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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Blood Runs Red

I just discovered one of the most interesting facts I've ever learned about one of my ancestors. I'm not sure if it was a family secret, or just something that no one thought to mention.

Earlier this evening, my mother was thumbing through a stack of photographs my grandmother took in Finland back in 1992, and showed me one taken of my great-grandfather's mother's gravestone. I wondered why no picture was taken of her husband's stone.

Just now I was Googling my great-grandfather's surname (Tamlander) and the name of his parish (Lappi), and found this (partially translated here). It says that my great-great-grandfather, Fredrik Nestor Tamlander, was a Red Guard participating in the brief but deadly Finnish Civil War, and died in the Suomenlinna prison camp, 2 July 1918. The camps were not pleasant: Fredrik was one of 5,000 who died in the month of July alone. Presumably he lies in a mass grave somewhere off the coast of Helsinki.

In short, my ancestor was one of those socialists that Glenn Beck has been warning us about. I am so proud that he died fighting for the cause of universal health care.

Kaisa Kyläkoski

Our civil war is still a very sensitive issue, even if already 90 years ago. A couple of years ago the "central museum of working people" (Työväen keskusmuseo http://www.tyovaenmuseo.fi/) conducted a survey of the memorial stones put up for the red side. After the photos were already on the internet there was some comments which resulted in the photos being doctored so that you can't read the names.

The pages of the project look a bit funny, I don't know if I have the right address. For Lappi Tl (http://212.246.191.91/punamuisto2.cgi?sij_kunta='Lappi%20T.L.') the stone was erected in 1947. 34 died, mostly of sickness or hunger. Pictures on page http://212.246.191.91/punamuistokuva.cgi?id='60'

Chris

Thank you, Kaisa! Among the items my grandmother brought back from Finland was a postcard depicting the church in Lappi, the same church shown here!

pfaffpfamily

What an exciting find! I had a similar discovery for my husband's family, when I found that his ggg-grandfather was imprisoned at Camp Randall for protesting the draft during the Civil War.
Discoveries like these make our ancestors feel more real, don't you think? They're the reason I keep at this despite all the brick walls I keep coming up against. Thanks for sharing!

Kaisa Kyläkoski

None of my business but I started to google anyway. Fredrik Nestor's dad was a long time jury member and head of the local administration? (http://www.taikarumpu.fi/kirja/pdf/TalPojAurPitVak_kirja.pdf) If so, please let me know if you haven't already got the text "Herrastuomari Fredrik Tamlander" published in Länsi-Suomi, 2/11 1912 n:o 125 (http://www.genealogia.fi/hakem/manninens.htm). I can fairly easily get you a digital image of that.

Chris

Kaisa, I would love to have that digital image! I ran across that same Länsi-Suomi citation today, and was wondering what it might refer to.

We have a photograph somewhere of Fredrik Nestor's father wearing a medal he had received from Czar Nicholas II. I would love to know more about his career.

Kaisa Kyläkoski

Ok, I'll put that on my action point list then.

The page is a list of newspaper issues that had a local history focus. The articles have been written by local people on whatever they felt was relevant to note.

In the old (at least from 1500's onwards) Finnish/Swedish court system there was a jury of 12 men. They were not randomly selected but rather "trusted men" representing general population providing expert opinions etc. Well trusted and liked could sit in the jury for decades and get the honorary title her(r)astuomari, which is what your ancestor has.

Fredrik Tamlander is mentioned at least in the newspapers (http://digi.kansalliskirjasto.fi/sanomalehti/secure/query.html)
29.09.1898 Satakunta no 114
08.04.1897 Satakunta no 41
06.08.1889 Satakunta no 68
07.03.1895 Satakunta no 28
06.03.1890 Satakunta no 28
but none of these were very informative/interesting. I'll get back to you on the L-S article within a week or so.

Chris

That's wonderful. Thank you, Kaisa!

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