My second great-grandmother Elisabeth lived somewhere in Finland’s Viipuri parish in the 19th century. As I research her family I want to pinpoint her residence. Church records for her family reveal that they lived in the Myllynen/Myllyin house. They adopted this house name as their surname when they abandoned Finland’s patronymic naming system.
So where do I find this house? The Viipuri parish records for the family also name its location, the village of Tervajärvi, or Tar Lake. Where is that? It turns out that I will encounter trouble identifying this place:
- Of course I go first to Google maps. There I received many hits for Tervajärvi, Finland. After sifting through the list, I find that none of these seems to be near Viipuri (which is now known as Vyborg, Russia).
- How about a search for Tervajärvi, Russia? There I get one result, in Russian Karelia some distance northeast of Vyborg. This is a possibility, but I do not know whether this Tervajärvi lies within the old Viipuri parish boundary. It seems the Finns used the same place names for many locations.
- Wikipedia has a list of rural municipalities in the old Viipuri province, but Tervajärvi did not make the list.
- What to do next? I remembered that my husband/tech advisor has already done quite a bit of research locating my ancestral places as he plans our upcoming trip to Finland. He has sent me at least 15 small maps showing many of these in the Viipuri area. I pull up his maps, but I cannot see Tervajärvi on any of them.
- A gazetteer for Finland or Russia might help, but I cannot find one online or in any of the local libraries. It seems like I am out of options.
- Then I remember another place I could try. The Denver Public Library (DPL) has some very detailed maps prepared by the CIA in the 1990′s. I quick look in the online DPL catalog tells me that they do have CIA maps for Finland and Russia. Perhaps my Tervajärvi will appear on one of those. I plan to visit DPL next week to find out.
In the meantime, if anyone knows the precise location of the Myllyin house in the village Tervajärvi near Viipuri/Vyborg, please let me know. My question remains, “Where did Grandma live?”