Leena Lassila ja Mauri Lehikoinen 14.3.2016
Welcome to Raassina Family Association homepages!
The Raassina Family Association
The Family Association was founded on the 11th of August, 1990 in Kiihtelysvaara. The purpose of the association is to discover the members of the family and its history, to keep up traditions and to form bonds among family members. There are about 4000 living members in the family. There are two published books of the family tree and history, the first in 1992 and the second larger version in 2002. The family association has 230 members at the present time.
The aims of the Association are:
- to organise meetings, family gatherings and excursions
- to collect and archive information about the family
- to help members of the family to find out about the history of their family
- to keep a record of the members of the family
- to publish family trees, a family magazine and other leaflets
- to promote contacts between family members
The Family Association affairs are handled by the board, which is elected to run from one general meeting to the next. The Chair of the board is currently Olavi (Olli) Raassina.
The official meeting of the Family Association is held once every two years. The next one will be in 2020.
Honorary members of the Family Association are Leena Lassila, Anja Ahonen, Toivo Raassina and Mauri Lehikoinen.
The annual fee of the association is 20 euros and a life time membership is 200 euros. Membership is free for under 18-year-olds.
From Knut Grassneck to the Raassina Family Association
According to the study made by the Raassina family they have lived in northern and southern Karelian border regions at the end of the 1600s and the beginning of the 1700s. Most of the family lived in Kitee, Tohmajärvi, Kiihtelysvaara and Uukuniemi, places that are not far from each other. Of these, Kitee is considered the “birthplace of the family”.
The Family Study
Erkki Raassina, who carried out the study of the family tree, was able, with the documents available before the 1990s, to trace the family tree to Kitee in the 1600s to the forefather of the family Knut Grassneck. The name Grassneck developed into the name Raassina in the next hundred years.
The Raassina family suffered through war and persecution and this has made the study of the family difficult at times. Here are a few examples from the church archives: “I had fled to Sweden and the priest appointed by the Russians has not fulfilled all his obligations” or “The following church records are missing. The priest and records drowned in the ice on lake Ladoga”.
From 1617, due to the peace treaty of Stolbova, between Sweden and Russia, Kitee became part of the Kexholm (Käkisalmi) province and part of Sweden. Swedish rule brought with it a new form of government (läänityslaitos) and the Lutheran religion. As a result of this, large parts of the Greek Orthodox population fled across the border into Russia. After the so called rupture wars in Karelia (1656-1658) a lot of people moved to Kitee from the west. At the time the population of Kitee changed almost completely.
Knut Grassneck can be found in the tax records in 1618 and 1683. His occupation is marked down as vapaaherrakunnan palvelusmies (a serviceman to the barony). There is also a court document of him and his wife from 1658. They are in court because of unpaid bills to the inn.
Erkki Raassina presumed that Knut had been in the Swedish army and had made his way to Kitee with the soldiers. He also presumed that Knut could have been of German origin because there were no Grassnecks in either Finland or Sweden, but in the Berlin phone book there were 60 people with this surname. The name has been spelled differently in the records, in the tax records as Knut Grassneck and in the court documents as Knut Kraasniecka. They are, however, the same person.
In 2012 the Family Association decided to do a Y-DNA 67-marker test of every branch of the family to determine the origin of the Raassina family. The results show the geographical and ethnic background of the father line. About 60% of Finnish men belong to the haplogroup N, which the Raassinas belong to as well. The haplogroup N originated in Siberia about 10 000 years ago. The Raassinas belong to a subgroup N1c1 of the N-haplogroup. The subgroup was formed due to a mutation in Siberia 9000 years ago. About 8000 years ago a few members of the N1c1 haplogroup decided to head for Europe. After crossing the Ural mountains, they settled in the mid-Volga river region. Later, one or two tribes carried on along the Baltic shore settling in Lithuania and Latvia. The Raassina genes have many similarities with the ancient Karelians in the lake Ladoga region. It is clear that a forefather of the Raassina family lived in Finland at least 3000-4000 years ago.
From Grassneck to Raassina
The Grassneck name must have been too difficult for the Karelians. Already in Knut’s time the name can be found written in different ways all closely resembling the original: Krasneck, Krassnick, Krassninck and Kraasnienke (possibly with a Russian influence). Knut’s brother Tobias (b. 1656) and Knut (b. 1661) used the name Grasin. At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries the name of the grandson Hindrich got the vowel ending typical of the Finnish language: Grasina, Krasina. During the next generation the difficult double consonant Gr, Kr was simplified and the name became Rasina. The name changes again to Raassina, for example Johan Raassina (b. 1713) and Anders Rasina (b. 1719). After 100 years of evolving the name finally settled into its present form Raassina around 1750. The name Raassina is a protected name.
The Spreading of the Family
During the years of famine (1696-1698) when a third of the Finnish population died, people left their homes in search of food. At this time numerous farms in Northern-Karelia were abandoned. Hunger probably drove the descendants of Knut away from Kitee. From Kitee, the main branch of the family gradually moved through Jouhkola in Tohmajärvi to Kiihtelysvaara. In Kiihtelysvaara Johannes Raassina (b. 1758) and Kaarina Koljonen had five sons and a daughter, who formed a large extended family. Most of this family still lives in Northern Karelia. Most Raassinas belong to this Kiihtelysvaara branch of the family.
A second branch of the family moved from Kitee to Sortavala. Raassinas have lived in Kiimamäki in Sortavala since the beginning of the 18th century. Nowadays the descendants of Henrick Crasina (b.1704) and Elisabeth Litmanen live around Jyväskylä, in Tampere and in Kuhmo.
A third branch of the family can be found in Uukuniemi. The Raassinas have lived on the old farm of Latvasyrjä for many generations there. The descendants of Anders Rasina (b. 1719) and his wife Helena Ursin nowadays live in Myrskylä, Lahti and around Helsinki.
For a long time the Raassina family stayed in Northern Karelia. Husbands and wives were found in the surrounding areas if not in the same village. Moving to the rest of Finland did not happen much. The longest trips were made to Viipuri (Viborg) and St. Petersburg. Moving to the west happened mainly after the Second world war. Many Raassinas were evacuated from the areas taken over by the Russians and had to relocate elsewhere in Finland.
All the “real” Raassinas are related
The family study established that all the original Raassinas are descended from Knut Grassneck from Kitee. There are about 20 Raassinas who are not descended from him in Finland. Emil Johanson, who was a railway worker from Helsinki, changed his name to Raassina in 1894. It has been told that he got bored with his ordinary surname and his friend suggested the more unusual name of Raassina. Einari Kärkkäinen also changed his name to Raassina before the Winter war, but he has no descendants with the name Raassina.
A founding member of the Raassina family association Pentti Raassina from Joensuu is often asked what it costs to do a study of the family. He usually answers that it is not about money, but about the love of the family, patience and an interest in the past.
Contact – send us a message using the “Palaute” link on our main page.
Translation into English: Marja Nelson