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I am seventeen years old and not until now have I heard anything on my ancestors. I never heard stories or saw pictures of them in my life. I only have facts that people gave me or were told to me. I really can't say much because this is a hard subject and it would take me years to figure out all that I have to say. My family was never very close and half of our relatives, we haven't even seen. I only know a little, but that little should count for something.
My great grandfather is named Simon and his brothers are named Emil, Erik, and Matt. In Finland they would be Simo, Eemeli, Erkki, and Matti. They came from the Viipuri area of Finland. I was told that they were from YIämaa, Finland, but just recently I found out that Ylämaa was a parish and then I was told that Outinen's came from the Viipuri part of Finland. I guess that is all straightened out then. In the early 1900's my great grandfather decided to leave Finland with his four brothers at his side. They wanted to come to America. I'm guessing because they knew they could lead a better life and could find better jobs. I am also guessing that they all came over on a boat to America and took a train to Michigan. Not much is said about that though. I don't know the name of the boat or the train. Throughout their journey I know that somehow they got a message stating that the rest of the family in Finland had become ill. When they reached Michigan, they sent the youngest boy Erik back to Finland. Erik was not going to take the joumey back again from Finland so he just stayed in Finland after that. Meanwhile, Simon, Emil, and Matt proceeded on.
Simon settled in Eagle River, Matt in Trimountain, and Emil in Houghton, Michigan. They all started work right away. Simon worked in the fuse factory in Eagle River, while Matt and Emil worked mining rock in Trimountain and Painesdale. After a couple of years, Simon married Tillie Koitila in Eagle River. Her real name was Matilda. Matt and Emil decided to get married also. Matt married a Hilda Laakaniemi and Emil married Tyyne Laakaniemi. Hilda and Tyyne were sisters. The weirdest thing about all the marriages was that they were all immigrants from Finland. It's like they had to come to the United States to actually meet each other. I can't believe that!! I believe that's one of the proudest things that my relatives did. They kept the Finnish going in the family. Simon was married on November 24, 1906 and Matt and Emil were married only a short time after.
Being married Simon decided he wanted a better life. He wanted to build a house and raise a family. Simon did just that. He built a house one house away from the Eagle River falls because the Hill family lived right next to the waterfalls. The Hill family is also a relative, but no one knew that at the time. A few years had passed and Simon and Matilda had my grandpa, John Outinen. He had 2 sisters named Empie and Lily and a brother named Andrew. That's basically the life of my great grandfather. It's down to the point and still unexplained.
When Erik went back to Finland, he had a son named Erik Jr. That's how my family is getting land in Finland. The land was Erik's and since he never met the rest of the family, he left the land for all his grandchildren. I'm pretty sure that's the way it goes Now my family is selling the land and as soon as that's done with, our connection to Finland will be gone forever unless we know the people that buy it. My family won't own a part of my great grandfather anymore.
My grandpa's notes tell me that his father (Simon) died on December 23, 1946, of heart failure and his wife died before him on December 24, 1918 of influenza. I guess the Outinen's were winter people because everything happened in the winter. The dates are so close on the biggest things in their lives. Strange in a way! Matilda died of influenza during the great epidemic of 1918, as did many others. Many others died and I guess after that, Simon never got married again and he was a lonely soul after that. He remained in Eagle River until his death. That house was his and he wanted to stay in it for the rest of his life.
1 guess immigration is tough and no one really wants to try it. I'm sure glad that I never did it. I'm proud of Simon and his brothers for having the courage to do so. I wish I was told more about them, but no one knows anything about my family. Maybe I'll find out more in years to come. I just never met hardly any of my relatives, so if they have stories, I'll probably never hear them. Because of the inheritance issues Finland is now a big part of my family. Maybe now, I'll get my opportunity to immigrate over to Finland and share the experience of my ancestors, but not by boat, by plane if anything.
© Tara Ahonen
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