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Emigrated 1892

 John William Närä (Nara), emigrant no:  from Alatornio to USA                                  

1874-1934

Yet unlike thousands of immigrants to the Keweenaw Peninsula, J.W. Nara’s life is also illustrated through the lens of his camera. Family is central to his personal journey, as evidenced in the many photographs of his wife, the former Mary Piehi, daughter of another Finnish immigrant. The two married in Calumet’s Bethlehem Lutheran Church in March 1904 and the couple’s only child, William Onni Nara, was born a year later. As the child of a professional photographer, the life of the young “Onni” is particularly well-documented. For most people, posed studio portraits are all that survive from the days before stop-motion photography; for the Nara family those “formal” images are augmented by a variety of snapshots of both indoor and outdoor family life.

The W(illiam) Närä, whose watermark appears on this photo owned what was probably the Copper Country's most prominent professional photo studio in the late 1800's and early 1900's in Calumet (and later in Hancock). You'll see that watermark on very many professional photos of that vintage.

"Old Bill" paid for his brother's -- my maternal grandfather Frans (Frank) Emil Närä's -- passage to the U.S. from Alatornio, Finland, on the Majestic out of Liverpool, England, arriving in the U.S. in December 1904 at 19 years of age, to work in "Old Bill's" photo studio.


Wife:Mary Piehi, daughter of another Finnish immigrant.


Children:

Onni O. Nara

The W(illiam) Närä, whose watermark appears on this photo owned what was probably the Copper Country's most prominent professional photo studio in the late 1800's and early 1900's in Calumet (and later in Hancock). You'll see that watermark on very many professional photos of that vintage.

"Old Bill" paid for his brother's -- my maternal grandfather Frans (Frank) Emil Närä's -- passage to the U.S. from Alatornio, Finland, on the Majestic out of Liverpool, England, arriving in the U.S. in December 1904 at 19 years of age, to work in "Old Bill's" photo studio.

As it turned out, my grandfather (Frank Närä) was allergic to the photographic chemicals, and left the photo business to establish a farm in Bruce Crossing in the late 1920's (that farm is still in the family today).

"Old Bill" Närä's son William O. "Onni" Närä, a long time resident of Bootjack (after a time with the Detroit Fire Department, if memory serves) was instrumental in establishing the Bootjack Volunteer Fire Department, many long years ago.

It's been decades now, but I could swear that Bill (Onni)'s property was on the lake side (west side) of Bootjack road, considerably north of Dreamland, close to the ol' Bootjack F.D. -- certainly not that shown in the Robert Wetton photo! Dreamland, on the other hand has hardly changed from my late 1950's/early 1960's college days at "Da Tech"!

William O. "Onni" and Mae Närä's son John (Jack) had a veterinary practice for many years on U.S. 41 on the Pilgrim River (the family later donated some of that land for a "Pilgrim River Walk", as I recall), while his other son Robert had a dental practice in Houghton for many years. Bob Nara did much of my dental work during my years at "Da Tech". (Yes, the family mostly abandoned the diereses/umlauts in Närä for just "Nara" in later generations.)

Regretfully, I've since pretty much lost touch with the later generations of the "Onni" Närä branch of the family.

A bit of additional family/ Copper Country history...

 

Father:

Mother:

 Brothers and sisters/syskon:

Frank Emil Nära (Nara)   

Source/Källa:hw Sweden

 

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