Finland Public Records

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In the FamilySearch Catalog, the topic Public Records includes other miscellaneous civil records that could not be listed under a more specific topic.

Most public records in Finland were kept by civil authorities and by the clergy (especially in the 1500s) for tax-collection purposes.

The Old and New Collections of Accounts

The major collections of Finnish public records are:

These, like other Finnish public records, were created primarily for tax-collection purposes. They include land and tenant records, census records, military records, estate tax and rental records, bailiff accounts, lists of fines, and many other judicial documents.

These records were not kept uniformly throughout Finland, and in the early years the counties and parishes were not equivalent to the modern divisions.

Old Collection of Accounts, 1531–1634

The Old Collection of Accounts is listed in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under both:



The catalog entry follows this pattern:

A list of contents [sisällysluettelo] for each province appears first.

General records [yleisiä asiakirjoja] for the entire country are listed next.

Annual records for each province are listed last.

New Collection of Accounts, 1635–1809

The Locality Section of the FamilySearch Catalog lists two sets of records as the New Collection of Accounts [Uudempi tilikirjakokoelma/Nyare räkenskapssamlingen].

The first set includes census records [henkikirjat/mantalsländer] and can be found in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:




This first set of records is listed only by year and volume number. For more information, see Finland Census.

The second set of records is listed by record type, followed by the year and volume number. It is found in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:





Suomen asutuksen yleisluettelo (SAY)

To make genealogical information from the earliest written sources in Finland accessible, a project was undertaken that has become known as Suomen asutuksen yleisluettelo / Generalregistret över bosättningen i Finland (SAY) (The General Register of Settlement in Finland).

This register does not include all of Finland, but it does include most of southwestern Finland. It was compiled over several decades by various people; consequently, the format has varied somewhat over time.

SAY consists of tables that provide an overview to information drawn from several sources in the Old and New Collections of Accounts covering 1539 to 1809.

It is usually arranged chronologically, showing 20 years on each double page. It is organized by parishes, villages, farms, and dwellings. For each residence, SAY enumerates the name of farm owners and members of the household mentioned in the original record sources. A check mark appears next to a name that is noted more than once in the records with an additional mark for each time it is used.

The original SAY register was written in different colors of ink, each color representing an original source from the Old and New Collections of Accounts. The microfilm copy, however, is black and white; therefore, it may be difficult to identify what source the information came from. To overcome this, it is useful to know that the register follows a general pattern:

  • The first notations on the page are generally from land records. In the registers that cover 1634 on, the information from the henkikirjat / mantalslängder is entered under the land records.
  • The next notations come from the tithing records.
  • Data from tax and military rolls appear last.

The National Archives of Finland has placed color images of this collection online. A printed guide, Suomen Asutuksen Yleisluettelon Opas / Generalregisteret över bosättningen i Finland : En handledning in Finnish and Swedish was published by the National Archives in 1975 and is available to download as a PDF file. A print copy is also available at the Family History Library, FHL book 948.97 A35v no.7 1975.

You can examine the information given in SAY and possibly identify additional information by looking in the original Old and New Collections of Accounts for the given time period and county.

To find SAY in the Locality Search of the FamilySearch Catalog, look under:



A keyword search in the FamilySearch catalog for for Suomen asutuksen yleisluettelo will return a list of all available titles.