Seeking Ancestry

Korpi is a Finnish last name, and like many immigrant family names, it was shortened from Takakorpi for the sake of simple pronunciation by the crew on Ellis Island. “Takakorpi” translates to “from the wilderness” in Finnish.
Finland has come from the wilderness to a modern society in about the same amount of time as my ancestors made a life in America. In European standards, it’s doing great economically. Thanks to home-grown companies like Nokia, the country is undergoing strong growth.
What I hadn’t known about the Finnish is their social timidness, their elegant design style like iittala, artek, marimekko…, their affinity for saunas, their attachment to nature, their social welfare system…
Ten days was just enough time to get a taste of their culture, but not enough time to feel like I understand what it’s truly like to be Finnish.

Posted May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized.


  1. Jim Korpi:

    According to the Helsinki phone book, there weren’t any “Korpi” families in the city or surrounding areas. Korpi didn’t seem to be as popular as I heard it would be. “Korppi” means raven (the black bird), and people seemed to think, when they heard my last name, that this was how it was spelled. Regardless, it made me really want to look into the origins of my last name. Whatever I find out though, I’m still an American with a mix of different cultures.

  2. Lau:

    Ok, there were Korpi’s at the winter olympics last time. Thats why I asked.

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