Suursaari Parish, Viipuri, Finland Genealogy

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Viipuri County

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


Gogland or Hogland is an island in the Gulf of Finland in the eastern Baltic Sea, about 180 km west from Saint Petersburg and 35 km from the coast of Finland, near Kotka. It belongs to Russia's Kingiseppsky District in the Leningrad Oblast.
In 2006, Russian authorities declared Hogland a border area, which means that foreign nationals are not allowed to travel to the island without special permits.
Hogland has been inhabited by ethnic Finns since at least the 16th century, but it has changed hands several times. Throughout much of its history the island was part of the Kingdom of Sweden, which controlled Finland.
After the Finnish War from 1808 to 1809, Gogland officially passed to the Russian Empire, although it was made part of the newly created Grand Duchy of Finland which gained independence from Russia in 1917.
In March 1939, the Soviets asked Finland to lease Suursaari and four small uninhabited islets for thirty years and cede rich and heavily populated areas on the Karelian isthmus, as they claimed they were vital for the defense of Leningrad, the second biggest Soviet city. In return, the Soviet Union would show its good faith by offering a large slice of empty and unofficially disputed Karelian borderland in exchange. The Finns refused.
Soviet troops occupied the island during the Winter War (1939-1940), and the civilian population was evacuated.

Finnish forces captured Hogland during the Battle of Suursaari, Dec. 1941 - April 1942. Later, in September 1944 - Finland having ceased hostilities with the Soviet Union - the Germans attempted to take the island from their Finnish former allies, but were repulsed with heavy losses in Operation Tanne Ost. Hogland reverted to Russian possession at the end of the war.

Suursaari Parish, Viipuri, Finland Genealogy
Hiippakunta | Stift Add Here
Pastoraatti | Pastorat Add Here
Lääni | Län Add Here
Maakunta | Landskap Add Here
Kihlakunta | Härad Add Here
Käräjäkunta | Tingslag Add Here
Tuomiokunta | Domsaga Add Here
Voutikunta | Fögderi Add Here
Kunta | Kommun Add Here
Sotilaspiiri | Militärdistrikt Add Here

Place Names

Eskola, Halli, Jaakkola,
Kiidri, Kiiski, Kurki,
Mattila, Naski, Perheenmies, Penttilåä, Porkka,
Saucko, Seppälä, Suomalainen,
Talsi, Terhi, Tommila, Yrjönen

To see what kind of place it is you will need a Finnish gazeteer.

  • Surrounding Parishes

Online Church Records: A Major Source for Birth, Marriage, and Death Information

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)

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

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, Viipuri.
b. Click on "Places within Finland, Viipuri" 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

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.

Related Sources

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Reading the Records

  • 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

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:

Societies and Libraries