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Home: Surnames: Pakkala Family Genealogy Forum

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Matti Pakkala 1842-1916
Posted by: Andrew Rasanen Date: November 04, 2000 at 21:46:51
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I am a grandson of Leena Nisula Laasanen (1886-1926) whose maiden name Nisula was originally Pakkala. My understanding is that Leena's father Matti Nisula (1842-1916), my great-grandfather, assumed the last name Nisula when he moved to a section of Toholampi, Finland, called Nisula. Before that, he lived in Veteli and his family name was Pakkala. The last name Pakkala is said to indicate that the farm where he lived was subject to frost which killed many of the crops. I don't know Finnish, but my dictionary says the word for frost is "pakkanen." Matti Pakkala/Nisula died in Gardner, Mass. I would like to know: (1) Is it legitimate to conclude that "pakkanen" could be shortened to "pakka" and be joined with the suffix "la" meaning "place of" to result in "pakkala" meaning "frosty place"? (2) Why would both names, Pakkala and Nisula, be current in the U.S.? Matti's 1916 death certificate lists his name as "Matti N. Pakkala" (N. for Nisula?) and his wife's obituary lists her as "Mrs. Maria Pakkala," yet their children used the surname Nisula. I know family names were fluid and residents of western Finland often took their family names from place names, so the names might change when they moved. But why would the older name still be used as a surname when a new one had presumably been adopted? (3) I would like to know more about the location in Veteli known as Pakkala. Thank you. Andrew Rasanen


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