18.5.2002 Aulis Tenkanen


How was the family name Tenkanen introduced?
Tenkanen is an ancient Karelian family name. Tenka was under the Russian rule a monetary unit which was also used in Finland; therefore many people thought that Tenkanen would refer to it. However, most ancient Finnish family names derive their origine from a man´s name. As late as in the 17th century Tenka was among orthodox Karelians known as a man´s first name. It was a popular version of the Russian name Dementij (pronounced about diementee)<Dometios (a Greek name, meaning domesticator).

Although Tenkanen refers to an orthodox patriarch called Tenka, it does not necessarily mean that any present person called Tenkanen would really be his descendant; it was quite common in the region of Viipuri, e.g., that a man, when settling down in a house, adopted its name to be used as his additional name; this could then be introduced as a family name.

How was the family name Tengén introduced?
It was not allowed to ordain the Finn priest unless he renounced his traditional surname. Tengelin was an alternative.

Are all people now called Tenkanen relatives?
Not hundert per cent. There are several Tenkanens who come from Salmi, another Karelian parish. They seem to have nothing in common to our family coming from Sakkola.

Is Tenkanen a legally protected family name?
Yes, but unfortunately, the law does not necessarily prevent from using our name as an artist name.

From where and why did the ancestors come to the parish of Sakkola?
According to tradition our family comes from Estonia, which became under the Russian rule after 1710, when it was occupied by Tsar Peter. However, the first ancester seems to have lived in Estonia only temporarily, if any time.

According to another story, the first ancester in the parish of Sakkola was previously captured by Russian troops during the Great Nordic War and brought to Nizni Novgorod. This suggests that that he may have been a soldier of the Ruokolahti parish and its Tenkanen file in 1710, when Viborg was captured. Unfortunatele, it is not known why he settled down just at Sakkola after the war. However, it is obvious that Sakkola was a better choice than Ruokolahti. At least, there was no compulsory military service in the parish of Sakkola belonging to the Russian part of Karelia since 1721.

Did the wife use her husband´s family name in the 18th and 19th century?
No, she did not, unless the husband was of noble, middle-class or priest family. The wife normally retained her original family name.

Jöran Tenganen and Anna Toiviainen lived in the parish of Sakkola latest since 1736. Where do their descendants live nowadays?
Helsinki, Tampere and Huittinen can be mentioned as cities or towns where a great many descedants are living. But most descedants are living scattered in southern Finland.