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Roots in Finland - Genealogical research at the National Archives

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Find out the initial data:

To launch a genealogical study, you need detailed information about the initial person's name, and the time and place of his or her birth.

  • First compile the information you remember about your parents and other relatives: names, dates of birth, marriage and death, places of residence and occupations.
  • At home, try to find documents containing family information. Look for genealogical literature and family books in libraries to check if genealogical studies have already been conducted with regard to your family.
  • Carrying out a genealogical study on your own usually requires that the initial data are over 100 years old. You may ask for 20th century information from the parish where the of your study subject has been registered or from the registrar's office. The National Archives in Mikkeli stores the data (up to 1950) of discontinued parishes located in areas surrendered by Finland to the Soviet Union after the Winter War and the Continuation War. Other parish data, 100 years old or more recent, may be available from the National Archives branch whose nearest to the parish. 

Where can I conduct genealogical studies?

You may conduct genealogal studies in the following, for example:

  • The National Archives in Helsinki, Hämeenlinna, Joensuu, Jyväskylä, Mikkeli, Turku, Oulu and Vaasa, as well as the Sámi Archives in Inari. In addition to parish registers, you will also find a lot of other records related to your family in the archives. If you are not yet familiar with the services of the National Archives, you should acquaint yourself with the Accessing the archives for the first time -section.
  • The Internet (see below)
  • The libraries of Finnish municipalities. The basic sources (parish registers, census lists, etc.) of a genealogist have been comprehensively microfilmed. You may study microfilms (rolls or cards) at the library of your home municipality, as many libraries have microfilm reading equipment and a collection of microfilms from the local area. Inter-library loans of microfilms are also possible. The loan order is placed with the library. Microfilms are not available for home loan. 


What will I find online?

At the moment, the Internet provides an extensive amount of useful information for genealogy studies. An increasing number of sources are provided in digital format either as digitized original material or various databases.

The National Archives digitizes its material according to its microfilming and digitalization program. You may study digitized documents in the Digital Archive. It contains the General Register of Settlement in Finland (only in Finnish), census lists, land title registers and maps of the survey administration, among other items.

You can look up information about the National Archives’ records in the Astia online service (only in Finnish) and the Vakka and Aarre (only in Finnish) collection databases. Astia is a digital online service for searching records, placing orders and making inter-library loans. With the service, you can also issue report and facsimile orders and browse public digitised documents. Astia obtains its data from the VAKKA archival database and from the Digital Archives but not from the Aarre Archival Register.

Vakka covers the collections of the National Archives, whereas Aarre covers the collections of the Finnish Defence administration.

For more information about the databases and tools of the National Archives for using archival material, see the Records section.

Other websites of interest to genealogists:

The digitising project website of the Family History Association of Finland.

Missing in Karelia

Missing in Karelia is a personal information directory in excel file format that has been compiled during a research project of the same name by three university scholars (Markku Kangaspuro, The Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland; Irina Takala, Petrozavodsk State University, Russia; Varpu Lindström, York University, Toronto, Canada).

The aim of the project was to study the lives of Canadian and American immigrants of Finnish background who moved to the Soviet Karelia in the 1920s and 1930s. The objective was to comprehend the factors that produced a voluntary massive exodus known as Karelia Fever.

From the original directory that includes 4 000 persons around 2 000 records are still missing. These records are being traced at the moment. It will be possible to complete the entire directory database once all the records have been submitted to the National Archives.

Here you can find a link to download the excel version.

For further information, please contact: Mrs. Anne Wilenius, Development Manager, Email address: anne.wilenius[@]arkisto.fi