19/05/2007

Finnish genealogy for Americans

As you might already know, one of my dearest hobbies is genealogy - tracing my ancestors.

One part of my family research has been trying to find out more about those relatives of mine who went to the USA or Canada at the end of the 19th century or at the beginning of the 20th century.

My family comes from the old province of Vaasa in Finland, we might also call it the region of South Ostrobothnia.

I have been very lucky during the past few years. Thanks to my own research in the National Archives and different parish offices in Finland, but also thanks to marvellous internet databases and very helpful people with their e-mails, I have been able to find what happened to my lost relatives.

Maybe it's time to give something back. Help the Finnish Americans to trace their roots in Finland.

So here's five good hints:
1. Do your research first in the USA, find out as much as you can by asking relatives, neighbours. Look the old family bible, there might be something written on it. Or find old photos, old letters.

2. Deepen your research, look for census records (online), draft records, marriage records, death records. Maybe www.ancestry.com databases and www.familysearch.org can help you.

3. Seek for travelling documents. After 1892 most people came through Ellis Island. In Finland, go to the web site of Finnish Institute of Migration ( Siirtolaisuusinstituutti). They have online database on passports and ship records.

4. Look for the Finnish church books online in the web site of Finnish Genealogical Society. The database is called HisKi. We also have a new database in Finland called Digiarkisto. They already have some communion books online. If online doesn't help, write an e-mail to the parish office - they will help you (it might be slow and they charge for their services - however, the price is usually reasonable).

5. ASK for help. For example the Finnish Genealogical Society has a good mailing list in English. It's called Finngen.

Last, but not least I made you a podcast in English about finding your ancestors in Finland.
You can open in here:
* Podcast about genealogy by Riikka

2 comments:

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Kristina said...

Hi, I have been doing some research about my Finnish roots, my great-grandparents came to Michigan in the early 1900's and later moved to Canada. I came across your blog while looking for more information about Finnish genealogy - I am visiting a relative in Helsinki this summer. My great-grandmother (Elisabeth Haukkala)was born in Lapua, and my great-grandfather (Jakko Huhtala)was born in Ylistaro. Do these names sound familiar?
You have a very nice blog, perhaps I should start my own!

Kippis, Kristina