Finnish couple research their roots in region
FOR one couple from Finland, their visit to Port Douglas was not just a holiday but a chance to find out some family history.
Anita and Roger Bengs have spent a week in the region, researching Anita’s uncle Evert Snickers (or Ned as he was affectionately known to acquaintances in this country) who worked as an engineer and it is thought that he ended up for the Douglas Shire Council as an overseer and engineer around 40 years ago.
The one and only time Anita saw her uncle was when he returned to Finland for a visit when she was just two years old in 1958.
‘‘Evert was just 21 years old in 1927 when he went to Australia. Finland was in bad times, they couldn’t get any work,’’ she said of Evert and his 12 siblings.
‘‘One brother went to Canada, a few went to Sweden and Evert went to Australia.
‘‘ We are not sure if he came straight to the far north or not, maybe he was in Sydney or Melbourne first.
‘‘He came back to Finland in 1958 to see his family and when he returned to Australia he married his wife Maria, but we don’t know much about her.
‘‘Growing up I knew he was in Australia, he had contact with his broth- ers and sisters and even some of my cousins.
‘‘We heard that Janet Goodall had known him and so we emailed Anich’s Mossman Pharmacy to see if anyone knew her so that we could contact her.
‘‘Eighteen months ago they were in contact with Janet where they learned Ned had lived next door to her and her family some 40 years before.
‘‘We have talked to some people who knew him here and we have learnt a little more about him and saw the house he built in Mossman, but we still don’t know much.’’
In a twist that shows just how small a world we live in, Janet’s mother now lives in Ned’s old home. Ned passed away in 1980, before making it back to Finland to see his family again. Janet has fond memories of Ned having lived next to him for many years.
ANCESTORS: Roger and Anita Bengs