Finnish Research: Tips for Finnish-American Researchers

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  • Pay extra attention to last names, they could be farm names. Farm names can help you identfy a home parish in Finland.
  • If you are unable to locate the place of origin in Finland for your ancestor, try finding the place of origin for neighbors from Finland. Emigrants from Finland sometimes would settle in areas with friends and family from their home locality.
  • Did the Finnish immigrant belong to a Finnish-American church? Many of these Finnish American churches kept excellent records of their members even recording place of birth and place the member came from in Finland. Try to find them in these records.
  • Old letters may contain information about places.  Postmarks can give clues to places in Finland. 
  • The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis has a department called the "Immigration History Research Center".  They specialize in Finnish immigration.  Contact them for help and suggestions.  Here is their contact information:

Immigration History Research Center
University of Minnesota
Elmer L. Andersen Library, Library Suite 311
222-21st Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-625-4800