Palace.
Edward's Ship as She Appeared
Coming up the Harbor after the Storm
Feb. 12, 1899--The ocean steamer Canada, one of the Dominion liners from Liverpool, lies at pier 6, Charlestown, after a tempestuous voyage of 10 days. The decks and outside
works of the steamer are incased in ice varying in thickness from three inches to more
than a foot. Many of the seafaring men who visited her yesterday say no vessel
in years has come into port with half as much ice and sleet upon her.
The immense vessel looks like a veritable marble palace.
When she first encountered a gale in mid-Atlantic every part of the vessel was
hidden in ice, but as she approached the banks a mid-southern breeze melted most of it away.
Every bit of the ice upon her as she lies at the dock---and there are tons of it--has been deposited there
by the storm and spray since she left the Newfoundland banks.
No sculptor in a thousand years could reproduce the beauty of her bow.
Every rope is swollen to ten times its size, and looks like a
pilar of parian marble.
Every rail is hidden beneath a foot of the most beautiful white crystals.
The bridge itself is almost hidden by the snowy whiteness of its mantle.
The man at the wheel had an experience that is very unusual.
The sleet beat against the window, and repeated efforts to wipe it away proved fruitless.
Finally, as a last resort, and indeed as an absolute necessity, the window glass was
broken with an ax. After much
labor an aperature about as large as a man's hat was made, through which he peered over the sea.
Morning found the aperature nearly filled and an incrustation of ice fully eight inches
The two masts and the rails about the vessel were beautiful beyond description, the latter looking like a lattice of crystal.
Notwithstanding the severity of the storm, the Canada arrived only two days late. The captain of the steamer, Enoch Maddox of Liverpool, has been in the business
fully 20 years and for the last 16 years has been coming to this port. He told
the story of his trip as follows:
"In all my experience on the Atlantic I must say that this last was the roughest passage I
I was much relieved when we came up the harbor this morning
at eight o'clock. From the time we left Liverpool, Feb 2, until we landed in Boston everybody on
the ship was kept busy. But the vessel responded to our efforts magnificently. We had a moderate
passage down the English channel and arrived in Queenstown safely and without incident.
We left that port at 9:30 a m Feb 3.
"We soon experienced strong southerly winds, veering to southeast and east to
northeast, with a heavy sea. We noticed that the barometer kept getting lower,
which was an indication of heavy weather ahead.
When about mid-Atlantic we had a heavy wind from the west, blowing a strong gale and a terrific
sea was on.
This continued until we reached about 46' west longitude, when
the wind and the sea abated, but the temperature was most of the time in the vicinity
"Once during the voyage we sighted two icebergs. There was no moon or stars
and I deemed it best to put back 15 miles, which took about an hour. We
kept to the southward for three hours and then went safety on our course.
When we saw the field of ice it was, as I remember,
Wednesday night, February 8.
The icebergs that we saw were medium size, one to the north of
us and the other southward. During all the voyage after we struck the storm we had to keep chopping
the ice away from the most exposed parts of the vessel. It was often risky work,
but we had no accidents.
"When we reached the banks a southern breeze melted away the ice.
But soon a westerly wind increased in intensity, and
terrific snow squalls that blinded everything and everybody struck us.
We managed to make our way, however. When we were about
245 miles out of Boston we spoke the Halifax City. She was all right, but wanted to know her position.
We gave her the information and went on our course.
Since noon yesterday we made 234 miles and came to the harbor
this morning feeling very much pleased that the struggle was over. We had 30 first
class passengers, 22 in the second class
and 122 in the steerage." The Canada's saloon (unreadable list of first class passengers)
Of the steerage passengers a large percentage are destined
for points in the far west, many of them having tickets for St. Paul and Portland, Or.
About a dozen were temporarily debarred by the immigration officials, but all those detained
will be released when the proper vouchers are forthcoming."
Boston Daily News, Published February 13, 1899
"Land ! America ! I see it !"
"A faint, shimmering, inconstant outline at first, which became more sharply etched as the boat moved steadily ahead.
The skyline of the metropolis stood revealed in massive detail; an uneven, turret-like panorama of
buildings, here and there the upreaching spire of a church.
"Churches!" "See? God is here in America."
Of the noble ideals which were
the embodiment of the American dream, none had captured us so fully as the promise of liberty. We who had known
bondage now took a vow as we approached the threshold of freedom:
"I will be a free man."
John I. Kolehmainen
When I first found this picture of John Edward Hummer's ship at the very
hour he arrived in America, February 12, 1899... I felt as close to our Grandfather as if I were myself standing
on the shore to welcome him.
Before my eyes, there began the brilliant future he made for children he would never meet.
Only God knew he would be remembered and honored by them.
Our Grandfather came to America to be his own master. He came for freedom from
war and oppression. If he ever found the father who left him, or to whom tragedy and heartbreak
befell, he never said.
He came to find respectful work and a good wife, to have sons and daughters, to build his own home,
to be a husband, provider, protector, father, and a free man of his own destiny. His children were shown
kindness, honesty and faith. They gave their own the same.
Through the chain of time that stretches from the ancient songs of the Kalevala to these words
and pictures on the internet that travel as if by stars, the heartbreaks of the fathers are healed, child by
|The SS Canada as She Appeared Coming into Harbor
|Our Grandfather and his Ship to America. February 12, 1899
Warmest gratitude to Kari T. Without his efforts
to connect, we would never know how to begin.
Thank you to Anna Liisa S., who has been so
generous and lovely. Without her clue to the Annala name, we would not
find the truth.
Thank you, Timo, for music that goes deep.
Thank you to John I. Kolehmainen, for his lifelong effort to
preserve the stories of Finnish immigrants that so enliven time.
Thank you to all those who share their knowledge and passion
on the internet and to all those who follow their path.
Memorial to Emigrants at Hanko, Finland