An ancestor, who moves from one parish to another often causes problems for genealogists. It can be difficult to trace older children when they move to another parish or village for work or marriage. Sometimes a whole family moves to another parish. Moving Records can provide their new location. The Moving Certificate gives information about who moved, the moving date, and where they went. A summary of the certificate is entered in the Muuttaneet parish books.

Ullanlinnankatu 3-5, Helsinki 1907
Ulriikaporinkatu 3-5, Helsinki, nowadays Ullanlinnankatu, on year 1907. A horse pulling a moving load.
Signe Brander – Helsinki City museum.

According to the Church Law of year 1686, a parish should keep a record of the people who moved in or out of the parish. When a person informed the local chuch, that he/she planned to move to another parish, he/she was registered in the Moving Out Records and was given a Moving Certificate. The person was required to give the Moving Certificate to the new parish. The person officially moved to a new parish by being entered in the parish’s Moving In Records. Unfortunately, few of the old Moving Record books have survived but some Moving Certificates can be found in the online archives. Moving information is most likely to be available from the 1800’s onwards.

Usually, both the moved in and moved out information were recorded in the same parish book. The moved in (Swedish -Inflyttade or Inkomne Attester, Finnish – Sisäänmuuttaneet) were usually on the left page and the moved out (Swedish -Utflyttade or Utgående Attester, Finnish – Ulosmuuttaneet) were on the right page. The records of each type were given consecutive numbers (The number of the person in the Moving Out record is also the number on the Moving Certificate.) The Moving entry includes the date the Moving Certificate has been given or received in the parish, the person’s name and occupation, the person’s home in their current parish and the parish or village they intended to move to. Beginning in 1800’s, moves were also usually recorded in the Communion Book.

The moving information is not always correct. It might happen that the parish where the person planned to move did not accept him/her or the person was unable to a get job in the new parish. Parishes did not want to receive people, who might end up needing financial support from the community. If a parish refuced a person the same Move Out Certificate could be used to move to any other parish that would accept him/her. In that case, it would be difficult to discover where the person actually moved.

Moving Certificate

Moving Certificate (in Swedish flyttningsbetyg, in Finnish muuttokirja or muuttotodistus) was a document, which was given by the parish from which the person (or family) departed and was given to the person’s new parish. The Moving Certificates were archived by the parish that received the mover.

Depended on the time period, the certificate contained at least part of the following data:

  • name
  • birth date and place
  • occupation
  • dwelling place in the parish he/she left
  • the parish, where to move
  • ability to read
  • understanding of the Christian doctrine
  • participation on the Holy Communion
  • confirmation
  • reputation and punishments
  • hindrances to marriage
  • disabilities (eg. poor eyesight, deaf, limping etc.)
  • vaccination against smallpox or has had smallpox
  • payment of crown taxes.

The early Moving Certificates were handwritten with no fixed format, but in 1800’s they were often written on printed form with constant content (like later Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki’s Moving Certificate).

Utilization of the Moving Records

As an example of the use of Moving Records, I again use the family of knife fighter Antti Isotalo. The name of his parent’s farm was Hanhimäki. The family had two foster sons Jöran (in Finnish Yrjö) and Gustaf (in Finnish Kustaa). In the Communion book of years 1846 to 1852 Jöran has a marking of moving in the last column Departed (in Swedish Afgått).

Fostersöne Jöran Johanss. Pukkinen 12/10 1855 Kauhava
Gustaf Johanss. Pukkinen 26/3 1840.
Foster sons Jöran Johansson Pukkinen b. 12th of September 1855 in Kauhava
Gustaf Johansson Pukkinen b. 26th of March 1840.
Till Nyk. 5/10 51.
To Nykarleby (in Finnish Uusikaarlepyy) 5th of October 1851

This marking indicates that Jöran should have a moving out record. Alahärmä parish has digitized Moving Records from the year 1806.

In this parish the Moving In and Out Records are in the same book. Abnormally the Moving Out Records (Utflyttade) are on the left side of the spread. Jöran’s Moving Out Record can be found from the 1845-1884 records from image 23 (page 44 in the Moving Records).

Okt. 25. 20. Fosters. Jöran Johss. Pukkinen 1. – 606 Nykarleby.
October 25th. 20. Foster son Jöran Johansson Pukkinen 1. – 606 Nykarleby (in Finnish Uusikaarlepyy).

Jöran got the Moving Certificate on 25th of October 1851. The number of the certificate was 20. His move was marked in the Communion Book of Isokyrö on page 606, when he left that parish and he moved to Nykarleby (Uusikaarlepyy). Abbreviation do (dito) in the record means same as previous.

Next, we can look for Jöran in the Moving In Records of Nykarleby. Unfortunately, the Moving Records of Nykarleby cannot be found from FFHA, but they can be found from the National Archives of Finland by the Swedish name Nykarleby församling. This time I used the Digihakemisto (Digital Index), which helps in finding the record. By the Quick Searches tab Seurakunnat, you get a list of parish archives. In this index Nykarleby Parish is listed in the Swedish Nykarleby församlings arkiv (archive of Nykarleby Parish) and the index of records for the parish is in Swedish. Next you should choose 1 BEFOLKNINGSARKIVET (in Finnish Väestörekisteriarkisto meaning Civil register archive) which contains the Church books.

Moving records can be found by the name 1B Längder över In- och utflyttade (list of the people who moved in or out of the parish):

Moving in records you find in the next menu by the name 1Ba Längder över till församlingen inflyttade (list of the people who moved into the parish). In Nykarleby, there are Moving In Records from the year 1736.

Jöran’s record is in the book from year 1849 to 1857 and his record can be found from year 1852, image 29, page 50 on the right side of the spread. It is the first record of the page.

Moved in 1852 Nykarleby
Inflyttade år 1852.
18. Kyrkoby Juthbacka 213 Fostersonen å Hanhimäki Jöran Johansson Pukkinen. f. 12/10 1835 i Kauhava; rent, hela Sveb. Catech. nöjaktigt; icke admitterad; icke ännu legitimerad; är vaccin., utan. Alahärmä den 25. October 1851. A. Wilh. Ingman.
In moved year 1852.
18. Kyrkoby Juthbacka 213 Foster son from Hanhimäki farm Jöran Johansson Pukkinen b. 12th of October 1835 in Kauhava, [reads] fluently; [can by heart] recite the whole Svebelius cathecism satisfyingly; not confirmed; not yet legitimated [for marriage]; vaccinated; not [punished]. 25th of October 1851. Anders Wilhelm Ingman.

This Moving In Record gives, in a short form, all the information written on the Moving Certificate. This is not usual. My translation contains some additions in square brackets to make the record easier to understand. Nykarleby Parish has not archived the actual Moving Certificates from this time period but Moving Certificates from years 1818 to 1830 are available. They can be found under the series Från församlingar inkomna flyttningsbetyg (the Moving Certificates entered from the parishes).

The Moving In Record indicates that Jöran moved to the Juthbacka farm in Kyrkoby. He can be found on page 213 in the Nykarleby Communion Book of years 1851 to 1858.

Jöran Johansson Pukkinen in the Nykarleby Communion Book. He has a marking in the Came from column (Kommen ifrån) “Ala Härmä Att. 18. 52” (from Alahärmä, Moving Certificate no.18 of year 1852).

This Moving Certificate has the number 18 because it is the 18th record in the Moving In Record of Nykarleby (not the Moving Out Record number 20, which was given in Alahärmä).

Searching for a Moving Certificate

The Moving Certificate was not available in case of Jöran Pukkinen. To show how to find a Moving Certificate, we will use the move of the Henrik (Heikki) Hanhimäki family from Alahärmä to Kortesjärvi. There is a marking of the move in the Communion Book of Alahärmä of years 1818 to 1828.

Moving Out marking of Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki in the Communion Book. Abreviation ab. (abiit, move out) before the name and “Till Kortesjärvi 26/11 1820 ” (to Kortesjärvi on 26th of November 1820) written at the end of the record.

The family’s moving record can be found in Alahärmä Moving Out Records of years 1806 to 1844.

Out moved, Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki
26. 27. Drengen Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki och dess Hust. Susanna Eliädr. afgå till Kortesjärvi med bevis om hjälp. afl; adm. Dem åtföljer en son Johan. Vide p. 117.
26. 27. Farmhand Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki and his wife Susanna Elias daughter moves to Kortesjärvi with a certificate of rudimentary ability to read, confirmed. With them follows a son Johan. See page 117 [in Communion book].

The Moving Records of Kortesjärvi are missing from this time period, but the Moving Certificates are available. The Moving Certificate which he got from Alahärmä can be found in the Moving Certificates of Kortesjärvi for the years 1820 to 1829 (Muuttokirjoja 1820 -1829).

Muuttaneet Kortesjärvi

The Moving Certificate was found in the certificates of the year 1820, images 6 and 7. The first page of the document is on the right side of image 6 and the second page is on the left side of image 7.

Moving Certificate, Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki, page 1.
Moving Certificate, Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki, page 1.

The Certificates have text on both sides of the paper so it is impossible to photograph both sides at the same time. The first page of a document is on the right side of the first image and when it has been turned over, the second page is on the left side of the second image. This is good to remember so that you do not read pages from two different Moving Certificates.

I have typed the information on the Moving Certificate then translated it below:

Translitteration of the Moving Out Certificate of Jakob Eriksson Hanhimäki page 1
Translitteration of the Moving Out Certificate of Jacob Eriksson Hanhimäki page 2

Translation of the Moving Certificate:

The second page contains the markings of Kortesjärvi Parish and there is a citation from the law in Swedish and briefly also in Finnish. Below is the free translation of the law from the short Finnish version:

Citation from the merciful letter of his Royal Majesty to all Governors and Concistories on 19th of February 1768.

Everyone in our Nation, who moves from one parish to another, should take a Certificate from a vicar by a threat of five dollars penalty both for the person who moves and the person who hires that person without a Moving Certificate. The same penalty applies also to the person who does not leave that certificate within two months to the parish he/she moved to.

The second page of the Moving certificate (filled by the Kortesjärvi Parish) tells that the family settled down to the Uusiautio (Usiautio) farm. This information helps us to find their Kortesjärvi Parish Communion Book record. The family is on page 43 of the Communion Book of years 1823 to 1830 (FFHA, image 49).

Sometimes a move is not marked in the Communion Book. In that case it is sensible to check the Moving Out Records for the years where markings of the Holy Communion are missing. Another alternative is death so the Death Records should also be checked. Without a Moving Records, it is difficult to find the new home parish of a person.

I have now described most of the Church records that are important to genealogists. One final set of records, The Preconfirmation Records, (Barnbok or Barna Bok in Swedish, lastenkirjat in Finnish) is yet without any introduction. Some parishes do not have them, but others used them to record children before they were confirmed. In these parishes, children were not recorded in the Communion Book. I will introduce the Preconfirmation Records in the next post.

English text edited by Barbara Wilson