Wednesday, November 18, 2009

General parish registers

General parish registers are registers maintained by local parishes in Finland. They are the foundation for any genealogist doing genealogical research in Finland. Parishes were forced by law to keep the general parish records in 1668 and this is why some parishes have solid records from that year until today.

In different phases of history these registers have contained slightly varying set of information, but the core has remained the same. Earliest general parish register contain mostly lists of parish member names in their swedish format and possibly some notes about their bible reading skills.

Since the beginning of 18th century the records became more detailed containing also dates of birth, mariages, parish member relocations, illnesses and the time of death. During 19th century records may contain also marks about vaccinations, crimes, military service and basicly any miscellaneous notes that the priest wanted to record.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Genealogical sources in Finland

Among the first question confronted by a non-Finnish speaking genealogist is: what sources are available for the genealogical research in Finland? I'll present different sources here briefly and treat them in-depth later in separate articles.

The most important source is church records ("rippikirjat" and "historiakirjat"). These records were maintained by parishes and they contain information about births, marriages and deaths. These records are available since the end of 17th century.

Another important source is population records ("henkikirjat") and land property and real estate records ("maakirjat"). These are documents which have been created for taxation purposes. They contain, for example, tax lists and lists of the land and estate property under tax. First fand property records exist from the year 1540.

Court records ("tuomiokirjat") are an important source. These records contain both criminal records and real estate trades confirmed by the local court rooms.

Estate inventory deeds ("perukirjat") contain a listing of a dead persons property. They are available starting from the end of the 17th century.

Military records ("sotilasasiakirjat") can be a useful source if there are military persons in the family. There exists different military records depending on which era of history is under research.

Last but not least are many private archives and collections. These may be maintained by various associations and families.

As said, I will treat these different records later in separate articles. I hope this post gives an overview on what sources are available to begin the genealogical search of your ancestries in Finland.

Welcome to a blog about genealogy in Finland!

I decided to start this blog as I did not find any English blogs dealing with this subject, genealogy in Finland. There are lots of descendants of Finnish emigrants especially in USA and Canada so I think it will be interesting for many to have some more information in English available on the subject.

I try to write as often as I can, at least a couple of times per week but hopefully more. I hope you enjoy the writings and give some comments! :)
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