Settlers and Pioneers:

I have always been amazed by those that trudge off into the wilderness to build a new life.

There weren't many (or any) Finns living in Northern Finland, or Lapland, until the reign of Gustaf Vasa (reigned 1523–1560). The Swedish king, seeing that the coastal population of Finland had grown to 250,000, made it interesting for people to move and "take over" areas of Lapland, by giving settlers free land and exemption from taxes for some years.  Perhaps the settlers were fleeing their homeland for some other reasons. Occasionally, the King of Sweden or other Swedish Nobles would abdicate hunting or fishing lands for one reason or another, which also allowed for settlement.

Listed below are a few of my settler ancestors. Click on a name to interact with the map.

Olli Holappa (*Abt. 1510 †1565)
    Emigrated from the Jääski province on the Karelian isthmus (which is now part of Russia) to the Oulu Province and lived in Laitasaari, Muhos parish, when he died. His son, Matti Olinpoika Holappa (*1538 †1590), settled near Sanginjärvi in the Utajärvi parish. Olli's grandson, Juho Matinpoika Holappa (*1584 †1638) settled in the Pudasjärvi parish. Eventually his 4th great-grandson, Paavo Pavonpoika Holappa (*Oct 1719 †01 November 1810) lived in Kuusamo and is the father of the Holappa-Kellinsalmi family in Kuusamo.

Matti Tervo (b. Abt. 1560)
    Moved from the Savo area of Finland to Tervola at the end of the 16th Century.  The parish of Tervola gets its name from the Tervo farm.

Tahvo Leinonen (b. Abt. 1560)
    Like Matti Tervo, Tahvo emigrated to Tervola from Savo Region near the end of the 16th Century.

Paavali Halonen (*Abt. 1565 †1642)
     Considered Kemijärvi's first true Finnish inhabitant, he emigrated from Niskankylä in the Muhos parish. He served in the Thirty Years War and is a fabled war hero (or kansantarinoiden sotapäällikkö). 1

Klaus Kärppä (*Abt. 1560 †1630)
     Like Paavali Halonen, Klaus moved to Kemijärvi from the Muhos parish. Klaus is mentioned as a farmer in the village of Laitasaari in Muhos in the year 1592, so he emigrated sometime after 1592. 2

Pekka Kyrö (b. 1590)
     There are conflicting sources concerning the origin of the Kyrö family in Enontekiö. Some say that Pekka Kyrö emigrated to Kittilä from Isokyrö in the early 17th Century. His descendants later lived in Enontekiö. 3 Enontekiö remains sparsely populated and is predominantly Sami.

Yrjö Karjalainen (b. Abt. 1600)
     Yrjö Karjalainen was born in the Melalahti village in the Paltamo parish and moved to Kuusamo with at least 2 sons in the middle of the 17th Century. Yrjö is part of the large Karjalainen family that lived in the Oulujärvi area (Paltamo is on the shores of Oulujärvi, or Lake Oulu). Prior to that, undoubtedly, an ancestor was from Karelia because Karjalainen means "from Karjala, or Karelia." There were 4 different Karjalainens that originally settled Kuusamo, all born around 1625-1635: Yrjö, Aapraham, Pekka, and Heikki. Yrjö Karjalainen from Paltamo is known to be the father of Yrjö and Heikki. It is unknown how, or if, the other 2 original Kajralainens are related to Yrjö's family.


source for Holappa family: Veli Holappa via e-mail
source for Tervola settlers: Erkki Tikkanen via e-mail
source for Yrjö Karjalainen: Veikko Ronkainen via e-mail and Sauli Jumisko