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Theme: memories and history

What better way to record family history and bring it to the present day than through images and texts. Black-and-white photographs depict past life, and the related stories enhance knowledge of one’s own history and life in the past. Coats of arms and important buildings pass on great stories and personal histories for future generations.

History and family sagas

Sender Mirkka Törnwall, photographer unknown press photographer.
Memories and anniversaries

Glider pilot

This personalised stamp was issued to mark the 81st birthday of Lahja Törnwall (née Saari). Lahja is pictured at the controls of a Grunau Baby sailplane in 1944. Lahja Saari was the third woman in Finland to qualify as a glider pilot.

The photo is from a magazine article about gliding. Grunau Babys were manufactured in the late 1930s, and a total of about 6,000 aircraft were built. Most Finnish glider pilots were trained on this type of aircraft in 1930–1940.

Sender Arja Malkamäki, photographer Hanna Malkamäki.

Wood anemones

The sender is four or five years old in the photo, which was taken about 70 years ago. A field of wood anemones inspired her to pick some flowers for a beautiful bouquet as she was on her way to collect some milk with her mother. Luckily, they had also brought a camera along. The sender says that the photo is one of her best-loved mementos from her childhood, and she can still remember the moment like it was yesterday. The mother would be given wood anemones on Mother’s Day every year, and some were also sent to her godmother in Southern Ostrobothnia. On the Mother’s Day after the godmother’s death, it was the godfather who received the flowers.

Sender Helena Puustinen, photographer unknown.

Personalised stamps for special occasions

Personalised stamps have been an important part of various occasions for this family. A personalised stamp was commissioned from a photo of Keijo Lindén in the Navy as a present for his 80th birthday. The birthday party was held in Vienna. Some postcards were bought there and then used as thank-you cards, sent in Finland with Keijo’s stamp on them. People admired the stamps, and some even thought they were Austrian stamps featuring a member of the royal family. Everyone thought it was hilarious when they found out the truth!

Sender Helena Puustinen, photographer Jorma Alén.

Memory from baptism day

The picture was taken in 1956, Kaarina Lindén is holding her goddaughter Helena at her christening. Kaarina was given this personalised stamp as a gift. She ran out of her stamps quickly, and she was later given another personalised stamp as a gift, featuring her as a 20-year-old beauty. Personalised stamps have created a lot of funny situations and memories for the family.

Sender Heidi Nummila and Maarit Nummila, photographer Someron valokuvaamo.

Twin girls birthdaystamps

Twin sisters Maarit and Marianne, née Allén, celebrated their 70th birthday a few years ago. A personalised stamp was commissioned for the invitation cards, featuring the twins on their second birthday. The childhood images of the twin girls intertwined nicely into the present day.

Sender Heidi Nummila and Maarit Nummila, photographed at home in Koski.

Happy girls with a rocking chair

Photo of Maarit and Marianne with a rocking chair, taken at home, was selected for the twin girls 70th birthday thank-you card stamps.

Sender Aimo Viitiö.

Carrying mail on former time

This personalised stamp features the post office clerk and postman Aukusti Näntö in the late 1950s/early 1960s. The post office operated from Näntö’s home, and Aukusti ran it with his wife Elma, née Viitiö. Aukusti Näntö, who is remembered as a conscientious postman, would have been 100 in 2005. Näntö’s descendants wanted to mark the occasion with a personalised stamp.

Mail distribution was different in Näntö’s days. Mail was delivered by bicycle in summer, and the lake along the route was crossed by rowing boat. In winter, the postman made the journey on skis or a kick sled or, in the worst conditions, by foot. The post office was closed in the 1970s when Näntös retired.

Sender Christina Rappe.
Stories by buildings and objects

Family coat of arms

There is an interesting story behind the von Kayser coat of arms. Julius Kayser, the great-grandfather of the sender’s spouse, Matti Keisalo, was born in 1834. Kayser attended secondary school in Tallinn and went on to study medicine in St Petersburg, graduating in 1861. Alexander II of Russia gave Julius Kayser and his wife and children a hereditary peerage on 13 August 1880. There is a patent of nobility signed by Alexander II. Julius Adolph von Kayser died in St Petersburg on 19 April 1897.

Sender Tiina Meriläinen, photographer Ilkka Kukkonen.

Personalised stamp for family association

This personalised stamp was commissioned for the members of the family association Väätäjän Karjalaiset ry (now Oulujärven seudun Karjalaiset ry). The family estate, Väätäjä, has been inhabited since the 1530s, when the first Karjalainens settled on the shores of Lake Oulujärvi. Väätäjä is located on the northern shore of Lake Oulujärvi in the municipality of Vaala. In the 19th century, the livelihood came from fishing, hunting, burning tar, raising livestock and cultivating land.

A windmill was built on the shore of Lake Väätäjä in the 19th century. A story about the builder of the mill has been passed down the generations. After the construction work was completed, the master miller was invited for dinner in the house. The mistress served him gruel but the miller threw the bowl onto the floor saying he couldn’t possibly eat it. He was asked what he fancied, and he said he would prefer burbot roe and liver. The men of the house had caught burbot so the master got to enjoy the meal he wanted, with salt and pepper. The master miller savoured the food, eating it with his fingers. He finished by saying that the dinner was very suitable for a master miller.

The original mill has disintegrated, but a mill built elsewhere by the same master miller has been moved to the location. The mill was repaired by the family association in 2007.

Sender Tapio Lastikka.

A building with a history

The building in the picture contains not only family history but also Finnish history. The log house, located in an area listed by the Finnish Heritage Agency, was built in 1907 and has been the sender’s home for 25 years. Secrets of the house were revealed under the floorboards during extensive repairs: two large bundles of Kansanvaltuuskunnan Tiedonantaja magazines with address labels. The magazines, published by the Reds, were dated 8 April 1918. Gabriel Riigoin, the first postmaster of the city of Lahti had lived in the building. He had had to flee after the Reds took over Lahti in 1918. The Reds appointed postman Kalle Syvänne as the new postmaster.

Sender Tapio Lastikka

Tiled stove

The Anttilanmäki house originally had three tiled stoves. One of the personalised stamps depicts the house’s only remaining, beautiful brown tile stove, which is also fully operational. 

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