Finnish Place Names Outside Finland


A collection of Finnish place names used outside Finland is an important aid for locating where Finns settled and lived. Place names indicate where Finns were predominant in a particular area and the time period of settlement. The use of a large number of Finnish names can be evidence of a large Finnish community or an early settling of Finns, in comparison to settlers of different origins. When the first Finnish settlers named their communities, they used names originating from nature or surroundings, animals, fish, occupations, names of people, etc.

All types of Finnish names, as well as names of Swedish Finnish origin, are of importance. A name of a creek or a lake is as important as a name of a populated place. The method of using place names to trace Finnish settlers is widely in use in Sweden and Norway, where Finns settled mainly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The settlers soon lost their specific Finnish surnames and today the names can only be found in place names. One difficulty is the transformation of the names by the influence of the local language. The same influence can be seen in North America where many of the Finnish names are difficult to be identified as Finnish. The method of tracing Finns by using place names can make it easier to find Finns in North America where suitable genealogical sources often are rare.

Finnish names are evidence of Finnish culture spreading outside Finland. For that reason street names are also collected and listed. Street names may be from a later time period as a result of cooperation between towns and cities, or they may be marks of honor to Finnish artists and scientists. Despite the manner and reason for naming, they are a sign of Finnish culture in foreign countries.

Finnish place names or street names in the Nordic countries, Estonia, Karelia (western Russia) or former Ingria (western Russia) are not listed at the site.

All visitors to the site are encouraged to submit Finnish place names as well as Finnish street names. They can be submitted by using the submission form or by sending an e-mail message to place@genealogia.fi. Explanations and sources should be included if possible. They are important for visitors and maintainers of the site who do not know the local geography and history.

Many of the place names already listed need comments and corrections. If a name is listed twice one should be removed, etc. Comments and corrections are encouraged from people with a good knowledge of the geography and history of the region.

Place names that were never used in official connections may also be included. They require good explanations, sources and geographical information in order to be useful for visitors to the site.