People of the County
Matti Ylioja (1887-1926) 
Chemung County NY
Date: 12/08/2000 10:15:51 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Bengt Ossfeldt)
To: JoyceTice

Hi Joyce,

With reference to mails last month, I would appreciate very much if you could post my message. Please find attached two files containing front and back of postcard dated February 7, 1914, Fitchburg, Mass.

Matti Ylioja, of Finnish birth, sent his photograph and address to his sister living in Sweden. Matti was my  grandmother's brother, or my father's uncle.

Could it possibly be the same Matti Ylioja (1887-1926) that is listed in the Lockwood Cemetery (Part Four) page at the Tri-Counties Genealogy & History Sites?

Can anyone give a hint? If you know about Matti Ylioja, or some other person of the Finnish community in the area, please wright to me.

Bengt Ossfeldt
Svartlosavag 250
e-mail: [email address updated 2009]

Township: Town of Chemung, Chemung County, NY
Matti Ylioja (1887-1926) 
Year: 1914
Photos Obtained from Bengt Ossfeldt of Sweden
Home Page
Chemung Township Page
Souvenir School Booklets
Subj: Thanks for info on Matti Ylioja, in 2000., 25.06.03
Date: 6/25/2003 5:17:20 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Arto Ylioja)
Reply-to: (Arto Ylioja)
To: JoyceTice

Hi,  Joyce!
Today four generations later the Ylioja family tree still exists in Australia! Best regards from the greatgrandchildren of Matti Ylioja in Brisbane!
Very truly ,
Arto Ylioja,
son of Johan Ensio Vilho Ylioja of Finland.

 Subj:  Matti Ylioja
Date:  08/27/2003 4:20:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Bengt.Ossfeldt)
Reply-to: (Bengt.Ossfeldt)
CC:    JoyceTice

Hi Arto,
CC: Joyce,

It is very exciting to hear that you represent the Ylioja family tree "down under" in Brisbane, Australia, as a descendant of Matti Ylioja. Can you verify that your great grandfather lived in USA in the 1920ies? I have found trace of another Matti who lived in Haapavesi, Lapland, Finland in the 17th century, but I don´t have his exact date of birth. At least I think these may be two persons with the same given name, and probably related.

Please note my new e-mail address:

Best regards,

Subj:  Re: Matti Ylioja, Thanks Bengt, 29.08.03
Date:  08/29/2003 8:50:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Arto Ylioja)
CC:    JoyceTice

Thanks  for  your  Contact  Bengt! Hälsningar  från  Arto  i  Australien!  Well, my  Swedish  is  a  bit  elementary, but it's  a  surprise  to receive  feedback  on  our familytree  all  the way to America....  As  you  mentioned, Bengt,  Matti Ylioja  in Haapavesi  is one  of  the  early  Great GrandFathers from  the  1700's  but  the  name  was repeated  in  the 1920's  from  my memory  of my  initial  family research  in  the  late 1970's  church archives back in Finland.  Apparently  a  fire  in the  Haapavesi Church Archives in  the  1700's  caused  all  earlier records  to  be  lost.....but  the  earliest  one from my memory  detailed  the  Family  starting  from a  Larger  Estate  as  workers  on  the land  and by  the  name  Wirtanen,  but  who  decided  to start  using  the  name  of the  property/cottage:  Yletoja, (meaning> Upper ditch= Översta Diken?) and  thereby  later  (in  something  like  1780) forming  it  into  Ylioja (Overditch) which  was  more  becoming  and  easier  to  write.  My  Father  still back in  Finland  remembers  the  story  of his grandfather  Matti,  who  helped  out  the  local police  with  an  escaping  shoplifter (who  was a rather  stocky built  fellow).  As  the  policeman was  giving  chace  to  the  robber  he  noticed Matti  on  the  porch  of  his  house  and  passing by shouted  to  him  "Hey,  Matti  hold  up  the rascal....."
To  which  Matti  responded   with  a  2 foot piece of  birch wood  and  gave  the  robber  a  real  hiding on  the  backside.....and  the  poor  fellow  was  ready to  be  relieved  by  being  taken  away  into custody by  the policeman.  If  we  find  the  original  exerpts  of  the  archives that  I  obtained  in  1979,  we  could  verify  the birthdates  etc.  of  Matti  Ylioja  and  piece them together, and  see  whether  they  align  with Matti Ylioja  in  USA.
My  Father  still  lives  in  Finland,  at  Nokia (next  to  Tampere)  and is  interested  in establishing the links  between  Ida  Oikari  and  Matti Ylioja as well as  his  own Father,  who  was  of  the travelling sort.....
Best  Regards,  Bengt,  Hälsningar  och  de bästa fortsättningar,  Arto/Artie.
 PS.  My  new  Address:

Subj:  Matti Ylioja continu
Date:  09/01/2003 9:04:39 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Bengt.Ossfeldt)
Reply-to: (Bengt.Ossfeldt)

Hi Arto,
I remember Grandma telling the background and interpretation of Ylioja, so we certainly have a connection there. I recently experienced that one have also spelled "Jyletoja", which happens to give a hit on Altavista showing a GPS map file with degrees North and East. This lead me to the Finnish library in Stockholm last week where a detailed map showed a village or estate named "Jyletojanpera" a few miles west of Pulkilla church. I visited the vicar's office there two months ago, without knowing how close I was....

Pulkilla is the parish just north of Haapavesi and I now have the family record of Erik (Erkki) Ylioja 1812-1881. His wife Anna Kaisa gave birth to nine children of which six died before age of 5. Their first boarn was Matts (Matti) 1851-1923 whose family then raised eight children, including Grandma Ida who moved to Sweden and Matti who went to America. The wife/mother was Maria 1858-1947 and last summer I found her grave at Oulainen west of Haapavesi. I think Matts had a taylor shop at the town of Oulainen (urbanisation started!).

Best regards,

MAY 2009
Research Report -

MATTI YLIOJA 1879 - 1926. This line among many other in the Altavista search results caught my eyes, and my heart jumped a little. Could this be my Finnish grandmother's brother who she had mentioned about when I was a boy, and whose postcard from America I had taken care of? The link led to a large genealogy site and a story starting in year 2000, spanning over the whole world, and that came to final conclusion spring 2009.

Joyce Tice of Tioga Co, PA, operates this genealogy site, and she was kind  publishing a copy of Matti's postcard as well as my message with a call for contacts via e-mail. This was around year 2000. A couple of years later a gentleman in Brisbane, Australia, had a search hit on the page, and answered my call. We soon clarified that we are second cousins, Arto Ylioja and I. Years of e-mail correspondence have passed since then. In 2006 I made the long journey to meet Arto, his wife Oivi and daughter Sara, in Brisbane, where we had talks on family history, and made day trips to famous places along the coast. We even had a webcam meeting with Arto's parents in Finland. Arto's father Johan is a young cousin of my father.

In October 2008 my wife and I were on a tourist trip by bus which took us from Boston to Niagara Falls and then NYC. I had localized Lockwood on the road map and followed closely when we passed not far from the place, a few miles east of Elmira. The decision was close at hand: I must go back and take time for visiting Matti's grave and finding more information about his person. New contacts with Joyce Tice gave new hints, and we worked out a plan for my visit this year, April 25 - May 1.

Joyce offered me substantial support during my visit. First she drove me to Lockwood where we soon found the grave in the beautiful small cemetery. The stone was there, shadowed by a lilac (syren in Swedish). I think the widow (see below) planted it with love and to remind of home. The day was concluded with lunch at Joyce's place and a tour through her private local museum. Very interesting for me.

The following days we visited libraries at Binghamton, Owego, and Elmira to check micro filmed newspapers from 1925 to see if there was an obituary or other note that could be referred to Matti Ylioja. Fascinating to read, but no hit. The definite answer was found with Chenango Town Clerk: Matti's death certificate. He died of tuberculosis August 28, 1925, at the sanatorium, only 38 years of age. The document names his parents in Finland, and his wife Hilja Roiha Ylioja, who we did not know of before. The funeral was held a few days later at Lockwood. Matti had worked as a farmer, workman or tenant, not registered as owner of property. I found Hilja's name in files at Owego Town Clerk Office, and she had moved to Brooklyn, NY. Joyce Tice found in 1930 census files that Hilja worked as servant for an old woman there.

In my possession is a hand-written letter in Finnish, dated at Oulainen, 1946. With this as the only clue I have in fact managed to trace another of my father's younger cousins in Finland, and to find graves of ancestors and relatives. I am not Finnish speaking, and Swedish or English don't always help, but body language is universal, and so is a friendly smile. This is however another fascinating story.

In a message dated 7/4/2009 1:50:07 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
Hi Joyce,

I just got a mail from a lady that has noticed my report on the Lockwood page. She lives in mid Finland not far from where Arto's
father lives.  She mentions names that I recall from graves in Finland which I have photos on. I have to look back at my notes and church book copies to understand clearly what she states on connection with Matti.

----Ursprungligt meddelande----
Datum: 2009-08-27 11:20
Till: <>
Ärende: Hilja Waker

Hi Joyce,
I am back in town for a week to fix things around the house and will go to the places south again this afternoon.

Hilja Ylioja lived on a farm at Dean Creek, Lockwood, in the 40ies, married to John Walker. Not only Hilja lived in Brooklyn, NY. Also Matti lived and worked there at the time his lung disease developed. Joyce, can you plese check on theese facts in the census files you have access to?! The Walker couple is not buried at Lockwood as I can see.

Matti was married in Finland. When he left by the fall 1913 he had a son and a doughter (who died young) and his wife was pregnant. Then
there was a break in the connection, you know men and letter writing...
This boy Mattias receives a 6 pages letter from Hilja dated May 30, 1946. He is then 22. Hilja tells how she takes care of Matti's grave,
and what an ambitious and hard working man Matti was in Brooklyn. He made inventions applicable in the textile industri, but the big
company stole the ideas. It seems like he was an engineer (as my grandmother said), rather than a farmer (as the DC states).

Mattias died 1970 and has two doughters of which Eija Ylioja-Larkila contacted me. She has sent copies of this letter and papers on how
they had to work with the authorities to get Matti oficially declared dead. My blind sw-finnish neighbour has helped me interpret the letter. I
read line by line and she translated. We were both so fascinated that we could not stop reading until the end.

I wish my favourite author John Steinbeck or Swedish Wilhelm Moberg had written a big novel on this story.


                                                                                                  Lockwood,  May 30 1946

                               Mr   Matias  Ylioja  !

This  writing has delayed for so long  but now since it’s the day for setting  flowers on  grave sights,  we also took a flower onto Matti’s grave.
Always been seeing to it that the grave would not totally disappear, been in the hope (faith) that you too are somewhere here in America
and your steps will some day lead to  your  Father’s earlier lodging place.  That is why I was surprised  to read from the paper  your announcement….
the very last times that we chatted with Matti he told of his arrangement to send his wife over to Finland and bring you (plural, curtious) over
here  because of him already  believing that he would not be getting better anymore, otherwise  he was longing so much to see you, it could
be noticed from all he did and said, everything being somehow linked to you, his son.
We  didn’t get to know Matti  for so very long, but only for the time he stayed here and he was already sickly when he arrived and lived…
the doctor at this house gave directives not to work in factories, so he started raising chicken but could not keep that up (for too long either
/…missing text from bottom page…/)
Over here at Brooklyn  Matti stayed on his own except for the last summer when his wife was here as Matti was very ill. We Finns around this area have an unfadable (immortal) memory of Matti as he instructed us how to form a Finnish  Co-operative store that would oversee our advantage and help get better value prices for our  produce (on the market), he was the one who initiated it all and now we have a Co-operative business with a turnover of  a quarter million dollars and even over  each year. Also he advised  the  people  with poorer soils  to just grow chicken  and  these actually are very productive
Page 4.
over here, while many  are keeping  5000  to  6000  chicken currently. Whilst  in Brooklyn  he was a diligent  office clerk (manager?) in that
sort of an Association, wanting to help the situation of  (many)Finns in this foreign land,  while often staying up late in music and song rehearsals and at the same time managing his day job  for which he of course  succumbed to a bad cold  and pneumonia (lung infection) ie. water (fluid)  on  the lungs, and even then not allowing himself enough rest which brought about such sad consequences, so we  say that Matti  didn’t  live for himself only, but sacrificed a lot in behalf of others.
I’ll tell about  another thing,  even…
(page 5.)
though he perhaps has himself written to you about it already. Matti invented  somekind of a new machinepart  which helped and sped up the use of this machine many times over, and he acquired a patent for his invention from the Government and Matti would have got it sold for a large sum if not things happened so sadly that when he sent it to be  presented for manufacturing  the company which was interested in  it  copied it  with small  changes  and the  license was never sold as intended  since Matti  alone couldn’t  pursue the case  against this large company in court.   He  always said he would invent another device (one day) and then be able to organize things better…but  so did the planned works of our deceased Matti
remain  unaccomplished.   if Matti would have been allowed to remain healthy  he would have had a good rich life for himself as well as yourself,  as he so fervently wished. Now I’m finishing.  Try to make clear of this as it is hard to convey  (interpret) the life of such a lively(energetic) and talented  man that Matti was.  The sort of a bad write that I myself am  as I haven’t got around writing a great deal.  So even that small amount I’ve started to forget, but if you so desire, I will be pleased to write further on, and seems that I’m doing a small favour to  Matti as well, many greetings from  my Husband  and  myself,

Hilja Walker

Published On Site 9 DEC 2000
By Joyce M. Tice

You are our welcome visitor since 9 DEC 2000