PIIRA - PIIRAINEN - PIIROINEN - PIIRONEN - PIIRANEN

History of Eskil Piira, his family and the Eskil Piira Association

This document is based on the summary made by Jorma Piirainen for the general assebly of the Eskil Piira Association in 1997 and presentation made for the Kuhmo District Society meeting on 17. February 2001. The document has been updated on 1. October 2008 and 31. July 2011.
Translation by Päivi Louvel.

The Family of Eskil Piira

The decendents of Eskil carry names such as Piirainen, Piiroinen, Piironen, Piira and many others through marriages. The founding father, Eskil Laurinpoika (Lauris son) Piira was born in Pudasjärvi around 1610-1620 and died in January 1696 in Kuhmo. He was a settler, who requested and was granted legal proprietorship for the Kiekinniemi farm in Lammasperä, Kuhmo (Piiraala 1), for the land he had cleared, (Sotkamo parish at the time). His spouse Marketta Parkitar from 1630 - 1645 (born ? deceaced?) was widowed and lived at least until 1698-1670, according to the local communion books.

Eskil and his sons developed into quite a powerful family in the late 1600s at Lammasperä in Kuhmo. Eskil was an important taxpayer and he even had his own soldiers in his household. Land was cleared by burning the forest and trade was prospering. The salt trade with Russian Carelia (Viena), which had probably been learned from their father Lauri in Tyräjärvi, Taivalkoski, brought prosperity into the household. At the time, a cartload of salt was more valuable than a cartload of gold!

There are still individuals living in Tyräjärvi, Taivalkoski, who have seen with their own eyes the remains of the base of the salt shed that was called the Piira salt shed.

According to unconfirmed information, Lauri Piira (born around 1590) had at least three sons, Bertil, Lars and Eskil. Bertil stayed on the farm in Pudasjärvi, but Eskil moved to Kuhmo. Lars fled to Russia to avoid recruitment into military.

It is worth noticing that Tyräjärvi is located at the northmost branch of the Kemijoki river whereas Kiekinniemi is further south on the same river. You can reach Gulf of Bothnia (Pohjanlahti) from Tyräjärvi by Iijoki River and from Kuhmo by Oulunjoki River.

Even older information reveils that the lands of Solovetski Monastry would have been taken from the children of five Carelian families, one of whom was Piira. There is a note regarding Ewgen Piira in the village of Tsuba on the Carelian coast. Ewgen was according to this information the founding father of the Piira family. There still remains a lot to be studied and researched!

Eskils children 1. Matti, born in 1640-50, deceaced in 1711-27, freeholder (farm owner) Piiraala in Kiekki, at least 6 children
2. Paavo, born in 1641-51, deceaced before 1728, Lammasperä 12, in Piiraala, at least 7 children
3. Esko, born in 1642-52, deceaced in September 1685, Piiraala in Lammasperä, two children, both daughters
4. Tapani, born in 1643-53, still living in 1683-1710, no own children but foster parent to Eskos daughters
5. Heikki, born in 1644-54, deceaced during the Period of Great Hate (1713-21), no longer living in 1723, had the Piiraala in Kiekki after Matti, at least 7 children.
6. Juuso, born in 1645-55, deceaced on the 2. November 1732, Piiraala 1 in Lammasperä, was buried at church, at least 8 children

It is possible that there were other daughters, who were married prior to 1683 (oldest communion book available). All six sons of Eskil lived in a single large household at the Piiraala in Kiekki (Lammasperä Village) until 1688. Paavo moved then into his own 1/8 crown farm, which was called Piiraala, Lammasperä 12, since 1728. In 1699 the Piiraala in Kiekki was split into 1/8 crown farm for Juuso and a shared 1/8 crown farm for Matti, Tapani and Heikki (Piiraala, Lammasperä 1). The heirs of Matti and Heikki lived in Piiraala, Lammasperä 1, until 1730 after which it was given to Juusos decendents. Juuso and his sons were clearing additional land in Piiraala and populated Kuvaja and Ikola farms in Lammasperä. Juusos son Juuso was also cultivating Kärnalä in Lammasperä in 1729 whereas Juusos eldest son was cultivating the Kettula farm.

One can therefore claim that about 70 years after the arrival of Eskil Piira, his family had a significant part of the lands under them in Lammasperä village. This dominance continued for a long time. In the 1820s a quarter of the inhabitants were Piirainen and they had more than half of the village land under their ownership. The Piirainen family spread to other villages and even outside of the boarders of Kuhmo. Kiekinniemi is, however, the farm that has been longest under the rule of one single family (1651-1855).

We must also add that loosing ones house and land could happen quickly for the owners of the crown farms. As an example we can mention Piiraala in Kiekki. In the beginning of 1832 Mikko Piirainen was the owner, but already the following year in March he was going around begging. His house was for sale on auction. The family kept the ownership of the farm until 1855. The Mouruvuodet (several consecutive years of poor harvest left the stomachs growling, growling = mouruta) were equally very hard on all the people of Kuhmo, on the Piirainens as well on chaplain J. G. Högmann.

The sons of Eskils eldest son, Matti and later Paavo, moved to Kuvajala in Katerma (later Piiraala in Katerma) in 1713. Form there on the descendents moved to Korhola in Ala-Sotkamo in 1803. The second son, Paavo lived in Piiraala in Kiekki, but moved later on to his brothers household in Katerma. This was very likely during the Period of Lesser Hate (1739-1740), since Piiraala in Kiekki was badly destroyed. The third son, Esko had two daughters from his marriage and they were later taken care of by Tapani. The fourth son Tapani did not produce offsprings, but he fostered Eskos daughters. Older daughter Marketta was married to Matti Mikkonen from Piippola in Lentua Village. The descendents of the fifth son, Heikki, moved to Jonkere in Nurmes around 1750. Sixth son, Juuso and his sons destinies are tightly knit with the settlement of the Lammasperä village. At least the farms Piirala in Kiekki, Piiraala number 12 in Lammasperä, Kuvajala in Lammasperä as well as Kärnälä, Kettula and Kesseli in Lammasperä belonged to Juuso and his sons.

GENAELOGICAL RESEARCH

The foundation of the genealogical research has been the studies made by Kirsti Peuramo and Marjatta Liinaharja in 1977-82.

Three volumes of the genealogical research have been published. Volume I covers the decendents of the two eldest sons, Matti and Paavo, until the beginning of the 1800s. The author is Riitta Kekki and the volume was published in 1986.
Volume II covers the decendents of the younger brothers, Heikki and Tapani, until the beginning of the 1800s. The author is Esa Pokela and the volume was published in 1991.
Volume III is a continuation of the previous volumes and covers the decendents of Eskil Piira until 1855-1877. The author is Esa Pokela and the volume was published in 1993.

The above research covers about 2100 of Eskil Piiras descendents and spouses. All volumes have been sold out and reprints have not been planned. Nowadays the three volumes are available in electronic form and they have been updated. The material now covers 23 600 names. Data collection continues as family members send updates and we exchange information with other family associations. The 2001 family association assembly decided to follow the family branches from the side of mothers as well.

The family assembly decided in 2007 to publish a family book. The book was published in 2011 under the name Eskil Piiran jälkeläisiä, Piira-Piirainen-Piiroinen-Piira. The authors are Jorma Piirainen and Tuula Piirainen.

THE FAMILY ASSOCIATION

The Eskil Piira Family Association was founded in Lentiira, Kuhmo on 3. July 1983. The first chairman was Valdemar Piirainen and secretary was Matti Piirainen. Jorma Piirainen served as the chairman from 1987 until 2007. The chairman since 2007 has been Pekka Piironen.
Ahti Piirainen served as the secretary from 2001 until 2005 and Marja-Liisa Lampinen has thereafter had the post.

Past chairmen, vice chairmen and secretaries of the Eskil Piira Family Association:

Name Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary
Piirainen, Valdemar, Kuhmo 1983-1987
Piirainen, Jorma, Kuhmo 1987-2007 2007-
Piironen, Pekka, Kuopio 2007- 2005-2007
Piirainen, Annikki, Kuhmo 1983-1987
Piirainen, Veikko, Helsinki 1987-1993
(Hari) Lampinen, Marja-Liisa, Helsinki 1993-1997 ja 1999-2005 2005-
Piirainen, Matti, Kajaani 1983-1987
Piirainen, Raimo, Kuhmo 1987-2001
Piirainen, Ahti, Kajaani 2001-2005

According to the rules, the regular general assemblies of the association take place every second year (odd years). The assemblies are two day events. The first day is reserved for visiting sites that are important for the family. The second day is reserved for the family celebration and the formal meeting of the assembly.

The association was initially not registered in the registry of associations. The registration took place in 1997 and the association was named The Eskil Piira Sukuseura ry.
The family has a formal symbol (emblem) and it was approved by the general assembly in 1993. The symbol was registred in the registry of emblems of the Finnish Society of Emblems in 1994.
The symbol is available as a breast pin, a table flag or a flag to be used outside on the flag pole.
The activities of the Eskil Piira Family Association were published as a historical review of the previous 20 years in 1993.
This was done by Jorma Piirainen at the general assembly of the association.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER FAMILY ASSOCIATIONS

The families originating from Kuhmo have been cooperating since 2005. There have been meetings to present genealogical research that has been done. Seminars have been organised as well prework to map the original farms of the families originating from Kuhmo. Exchange of information from genealogical research has also take place between different associations. Common activities are agreed upon at meetings of councils for family associations.
The chairman of this council is Jorma Piirainen and vice chairman is Tauno Komulainen, both from Kuhmo.

Päivi Louvel in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland 14. August 2011

Contact info Chairman: puheenjohtaja@eskilpiira.fi, Vice chairman: sihteeri@eskilpiira.fi, Secretary: varapuheenjohtaja@eskilpiira.fi, Treasurer: rahastonhoitaja@eskilpiira.fi

Technical issues related to www-pages: webmaster@eskilpiira.fi.