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My Finnish Heritage

Brita Kinnunen

My great-great grandfather, Alexander Taivalkoski, came over from Finland sometime before 1892. He lived in the town of Taivalkoski when he lived in Finland. The reason he came to America was for work. At this time in Finland, times were tough because of a potato crop failure. Alexander landed in the state of New York when he first arrived in America. Later, he moved to Copper Falls, Michigan.

Alexander was married to Anna Räisänen. I don't know where or when they married, but they had a son August, who was born on June 22, 1892.

Though Alexander knew carpentry work, I'm not sure if he ever had an occupation as a carpenter. When he moved to Copper Falls, he worked in the copper mines. His son, August, was also a miner and a carpenter.

In 1916, Alexander began building a house for his family in Fulton, Michigan. Fulton is a very small town, near the tip of the Upper Peninsula. He and his family moved into the house sometime in 1917. The house is a frame house, and is two stories high. Behind the house is a garden, which has been there since he lived in the house. Now, his grandson, Edgar, lives in the house.

The garden contains vegetables and fruits, of which include potatoes, corn, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, and raspberries. Alexander was working in the garden the day he died. He went into the outhouse on side of the garage. When he came out, he had a heart attack, which was the cause of his death.

Heart disease has been hereditary among his descendants. His son, August, also died of a heart attack at the age of 75. His grandson, Edgar, had bypass surgery to prevent a heart attack. He is now almost 76 and would probably have had a heart attack if he had not had surgery.

August Taivalkoski (he didn't have a middle name) was married to Hilija Margaret Luoma. Hilija was a twin to her brother Richard. It is said that twins run in the family, and they skip every generation. My great-grandmother was a twin, and I have a brother and sister who are twins.

I am proud of my Finnish heritage. I found learning a little about my great-great grandfather, who came over from Finland, interesting.

© Brita Kinnunen

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