This article summarizes the stages of the genealogy of the Ellilä family before the establishment of the family society to this day.

The beginnings of genealogy

According to the 20-year history of the Ellilä Family Association written by Erkki Paaso, genealogy is considered to have begun in the summer of 1955, when forester Walfrid Ellilä from Kuivaniemi met an unknown Lappish man while on a fishing trip in northern Norway on the outskirts of Isokoski, Tana.
During their conversation, the Lappish man had asked Walfrid’s name.
After hearing Ellilä’s name, the man said that someone living nearby was Ellilä.
From this arose a long-burned desire in Walfrid’s chest to begin researching his own lineage.
The starting shot to start genealogy had now been shot.

Pioneers of genealogy in the genus Ellilä

Walfrid Ellilä on the left and Sverre Ellila from the Norwegian tribe on the right.

After finding a family branch in northern Norway, Walfrid Ellilä began to do genealogy. Shortly after visiting Norway, he discussed the matter with his cousin Hannes Paaso, who he knew as a researcher and connoisseur of old things. From Hannes, Walfrid got his right hand in his research work. Or should it be said the other way around.

As a Member of Parliament, Hannes may have had better opportunities to study the state archives of Helsinki and Stockholm than an ordinary citizen, and he also knew the so-called the old Swedish language, so there was no language barrier in the study of even the oldest things. Both were in charge and did not have much time for systematic research.

In Norway, too, genealogy seems to have been buried for a few years. In 1959, Leiv Ellila had visited Tana and heard of Walfrid Ellilä’s visit there, and he wrote a letter to Walfrid in response to which he received the current genealogy. Correspondence continued to be brisk. Leiv informed about Walfrid’s genealogy e.g. to his eldest brother Alex, who was involved in researching a family branch living in Norway. This was the beginning of contacts between relatives living in Norway.

The family association was founded in 1963

As a result of several years of work, ancestral research had progressed or rather returned until the mid-16th century. At Walfrid, the information was in scattered strips of paper that had to be compiled into a single genealogical list before the founding meeting of the family association. Toivo Ellilä began writing a list for duplicating wax in the order shown by Walfrid.
40 pages were added to this first list. Kauko Toivola, who was the head teacher of the station village school, duplicated the list and together with Toivo Ellilä they did the stapling.

On May 30, 1963, Pohjolan Sanomat reported:

The choice of meeting place was not difficult because the roots of the family were here and several members of the family had expressed a desire to come to the roots of the family.
This meant that members of the family living in Kuivaniemi at this stage had to make their own contribution to the preparation and conduct of the family reunion during the meeting as well.

In connection with family meetings, a tradition has emerged that on the actual day of the meeting, the participants in the meeting gather for common worship at the meeting place.
In the picture below, Alex Ellila from Norway and Walfrid and Toivo Ellilä from Finland in the wreath-laying after the first meeting after the service.

Tauno Ellilä, Professor of Law, was appointed by the committee to draw up the rules of the established family association.
In connection with the drafting of the rules, the decision of the founding meeting was amended so that a general meeting is held every four years. A member of the family, Eila Niskala, was responsible for drafting the original rulebook.

The organization and conduct of the first family reunion was a considerable effort for the active members of the family society, but after various bureaucratic twists and turns, Ellilän Sukuseura r.y. (the Ellilä Family Association) was approved for the association register on May 28, 1965.

Connection to a family branch living in America

Invited by the United States of America, Martti Niskala was on a Leader scholarship trip in 1965.
Eila Niskala traveled to Los Angeles a few weeks later after her husband.

As a sociable person, Eila had the idea that there could be relatives here, no matter how close. She had the address of Aunt Iida, who had visited Finland a few years earlier. She lived in Detroit, and Eila sent her a card asking her to let Eila know if there were any Finnish relatives living near San Francisco, as they would be traveling with Martti the next day.

When they went to the Hilton Hotel where they had been accommodated, a card sent by Aunt Iida was already waiting. It had Gloria Janson’s address. Immediately Eila looked up Gloria’s name in the phone book and called her. It was agreed that she would come to see them at the hotel that evening.

At the same time, Gloria’s brother Wayne Knutila, who lives in Sacramento, was on a business trip to San Francisco. After Eila’s call, Wayne had called Gloria and heard that her sister was going to see relatives from Finland. Wayne should have returned to his post in Sacramento that day. He postponed the departure to the next day and came with his sister in the evening to meet Martti and Eila.

In connection with the meeting, Eila spoke about the establishment of the family association. The American cousins (Mari Ellilä’s children) were very interested in the activities of the family association and promised to spread the word to other relatives living in America.

This was the first meeting of the American and Finnish tribes in decades.

On the left is Priita Maria Ellilä’s daughter Gloria Janson and her husband Dick Janson next to her.
On the right Eila Niskala.

Family meetings are held and posterity research is continued

Since 1963, the term meetings of the family association have been held every four (4) years.
Three (3) supplementary sections of paper genealogies were created along the way.
These family reunions are described in more detail in the articles in the History section of the Family Association.

The statue of a pioneer in genealogy will be unveiled in 2008

The memorial statue of Hannes Paaso, a municipal councilor who was at the center of the genealogical research and was one of the core members of the family association, was unveiled on 13 July 2008 in the village of Kuivaniemi, Ii municipality.

The statue of Hannes Paaso is located along Oijärvi Road, about 15 meters north of the road, in the yard of Pekka Paaso’s house (Mikkola), about 2 km before the memorial statue of the Jaegers near Veska Jaeger Tap House.

Veska Jaeger Tap House served as a milestone in the Finnish Jaeger Movement before our country became independent in 1917. The construction of the Jaeger statue in Kuivaniemi began in 1939.

The following gallery contains pictures of the memorial statue of the Jaegers and Emmi Paaso’s home during the summer and winter.

The genealogy program “Sukujutut” is acquired for the association

Keeping paper genealogy up to date has proven to be a cumbersome and laborious operation over the years, so some members of the family have registered their descendants in the Sukujutut information system since 2008.

Below is an example of the Sukujutut program’s center display screen for a family: grandparents, father, mother, children, and children of one child (Adolf).

The registration of paper genealogical studies has progressed as follows: In 2008, Heikki Ellilä acquired a license for the Sukujutut Program for his own use. As of February 2020, he has registered about 1,800 people.
Initially, the data of the Family Association’s paper family report 1963 and its supplements were recorded, and later the results of a campaign published on the ELLILÄ UNITED facebook website.

It should be noted, however, that the family tree still lacks a significant proportion of roots and branches both domestically and abroad. Due to the limited resources of the family association, it does not make sense to order genealogical studies from the denominations that provide them, but to be content with the initiative and activity of people belonging to the family in disclosing their family information.

At the end of 2019, the family association acquired its own license for the Sukujutut program and the above-mentioned information has been copied to its data. In the future, the information will be supplemented, added and corrected by the secretary of the board of the family association.

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