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Step by step research notes Finland

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Location: Finlandmap
Surname/tag: Finland
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the Finland Project
We recommend that you open the page How to start researching in Finland when we start researching Finnish church books for the first time.

Example 1

We are going to look for Lauri Kristian Relander, the second President of Finland. We have his Wikipedia page to check that our progress is correct but will not use the information as we wish to use primary sources.

  • We start with selecting "Search in English" under the Hiski heading at the "How to start researching in Finland" page.
  • As we supposedly don't know where he is born we select all parishes by pressing the "All" button.
  • Next we want to search christened people by selecting the "Christened" link.
  • Lets start with searching the last name of the father by writing "Relander" in the corresponding field and pressing the "Submit" button.
  • We now have a list of 219 events, small enough to be browsable. Browsing for a child named Lauri Kristian we find nothing but remembering that the clergy used Swedish names in church books we check again and find Lars Kristian born 31 May 1883 at farm #18 of Rahola village in Kurkijoki - Kronoborg parish. His parents are Evald Kristian Relander and Gertrud Maria Olsoni. The mother is 23 years old at Lars' birth.
  • Pressing the little magnifying glass by his birth date we get the transcript of this event.
  • Pressing the "Link to this event" link we change the web address at the top of the page to a permalink to this particular event.
  • Now we have a perfectly good secondary source using this link, but as we always strive to have primary sources to avoid errors, we continue our search by pressing the "SSHY - Digiarkisto" link inside the event box, and there are no church books available for this period. Is this a brick wall??
  • Going back to How to start researching in Finland we now skip Hiski and choose "English starting page" under the "Digihakemisto" heading.
  • We search for Kurkijoki parish by pressing the "K" link at the top and scrolling down to "Kurkijoen seurakunnan arkisto" pressing the link. Note that the possessive ending makes the name of the parish look more or less different.
  • Now we have a list of different church books available from this parish and we choose "Syntyneiden ja kastettujen luettelot" (Born and christened lists)
  • Here is a list of the different birth records, and we note that the four newest books have restricted access. Lucky for us, we are looking for the birth year 1883 and we click the book containing the years 1867-1891.
  • Now we scroll down to 1883 and see that someone has indexed the first half of the year. As we are searching for 31 May, we choose image #147.
  • Here we find Lars Kristian at the bottom of the left hand page. This image is the original source we were looking for and it actually contains more information than the Hiski transcript. Here we have the witnesses of the christening too.
  • Using this image as a source we need the link to the page and some identifiers in case the link dies someday. Identifying this image we need the parish (Kurkijoki or Kronoborg as both Finnish and Swedish names are accepted), Kind of Record (birth record), Year span (1867-1891) and page number (146 at the upper right hand corner of the page). By putting the link and identifiers inside square brackets [ ] we get Kurkijoki birth records 1867-1891 p 146
  • By clicking the image number (147) in the upper left hand corner you get the same image in the Finnish National Archives. This server has shorter and less informative addresses/links.

Example 2

We will be looking for the parents of Caisa (Kilpinen) Laiti in the sources starting with the http://en-dot-digihakemisto.appspot.com/ -site.

We see on her profile that she is born in Tervola parish. Use "ctrl F" to search for Tervola on the digihakemisto site.

  1. You find the birth dates of the parents in the second source on Maria Caisa's profile, the house examination book (rippikirja in Finnish) There you find on top of the page the word Födelse, which means birth in Swedish. The church books in Finland were written in Swedish. If you follow the column down from Födelse you see the words År och Datum (Year and Date). Below that comes the birth dates of everyone on the page next to their names. There are some different ways to write the dates and here you have the day above the month followed by the year.
  2. Next to father Nils you find the date 24/2 1789 and you search for the birth records looking for "Syntyneiden ja kastettujen luettelot" (Born and baptised catalogs) in http://en-dot-digihakemisto.appspot.com/index_am?atun=184811.KA&amnimeke=Tervolan+seurakunnan+arkisto
  3. You choose the proper book that covers his birth year 1789 (1779-1814)
  4. Locate the year you are looking for. (1789 starts on image 33), open the page and look for the date, February 24. I know you didn't expect to find the name Nicolaus in the margin, but the spelling of names could be varying and Nicolaus and Nils are interchangeable.
  5. Here you see the place of birth that is Koivuby and parents Matts Kilpelä and Caisa Nilsdotter Kilpelä. The fact that the mother has the last name written suggests that she is the daughter of the estate where Nils (Nicolaus) is born.
  6. Now you go back to the list of church books for Tervola parish (the link above). This time we search for the household examination book (Rippikirja here written as Rippi- ja kinkerikuulustelukirjat) at the time of Nils' birth. Rippikirjat 1787-1799 looks right and you can use the search function to find "Koivuby" and "Kilpinen" that seems to be on image 17.
  7. This is a bit trickier. First is Nils, the farmer who cannot be the Nils we are looking for as he is born 1734. In this book you have the birth dates further to the right. Next is his wife (Hu=Hustru) Margeta Hansdotter, followed by "måg" (son-in law) Matts Romsi and his wife Carin, daughter of Nils and Margeta. Matts and Carin have sons Nils and Michel. The last name of Matts, Romsi may be his LNAB, but you would have to verify it from the birth records.
  8. Now you have in addition to Nils' birth details found his parents and maternal grandparents.
  9. Please repeat with the details of Maria Caisa (Both are her first names) Hard to read village is "Rungaus" and last name for Maria Caisa is Mattinen. The patronym for the mother reads Ersdotter often spelled out as Eriksdotter.
  10. When using these images as sources you get the correct citation by right clicking on the image and choosing "Source citation"

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