SukuTopoteekki is a topotheque maintained by the Genealogical Society of Finland. A topotheque is a web archive where family and personal historical photographs are stored. Anyone can participate in adding to the content. SukuTopoteekki focuses on preserving and presenting private photographs taken before the year 1950. Individual people and organizations like genealogists and family societies can donate photos.

Go to SukuTopoteekkiin

New Web Service

The Society published a new service specialized in old photographs, SukuTopoteekki, in May 2023. Materials will be accepted immediately after the publication of the service. SukuTopoteekki's service provider is ICARUS, the International Center for Archival Research. You can find instructions on scanning and processing images, recording metadata, and submitting materials for the service on this page and in this downloadable file (in Finnish).

SukuTopoteekki preserves and displays private family and personal history photos taken before 1950, for example of people and buildings. Anyone, like genealogists and family societies, can participate in adding material to the service. The service does not publish materials belonging to other parties like museums and libraries or later photos of historical sites.

In SukuTopoteekki, the materials are freely viewable by everyone and the donors of the images decide on the license under which they are made available to the public. As pilot material, the Society published about 1,500 pictures related to Finnish immigrants from the Picture Gallery - Life and Times of Finnish Emigrants collection, which was in the Society's possession and was previously displayed on the Society's website at the beginning of the 2000s. The material includes pictures from America to Australia, some identified and others unidentified.

The Society's SukuTopoteekki Web Service Homepage

Donation Agreement

Before delivering and publishing the images, the individual or entity handing over the materials must enter into a digital material handover agreement with the Society. The agreement concerns the presentation of materials to be handed over online. The society does not acquire the copyright to the materials, but the donor himself determines the license with which the material is made available to the public in SukuTopoteekki.

Donation Agreement of Digitized Material (in Finnish)


Scanning Photographs

It is suggested that all photographs published in SukuTopoteekki should be scanned in color - even the black and white photos. The photos should be scanned as straight as possible and if needed, a white background should be used.

All pictures should be scanned at a good enough resolution that their details can be saved. The resolution (ppi/dpi) is chosen by the size of the original picture. You can use the following guidelines in choosing your resolution, or you can use your scanner's settings to choose the resolution so that the longer edge of the photo has about 3000 pixels:

  • 10 x 15 cm and smaller = 1 200 ppi/dpi
  • Up to 18 x 24 cm = 400 ppi/dpi
  • Larger than 18 x 24 cm = 300 ppi/dpi
  • negatives and slide films = 2 000-3 000 ppi/dpi

For SukuTopoteekki, the Society only accepts digital materials. The Society cannot accept or save original physical photographs, albums or photo collections. The premises of the Society has a scanner that is freely available for everyone to use. Most libraries will also have scanners that customers may use for scanning photographs.

Image Editing

After scanning, the image is cropped with its borders so that the white border is slightly visible around the edges of the image. Scanned images must not be modified, colored or otherwise processed with image processing programs. As a rule, SukuTopeekki does not publish the backgrounds of photographs.

The pictures are saved in one folder as JPEG files and all the pictures in the folder are named according to the donor in the format "SurnameFirstnameNumber" (e.g. DoeJohn0123 or DoeFamilyassociation0456) so that all photos have their own sequence number. Photograph names cannot use umlauts so names with ö are substituted with a plain o.

Logging Metadata

The metadata, i.e. description information, of all images sent to SukuTopoteekki are recorded in a separate description file, which you can download below. The file can be opened and filled in with Excel or another spreadsheet program.

New columns or file headers are not added to the model template nor is their order changed. When recording metadata, the entry instructions found in the existing SukuTopoteekki instructions are followed as accurately as possible. It is particularly important that the aforementioned file name exactly matches the name recorded in the description file, so that the metadata is correctly combined in SukuTopoteekki. Materials are mainly searched for with the photo's title and image tags so special attention should be given to them in the description.

Delivery of Materials

The pictures and the metadata are sent in the same folder via email to the address sukutopoteekki@genealogia.fi or by using the free of charge WeTransfer -service. The Society is responsible for publishing the donated materials in SukuTopoteekki, and the Society decides on the schedule for publishing the photos and making them available to the public in the service.

Updating Information

Information on pictures published in SukuTopoteekki is primarily updated by answering the question "Do you recognize the people in the photo or do you have more information about the photo?" and by sending the information using the form attached to the question. Details can also be sent by email (address will become available soon) in which case the identification number (e.g. ID 0079554) should be mentioned in the message.

Maintenance and Feedback

Susanna Lahtinen, the Society's custome advisor, is responsible for updating SukuTopoteekki and receiving new materials. SukuTopoteekki's maintenance is handled by the Society's online service specialist. You can find the contact information of all members of the Society here.

To help with maintenance, SukuTopoteekki has volunteer moderators who update the description and identification information of the pictures. If you are interested in the position of volunteer coordinator, please leave an application to Mikko Kuitula, the Society's online service specialist. Coordinators will be introduced to the task but knowledge of the topotheque and of handling old photographs and previous work with metadata are useful skills in handling the position.