Short History of Kalmi Family

The known roots of the Kalmi family goes to the fourteenth century. The last name was Skalm at that time. Skalms were Hansa merchants, whose ships sailed in the Baltic Sea. The Hansa was founded in the twelfth century between Hamburg and Lubeck, but come to about 1350 it had expanded to several towns including Visby, Rostock, Danzig, Riga, Tallinn and Stockholm. It had offices in Antwerpen, Brugge, London, Bergen and Novgorod. Two Finnish towns, Turku (Åbo) and Viipuri (Viborg), belonged to the Hansa area. Skalms’ ships carried tar, furs and wood to southern Hansa cities, and brought salt and spices on the way back.

When King Christian I fought against Swedish rebels, Lars Skalm helped him by carrying his troops and supplies across the sea. In the year 1461, King Christian gave Lars Skalm heritable nobility in reward of his services. Lars Skalm (Lord of Rövarnäs) owned several farmhouses near Turku, which was the biggest town in Finland. Two of his manors, Rövarnäs and Attu were in the Archipelago by the sea route, so he could see his ships sailing to Turku. In 1501 Lars Skalm was elected the Mayor of Turku.

His greatgrandson Hans Skalm (1520-1586) lived in Carelian near Viipuri and was the commander of Viipuri Castle. The ruler of Carelia Anders Sabelfana had a daughter Carin, and she married Johan Skalm, who was the son of Hans Skalm. Johan died on the way back from Moscow, where he had negotiated with the czar of Russia in 1578 and left five small children. One of them, overseer and commander of soldiers Anders (Antti) Skalm owned several manors, but the king of Sweden took them back to the state. So Anders Skalm’s grandson Johan (Juho) Skalm was forced to move somewhere else. He bought a farmhouse from the nearby municipality, Koprala village. Johan’s son Matts (Matti) Skalm (1688-1768) had thirteen children. One of them, Matti Kalmi, is an ancestor of the largest branch of Kalmi Family. Matti Kalmi’s brother Esko Kalmi is an ancestor of the American branch of Kalmi Family.

Esko Kalmi’s greatgrandson Tahvo Kalmi sold his farmhouse in Koprala in 1902 and moved with his wife Katriina Leskinen and five children to Canada. There they settled into the New Finland, Saskatchewan, where Tahvo worked as a blacksmith. Tahvo’s oldest son, Antti Kalmi bought a farmhouse from New Finland, but sold it soon and moved to Port Arthur, where he died at the age 26. The oldest girl of Antti, Helena Kalmi married Charles Holma and their descendants still live in Canada. Tahvo, Katriina and their children Elias, John and Jonas moved in 1910 to Otter Tail, Minnesota.

Elias married Edna Wiirre and they had two sons Evert (1925-1983) and Harold (1926-1964). Evert’s children are Edna Kalmi, Kenneth Kalmi and Lila May Hofer. Edna lives in Colorado, while Kenneth and his four children along with Lila May and her three children still live in Minnesota.

John Kalmi changed his name to John Walter Palm. He had two children, Wendla Irene and Donald Walter (1927-1998), who lived with his family in Ashtabula, Ohio. Don had three sons and two daughters. Children are living in Ashtabula with their families.

Jonas had two children: William Kalmi (1925-1999) who lived in Nevada and Catherine Joiner who lives in Illinois. William had a son and a daughter and Catherine has a son.