Sottunga Parish, Ahvenanmaa, Finland Genealogy

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Guide to Sottunga parish, Finland ancestry, family history, and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

History[edit | edit source]

Sottunga is an island municipality of Åland, an autonomous territory of Finland. The municipality is the smallest when it comes to population in Åland and in Finland.
The municipality is unilingually Swedish, with 88.7% of the inhabitants speaking Swedish as their native language.
Sottunga comprises many islands, of which only three, Husö, Finnö and Storsottunga, are inhabited. Storsottunga is usually called Sottunga and there are five villages in the municipality: Finnö, Husö, Hästö, Mosshaga and Sottunga.

Sottunga (Wikipedia)

Online Church Records: A Major Source for Birth, Marriage, and Death Information[edit | edit source]

Different collections cover different parishes, so it is important to check every collection.

  • The HisKi Project. Choose a specific parish or click on "All" to search the entire country. This collection is a partial database of indexed births, marriages, and deaths. It does not have data from the communion books and pre-confirmation books.
  • Finland's Family History Association--SSHY (Suomen Sukuhistoriallinen Yhdistys). Click on "Church Records" in the left sidebar. Select your parish from the list that comes up. Some of the features of this website are available at no cost. It appears that the paid subscription version (which is very reasonable) gives access to additional records not found with the free version.
  • Digihakemisto (Digital Directory). In the left sidebar, select your parish. This is a partial directory to parish records found in the Finnish National Archives. The index changes between the Finnish version and the English version. If you cannot find a parish, switch to the original Finnish.
  • The parish records are digitized online in the Finnish National Archives. This is the most complete collection, but it is more complicated to use. Use it when the records you need are not in the simpler indexed records above. Choose the parish you need from the "Tree View", which is a list of parish archives.

Online Communion Books (Rippikirjat/Kommunionböcker) and Preconfirmation Records (Lastenkirjat/Barnböcker)[edit | edit source]

Perhaps the most important genealogical record, Communion Books list the inhabitants of a parish by village, farm, and household. They are called communion books, because a person's records are added to them beginning with their confirmation and first communion. These records greatly simplify the research process by grouping individuals into family units. These records make it possible to follow the lives of ancestors from birth to the grave by providing, in one place, references to birth, marriage, and death dates, as well as moving information and other personal items. Pre-confirmation Records list each residence, the parents, and the children who had not yet been confirmed (usually all children younger than about age 14). After their confirmation, the children were transferred into the communion book. These records list each residence, the parents, and the children at the residence who had not yet been confirmed with their birth dates and, ultimately, their confirmation dates. Vaccinations are also noted. If a child died before confirmation, the death date is given. The records often include notation of blindness, disabilities, or other personal data.

Microfilm and Microfiche of Records for Finland[edit | edit source]

The original records used for developing the online databases are also available on microfilm and microfiche. You will also find additional records that have yet to be digitized. Eventually, all of the microfilmed records will be digitized, reportedly by 2020. In the meantime, some records might be found at a Family History Center near you. To find a record:

a. Click on this link to see a list of records for Finland, Ahvenanmaa.
b. Click on "Places within Finland, Ahvenanmaa" and a list of towns and cities will open.
c. Click on the parish you need.
d. Click on "Church records" topic. Click on the blue links to specific record titles.
e. Choose the correct type of record and time period for your ancestor. Births=syntyneet. Baptisms=kastetut. Marriages=vihityt. Deaths=kuolleet. Communion books=rippikirjat or pääkirja. Pre-confirmation books=lastenkirjat.
f. Some combination of the icons shown below will appear at the far right of the microfilm listed for the record.
FHL icons.png
Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to the index. Clicking on the camera will take you to an online digital copy of the microfilm.

Writing to the Local Parish[edit | edit source]

If you have not found your parish records in the above collections, the next step is to write to the parish. Also, the Family History Library does not have recent church records, due to privacy. But private information can be given to family members who write to the local parishes in Finland. If you do not speak Finnish, you may write your letter in English. In your letter, include a statement that you are willing to pay for the services you request. You will be billed when the research has been completed. Response time will vary, so be patient.

  • For addresses of parishes throughout Finland: Parish Contact Information
  • For details on writing to Finnish-speaking or Swedish-speaking parishes, discontinued parishes, payment methods, etc., consult this Finland Letter Writing Guide
  • A convenient printable form letter is provided here for writing to Finnish speaking parishes.
  • A convenient printable form letter is provided here for writing to Swedish speaking parishes.
  • You should copy the letter and fill in the appropriate blanks. A separate request form should be used when requesting detailed information on a spouse or child. Make sure you type or neatly print your letter and, when necessary, add any diacritical marks and special characters (such as å, ä, ö) with a pen.
  • If the form letters do not cover the records you want, you can write your request in English.

Related Sources[edit | edit source]

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

  • Since Finnish was not an official language in Finland until 1863, most records were written in Swedish. To do research in these records, you will need to know some Swedish and Finnish key words and phrases (such as born, died, mother, father, etc.), but you do not have to be fluent in the language.

Search Strategies[edit | edit source]

When you begin using church records, it is usually best to first verify the information you already have before you try to find new information.

The following steps may be helpful as you use Finnish church records:

  1. Find a person’s birth record. Write down the name of the parents and the place where the family was living. You will then be able to find the person in more records.
  2. Search the communion records and pre-confirmation rolls of that parish for the date when the family was there for the birth you just located. Note all information about the family, including names, birth dates, birthplaces, marriage and death dates, and moving information. You will now have much more information about the family.
  3. Search the birth, marriage, and death records to verify the information you found in the communion and pre-confirmation books.
  4. Search the communion records and pre-confirmation rolls for all the years the family lived there. Start with the year of the parents marriage and go until the family dies out.

Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the person’s parents, siblings, or other persons of interest.

If you do not find earlier generations, search neighboring parishes.
These step-by-step case studies with illustrations show how to apply these strategies: