Hello all -- thank you so much for your help! After digging more, finding some older postcards, and finding a 3rd cousin to help, we have found more information. We are now coming from Sweden (we found my Dad's family -- and even a live 4th cousin! :) to Vaasa (your advice above is great!!) via the bus then ferry.
QUESTION: Any advice on that Ferry? Can we walk on/off and rent a car nearby in Vaasa?
Next, we'll rent a car in Vassa and drive to Kokkola! We found records tied to Lohtaja Parish which we now see as tied Kokkola (both sides -- a Tainio side and our "Colby" side was shortened -- Kolppanen is our true name was listed in a church parish in Marinkainen which is close to Lohtaja, according to my cousin.
We are so excited! MrsHelsinki, you are SO right, our researching here will produce more results. We also are so thrilled just to see the town, and our expectations are realistic as to finding graves, but...we are getting closer!
SO -- MY NEXT NEW QUESTION :)
What advice do you have for renting a camping cottage or cabin in Kokkola or Lohtaja? I have found so many links to search sites -- it becomes a bit overwhelming! I am thinking Finland is like my beloved northern Minnesota, so many cabins :)
I think this is the place we will take -- but any thoughts on other cottages/cabins?
We want clean and affordable -- pretty simple (even outhouses are ok, again, I am from Northern MN :). Affordable is key :) OK -- cheap, haha!
BUT when I research, I am thinking, our main goal is to meet people not see places, does that make sense? At a campground, while it won't be the real-deal cottage life, we'll meet a variety of people, the workers/owners who are from the area I'd assume, and still be w/in walking distance to explore -- and near the Gulf to see amazing sites!
We will have my parents (75 and 72) myself and husband (45 and 47) and sometimes our son w/his backpack life (19 -- he has a tent/sleeping bag and even can sleep on the floor -- he is so easy going! :).
Then we might travel north to see Lohtaja, I found this lovely site, but can not read it (I will try Google Crome: http://www.sautinkari.net/)
I found this for fun (SAND DUNES!): www.supertravelnet.com/list/kalajoki/english
Any other ideas for cottages? Are there "state parks" or province-level parks w/cottages?
I wanted to try National Parks, but it seems pretty remote to do so.
Thanks for all the help~