Hi WikiTreers,

Welcome to a new installment of “Meet our Members.” It’s time to get to know another awesome member of our community: Meet Juha.

Juha Soini became a WikiTreer in September of 2017.  He is active in several of our Scandinavian projects and is Project Coordinator for the Finland Project.

What are some of the surnames you are researching?

Hereditary family names did not become common in Finland until late 1800’s and compulsory as late as 1920, with people using patronyms, farm names and soldier names that could change every generation. One of the earliest surnames in my family history is Stålnacke, a widely spread family from the mines in northern Sweden with many intermarriages to early mining families like Servio, Spett (van der Speet) and Thun whom I would love to be able to trace to Wallonia, France/Belgium or maybe The Netherlands as family legend says. There are also some burghers like Grape and Rechardt who are pre-1600 as well as preasts like Bonelius and Curtilius just to mention some pre-1700 family names.

What are some of the locations you are researching?

My family comes mainly from the border area between Sweden and Finland stretching both ways into the northern parts of each country. Sweden and Finland was one country (Sweden) until 1809 when the Swedes ceded Finland to the Russians. There were several parishes that were divided when the new border was drawn, making it hard to find where the records of those parishes were kept. The border area is widely Finnish speaking even today and intermarriages over the border are frequent making it a very interesting area genealogically.

When and how did you get interested in genealogy and family history?

My cousin invited me to join MyHeritage in August 2017 and as a (undiagnosed) asperger I dove right into the fascinating world of ancestors. I soon became discouraged by the obvious errors in the MH system and found WikiTree late September 2017. Here I started adding my ancestors one by one until I got swept away by Data Doctoring that led to work on an early Finnish family that originated from Sweden. The lovely leaders of project Sweden then helped me start project Finland and helping people sort out their Finnish family brick walls led to me finding mentoring as another rewarding way of helping people. Needless to say I haven’t done much on my own family lately.

Who’s your favorite ancestor and why?

My great grandfather left his wife and my unborn paternal grandmother to find work in northern Norway and was never heard of again. I was able to trace him as far as US immigration in Ellis Island. The uncertain path then leads to salmon fishing in Alaska and the death as a possibly homeless person in Seattle. I have always loved a good mystery and would like to find confirmation or corrections to my research. 

Tell us about a brick wall you were able to break down or one you hope to bust through.

I would love to see extensions to the German, Dutch and Belgian ancestors I have.

What brought you to WikiTree? (In other words, how did you find us?)

In my early search for sources to MyHeritage I got more and more hits in WikiTree and seeing the quality of those profiles decided this would be my genealogical home.  

What is your favorite thing about WikiTree, or which feature(s) do you like the most?

Collaboration. Definitely all the helpful members.

If you could improve one thing about WikiTree, what would it be?

A multilingual interface. There are lots of good genealogists who don’t speak or understand enough English.

What is an example of how WikiTree has helped you with your genealogy or how you’ve helped genealogy with WikiTree?

All the pages with genealogical resources pointing to where to look next. I have added to the resource pages with Finnish online resources.  

Any tips for someone just starting out on WikiTree?

Start with your own family adding profiles manually to get a feel of how WikiTree works. Make sure to check if your ancestor is on WT already and don’t forget to check out all the great how to and help pages.


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  One Response to “Meet our Members: Juha Soini”

  1. I trying to recall my family roots or restore them for my interest and to find out if I have any missing relatives or cousins I have never met before Ana Fran. Jenavive was here real name Jennie c e l e s n i k who was married to Antonio Watson

    Anna Fran Was sisters with Johanna fran hodnik

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