Finnish-Americans in Archives


A lot of archive materials about Finns in the United States can be found in both Finland and in the United States. One problem is that there is not a modern archival list with all the material. In the United States especially, the material is spread around the country.

Archive Holdings in the United States

Finnish-American Historical Archives

The Finnish-American Historical Archives and the Finnish-American Heritage Center at Finlandia University (former Suomi College) in Hancock, Michigan, offer a lot of archival sources of interest when researching Finns in the United States. The Archives is the oldest repository of Finnish archivals in the United States. There are original records and microfilms of Finnish-American church records and temperance societies, newspapers, periodicals, personal papers, etc. The Heritage Center has thousands of Finnish microfilms with church records. They can be used in the Heritage Center. Listings of some of the material.

Immigration History Research Center

About 160 manuscript collections are included in the Finnish American collection at the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. There are archives of labour societies, co-operative associations, etc.

Iron Range Research Center

The Iron Range Research Center in Chisholm, Minnesota has a lot of tape recordings, biographies, manuscripts, etc. concerning Finnish activities in the mining districts in Minnesota. Information about the holdings.

Marquette County Historical Society

List of Finnish Collection.

Archive Holdings in Finland

Manuscript Department of Åbo Akademi University Library

In the Manuscript Department of Åbo Akademi University Library one can find the extensive holdings of the Swedish-Finnish emigration historian, professor Anders Myhrman. The holdings include the base material to his history about Swedish-Finns in America, subscription lists for Swedish-Finnish newspapers in the United States, and biographies written in Swedish by immigrants, as well as letters. The biographies are partially published in the publication series of the Library, but without an alphabetical index of people. The index can be found here.

There are also microfilms for some Swedish-Finnish parishes and societies in the United States. The films are difficult to use, because they were not filmed in a standard manner.

The Manuscript Department has the originals to the passenger lists of the Finnish Steamship Company. The lists contain information about third class passengers who traveled from Hanko (Hangö) in Finland to Hull in England and embarked on some of the big ocean liners for North or South America, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. The Migration Institute in Turku, Finland is transferring passenger lists of the Finland Steamship Company to computer.

The American Expedition 1971

The Department of Nordic Languages and Literature at the University of Helsinki, in cooperation with two other institutions, made an expedition in 1971 to collect language and traditions of the Swedish-Finnish immigrants in the United States. About 600 people were interviewed. The material is deposited at Folkkultursarkivet in Helsinki (address: Ritarikatu 5, FIN-00170 Helsinki, phone +358-9-618777, fax +358-9-61877277). The collection is made up of 382 reels of tape recordings, about 4300 pages of transcriptions, 179 photographs and many letters and other written material. The participiants are indexed in order of name and home area in Finland.

Institute of Migration in Turku

The Institute of Migration has letters, pictures, indexes, etc., with information about the emigration from Finland to the United States. They have a home page with a summary of information about their holdings.

Passenger Lists for Swedish Harbors

Indexes to passenger lists for Swedish harbors can be found in the Provincial archives of Gothenburg, Sweden. Thousands of Finns can be found in these lists. Part of the material has been published on the CD Emigranten. Researchers can use the CD in the library of the Genealogical Society of Finland.

The Finnish Seamen's Mission

The church archives of the Finnish Seamen's Mission in Brooklyn, New York (1887-1931) is on microfilm.