The Registry of Christenings is the best place to confirm the date and location of an ancestor’s birth. Although most birthdates in the Communion records are correct, errors can occur. The most accurate source for the birthdate is the Registry of Christenings. In addition, the Registry of Christenings provides the parents’ full names and often the father’s occupation. Some records also give the mother’s age at the time of the birth. All records list the godparents. Some may be relatives.

If you know your ancestor’s birth name, birth date, and birth parish, you can easily find their record in the Registry of Christenings.  I will again use the knife fighter Antti Isotalo as my example. In the previous post, we found Antti Isotalo’s record in the communion book of Alahärmä parish. In that book the birthdate of Antti’s father Heikki Erkinpoika (Henric Ericsson) is the 13th of July 1782; however, the birthplace was not recorded in the following column. Often when a birthplace is not listed, it is the same as the current parish. In this case, that would be Alahärmä.

Antti Isotalo’s record in the communion book of Alahärmä parish.

You can find the Church books of Alahärmä parish on the Finnish family history Association (FFHA) website. The birth/christening records are listed after the general ledgers and communion books (pääkirjat ja rippikirjat), and the records of moves (muuttaneet) under the name “Syntyneet ja kastetut” (born and Christened):

By clicking word Syntyneet for the time period 1778 to 1797, you will get an index page for the birth records in that time period. The records of Heikki Erkinpoika (Henric Ericsson) should be in image 37 Syntyneet 05.1782 (Born beginning May 1782) but there is no record for any Henric whose father’s name is Eric in July. Either Heikki (Henric) was not born in Alahärmä or the birth date is incorrect. (Be sure to check the whole month, as a few records may be out of date order.)

To save time in determining the correct date or place, it is best to turn to the Hiski Database. Choose area 14 (South Ostrobothnia) from the map since that is where Alahärmä is located.  To check if Heikki was born in another parish of South Ostrobothnia, chose the all parishes option. Next select the Christened search and enter the child’s first name as Henric, and the father’s first name as Eric. You can use the Finnish or Swedish version of the names, but not the English version. You can start by looking at just the year 1782 by entering 1782 as both the beginning and ending date. If that does not provide results you may want to expand to additional years, as occasionally the year may be wrong.

This returns results from many parishes, but none have the July 13th birthdate. Therefore it is best to make a similar search of the parishes in the neighbouring area 15 (Ostrobothnia). This search gives seven hits from which the first hit of Nykarleby (Finnish name Uusikaarlepyy) looks correct:

The birth date is same as in the communion book. Mother’s name Sara Henriks dotter confirms, that the record is correct. According to the communion book, the name of Antti’s grandmother was Saara (Sara). According to this HisKi record, Heikki Erkinpoika was born in Uuusikaarlepyy parish and Öfrejäpo village (written nowadays Övre Jeppo, Finnish name Yläjepua) on Jungar farm.

Now we can find Heikki’s christening record since we know it will be in the records of Uusikaarlepyy parish. First problem is the Registry of Christenings from the Uusikaarlepyy is not available from Finnish family history Association (FFHA). You need to use the database of of the National Archives of Finland, which is often slightly more difficult to use. As the Digital Archives service took off on March 2022, it is best to use the site Digihakemisto (Digital Index).

In Digihakemisto, you get a list of parishes by clicking tab Seurakunnat (parishes).

However, when you look for the Uusikaarlepyy parish archive (in Finnish Uusikaarlepyyn seurakunnan arkisto), there is no link, instead a comment ks. Nykarleby (see Nykarleby). You will find the archive by name Nykarleby församlings arkiv. Parish is församling in Swedish. Parishes that are mainly Swedish speaking are archived by their Swedish name in this database.

Using the Swedish name is successful. By clicking the link Nykarleby församlings arkiv in the list, and again link 1 BEFOLKNINGSARKIV (civil register), you go to the records of that parish

From link IC Längder över födda och döpta (index of born and christened) you reach the list of Christened in different time periods and from the link Längder över födda och döpta (1782-1804) to the correct time period for Henric’s birth. The years and month (in Swedish) are marked in description column. You will find the page for July 1782 in record 7. And Heikki’s birth is the last entry on the left side.

Unfortunately, the text is difficult to read, but the data from HisKi helps to read it. First column contains the month Juli (July), second column date of birth (13th), third column date of Christening (14th) and fourth column the village (Öfre jepo). Next is the name of the farm, the names of father and mother, the names of godparents, the name of the priest and place of christening. The text is difficult to read but it can be deciphered as:

Jungar. Eric Johanssons och Sara Henricssons son Henric. Mf. Arvid Eliasson, Johan Adamsson, Qf. Caren Henricsdotter, Maria Joh. dr, pig. Lisa Joh. dr. af Com. Stenbäck i Hem…

Or in English as:

Jungar farm. the son of Erkki Juhonpoika (Eric Johansson) and Saara Heikintytär (Sara Henrics dotter). Godfathers Arvi Eliaanpoika, Juho Ataaminpoika. Godmothers Kaisa Heikintytär, Maria Juhontytär, Miss. Liisa Juhontytär, christened by chaplain Stenbäck, at home …

It is much easier to find the birth records of Antti’s mother Maria Kustaantytär (Maria Gustafs dotter). The records can be found from the FFHA Church record of Alahärmä. The registry of christenings in this parish also contains the marriage and death records. You should first choose correct time period from the Syntyneiden ja kastettujen luettelot (Index of born and christened). Since Maria was born on year 1788, you should select period: Syntyneet (sisältää myös vihityt ja kuolleet) 1778-1797.  Maria’s birth date of the 27th of August 1788, is on the page beginning in June –  68 (Syntyneet 06.1788). Maria’s record is on the right side. This time, the handwriting is beautiful and clear, although it is in an old script:

Åhr 1788
Gustaf Cumbulas och hustru Maria Georgii Barn.
August 27. 31. Maria. Test. Mickel Hilli. Johan Mathiae Biri. Jacob Jacobi ifr. Hilli. h. Susanna Jacobi. h. Walborg Jacobi. Pig. Maria Joh. Storgård. döpt af J. Stenbäck i kyrkan.

English Translation:
Year 1788
The child of Kustaa Kumpula (Gustaf Kumbula) and Maria Yrjöntytär (Maria Georg’s daughter) Maria. Godparents: Mikko Hilli, Juho Matinpoika Biri, Jaakko Jaakonpoika from Hilli, wife Susanna Jaakobintytär, wife Valpuri Jaakobintytär, Miss Maria Juhontytär Storgård, christened by J. Stenbäck in the Church.

From the registry of Christening we found information of the parents and grandparents of knife fighter Antti Isotalo:

  • Antti’s father Heikki was born in Uusikaarleby, Ylijepua (Nykarleby, Övre Jeppo) on Jungar farm. His father was Erkki Juhonpoika Jungar and his mother Saara Heikintytär.
  • Antti’s mother Maria was born in Alahärmä and her father was Kustaa Kumpula and her mother was Maria Yrjöntytär.

In the next post, I will cover marriage in Finland and the registry of marriages.

English text edited by Barbara Wilson