Anders Snabb — A distant cousin in Finland

This is the story of my cousin 3x removed who was a member of the White Guard in Finland. And what happened after his death to his family.

Anders Johan Andersson Snabb

First, I should explain what the White Guard is.

According to Wikipedia:

The White Guard (Finnish: Suojeluskunta, plural: Suojeluskunnat, Finland-Swedish: Skyddskår, literary translated as Protection/Defense Corps) was a voluntary militia that emerged victorious over the socialist Red Guard as part of the Whites in the Finnish Civil War of 1918. The Finnish term Suojeluskunta has received many different approximations in English, including the literal translation Protection Corps, Security Guard, Civic Guards, National Guard, White Militia, Defence Corps, Protection Guard, and Protection Militia. They were generally known as the White Guard in the West due to their opposition to the communist Red Guards.

This is a story I received from a distant cousin, Mona Britwin.

He had already lost his older brother in a drowning accident, while he was fishing with his father, and his half-sisters had married into other families. Jossas Anders did inherit the whole Snabb home and accompanying lands. That was a lot of land in Björköby at that time.

Jossas Anders — passport photo:

snabbanders1918

Family Home, built by his Father in 1909, photo from about 1915.

snabbandersonfamilyhome

The family was patriotic which means Jossas Anders was in the “White guard” and in the Finnish civil war fighting for the “whites” against the “reds”.

I don’t have the date that he joined, but by the age of 26, he had died in the battle in Vaskivesi, Finland in October 1918. Leaving behind a wife and 2 children. Sadly, the following year (1919) both his children died of scarlet fever, leaving their Mother and Grandmother alone in the family home.

But with a big home and lands came many responsibilities. Jossas Cajs (his Mother) took over all duties inside the house and Lina (his wife) took over all the men’s work, such as plowing the fields and growing potatoes.

The size of the fishing grounds you owned were proportional to how much land you owned. The landowner was supposed to go fishing with other landowners and then split the fish equally. Jossas Lina was now forced to go with the men on long fishing trips a long way out from our home island, quite a hard life.

There is a photo where she is with five other fishermen in August 1924.

snabblinafishwoman

Despite losing a husband/son to the War, Lina and Cajs continued to be patriotic and sided with the “white” side, even giving the white guard a part of their land to practice shooting.

Folklore Museum

In Björköby, there is a Folklore Museum and there are a couple of photos as well as uniforms that were apparently worn by Anders. According to the story, you can see the bullet hole where he was shot and killed. The others in the photos are his wife and children.

snabbuniform

snabbmusuemwall

Lastly, is the Monument for the Soldiers and also the family headstone. Both are located in the cemetery in Replot.

militaryheadstone

snabbheadstone

My Dad . . .

as most of you all know, my Dad passed away on March 26, 2015. I did a memorial for him on findagrave which is:

Walter N. Rutledge

When I need to, I go there and have that connection to him.

****

I have written and re-written this several times as I had the need for it to be perfect, but you know after several attempts, rewrites, tears and more, I have come to a conclusion — it does not need to be perfect, it needs to be my memories, my feelings about my Dad and nothing else. If people don’t read or comment, or anything, it is my release of my feelings for the man I love (I can put loved because I still love him).

Things that I remember.

My Dad was a truck driver — driving the big rigs as they say. There were times that we did not see him because he was doing a long haul but most of his work was in the Lower Mainland, so he left for work in the morning, just before we left for school and then was home for dinner.

Breakfast for my Dad for years was always the same: Frosted Flakes during the week and eggs and bacon and toast on the weekends. Oh, and coffee but though I don’t think all too common for men of his age, he liked a glass of milk.

Dinners in our house, when I look back could be funny. You see, he taught us that what was on your plate, you eat. Your Mother worked hard cooking that meal, you eat it. Well, kids being kids, we didn’t always want to eat what was on the plate — so that would bring out the bell! My Dad would set the clock on the stove for so many minutes and you had better have eaten. And if all 3 of us were still at the table — no talking!!!!!

So, we would make signs — like a ticking clock — tick tick tick then the bell ringing and getting in trouble for not eating. But you know, I don’t think we ever really got in trouble. Mad, sent to our room but nothing really serious.

My Dad use to bring home the most interesting things. Comic books with half the front cover gone was one of them. Apparently, back in those days, when comics were being returned because they had not been sold, half of the front cover would be cut off, so they could not be sold in other places. But somehow, my Dad was always able to get us some.

Another memory is when my Dad worked for a bar in New Westminster. It was called the Eagles Club, just up from Columbia on 4th, I think.

When on a Saturday, after my parents had been shopping or something, sometimes, my Dad would stop at work and take my Mom in for a drink. We 3 kids would have something to play with in the car and Dad would bring out pop and these little sandwiches — I think they were called Cubans but they were so good. I have never found anything that tastes like it now.

Today, you would be in major trouble for leaving your 3 kids in a car, in an alley behind a bar. But we were looked after and never had any problems.

Camping — Dad loved to camp and fish. And he would work all day, while my Mom loaded up the camper. Depending on where we were going, we would either leave right after he got home from work or leave early the next morning. And my poor Dad — if there was one thing that bothered him about camping — it was the driving because at least once or twice or three times or more — he had to help deal with the fact that either Gaile or I would get car sick. Sometimes, we managed to get to a spot where he could pull over and we raced out to get sick at the side of the road but most times, we had paper bags that we used, unless you count the time that I threw up on Gaile’s head (sorry about that sis) and it was something that Ron never forgave me for. While my Mom would deal with us, my Dad would have to clean out the car — something that I know he didn’t enjoy but did.

Then he would loaded his sick girl or girls, his son (who never got sick) and wife back in the car and on the way. And this would be after a day of work or early in the morning.

Our favorite place was owned by people he had known most of his life — The Stockdales — they had a campsite just past Daisy Lake. We camped there every summer for years — weekends and then sometimes 2 weeks if Dad got holidays. We had a tent camper that was parked at the beginning of summer and left til as late in the fall as possible.

There were times when Dad would leave us up there and go home and work for the week and come back on Fridays. I think he missed being up there with us.

He taught us how to fish up there, cooked the best breakfasts over an open fire, made the best campfires where we would sit til late at night laughing, talking and roasting marshmallow with the Stockdales, their family and other campers.

I wish that it hadn’t been developed like I have heard it has, it would have been the perfect place for his ashes.

But before crying and wishing it was so, here is another story about Dad and Charlie Banana — the not so wild Chipmunk.

We were always feeding the squirrels and chipmunks at the campsite or out in the woods. Well, there was this one little Chipmunk that seemed to stay with us for the entire summer. We named him Charlie Banana. He loved his peanuts.

When I was out with Mom this past weekend, she reminded me of a story about him and Dad. It seems that Dad would make him work for his peanuts by hiding them in his pockets. It seems that there was this one time that Dad forgot about the peanut in his shirt pocket and was standing there and Charlie decided he wanted the peanut that was hidden — problem was he ran up Dad’s leg — which at this time, he was wearing shorts!!!! Ouch!!!! As Charlie ran up his leg!!!

And then there was the time that we ran out of peanuts . . . . . .

But this post is getting long and I need to get to work, so that will have to wait for now.

Hopefully, finishing this post, I will be able to get back to things here, that the grief will not last forever but will become happy memories of him instead.

The Year 2014

has been an interesting, fun, sad and ever changing one. As the year comes to an end, I look at the stats and wonder — who really cares?

statsdec2014

This has been a trying year with deaths, births, engagements and many other changes.

I met (through email) new family members that have given me information and photos of family that I will never met or see or travel to.

I lost several family members this year and when a branch breaks, it is hard to except.

I got new relatives that I don’t see and older relatives I don’t see.

I was looking at the binders of information, photos, etc and I have to wonder why I do this anymore. What will happen to it all when I am gone. It is not something that Nancie is interested in and I don’t know of any family members (younger generation) that would be interested in getting these binders and caring on the research on either side of my family — English or Swed/Fin sides.

So my New Years Resolution will be to decided — continue on or to shred the information and find something else to keep me busy.

Happy New Year!!!

The Search for

a Great-Grandfather’s burial/headstone in Finland.

For me, a life in my Family Tree really isn’t complete if I don’t have the complete life — from birth til death and all the things in between.

And so, the search to confirm where my Great Grandfather, Johannes Johansson Snabb was buried began many, many years ago.

I had several things: a couple of photos, a few stories but what I did not have was confirmation of death and burial. My Aunt had said that they had never left his home town of Björköby, Finland, so I had hoped to find the information somewhere on a Finland Historical Site, but while there were only photos of my Great-Grandmother and other family members, including his parents and others in the Snabb/Forsman Line that are buried in the Björkö Cemetery, but no photo for him or his 2nd wife.

I had a complete records of my Great-Grandmother and all of their children, including my Grandma, Edit Amanda Snabb, here in Canada along with her sisters in the USA and her brother, who died in Australia. Their memorials had a photo of their final resting place.

I decided to try a facebook group I belong to and ask there if anyone was located near or knew of anyone that would be able to see if he was truly buried there and if he had a headstone.

The facebook group is part of Swedish-Finn Historical Society in Seattle, Washington. I had learned about them years and years ago. In fact, it was a member of the group, Hasse Nygård who originally got me in touch with my family still in Finland. He lives in Finland and runs a wonderful site with a huge database called TALKO.

On September 30th, I posted asking if there was anyone that knew where I could find a burial list or anything that would confirm his burial, and possibly get me a photo of his headstone. Well, there were many suggestions given and finally, one of the women, Syrene Forsman (sadly no relation) asked me to send his name and information to her at the SFHS office and she would see what she could find. She said she was stubborn and like to find things out.

First, a Per-Erik Berglund answered an inquiry that Syrene had left on a message board, but after emailing him, he sadly could not help, but gave me links to a website. Unfortunately, I had tried this website before and it was there that my Great-Grandmother as well as my Great-Great Grandmother had been photographed and posted.

I was then given an email for Torbjörn Nikus, who was actually the photographer of the other headstone photos. He lived about 250 kms away from the cemetery and would not be able to go back to see if it was possible that the headstone had been missed. He also said that there was a possibility that if he had only had a wooden cross or there was no one looking after his plot, that there might not be anything there to be photographed. That was a sad thought.

But what I didn’t know at the time, Per-Erik had forwarded my email to another person, someone that was living in the the town of Björköby, and her email would contain several surprises.

On October 21, I received an email that started out:

My name is Mona Britwin and I live i Björköby in Finland. I heard from Per-Erik Berglund in Bergö that you would like to know more about your ancester Johannes Johansson Snabb from Björkö.

It seems that her Mom kept track of people from the “village” over the years, and while the first part I knew she had a lot of information that I didn’t know, like my Great-Grandfather was a “Garvaren” which means ” garvare means tanner, he was tanning skins when he wasn´t fishing”. She was also wondering which of his children I was related to, and how.

She also sent me this:

It is my Great Grandfather’s house still standing although vacant. What I wouldn’t do to have the money to buy it and move there.

So, I emailed her back, explaining my relationship to him, along with a link to my website (see link on side). And then I waited. I was hoping that it would not be like many other times, I email, they email me, ask questions that I answer and then I never hear from them again. But then it came!!

She apologized for not getting back to me sooner but she works all week and she apologized for her poor English but I understood everything and it just makes me want to learn more how to speak the language (on bucket list for 2015). She explained how they had different names than what I had listed or at least they were called different names than the names I had for them.

She also told me how we are distantly related. If I have it right, it is through my 5th Great Uncle, Anders Mickelsson Snabb. This is wonderful as I do not have anything on this line for him. Or at least, I don’t have anything on my site, but must check my papers.

And right after this email came her 2nd email and IT WAS A PHOTO OF THE HEADSTONE!!!! For both my Great-Grandfather and his 2nd Wife!!!. And it isn’t a little cross but a very large headstone. I got to complete his memorial!!!

Great Grandfather Memorial

As Syrene said “One simply has to ask!”

Oh and Mona has asked me for help with a relative of hers, and if all goes as planned, I will be able to give her information in a week or so.

I love Genealogy and finding family!!!

Lost Cemeteries . . . .

Almost all my life, I have heard that New Westminster High School was buried close to or over a cemetery. Then about 10 years ago, the story started coming out more as they were talking about having to replace the now aging school. It is closing in on 10 years of talks, and just recently it was in the paper how there should be an “archaeological dig” as it is the only way to determine the exactly where bodies are buried.

I have always under the belief that the cemetery was in 1 corner of this property, but in reading more and more, there is not just 1 cemetery, but possibly 4 separate cemeteries between the years of 1860 to 1920 when they were all closed down. And they are in different areas of the school property, including but not limited to being under the teachers parking lot (a survey done in 2007 stated that there were areas “that could be graves”.

The information I am putting here is from various articles, reports, etc that I have read online. The scope of the entire thing to me will always remain the same — that the people buried within these cemeteries deserve to be remembered. Not one of the different pages, stories, documents I read had a list of who was buried there. Some of the people are just referred to as poor, prisoners and insane. One of the prisoners could be an Indian Chief that was hanged.

There are 3 active cemeteries in New Westminster: Fraser Cemetery (opened in 1869 or 1870) which run by City; right next to it is St. Peters Catholic Cemetery (run by the Archdiocese, opened in 1880) and then Schara Tzedeck- the Jewish Cemetery which was opened in the 1920s. Nothing seems to point to any of the people being re-interned in any of these cemeteries.

Now about the Lost Cemeteries:

Douglas Road Cemetery

This cemetery was also called the New Westminster Public Cemetery and was opened around 1859 on a 27 acre site. The entire area was used as a Cemetery for close to 60 years, finally closed in 1920. But sadly, the breakup of the cemetery started way back in about 1892, when the Crown ended up subdividing the southeast corner of the property in order to give the city of New West the entire east side.

Around 1908, when the southwest corner, which included the older of 2 Chinese cemeteries was filled up, they then opened the northwest corner for burials. The new City Works yard was then built in the southwest corner which, according to records was “ploughed and cleared”.

In 1920, the Douglas Road cemetery was closed (Northwest Section) and the area was used as barracks to house 1000 soldiers at a time while in training. They were built on top of the 4 acres that was originally used to bury the institutionalized; poor and incarcerated. They also use 2 acres of the new Chinese burial section. The estimate of buried in these cemeteries is said to be around 6,000 men, woman and children. The current High School is said to be on the western half of the cemetery, with the other sections taken up by the city and the East sections owned by private companies.

Sadly, no one will take the responsibility of either finding out or explaining what happened to all the people buried within these cemeteries. Officially, there is apparently there was only 1 coffin that has been uncovered and it is believed no other remains where unearthed or moved. But, according to rumours, this is not the case. What is said to have taken place is that there was a funeral director and his son who sat on the school board from 1908 to 1956 when a lot of the rebuilding took place including the building of the school in 1948. The talk is of workers who would pile bones up and then a Funeral Home would cart some off and others were piled into trucks and dumped somewhere.

To imagine that the City, Provincial and possibly Federal Governments are all involved in some sort of cover up is very sad. The northwest corner (Douglas), 6.5 acres, is suppose be designated the symbolic cemetery, to be a passive park but what exactly will they do, is not know.

I have never seen anything that lists the names of the Chinese cemeteries or the unnamed cemetery for the poor or institutionalized people that were buried there. How will all of them be remembered? They don’t seem to be listed anywhere. Or will a small park be the only way these people will be remembered.

There is a report about the area that shows the size and shape of the School area, along with where they believe the cemeteries are located. You can read about it here: Cemetery Site Information

What I found to be very interesting and had never heard about before was the story of an Indian Chef that has hanged in New Westminster and his body disappeared. Is it possible that he is one of the many forgotten souls buried in one of the cemeteries.

The following is from various articles done in 2008.

Is this resting place of Tsilhqot’in warrior Chief Ahan

or not?
Ahan was tried and convicted of murder for his part in a raid on a road-building crew near Bute Inlet. Twelve men were slaughtered in the raid and Ahan was hanged in New Westminster on July 18, 1865. Five other Tsilhqot’in men were hanged in Quesnel.

The attacks came after the Tsilhqot’in demanded payment from the roadbuilders who were using their land and were refused. It was when the roadbuilders took the women from the tribe and used them for their entertainment that was the last straw. War was declared.

When a government militia failed to turn up the war party, they sent messengers to the Tsilhqot’in seeking peace talks. But when they went, they were put in shackles.

The problem is now that there are no records of where he was buried. It is possible that Ahan was buried originally on the site of the jail where prisoners were hanged, but the Tsilhqot’in believe that Ahan was moved after his death, and that he may have then been buried buried on the grounds of the school.

According to Joe Alphonse, director of government services for the Tsilhqot’in National Government, “He is a hero to us and the province was ordered to find the remains of our people executed in the Chilcotin War and return them.”

There is a small chance that he is buried on the school grounds and they would like to have DNA testing done on any bones that are discovered in the grounds.

A historian hired by the school district was not able to locate Ahan’s final resting place. He did find that some remains were removed from the site of the old courthouse. But there is nothing that says who was removed or where the bodies were re-interned.

My final word:

While yes, there should be a new High School built, the people whose bodies were buried there need to be recognized and a memorial for all – the people buried in the Douglas Road Cemetery, then Chinese Cemeteries as well as the sections that were for the poor and institutionalized. Hopefully, everyone involved will be able to get together and remember the past while also build on the future with a school for children who could possibly be descendants of the people buried there.

The following is a picture of what is currently in the South West Corner of the property, which is where one of the Chinese Cemeteries is said to have been.

South West Corner

Religion in the Family Tree . .

Now anyone that knows me knows that I am not a religious person. I was not brought up with any type of religion, in fact the only times I have been in Church is for weddings and funerals.

There was a time, around Grade 5 when I joined a Church group with a friend of mine. It was at, I believe a small Anglican Church. The group was called the Explorers and we wore white shirts, with a red ribbon tie with a little pin and a skirt. I only went for about 6 month or so because I did not attend the Church and therefore couldn’t go any further. I know that my friends’ parents would have taken me with them (they had 5 kids so what would be 1 more) but my parents wouldn’t let me. Said that it would cost too much. So, the only memory I have of my one time with a Church is this little pin:

Small Pin

Small Pin

And that was the end of my religious interests as a child. I knew that other family members (cousins) went to Church, friends went and many others but just not us. So, it really wasn’t anything that I thought about, even after having a child. It was not something that seemed to be a part of my life.

But then I started doing the family tree and the more I researched, the more that I found out that I had family on both sides (Paternal and Maternal) that were involved, sometimes quite heavily, in various religions.

One of the first people that I learned about was my GG-Uncle Gustaf Vilhelm Rusén

Great Great Uncle

He was a Minister of a Church in Umas, Sweden which he helped to build and is buried in the cemetery next to the church.

This is a picture of him and his wife. You can see his outfit better in this picture.

Great Great Uncle2

And the Church:

Church

I one day hope to go there and attended a service and visit his memorial to place flowers.

End of Part One . . .

Sad deaths of Two Young Ladies

while working on the McCargar Branch of my family line, I found the burial location of some distant relatives, a 2nd cousin 4 times removed that are buried in an old Cemetery in New York — Groton Rural Cemetery. I entered the memorials, on findagrave.com, for the father, mother and several possible children from the burial index listed for the cemetery. Luckily, the list proved the plot numbers which gives a better chance of getting the photo requests filled for the pictures. Now photo requests can take awhile but luckily, these only took a few days.

Now the surprise was that on the top of the 2 daughters, Hester A “Hettie” McCargar and Mary E McCargar was that they died on the same day and it said “Killed at Tariffville on Jan 15, 1878″.

Now, I have seen were family members have died on the same date or within a week or so, but never listed as killed on the same day. I knew the chances of finding out how they were killed was small, but I thought I would give it a try. I googled “Tariffville 1878″. There were several links to the story, and a sad story it is.

The Story

On January 15th, 1878, 2 sisters, Mary and Hettie McCargar attended a revival meeting in Hartford, Connecticut to hear the popular Protestant evangelist Dwight Moody and singer and organist David Sankey. It is said that people would travel miles to hear his sermons and listen to the music.

When the meeting was over, the sisters, along with many other faithful, boarded the train at the Union Station heading home to northwest Hartford County, upper Litchfield County and New York state. The train left the station around 9:20pm and it was just a short time later around 10:15pm as the train was crossing Howe truss bridge that carried the railroad across the Farmington River that the accident happened.

The bridge reached the middle span and suddenly the bridge collapsed, sending the first part of the train down twenty feet to the dark, icy river below. I cannot imagine the terror of the people as the train fell on that cold January evening. Even though help arrived within the hour, 13 people including the McCargar sisters, died and 70 people were injured.

There was an inquiry about the wreck with the bridge builder blaming the railroad and the railroad blaming the bridge maker. In the end, Four jurors believed that the bridge was safe and that a derailment caused the accident.

In the end, the Railway company paid the families of those that died between $300 -$600 per person.

*****

For those that don’t know the McCargar family is part of the Beach Line. Many of the Beach Line married into the McCargar line. The Beach Family line then goes into the Dicks Line which marries into the Rutledge Line.

One of my Mystery Pictures . .

my Mom has many photos in her collections that come from Sweden, Finland as well as Canada, a lot of which do not have names or even an idea of which side of the family they come from. This is one of them.

Little Girl

She is such a cute little girl, I wish that I knew the name, the year or where she is from. She has almost a sad look on her face.

I have looked and tried to see some sort of family resemblance with other family. I think that with the blond hair she is from Sweden, as all the family from Finland had dark hair. The photo was in a set of photos my Mom had which is why I think she is either from Sweden or Finland not my English side. But then I could be wrong.

So I hope that this is a reminder that you should date and name photos, I know that I am trying with mine.

A Photo Story . . .

I am going to post a photo and with it, the history of the photo.

The first one will be from Sweden. And is called The Placing of Poles.

Placing Poles

My Mom had this picture and there was writing on the back of it but it had been glued in the photo album and alot was unreadable.. . With the help of my cousin, Christer & the museum in Åskilje, Västerbotten, Sweden, they were able to let me know the following:

The names from left to right:

Nils Johan Eriksson; Jan-Ersen; Halvar Byström; Johan-Olov Rusén; Karl Mattsson; Hjalmar Larsson; Artur Åström; Oskar Eriksson; Fredrik Fredriksson, Valdemar – Strömberg och Valdemar Jäger.

Valdemar Strömberg is work foreman

Christer even got the name of the horse, it´s “Mat-Jonk”. Mat means food so I guess he liked to eat. I´m not sure but I think Jonk is a nickname for some real name, but I don´t know which.

This was when they were placing Poles for electrical wires in 1923.

Johan-Olov Rusén is 2nd Great Uncle.

It is photos like this that make Family History come to life for me. I must have thousands of scanned photos.

Do you have an old family photo = English or Swedish or Finnish that you would like to share with me? I would love any I could get and stories behind them are even better.

It has been awhile but

being sick does that to you. You just let things go to the side, but I am finally feeling better and hope to get back to writing more as I have found more and more information about my family tree, especially the Beach side and several articles about my GG Grandfather, Walter Dicks.

My original post on Walter Dicks, is here – Sgt Walter Dicks

I haven’t gotten much more information on him, I did find a couple of articles that back up that he did work for the Ottawa Police Department and a little bit better photo of him close to the time he died.

Walter Dicks

Walter Dicks

And then there is an article Congratulating him on becoming a Sargeant – A Police Constable . .

I also found another article about his funeral and how he got Masonic Honours, flowers for the family, etc. It also talks about him being a police Sargeant – Late Walter Dicks

Now, you would think with all these articles, the picture of him in his uniform, etc that he would be the the Book called 100 Years of the Ottawa Police Department, right? Wrong!! The book is for sale on ebay and I asked the guy selling it if there was anything about him. He wrote back and said no, he was not listed in the index nor could he see his name in the section for that time frame. What a piss off!!!!

But at least I have the information and remember him as a wonderful man and what seems to be a great Police Officer as well.

Susan