Site updated August 3, 2016
Family stories about Friis-Pohjanpalos
The family has gathered in two successive years 2006 and 2007 after a quite long time. A next gathering is expected to take place around 2010—2012.
Family Gathering 2007 in the family's old home county.
The family gathering of the descendants of Juhani and Hilma Pohjanpalo took place in a summer weekend on August 4-5, 2007 at Kokkola and Kalajoki. The gathering was held in the family's old home county.
The family is originally from the east coast of the Gulf of Bothnia; from Kalajoki in Mid-Ostrobothnia and from Ykspihlaja the port town of Kokkola.
Information of the event will be available later also in English.
A family gathering of the descendants of Juhani and Hilma Pohjanpalo was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the last name Pohjanpalo.
The Kalajoki cantor Johan Friis and the merchant Jaakko Friis along with their families changed their last name to Pohjanpalo on May 12, 1906, the commemorative day of J. V. Snellman, the great Finnish nationalistic thinker.
Web site information
This site contains information on the family gatherings and the family history but regrettably mostly in Finnish.
Usually these family gatherings are organized by the older generation, which can be seen also in the content and illustrations of this web site. The goal of the family gathering is, however, that both the young and the old generations could feel at home in this wider family setting.
These web pages were opened April 3, 2006 to invite family members to celebrate the hundredth year of our Finnish family name.
No official family society has been established. But this website is published and maintained as a family website and it will be continued for the present.
Photographs are from family albums unless otherwise stated.
© 2008 - www.pohjanpalo.fi,
3.1.2007 - Ilkka Pohjanpalo / Kati Pohjanpalo
For the first time in over twenty years, nearly ninety descendants of Juhani Pohjanpalo gathered to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the name Pohjanpalo. Photo Tuomas Pohjanpalo.
Family Gathering Focused on Learning About Ancestors
Several new Friis-Pohjanpalo faces were seen at Krapihovi in Tuusula after an interval of over twenty years. Exactly ninety family members of all ages had signed up for the family gathering held on May 13th, 2006. Descendants of Juhani and Hilma Pohjanpalo were present from all branches of the family and the cause for celebration arose from the family's name having been changed from Friis to Pohjanpalo exactly one hundred years earlier. The programme of the event centred on family history.
Yrjö Pohjanpalo, who recently passed away, had initiated the planning of this family gathering. Yrjö's daughter Riitta Pohjanpalo had mentioned it to Mirja Parvinen, who in turn had spread the message. Descendants of Juhani Pohjanpalo were invited to this family gathering along with their wives, partners and children. We deemed it prudent to limit the participation to this part of our extended family. Despite this, participation was far more active than anticipated.
Vesa Pohjanpalo (left), Riitta Pohjanpalo, Outi Pohjanpalo, Risto Pohjanpalo and Ilkka Pohjanpalo were the organizers of the gathering. Photo Tuomas Pohjanpalo.
The organisers of the family gathering, having been appointed in Vaasa in January 2006, were wearing period costume and thus were distinguishable from the crowd. Riitta Pohjanpalo, mentioned above, was dressed in a Lotta Svärd uniform of the kind Aunt Hilma would have worn and Outi Pohjanpalo was wearing a dark dress resembling those of Aunt Maija. Risto Pohjanpalo wore a summer suit like Uncle Tuomas might have had and Vesa Pohjanpalo had a grey evening suit resembling Armas Pohjanpalo. The convenor, Ilkka Pohjanpalo, wore a period suit of the times of grand father Juhani.
Prior to the event, a family tree was drawn up and posted on the website that was specifically built for the family gathering. The family tree was simplified and limited for clarity and included only biological or otherwise direct descendancy without extensive personal information. This is why it do not include spouses. Spouses are not added to the family tree, but a list of those present at the family gathering can be found on the end of this page.
Families are these days quite loosely defined. Relatives from near and far were present at the event. Some international spice to our family was brought in by the British Woodwards, seven of whom were present. Turkish features have also been brought into our family by Kaija Kocak, the daughter of Kaarina Holmqvist, through her husband and children.
Excerpts from the letters by Maija Pohjanpalo were
read in dialogue by Outi Pohjanpalo and Riitta
Pohjanpalo. Photo Antti Partanen.
"I hope and sincerely believe that family, however each of us wishes to define the concept, is mostly a joyful and cohesive concept", said Ilkka Pohjanpalo in his opening words.
"The last name Pohjanpalo, being a 100 year-old Finnish name is, as we know it, the symbol of our meeting and a cause worth celebrating. The new name brought our forefathers and mothers new self-esteem in the spirit of finnishness so strong at the time."
"Regardless of the name, our family has an honourable past, a good but yet unfinished today and an always somewhat uncertain future. Let us raise three cheers for the success of our family", said the convenor.
Eldest of the family Antero Pohjanpalo
and his cousin Sirkku Pohjanpalo.
Photo Antti Partanen.
After singing the Synnyinmaan laulu together, Vesa Pohjanpalo presented a historical collection of letters, which Maria Friis (later Maija Pohjanpalo) had written to her sister Hilma at a time when she was employed as the first appointed teacher of the Tuusula School District for 34 years beginning in 1892.
"Maija was inspired to write these letters by both personal news and the significant events of the turn of the century. The Finnish autonomy was under threat, national sentiment and the spirit of finnishness were on the rise, a general and equal right to vote was realised and the House of Estates was replaced by a single-house Parliament. Hopes for independence were beginning to surface and it was the golden age of Finnish arts", explained Vesa Pohjanpalo of the history of the time when the letters were written. Extracts of the letters, with background notes, are published separately but in Finnish only.
Sanna-Mari Hiekka, flute, and Juhana Pohjanpalo,
guitar, played folk songs. Photo Antti Partanen.
After a charming music play, Risto Pohjanpalo talked about letters by Tuomas Pohjanpalo dealing in a unique and authentic way with the feelings and thoughts of this first great man of our family. Risto is in possession of an old ammunition box containing papers left behind by Uncle Tuomas. Most of the letters are business letters by Weljekset Friis (Brothers Friis) and some relate to the politics in which Tuomas was involved with, but some are messages from family member to another containing news of the extended family from Ykspihlaja.
"Based on the letters, the community we youngsters have only heard of and whose physical environment has become familiar to us late-middle-aged folk through visits and sometimes more permanent habitation, comes alive again", said Risto.
The box also contains explanations of how the enterprise Weljekset Friis went bankrupt after financing expansion with too much borrowed money. And as a result of the bankruptcy, there is a list of personal property: knives, forks, sheets and table clots all counted and listed.
However, the most interesting papers according to Risto relate to the last decade of Uncle Tuomas's life in the 1930s. Some of these materials will also be published later on.
At programme interval Esko Pohjanpalo photographed group of relatives with classical film technique. Photos are shown on pages Sukutapaamisen 2006 valokuvia. Photo Antti Partanen.
Some of the final programme at the family gathering included some more folk songs played by Sanna-Mari Hiekka, flute, and Juhana Pohjanpalo, guitar. Excellent musicians were found within the family to celebrate the event with appropriate music.
A show of old photographs collected from family albums was also enthusiastically received. The audience keenly recognised people, objects and events from decades ago. The photographs dated from the end of the 19th century until the 1950s. In addition, an old, recently digitized 40-second piece of cinefilm from 1962 was found, showing Aunt Hilma, Uncle Soini, Uncle Antti and Aunt Tyyne walking about the Ykspihlaja house with Aunt Hessu digging up the kitchen garden.
Mirja Parvinen urged to
continue family gatherings.
Photo Antti Partanen.
Finally, Mirja Parvinen presented the plan for the next family gathering and had the audience show their interest in participating the meeting to be held in the Kalajoki - Kokkola area in the summer of 2007. Most of those present were enthusiastic and thus a family gathering will be held in the family's old home county. Information of the event will be available at this website and through personal contacts.
Finally, everyone who could sing, participated in singing the Mid-Ostrobothnian county song accompanied by Sanna-Mari and Juhana. The evening continued with spontaneous conversations and mingling.
Participants of the 100th family gathering 13.5.2006