The Åland Islands´ Emigrant Institute Society

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Newsletter October 2004
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Migration and Memory
Norwegian-American Dimensions

Telemark University College
Bø i Telemark, Norway

June 21-23, 2006

The ninth seminar of the Norwegian-American Historical Association, Norway Chapter, entitled "Migration and Memory: Norwegian-American Dimensions" will be held on June 21-23, 2006, at the Department of the Humanities and Cultural Studies, Telemark University College, Bø i Telemark, Norway. As its theme title suggests, the seminar organizers welcome a wide range of topics within Norwegian-American studies. We are particularly interested in papers on subjects related to emigration / immigration and the construction of memory.

NAHA-Norway encourages seminar contributions based on many academic traditions. Topics related to literary, linguistic, and religious studies, to history, social science, fine and folk arts, and cultural studies-as well as multi- and interdisciplinary approaches-are appropriate. NAHA-Norway also emphasizes the need to see Norwegian-American Studies in the context of international migration and ethnic studies in general. Presentations may be delivered in English or Norwegian and, except for invited lecturers, should not exceed twenty minutes.

Prospective speakers are invited to submit a half-page proposal and a one-page CV to NAHA-Norway Chairperson Dina Tolfsby, Norwegian-American Collection, National Library of Norway, Oslo Division; P.O. Box 2674 Solli, N-0203 Oslo; Norway, ( or Associate Professor Øyvind T. Gulliksen, Telemark University College, N-3800 Bø i Telemark (, by November 1, 2005. For further information please contact Dina Tolfsby or Øyvind T. Gulliksen.

Those who wish to attend the seminar without giving a paper should also notify NAHA-Norway or Telemark University College at the above addresses to receive information (program, accommodations, registration).

October 2003

Dear Members,

Now definitely summer is gone! In fact this year it never even arrived! Next weekend it will be time to switch over to winter time, which means being able to sleep for one more hour in the morning. But on the other hand in the afternoon it will be even darker than now! Anyway to brighten up your days over there here comes a newsletter for our American members from the Åland Islands and The Emigrant Institute!

The Emigrant Institute in an exhibition in Helsinki
For the month of March the Åland Islands were presented in a huge exhibition in one of the main libraries in Helsinki. All kinds of Ålandic literature, both novels and scientific literature, were presented. Many Ålandic museums had sent information about their exhibitions and work, the fortress of Bomarsund, built by the Russians and destroyed by the English and French fleets during the Crimean War 150 years ago, was largely presented in pictures and in a computer made film. And in a corner of the library The Emigrant Institute also got the opportunity to show what its work is all about! There were three shelves to fill with material about the Institute: in the middle there were information about the Institute itself and its work, to the l eft there were different aspects of the emigration and the lives of the emigrants in the new country and to the right some specific emigrants were presented, such as the artists Warner Sallman and Haddon Sundblom, the Ålandic writer of the novel Katrina, Sally Salminen, from the community of Vårdö in the Eastern part of the Åland Islands, the shipowner Algot Johansson, one of the promoters of the Ålandic ferry boat company, the Viking Line, on the route between Finland and Sweden, and Carl Andrén, the Chairman of the Circle Line Company in New York, among many others.

The Warner Sallman plate collection
In June the Emigrant Institute got a very fine donation from New York, from its initiators John and Karin Wennström. Eight beautiful plates with pictures from the life of Christ, by the artist Warner Sallman, were brought from the USA to Åland. The plates were made by the Hamilton Collection. Each picture of the eight series was fired during only 28 days and every single plate got its own number and a certificate of authenticity. - Thanks to the kindness of the Åland Museum we all of a sudden got the opportunity to have the plates exhibited all through he summer. There has also been a presentation of the artist himself and his family. At the same time an illustrated, very beautiful Emigrant Bible in Swe-dish, a gift from Johannes and Erika Gottberg, an Ålandic emigrant couple who lived in Norwood, Mass., was exhibited at the Åland Museum.

The Emigrants' Day
This summer The Emigrants' Day was celebrated on July 18th . It was a musical Emigrants' Day that we had this year at The Åland Music Institute in Mariehamn. The Ålandic emigrant descendant Garfield Sallman was extremely kind to come all the way from Chicago to give us a most wonderful piano con-cert! He played both classical music, Bach and Mozart, and evergreens by e.g. Scott Joplin, George Gerschwin, Irving Berlin and others. Just wonderful!!! During the programme we also got greetings from Society Åland of New York, both in words and in tunes! President Jeanne Eriksson Widman and two Swedish gentlemen (I'm very ashamed, but now I have forgotten their names!) had brought the accordions and the guitar and performed some very nice songs for us! We were also lucky to have Ph.D. Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch taking part in The Emigrants' Day and she told us what a Doctor of Philosophy is doing these days. During the pause there was time to meet friends and discuss all kinds of important things.

The data base of Ålandic emigrants
All through the year Yvonne Blom has continued reading the old local Åland newspapers and gathering emigrant notices from them. By now she has got to the end of the 1960's and has added more than 700 emigrants into the data base about Ålandic emigrants that we have had constructed for this purpose. There has also been a lot of other emigrant material that Yvonne has written down in separate files, such as advertisements, donations by emigrants, passports claimed by emigrants, statistics about emigrants from different communities and so on. Let's see what can be done with this material later on!
In the next issue of the magazin Spirkasen there will be an article about reading the local Åland news-paper, looking for information about emigration and emigrants, written by Yvonne. There has been some interesting changes in the reporting about the emigrants throughout the decades, that she will describe.
By time some of the information in the data base will be published on our web site for our members and others interested in searching for emigrants to have a look at and to control that the information is cor-rect. As we all know, sometimes there might be something in the newspapers that is not quite correct! Our webmaster Göran Pettersson has made a form on the web site to fill up with information about emigrants missing in the data base ( / then "Calender", then "The Emigrant data base", click on "form", and there we are!), but also to fill up with corrections when mistakes may occur. We will encourage both Ålanders and American Ålanders, and preferably people in all the world (!), to send in-formation about Ålandic emigrants for Yvonne to add to the data base. After all, if there is only some 10.000 Ålandic emigrants, the task can't be impossible, can it?

A discussion page on the web site
Our webmaster has also made a discussion forum on our web site. It's free for anyone to ask about his or her family and emigrants in the family. Hopefully our busy genealogists will cast their eyes on your questions and find an answer to them! And to make it easier for our English speaking friends the text in the discussion forum is also in English!

The data bases of
The Emigrant Institute has made an application for data bases of, especially for the census of the 1920's and 30's. It will be available for free for our members and for a small fee for non members. Of course it will be difficult for our members abroad to take advantage of this, but there is always the possibility to send questions to . By time I will search the data bases for you, and hopefully be able to send you the right answers!

The AEMI annual meeting
About one month ago the AEMI (The Association of European Migration Institutions) was held in Växjö, in southern Sweden, at The Swedish Emigrant Institute. The institute itself was most impressing! In the middle of the building there was a great hall for meetings and concerts, at one end there was the basic exhibition, and space for two extra exhibitions. Upstairs there were the hall for researchers, conference rooms and the offices. (Just have a look at ). Well, of course, in 31 years time our institute certainly will be as impressive, too! But right now the contrast was kind of striking… Next year The Swedish Emigrant Institute will be 40 years old and our Society 10 years, so I guess one can say that we are on our way! - Besides the annual meeting there was also a conference, the topic of which was "Connecting contemporary migration with the past", the challenge of putting earlier emigration expe-riences into practice in today's world. There were many interesting lectures and points of views on the matter. Since about ten years there is also a university in Växjö, with a historical institution as well. Thanks to this there are many postgraduate students working on their Ph.D.s on different aspects of the migration. Probably the best thing at this moment would be to inspire some Ålandic students at the uni-versity of Växjö to do research into some specific Ålandic subject. - You certainly all remember Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch's doctor's dissertation last autumn! I guess I've mentioned it so often that nobody could have had the chance not to notice that! Anyway, talking about migration research, I must mention that this spring Susanne got a very fine award for her dissertation, for its scientific values as well as for its diction! This really made us happy and proud of "our emigration Doctor" Susanne!

Honoured guests from the US Embassyg
The last news for this time is that one week ago we had the honour at the Emigrant Institute of being officially visited by the US Embassy's Deputy ambassador in Helsinki!

Wishing all of you a very nice autumn and that you are all well!

Best regards,

Eva Meyer / The Åland Islands' Emigrant Institute
ph. +358-(0)18-13325 fax +358-(0)18-2102

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November 2003

Dear Members,

The Åland Islands’ Emigrant Institute is now open daily from 12 noon until 4 p.m. from June 7th through Aug. 10th , making it possible to visit and view the small exhibition even on weekends duringt the summer months. The student Marielle Fellman receives visitors on Saturdays and Sundays whereas the project leader Eva Meyer is in charge during the weekdays.

Now you can read the latest membership reports.

Feel free to ask questions or write your opinion about our website in our guest book.

We are a bit crowded at our Institute right now as through June and July we have engaged the highschool student Minna Nunez-Garces for a research project to explore the after effects of the rather large emigration from the Åland community of Finby in Sund, and what the returned emigrants ment for their local villages in form of finance, material, building technique and tools.
Minna hopes to interview and gather material about the Finby, Sund emigrants and is of course grateful for any help she can get in order for her to conclude her little research. It will be very interesting to see what a litte research of this sort will reveal. As it appears the emigration was no loss to Finby but rather a gain resulting in new capital and fresh ideas for the county.
We also have another great helper in Yvonne Blom, temporary engaged at the Institute arranging the photo collection, film listings, transcribing interviews, scrapbook index cards and computer work. Two very efficient girls!

We are planning a fall emigrant exhibition in Hammarland – but more about that later!

Subscription on
We are planning a one year subscription on by the end of the summer in order to obtain access to their data bases.

Membership excursion to the town of Hangö
The Emigrant Institute is planning a trip to Hangö in order to visit the exhibition called "Hangö – Concord USA – Petroskoj – Helsingfors" there shown May 8th – Aug. 3rd, 2003 (see ; kultur och fritid ; Hangö museum) and to participate in a guided cultural walk visiting the Emigrant hotel, the Emigrant Office and the pier from which the ships of the Finnish Steamship Company left for Hull in England carrying a cargo of butter, and emigrants.
The exhibition highlights a Finnish family’s life story from the 1880’s, about the stonecarver Antti Rimpilä who came to Hangö in 1887 from Sotkamo together with his wife Anna and their children in order to emigrate to the USA. But in Hangö Antti was offered a job at the Granit Co. and the family decided to stay and not to emigrate. However in time six of the couples nine children did emigrate to the USA, the sons Viktor and Axel became professional stone cutters and both also became ardent socialists while their two sisters Amanda and Anna kept their strong childhood faith.
Viktor had participated in the great general strike in Hangö when he was 18 years old before he emigrated to Concord, NH, in the USA. In 1916 he became a USA citizen but when the "October Revolution" broke out in 1917, he took his wife to be Olga Kuitunen from Viborg, with him and went to Karelia in order to establish the Socialistic system there. His brother Axel followed him but was executed in 1938 by the Stalin regime.

The Emigrants’ Day
The celebration of the Emigrants’ Day will this year be held on Sunday June 29th at 2 p.m. in the Önningeby Museum in Önningeby, Jomala.
The program includes a lecture by Kjell Ekström about the artist Thure Bengtz from Jomala who emigrated to the USA where he became a professor in the arts. We will also be visiting the Sjöblom crofter’s cottage, the small nearby museum, from where the only son emigrated to the USA in 1909 and never returned again.
Coffee will be served and all are very welcome!

The annual meeting of the Åland Islands’ Emigrant Institute was held on Apr. 27th at 2 p.m. in the film hall of the Åland Museum. Our president Erik Lindholm was unanimously re-elected for another term.

Best Regards,
Eva Meyer / The Åland Islands' Emigrant Institute

The Åland Islands' Emigrant Institute
PB 85
AX - 22101 Mariehamn
Åland, Finland

Ph. + 358 - (0)18 - 13325
Fax + 358 - (0)18 - 21026

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December 2002

Dear Members,

Soon Christmas is here and along with all the hurry there are some news coming from The Åland Islands and The Emigrant Institute.

It has been a vivid summer and autumn season with many visitors not only from the Åland Islands but also from the Finnish mainland, Sweden and from many other countries. From the USA there have been many American Ålandic descendants coming to see the country of their ancestors. Very many of them have been so nice to take the time for giving an interview to The Emigrant Institute about their ancestors and so the knowledge of the Ålanders in the USA has grown a lot. Thanks very much to all of you!
This year, too, the Institute has received a lot of fine donations that help to shed light on the Ålandic emigration and that we are very thankful of. We have also borrowed nice photographs from many persons and have copied them for the archives of The Emigrant Institute.

"The Emigrants' Day"
As usually we've celebrated "The Emigrants' Day" this summer, on August 25th. It was a warm and lovely summer Sunday afternoon. In spite of that almost 60 persons had turned up. Our special guest this time was Marianne Forsblad from The Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle who made an interesting and excellent speach about the emigration from the Nordic countries to the town of Seattle and the surrounding regions.

The exhibition "Scandinavian Roots - American Lives"
For three weeks in September - October we got the opportunity to show the exhibition "Scandi-navian Roots - American Lives" ( ) in the Åland Museum. It consists of eleven screens telling about the emigration from the Scandinavian countries into the USA and also has a very informative catalogue. In connection we also showed some of the objects of the Emigrant Institute. One day we hope to have pictures from the exhibition put onto the Internet so that anyone can take part of what was exposed. At the opening two researchers from Sweden came to give a presentation of the CD-Rom "The Emigrant" and showed different ways to look up emigrants. They also told us - a fact we in between had become familiar with - that quite a lot of the emigrants from Finland, and thus also from the Åland Islands, are missing on this CD-Rom. One of our very helpful members and a skilful genealogist, Ingemar Ekman in Stockholm is trying to find out where some of the records containing mainly people from Finland are being kept today. We hope he will be successful in his research work!
The last day of the exhibition a lady working at the museum of Hangö, a small town on the peninsula in the southwestern corner of the Finnish mainland, came to tell us about the emigration through the harbour of Hangö. It was this way most emigrants from the mainland left Finland, but also many Ålanders until the year 1915 when The Swedish American Line was founded and started out from Gothenburg (see and Passenger and/or Passport Lists). We were told that both the hotel where the emigrants stayed over night before leaving and the embarking quay for the ship for Hull are still preserved in the town of Hangö. - Anybody who happens to be in Hangö on a summer Thursday should not forget to take part in a guided tour on foot to visit the places the emigrants passed before leaving their country.

Now from December till the middle of February the screens are shown in the library of Föglö, to the south of the main Åland Island, together with a special exhibition of emigrants from there. In February till March the screens will continue to Finström and in April they will be exposed in Eckerö. For both places a special exhibition will be planned as well.

Greetings from Stavanger in Norway
The last weekend in September it was again time for the Annual Meeting of AEMI (The Associa-tion of European Migration Institutions), this time in Stavanger, a beautiful town in the westernmost part of Norway. It was from this town that the emigration from Norway started as early as 1825! In proportion to the whole population in all the Scandinavian countries the emigration from Norway was the largest of all, with 860.000 persons leaving for the USA! - The topic of the meeting this year was "The Return Migration" dealing with what the returning emigrants brought with them mentally, new knowledge, contacts and new ways of thinking, materially, new tools and equipment and in many cases also an amount of money to start something new with. To think how these returning emigrants contributed to the development of their home countries in many different way! Very fascinating and worth studying!

A new cooperation project with the Åland Vocational School
At the beginning of December we started a new cooperation project with one of the classes at the Åland Vocational School, this time dealing with the emigration to Australia and New Zealand. It turned out that there was very little material in the school books about these countries so we decided to tell the students to gather information for a manual for coming classes to study. The students will also interview two elder Ålandic gentlemen who during the World War II had to stay in New Zealand and Australia together with the crew of their ship and then stayed there for some 10-15 years, and also an Ålandic family that emigrated in the 1970's and returned in the late 80's. - The cooperation project was started by an introductory lecture given by the director of The Migration Institute in Åbo, Prof. Olavi Koivukangas, who has dedicated many years of his life to researching the emigration from Finland and Scandinavia to this part of the world.

A dissertation to look forward to!
Next year the doctor's dissertation of our former coordinator at the Emigrant Institute Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch, whom many Ålandic emigrants and descendants of Ålandic emigrants have met and helped by giving an interview during her field works in the USA, will be presented at the Swedish university, the Academy of Åbo. This autumn she has given in her manuscript to her professor for a first check and for further comments. I'll keep you informed about this very exciting and interesting matter and I'm quite sure all of us wish her the very best success and luck in her further work on her dissertation and for her Ph.D.!

The membership fee
For those who would like to renew the membership for the year 2003 or would like to join The Åland Islands' Emigrant Institute Society, the membership fee for next year is 10 euro. The fee can be paid directly to the account of the Institute in the Ålandsbanken in Mariehamn or by sending a cheque by the end of January 2003. - If someone would find it practical to pay e.g. for two or three years at the same time, that's also okay, and I'll make a note about that.

By these news from the Institute I'll close by wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2003! - Let's keep in touch!

Best Regards,

Eva Meyer / The Åland Islands' Emigrant Institute

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The Åland Islands' Emigrant Institute
PB 85
AX - 22101 Mariehamn
Åland, Finland

Ph. + 358 - (0)18 - 13325
Fax + 358 - (0)18 - 21026

Newsletter December 2007


The year 2006 and the ongoing 2007

 Dear Members,                                                                                          

Such a long, long time has passed since you last heard from the Åland Islands’ Emigrant Institute that you must already have been wondering what the Institute is doing these days. Luckily enough I have the pleasure to announce that, indeed, we are doing fine though, through the past years, there has been some big changes for us.

 New Premises for the Emigrant Institute

The year 2005 brought us bad news as, at the Emigrant Institute, we were informed that by the end of the summer all activities in the white house at Ålandsvägen 48 had to move out. The house owner himself and his family were themselves going to move into the house. In the be­ginning it turned out to be very hard to find suitable, new premises for the Institute and we were looking all over Mariehamn. But in the end we were lucky to become a nice room to rent, about the same size we had before, just a little bigger and with very handy cupboards where one can hide almost anything! By the end of 2005 we had moved into the new premises in the house that used to be the office of the sea captain and ship owner Gustaf Erikson, who had the biggest sail­ing vessel fleet in the world up to a few years after World War II, sailing all the way to Australia to fetch grain. In a way the Emigrant Institute is now hosted in the house where many young men started out for the journey that made them emigrants, if, on their way, they decided to jump ship and stay some­where out in the world or if local depressions made it impossible to get a cargo, which meant the ship would not return to Åland for a very long time.

The inauguration of the new Emigrant premises was held on Febr. 22, 2006 after a hectic period of finish­ing the arranging of the exhibition. The party was very nice and crowded with quite a number of guests show­ing up in our, after all, not too big premises. The local newspapers wrote about the Grand Re-opening of the Institute and even the Speaker of the Åland Parliament and the Mayor of the town of Mariehamn were present. And we felt very honoured on behalf of our Institute!

 Hjördis Sundblom’s Book in English

The year 2005 brought pleasant news, too, to us as Hjördis Sundblom’s book about her emigrant life, fi­nally, was released just before Christmas. The book got the Eng­lish title ”My Name is Sunny Now. A Scandi­navian Emigrant’s Story”. Before printing it we wished to have the book proofread by an English native speaking person. We were very lucky to get help from a most helpful lady, Mrs. Jo Ann Troberg from Pennsylvania, USA, and spending all her summers together with her hus­band in Åland. Mrs. Troberg all unselfishly offered to do the proofreading and made a great job to help us bring the book project to a happy end. The book release was the first great happe­ning in our new premises, and we were very pleased to start our stay in the new place with such a great event.

Just like the Swedish edition the English one now has become a great success! I guess it is be­cause so many people have emigrant forefathers and relatives and so few of them have told about how it was to be a young person, often 17 to 20 years of age, leaving home for an uncertain fu­ture in a totally unknown world. In her book Hjördis Sundblom tells very straightforward about the difficulties she had to overcome, the new man­ners she had to learn as well as the jobs, she wanted to do, and the English language. It is a most touching lifestory and she really succeeds in appealing to her readers as she lets us look into how it was to go through this enormous change in life with all the feelings of uncertainty, scare and unsecurity she must have felt com­ing from Föglö, Åland, and landing in New York with all its new demands and challenges.

Like all the best things in life this book is not that easy to get hold of! To facilitate the acquisition we have made an agreement with the bookstore Lisco in Mariehamn that the book can be or­dered there by fax, phone or by e-mail. On our homepage (See, News & Info, “How to order...” a little down the page!) there are more instructions how to order the book. And if you’d like to have a personal greeting from the author herself don’t forget to men­tion about that when ordering. Every now and then Hjördis tells me she has been to the Lisco book­store to sign a book for someone who has asked for it.

 The Emigrants’ Day of 2006

The ”Emigrants’ Day” 2006 was celebrated in Degerby, in the community of Föglö on August 6. The main speaker was a young Åland descendent, David Jansson, professor of Geography at Vassar College in Pough­keepsie, New York. He told us about his grandparents who left for New York, got married and had their family growing up there. David gave his speech all in Swedish (!), and it was a most humorous, interes­ting as well as philosophical speech on family ties and ques­tions of origin and identity. We also had the pleasure of  listening to a young rising star and Föglö musician, Andreas Nyberg, who played a couple of traditional Fög­lö songs for us on his violin and told the history behind each of them. Very nice!!! We all agreed that last year’s  “Emigrants’ Days”, again, was one of the very nicest we have spent through the years. .....

 ... and The Emigrants’ Day of 2007 - with an Emigration Stamp!

And now, again, we are heading for “The Emigrants’ Day” of 2007 that  will take place on August 9. On this very day the Åland Post is going to release a stamp in honour of the Åland emigrants, featuring the Åland artist and professor of art Ture Bengtz (1907-1973). He grew up in Jomala, Åland, but spent most of his life in Boston, Mass., where he got the opportu­nity to study at The Boston Museum of Fine Arts School. Later in his life he would also give lectures there himself.

This year’s event will take place at the museum of art, at The Önningeby Museum in the village of Önninge­by, Jo­mala, Åland (see ). At the museum there is an exhibition in memory of Ture Bengtz and his work of art all through the summer. At “The Emigrants’ Day” the museum director Kjell Ekström will give us a presentation of the artist and the exhibition. And there will be the possibility of purchasing the brand new emigration stamp during the ongoing “Emigrants’ Day”, in fact all through the day of Aug. 9. I must make sure to get this letter going to all our members and friends abroad by then. This year’s “Emi­grants’ Day” will be the 10th to be celebrated and it certainly is going to be a great party!

 New research fields

New challenges lie ahead, as a new research project on Åland emigrants to Sweden all since World War II will be started in the autumn of 2007. We are very happy about this new project, especially as the two re­searchers involved are Susanne Österlund-Pötzsch, Ph.Dr and the first coordina­tor of the Emigrant Institute, as you certainly remember, and the above mentioned David Jansson, Prof. of Geography, who will now move to Uppsala in Sweden to be closer to his research field.

 I myself met David for the first time as he together with his family came to Åland on his first visit only six years ago. Since then we have had the joy and honour of having him for a visit al­most twice a year, in sum­mer, and in winter time, an event as much awaited as the arrival of Santa Claus! I can’t tell you how he has coped with it, but during these few years and without too many chances of getting practice David has mana­ged to learn Swedish excellently! I guess today there are not many topics he couldn’t follow and discuss in Swedish, which is very impressive, in­deed!

We are sure the project will contri­bute to the research on modern emigration as well as on to­day’s social matter of young people moving away from Åland. Here we will cer­tainly be able to see the parallel to what was vividly discussed about a hundred years ago when so many young persons went off for America. - I’ll keep you informed about how the work is developping.

 The Emigrant Database on the Internet

To tell from the number of visitors on the English home page of the Emigrant Institute you have certainly all noticed the Åland Emigrant Database, which was released in the winter of 2006. Hopefully it has been of good help for your research! At the moment the work on the database is not proceeding as for the last year it has been very hard to find funds for continuing the work. Little by little, though, some new names have come up as on the home page there is a form to fill in and send information to the Emigrant Institute about Åland emigrants who are not yet to be found in the database. Some people have already found the form and have been so kind as to send us emigrant information that we have been able to add into the database. Of course, we would also very much appreciate more information about emigrants already in the database if somebody happens to recognize and know more about some specific person than what is now in there. Also we would be very grateful to receive information about emigrants we don’t have any information about from before, but whom you might know about. Please, visit our homepage, then click on “Emigrant Data­base” and fill in “the form” and send it to us. We would also appreciate very much, if below “Notes” you would add some contact information, e.g. an e-mail address or an ordinary address just in case there would be some questions we would like to ask. This contact information will by no means be published in the database, only to be used for questions that may arise. – A warm thank you for your kind assistance!!! – But! At this very moment the form has temporarily been closed as right now it has started to attract a lot of non­sens answers. Our webmaster is investigating the matter, and hopefully after a while he will find a solution and get it working properly again.

 An Exhibition about Swedish Finns in St Petersburg and in the Russian Empire

As the town of St Petersburg celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2003 the Swedish-Russian Society of Finland made an interesting exhibition about some thirteen Swedish Finns who made them­selves a career in St Petersburg during the time of the Grand Duchy of Finland, a time that lasted up to 1917. This exhibition had its opening during the festivities of St Petersburg, and then made a tour to some other towns in Russia. Later on it has been touring in Finland, and finally we had the chance to borrow it for exhibiting it on Åland in Febr.-March 2007. But, as we figured out, in order to draw more attention to the exhibition, it would be a good idea to have some Ålanders presented as well. Thus started the great search for Ålanders who went to seek their fortune in the Russian Empire during this time. And indeed, we were overwhelmed by the result! In fact, it turned out not to be too hard a task to find Ålanders who went to St Petersburg to get trained in different trades, as military officers or as teachers. But, thanks to Maria Jarlsdotter Enckell MFA, the project leader of the Sitka Godenhjelm Rescue Project, we also learned about Ålanders who made a career in the North Pacific region, and in the Russian Alaska. And what exciting lives we found out about! Seamen, whalers, gold diggers, admirals, explorers... Hard to believe all this happened in the mid 1800’s!

Now we hope to have this exhibition translated into English, as we plan to print a catalogue and perhaps send the exhibition out in the world. Hopefully it would be of interest in the US as some of it deals with the history of Alaska during the Russian period up to 1867. Let’s see what will turn up!

On the website of the Åland Museum, where our exhibition was on display until March 11 2007, there is a slideshow that gives you an impression of what it looked like. On the following web address you can find it: .

 A Christmas stamp and a Christmas exhibition

There will be one more exciting Åland stamp release this year. It will take place in fall, on Oct. 9, 2007. The Åland Post will make this year’s Christmas mail even nicer than ususally to send as the stamp is going to feature a picture of Santa Claus painted in 1961 for the Coca-Cola Co. by the advertisement artist and Åland descendent Haddon Sund­blom. The appearance most of us associate with Santa Claus today is due to the pictures Haddon Sundblom painted for Coca-Cola for more than 30 years starting in 1931. One can claim that he, indeed, made a long­lasting impact on the Christmas traditions of today.

Now the Åland Post has got the permission to make a stamp featuring one of these beloved Santa pictures! In addition to the  release on Oct. 9 the Emigrant Institute will arrange some pro­gramme. Later on in autumn and early winter we will arrange a Christmas exhibition telling about Haddon Sundblom and his Santa Claus. The exhibition will be a cooperation with the Åland museum, and the opening will be in the museum premises on Nov. 22. At the moment we are collecting information about the subject and, strangely enough, people are wondering when they see me reading books about Christmas traditions already in August and July!

 Gravestones in the Lemland cemetery

On the website of The Genealogical Society of Finland ( )there is a section of cemeteries showing pictures of gravestones and names of the deceased. If you click on “Finnish cemeteries” to the left you’ll land on a site with two boxes, one for family names and one for given names. Right at the bottom there are some Åland cemeteries, with all or some of the grave­stones of the cemetery of Kumlinge, Kökar, Saltvik, Sottunga and Sund. I cannot tell you who took the pictures on these cemeteries as I’ve just found them there on the website. Concern­ing the Lemland cemetery I can tell you that one of our members, Einar Lindholm, and I spent some chilly afternoons taking photographs and making notes of names and dates out there last autumn. I’m still typing the information into a file for the Internet, and after some time –I can’t tell you yet how long it will take... – the pictures will be available on the website. I hope it will be of interest for you, or at least for those who have family roots in Lemland.

 Finally, a big excuse for not letting you hear from us for such a long time! And a promise not to let something like this happen again!!! We’ll stay in touch!

 Our kindest regards to all of you,

 Eva Meyer

 The Åland Islands’ Emigrant Institute

Norra Esplanadgatan 5                                                                ph. +358-(0)18-13325 (12 to 4 p.m.)

AX-22100                                                                       e-mail:

Åland, Finland                                                        

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Norra Esplanadgatan 5, AX-22100 MARIEHAMN,
Aland, Finland
tel. + 358 - (0)18 - 13 325