Finland Gazetteers

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Gazetteers are dictionaries of place-names. Gazetteers describe towns and villages; parishes, counties, and provinces; rivers and mountains; and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published, and the place-names are generally listed in alphabetical order. For small places, gazetteers generally include the names of higher government jurisdictions, such as civil offices, districts, counties, and so forth.

You can use the online FamilySearch Catalog as a gazetteer.

Do a Place search for Finland, then select Places in Finland. This will display a list of all county-level localities in the catalog. Some of the entries are see references. That is, the locality is not used in the catalog but a reference exists to a corresponding locality that is used.

For example, click Åbo-Björneborg and the catalog will return an entry that reads, See: Finland, Turku-Pori. This is the locality used in the FamilySearch Catalog instead of Åbo-Björneborg.

If you click Places within Turku-Pori you will see a list of all the cities for which FamilySearch has records. Please note some of these may be see references.

The FamilySearch Catalog is based on the Finnish counties [lääni/län] as of 1945, but it also includes the ceded county of Viipuri. In addition, the International Genealogical Index includes the two counties founded in 1960 (see Finland Maps for more information). In 1998 the counties were again redrawn.

Early Finnish records, such as the Old and New Collection of Accounts and military records, were organized by the old Finnish provinces [maakunta/ landskap], which did not coincide with the counties with the same names (see Finland Maps for more information). The catalog lists these records under all pertaining counties.

Regardless of the names a place may have had at various times, all Finnish places are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog as they appear in the following sources:

  • Suomenmaa: maantieteellis-yhteiskunnallinen tieto- ja hakuteos (Finland: A Geographical- Social Dictionary and Reference Work). 7 vols. Porvoo: WS, 1967–78. (FHL book 948.97 E2s; film 1224704, items 2–9)
  • Suomenmaa: maantieteellis-taloudellinen ja historiallinen tietokirja (Finland: A Geographical-Economical and Historical Dictionary). Vol. 5. Helsinki: Tietosanakirja-Osakeyhtiö, 1923. (FHL book 948.975 E2s) The library has only this volume, which describes Viipuri County, of the earlier edition of Suomenmaa.

The following source contains an alphabetical list of Finnish parishes, variations of their names, the counties they belong to, the date the parish records started, and county maps showing the parish boundaries:

  • Choquette, Margarita, Lee Choquette, and Matthew Russell. Parish and County Listing with Maps of Finland. Salt Lake City: Corp. of the President, 1991. (FHL book 948.97 E2ch; fiche 6068252)

The following two postal guides give the most comprehensive locality listings for Finland:

  • Posti- ja lennätinlaitoksen osoitehakemisto: Post- och telegrafverkets adressförteckning (Postal and Telegraph Address Register). Helsinki: Valtion Painatuskeskus, 1968. (FHL book 948.97 E4o; film 824098, item 1; computer number 125450.) This book lists places and which parish they belong to, but it does not list which county it belongs to.
  • Räsänen, Oskar. Posti- ja sähkösanomaosoitteiden hakemisto: Uppslagsbok för post- och telegramadresser (Guide for Postal and Telegram Addresses). Helsinki: Valtionneuvoston kirjapaino, 1930. (FHL book 948.97 E8po; film 1440032, item 1) This postal guide, which was printed in 1930, includes localities in the areas ceded to the Soviet Union. Note that places that are now in Lappi/Lappland County are listed in Oulu/Uleåborg County at that time.

To find more guides to locating places in Finland, search the FamilySearch Catalog under the following subjects:

Finland - Gazetteers

Finland - Names, geographical

Finland - Postal and shipping guide

Finland, [County] - Names, geographical