Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How is Finnish genealogy different from American?

Let me count the ways. The language is different, the records are different and the ways to access them is different. Name structure is different, culture is different...

I have no plans to rewrite basics of Finnish genealogy to this blog. There are plenty of places you can find them already on the internet. The one I like the most is the LDS pdf, but alternatives are available via your preferred search engine.

One thing to start with. Finnish genealogical research is not based on grave stones. Many of us find Americans asking after grave locations rather peculiar. To the extent that my friend did not reply to a letter from an American relative. She thought there might be some weird religious reason for the question and did not want to be involved...

Which is not to say that Finns wouldn't have graveyards and would not visit them. Generally each parish has a graveyard next to the church and possibly a later addition further a way. Asking the parish office can tell you details of the locations, but they do not necessarily have maps or lists of the burials.

Often there is no grave to find, because the plot that has been reused. Depending on your background you may find this shocking or callous. But that is the way Finnish graveyards have been managed for centuries.

You are not in Kansas anymore.

1 comment: