In the recent past, economic activities in the Tolvajärvi area were quite active. Their scope can be clearly judged by the population data. Because hardly any published material on the population of the area is available, we used documents from the Republic of Karelia National Archives (NA RK), as well as archival data from Finland kindly granted by Ville Vuorio, researcher from the North Karelia Biosphere Reserve, Finland.
The earliest written sources with data on the Tolvajärvi area population are Census Books of the Korela ujezd (district), published recently by researchers from Petrozavodsk, Russia and Joensuu, Finland (Asiakirjoja, 1993). According to these sources, the village of Tolvajärvi had 4 homesteads in 1590, 5 - in 1618, 8 - in 1631.
Data for the year 1637 are available from the Kexholm län (county) Land Records (Asiakirjoja, 1991). There were already 10 homesteads in Tolvajärvi at the time. The Land Records contain also some details on the homesteads. There were 6 horses, 12 cows and heifers, 5 sheep. Three heads of households owned crossbows for hunting, one owned fishing nets. Rye was grown in plowed fields and burnt forest lots. Naturally, hay-making was practiced, too.
Data from 1656-1659 indicate that the number of homesteads dropped sharply: only three families lived in Tolvajärvi then (Saloheimo, 1995. p. 63). Information about the population in border areas of Karelia in 1764 is included in the book by T. Hämynen (1993). The author however analyses the population structure by parishes only. According to the book, Korpiselkä parish had 701 residents (Hämynen, p. 49). Knowing that in the second half of the 19th century, Tolvajärvi population made up 12-14% of the total number of people residing in the parish, one can infer that in 1764 the village had 80-90 inhabitants.
The 1857 Register Book ("Revizskaya skazka", NA RK F. 849. Op. 1. Doc. 1/b) contains data on clergymen's families. Families of the Korpiselkä St. Nicolas church comprised 7 males and 11 females.
Records for the year 1864 in the Korpiselkä Orthodox parish report of 58 births, 32 deaths (incl. 12 deaths of smallpox) and 40 newlyweds (NA RK. F. 849. Op. 1. Doc. 1/7. L. 1-2).
NA RK Fund 849 "Korpiselkä St. Nicolas church" stores clergy records with information about parishioners who lived in villages Korpiselkä, Chokki, Kilbijärvi, Kokkari, etc. in 1861-1873 (NA RK. F. 849. Op.1. Doc.1/3). The diagram shows data on Tolvajärvi population (fig. 1). It is worth mentioning that male population in those years was generally greater than female population.
Early in the 20th century, the population density in the Korpiselkä Volost (district) was below 5 persons per 1 km2. This was a typical value for the whole of northern and, partly, eastern (including lands bordering Ladoga) Finland (Gebhard, 1908).
Data on the number of Tolvajärvi village residents in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1932 & 1942 are given in tab. 1.
Table 1. Tolvajärvi village population in different years
* Note: inhabitants younger than 17 years are disregarded.
The Winter War and then World War II transformed the population structure dramatically, both in terms of numbers and the national composition. Naturally, the lifestyles of people also changed in the post-war times.
Expert: S. Potakhin