Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network


Finland Ancestry

This group was created for people searching in Finland for their ancestors.

Members: 26
Latest Activity: Jun 15, 2016

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Comment by Jani Koski on April 13, 2013 at 8:51am

Colleen, this group is not very active, I would suggest Finnish Genealogy on Facebook if you have a FB account:!/groups/14108279806/


Hiski is great for finding information, but you really should check everything in the communion books as well (assuming they exist for the period in question). Often there are people with the same name living near each other. I once had two couples who had the exact same names and they even gave the same names to their children! The only way to separate the families was to look them up in the communion book, so you knew which child belonged to which couple.


There are two sites for viewing communion books. The easier to use is Finland's Family History Association's Digital Archive:


Go to Church Records and then pick the correct parish. communion book = rippikirja. Most books have an index, that lists which farm is on what page. The books themselves are in Swedish until the 1880's, but just looking at the names and birth dates helps with the Hiski data. The FB group has a lot of members that are willing to translate hard texts. The site has material up to 1912 (not from all parishes), but material newer than 125 years is for members only. Since the digitizing is done by volunteers, the quality ranges from excellent (digitizing from original material) to poor (from scratched up microfilm/fiche). Not all parishes have been digitized and some parishes only have a few books ready. Material is added on a daily basis, though.


The other site is the National Archives Digital Archive:

It's a bit harder to use, but has better quality images since they digitized them using the archival microfilms. Go to Search and the Tree View to see a list of parishes (seurakunta/församling). Please note that Swedish speaking parishes are listed using their Swedish name. So you won't find Mustasaari, but Korsholm, etc. After you pick the parish, the communion books are listed under Pää- ja rippikirjat. They are not indexed, but there's a project by volunteers that creates indexes for the site:


That site is in Finnish only, but if you pick a parish off the list and then Pää- ja rippikirjat it gives you a list of the available books. The ones that are bolded out are ones that people have indexed. They might only have one line of text or be all ready, sometimes people add to it when they're looking for a specific page and stop when they get to the page. Usually the books that are not on FFHA's website are the ones where the index is more complete. 


This was a bit longer than I intended, but I hope it'll help you and other members. :)

Comment by Colleen McDonald on April 13, 2013 at 6:28am


I became interested in my Finnish Ancestry over 10 years ago but didn't find any documents other than my Grandmother, Olga Maria Walkonen arriving in Australia in 1915 through Australian Immigration Records. She gave birth to my father near 6mths after arriving but died when he was two. My father was fostered to the Leinonen family. Now I am researching two families - the Walkonens prior to 1915 and Leinonens since. I have gathered most my information via the Finnish Hiski site and our family tree is growing. However whether the Walkonens changed the spelling of their surname or it was changed when transcribed from the Parish Records I have noted quite a few variations including Wallkoin (1814), Wakoin (1817), and Valkoin (1842). Also spelling of given (Christian) names also vary eg my Great Grandmother Eva Stiina Ronkain is also listed in the HisKi Project as Eva Regina, Eva Stina, Eva Stiina Ronkain, Kristina Ronkanen, Eewa Ronkanen, and Eewa Stiina Ronkainen. Frequently a child is not listed with it's father's surname but with their Patriotic name (son/daughter of). It's no wonder individuals searching for their ancestors often can't find them. But the HisKi Project remains my main source of information.

Comment by Carleen D. Henderson on October 20, 2010 at 5:13pm
Yes, Please share the site. I have used the Finnish Hiski site but can find nothing on my grandfather's heritage.
Carly H.
Comment by Carleen D. Henderson on February 3, 2010 at 1:40am
Hello all,
My grandparents were born in Vaasa. My grandfather was Isaac Edward Korpela born 1884 in Lapua, my grandmother Hilma Susan Poti born in Laihia. They met and married in Minnesota.
I've been able to find some information on my grandmothers family but almost nothing on my grandfather. His mother "may" have been named Justina.I found that name in connection with an Isaac Korpela when doing an online search many years ago. I don't believe that he had any contact with his family once he came to America. I got the feeling that he didn't wish to talk about her.If anyone has any insight into research in Lapua I would be most grateful.
Comment by Gloria Jean (Hawkins) Draper on October 28, 2009 at 11:05am
Yes it is very difficut to find Finnish genealogy in English~ My cousin from Finland was just here for a visit & said that they had early census, but you have to read finnish to understand them! And don't think that they are avalible to us in english!
There are Finnish Web sights but don't know how helpful they are! Gloria
Comment by cheryl jenkins on October 28, 2009 at 9:21am
Do any of you find it difficult to find information in Finland in the late 1800's to early 1900's. For me it's like looking for the needle in a hay stack. I have no problem with before about 1860 but after that......
Comment by Stuart Remali on October 28, 2009 at 9:15am
My grandfather came to this country abt 1900 from Oulu, Finland.He and his brother changed their surname from REMAHL to REMALI. My grandfather John Wilhelm REMAHL (REMALI) applied for naturalization as John REMO, changed it to John Remaali, and finalized his naturalization as John Remali. His brother's name was Peter. Peter's family still live at Waterworks, Calumet, Michigan.
Both brothers immigrated here through Boston, with John arriving in the U.S with 5 dollars in his pocket and a journey to the Upper Pennisula of Michigan to complete.
Comment by cheryl jenkins on October 21, 2009 at 9:53am
My Finnish ancestors come from Vimpeli, Evijarvi, Alajarvi, areas. Their last names were Soderkultalahti (changed to Lahti) , Koskela, Visti, Pesonen, Makala, Gire, Anttala, Sihtala. My Great grandparents Elias Soderkultalahti (Lahti) and Amanda Koskela, came separately from Finland in 1899 and 1901. They met and married in Wisconsin then moved to Washington. I've been researching the Finish side of my family for about 5 years and although progress is slow I seem to keep finding bits and pieces. I'm so excited to find a site where other people are looking for and probably struggling with the same things I am.
Comment by Gloria Jean (Hawkins) Draper on August 15, 2009 at 2:16pm
Hei~ I looked it up! Hello in Finnish! My grandparents were from Finland~
Nicolas Patoranta of Karia, Finland. Emigrated to U.S. in 1893. Emma Alander enigrated in 1906. They meet & married in 1906! I am lucky to have a cousin there that is into genealogy! So we have put together quite a bit of history! Nicolas joined the Spannish- American War to get his citizenship! So proud to be a Finn descendent & American!!
Comment by Sheila Peterson on August 6, 2009 at 6:48pm
My ancestors came from the Vaasa part of Finland. Their surname started off as Falt, then they changed it to Rajala when they moved to a different farm. Most of my information came from microfilmed Finnish church records found at the LDS Family History Library.

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