I have been involved with DNA genealogy for a while. Working on White Sea Karelia DNA project I discovered that several DNA- tested individuals from Laitasaari proved to be DNA-related to one individual in Viena (White Sea Karelia). One of the tested is a man from the Pelo family. I contacted June Pelo, contact person of the test and she e-mailed me that her family comes from the Keränen farm in Laitasaari and one of the forefathers is a man by the name Lauri Keränen. June authorized me to write about her family and roots in Laitasaari. Lauri Keränen is the very man who is seen as an inhabitant of Laitasaari in 1548 ”näbbeskattsmör” taxpayers’ list (old tax collected by Church in the olden times of the Swedish rule). Had there been no DNA-tests this connection might have remained in the dark.
June Pelo lives in America and according to her Lauri Keränen had a son Heikki (b. around 1560 in Laitasaari Keränen). Heikki Keränen moved from Laitasaari to the Sippola village in Salo now known by the name Rantsila. Heikki was there the owner of Hotakainen farm in 1594-1620. Heikki took over the Pekka Hotakainen farm which had been destroyed by the Russians in 1592. The farm got the name Keränen from its new owner. It is also possible that he was the son-in-law so obviously some daughters survived the destruction.
Heikki Keränen had a son Martti Keränen. There are several versions of his age in different sources. Supposedly he was born around 1590 (or 1581, according to military scrolls) in Laitasaari. Martti was the farmer of Sippola Keränen from the year 1619 onwards. Martti is known to have used the surnames Mämmi and Pelo as well and he died 21.2.1674. Besides Sippola Keränen farm, also Mämmi farm in the same village was in his possession (hence surname Mämmi) and so was Pelo farm in Alaveteli (hence the surname Pelo). The distance between the two farms by the river Siikajoki is about 5 kilometers and the farms lay some 10 kilometres south of Rantsila. Martti moved to the Pelo farm in the 1650s. The Keränen farm in Rantsila may have been passed on to his three children.
Martti had altogether 12 children: son Olli Pelo (b.around 1620 Sippola, d.1686 Alaveteli), daughter Marketta, son Martti. These three inhabit the Keränen farm in 1681. Son Pekka (in Kokkola), daughters Elsa, Riitta, Anna, son Matti Pelo or Mämmi, daughter Dordi Pelo and sons Elias Keränen, Antti Keränen and Samuli Keränen.
When father Martti moves to Pelo in 1650 he is 60 years of age and has 12 adult children. The Pelo farm has been one of the largest in Alaveteli and was situated east of the River Vetelijoki, about a kilometre north of Alaveteli church.
What a story, what a discovery! Thanks to DNA testing a descendant of Lauri Keränen from the year 1548, just happened to be found in America! Indeed, a long way off have the offspring of this old Laitasaari family travelled!
– Sari Heimonen –
– Laura Salonen (translation) –