Ear: Aila

"I found an old letter sent from America to my mother, Helvi Karppinen (nee Karjalainen), in Finland, to the town of Oulu, in December 1958." Aila Lavin of Bolton, England, wrote. "The letter was written in Finnish by John K. Jackson, whose address was shown on the letter as 369 W. Niagara Ave., Astoria, Oregon.

"In the letter that I referred to, John mentions my mother's beautiful, ornate hand-writing. So my mother must have written to him sometimes."

"My mother's family lived in a small Finnish village called Kuusamo, which is not far from the Russian border," she explained. "John K. Jackson will have been born there, or in a village in that area.

"I believe John Jackson was my mother's uncle, who had changed his name after emigrating to the U.S. In the letter, John asks for information about relatives, and he mentions that his second wife is called Olga." If Jackson is, indeed, her great-uncle, his last name would have been Karjalainen before he changed it.

"My grandfather was Matti Roopert Karjalainen (born in 1884, and died 1936 or 1937)," Aila noted. "Matti, as far as I can remember things I heard as a child, is the brother of John K. Jackson." On the back of the photo of Matti, shown, it says "sister and brother in America." 

"I wonder if you could publish this information in your paper," she added, "and call for potential distant relatives to contact me. I am just curious to know if I have relations out there."

If you think you're related to Aila, you can email her at ailalavin@yahoo.co.uk

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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