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  • Some of my second cousins are researching our family history, and surprising things pop up. Like everyone else in the family, I had thought that my grandfather had one brother and two sisters - until someone found an old church record which showed a fifth child, Saara Annikki.

    The other four siblings were born between 1914 and 1921, Saara in July 1927. Church records showed that the whole family had moved to Sodankylä in the north of Finland in 1931, and Saara was in the books. After that she vanished from the records. Their mother died in 1932, other siblings moved away one by one as adults and finally the widowed father moved to another town in 1946.

    Saara was a mystery, until we found this picture. She died as a baby, in 1927 early fall maybe. My grandfather is the second oldest in the picture, he would have been about 10 years old. I guess it was not unusual in those times that a baby died, and somehow it had not been recorded in the church books.

    What is remarkable, is that none of us knew about it. What happened with Saara? Could it have been so unremarkable to everyone to lose a baby sister, that they just forgot about it? Or did something else happen that made them not want to talk about it?

    Secrets in the family. What else do we not know about our family, things not recorded in the church books?

    How sad it is to have to keep such big things from your own family. I don't think I would be able to.

    Rest in peace, baby Saara. Somehow I feel comforted to know you are no longer forgotten.
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