Finnish Genealogical Word List

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This list contains Finnish words with their English translations. The words included here are those that you are likely to find in genealogical sources. If the word you are looking for is not on this list, please consult a Finnish-English dictionary (see the "Additional Resources" section below).

Finnish is related to Estonian and distantly related to Hungarian. It is not related to other European languages. The official languages of Finland are Finnish and Swedish. Until the end of the 1800s, records were kept in Swedish. For help reading those records, see the Swedish Genealogical Word List(31028). Some Latin phrases also appear in older Finnish parish registers. For help, use the Latin Genealogical Word List (34077).


Variant Forms of Words

In Finnish, as in English, the forms of some words will vary according to how they are used in a sentence. Who—whose—whom or marry—marries—married are examples of words in English with variant forms.

As you read Finnish records, be aware that the endings of most words vary with usage. One word in Finnish often translates into English as two or more words. For example, talo (house) changes to talossa (in the house).

Plurals. Finnish indicates the plural of a word in two ways:

   * The letter t is added to nouns that have no other endings. For example, talo (house) becomes talot(houses).
   * The letter i is added if the noun has another ending. For example, talossa (in the house) becomes taloissa (in the houses).

Possessives. In addition to or instead of using words like my and theirs, Finnish adds endings to words to show possession. If a word already has another ending on it, the possessive ending appears at the end of the word. For example, see how possessives change the words talo (house) and talossa (in the house):

   his house 	hänen talonsa
   in his house 	hänen talossansa

See Table 1 for a more complete description of possessives.

Prepositions and postpositions. In English, words like in, on, with, before, and after are prepositions. They come before a noun. For example, in the house.

Depending on the various grammar rules, Finnish prepositions may appear in one of three ways:

   * They may come before the noun. For example, ennen sotaa (before the war).
   * They may come after the noun. (In this case, it is called a postposition.) For example, sodan jälkeen(after the war).
  * They may be added to the noun. For example Helsinki becomes Helsinkiin (into Helsinki). Table 2, on the next page, contains other examples.

Word endings. Endings are also added to words for other grammatical purposes. See Tables 1 and 3 for other examples.

Table 1. Possessive Endings

Possessive and Ending Meaning Examples: talo (house), talossa (in the house) Translation minun, -ni my talo » minun talonitalo » minun talossani house » my househouse » in my house sinun-, si your (singular) talo » sinun talositalo » sinun talossasi house » your househouse » in your house hänen, -nsa, -nsä or double vowel + n his, her talo » hänen talonsatalo » hänen talossansatalo » hänen talossaan house » his (her) househouse » in his (her) househouse » in his (her) house meidän -mme our talo » meidän talommetalo » meidän talossamme house » our househouse » in our house teidän, -nne your (plural) talo » teidän talonnetalo » teidän talossanne house » your househouse » in your house heidän, -nsa, -nsä or double vowel + n their talo » heidän talonsa talo » heidän talossansatalo » heidän talossaan house » their househouse » in their househouse » in their house

Table 2. Prepositional Endings on Nouns

Ending Basic Meaning Example Translation -a, -ä, -ta, -t of, some suku » sukua family » of a family -in by means of, with oma käsi » omin ksin one’s own hands » with one’s own hands -ine + a possessive ending (see Table 1) together with lapsi » lapsinensa or lapsineen child » together with his (her or their) children -ksi changed into, become vaimo » otti vaimoksi wife » took for a wife or became a wife -lla, -llä at, by, in Tampere » Tampereella Tampere » in (at) Tampere -lle to Tampere » Tampereelle Tampere » to Tampere -lta, -ltä from Tampere » Tampereelta Tampere » from Tampere -n of talo » talon väki house » people of the house -na, -nä as lapsi » lapsena child » as a child -ssa, -ssä in Helsinki » Helsingissä Helsinki » in Helsinki double vowel + n into Helsinki » Helsinkiin Helsinki » into Helsinki -sta, -stä from Helsinki » Helsingistä Helsinki » from Helsinki

Table 3. Other Word Endings

Ending Basic Meaning Example Translation -t forms a plural talo » talot house » houses -ko, -k indicates a question Helsingissä » Helsingissäkö in Helsinki » in Helsinki? -ton without, -less, un- lapsi » lapseton child » childless -tta, -ttä (on verbs) without nähdä » näkemätt to see » without seeing -n, -t shows a direct object talo » näen talon talo » näen talot house » I see the house house » I see the houses

Ending: -lla, -ll followed by a form of the verb olla (to be): on, ei ole, oli, ei ollut, on ollut, or ei ole ollut Basic Meaning: shows possession or ownership (to have)

Example Translation

Anna » Annalla on Anna » Anna has Anna Toivonen » Anna Toivosella oli Anna Toivonen » Anna Toivonen had minä » minulla on ollut I » I have had sinä » sinulla oli you (singular) » you had hän » hänellä oli he/she » he/she had me » meillä ei ole ollut we » we have not had te » teillä on you (plural) » you have he » heillä ei ole they » they do not have

Spelling Changes

When an ending is added to a word, the consonants within that word may also change. Consider the following examples:

Letters that Change 	Examples
  ht 	to hd 	lahti 	to lahden
  k 	to (nothing) 	Ilmajoki 	to Ilmajoen
  kk 	to k 	kirkko 	to kirkon
  lt 	to ll 	ilta 	to illan
  mp 	to mm 	lampi 	to lammen
  n 	to s 	Heinonen 	to Heinosen
  nk 	to ng 	Helsinki 	to Helsingin
  nt 	to nn 	isäntä 	to isännn
  p 	to v 	orpo 	to orvon
  pp 	to p 	pappi 	to papin
  rk 	to r 	Turku 	to Turun
  rt 	to rr 	virta 	to virran
  s 	to d or t 	uusi 	to uuden, uuteen
  tt 	to t 	tyttö 	to tytön
  uku 	to uvu 	suku 	to suvun
  vowel+t 	to vowel+d 	iti 	to idin

Alphabetical Order

Written Finnish uses three letters in addition to the twenty-six letters used in the English alphabet: ä, ö, and for Swedish names, å. Finnish dictionaries and indexes, this word list, and the Locality Search of the Family History Library CatalogLook this term up in the glossary. all use the following alphabetical order:

   a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z å ä ö

The letters v and w are frequently alphabetized as the same letter.

Finnish Genealogical Word List

Table of Contents Language Characteristics Additional Resources Key Words General Word List

Ä Numbers Dates


This word list includes only the words most commonly found in genealogical sources. For more help, use a Finnish-English dictionary. Several such dictionaries are available at the Family History LibraryLook this term up in the glossary. in the Scandinavia collection. Their call numbers begin with 494.541321. The following dictionary is also available on microfilmLook this term up in the glossary. for use in Family History CentersLook this term up in the glossary.:

Alanne, V. S. Suomalais-englantilainen suursanakirja [Great Finnish-English Dictionary]. 3rd ed. Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö, 1968. (FHL film 1224706 item 3.)

Additional dictionaries are listed in the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog under FINNISH LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES or in the Locality Search under FINLAND - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES - DICTIONARIES.

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To find and use specific types of Finnish records, you will need to know some key words in Finnish. This section gives key genealogical terms in English and the Finnish words with the same or similar meanings.

For example, in the first column you will find the English word marriages. In the second column you will find Finnish words with meanings such as marry, marriage, wedding, wedlock, unite, legitimate, joined,and other words used in Finnish records to indicate marriage.

   English 	Finnish
   banns 	kuulutetut
  baptism 	kastetut, kaste-, ristimä-
  births 	syntyneet, synty-
  burials 	haudatut, hauta-, hauda-
  child 	lapsi
  christenings 	(See baptism.)
  confirmations 	rippilapset, ripille päässeet
  deaths 	kuolleet, kuoli-
  father 	isä
  husband 	mies, aviomies
  marriages 	vihityt, vihki-, naim-, avio-
  month 	kuukausi, kuu
  mother 	äiti
  name (given name) 	nimi, etunimi, kastenimi, ristimänimi
  name (surname) 	(suku)nimi
  parents 	vanhemmat
  parishs 	seurakunta, kunta
  wife 	vaimo, aviovaimo
  year 	vuosi, vuoden, vuonna

Finnish Genealogical Word List

Table of Contents Language Characteristics Additional Resources Key Words General Word List

Ä Numbers Dates


This general word list includes words commonly seen in genealogical sources. Numbers, months, and days of the week are listed both here and in separate sections that follow this list.

In this list, optional versions of Finnish words or variable endings are given in parentheses. Parentheses in the English column clarify the meaning.

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   aamu 	morning
   aamulla 	in the morning
  aamupäivä 	forenoon
  aateli(nen) 	noble
  aatelisto 	nobility
  aatto 	eve
  aika 	time, date
  aikainen 	early, (a.m.)
  aikaisempi 	earlier
  aikakauskirja 	periodical
  aikanaan 	in due time
  aina 	always
  ainoa 	only
  aivokuume 	encephalitis, inflammation of the brain
  aivotärähdys 	concussion
  ajaja 	coachman
  ajomies 	coachman
  ala, ali 	low(er), under
  alaikäinen 	minor, underaged
  alla 	under
  allekirjoittanut 	undersigned
  alue 	region, district
  alus 	ship
  ammatti 	profession, occupation
  annettu 	given
  anoppi 	mother-in-law
  appi 	father-in-law
  appivanhemmat 	parents-in-law
  apteekkari 	pharmacist, druggist
  arkisto 	archive
  arkistoluettelo 	archive list
  arvo 	title, rank, status
  asema 	station, class, standing
  asevelvollinen 	conscript soldier
  asiakirja 	document, record
  asua 	live, reside
  asuinpaikka 	place of residence
  asukas 	inhabitant, resident, lodger
  asunto 	residence
  asutuksen yleisluettelo 	general register of inhabitants
  a.u. 	illegitimate
  aukko 	gap (missing records)
  autio 	uninhabited
  avioero 	divorce
  avioliiton ulkopuolella 	illegitimate, out of wedlock
  avioliitto 	marriage
  avioliittoasiakirjat 	marriage documents
  aviomies 	husband
  avionrikkoja 	adulterer
  aviopari 	married couple
  aviopuoliso 	spouse
  avioton 	unmarried, illegitimate
  aviovaimo 	wife