Race toward ancestral discoveries with our guide to tracing suomalainen forebears.
If you’re among the half-million Americans with Finnish ancestry, your research path—like Finland—lies with the Baltic states and Russia on one side and Sweden on the other.
Finland was a Swedish province and then grand duchy for almost six centuries until it became a grand duchy of Russia in 1809. Finland declared independence in 1917; after a short civil war, it became a presidential republic in 1919. Though it was largely agrarian until the mid-20th century, it’s caught up quickly, now regularly nabbing top spots in quality-of-life country rankings. So there’s no reason to let Sweden and Russia overshadow your Finnish ancestors’ roots—you’ll find plenty of material to start your genealogical engines.