Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How does the search work?

Detailed search instructions can be found here.

I am interested in finding results from the parish X. Can I filter my search by the parish?

By parish, we usually mean a “church parish”, or congregation. The judicial area of one district court was called tingslag (Fi. käräjäkunta). Tingslag consisted of one or several administrational parishes. The borders of administrational parishes don’t usually match with those of congregations, and they didn’t change according to changes in congregational borders (foundation of chapel congregations, border changes and such). We have no systematic data on tingslag areal changes from the whole realm.

The tingslag belonged to a domsaga (Fi. tuomiokunta), which was an areal unity of which one judge was responsible. The “renovated” court records are described on the domsaga level only. As a result, the search can only be filtered by domsaga (District).

To find out to which domsaga the parish of your interest belonged to, you can browse the list behind the link below. It is made by the Finnish Genealogical Society, and it lists alphabetically all congregations in Finnish and Swedish, plus their belonging to a domsaga between 1623 and 1862. The domsaga information is in Finnish only, but is essentially same as in the court records name in the search. Once you know the domsaga, use it as a filter. Note however, that the outskirts of the parish may well belong to a neighbouring domsaga. Use the maps page to find out which were the neighbouring districts. The known anomalies are marked in the map.

In the district, traditionally three court sessions (ting, Fi. käräjät) were held: winter, summer and autumn – plus so called extraordinary sessions whenever needed. Summer sessions were gradually abandoned from late 18th century on. The court records are usually gathered so that all court district sessions are bound successively chronologically. As a result, the different sessions from one district court are found in different places in the book.

The staff at National Archives of Finland have written indexes to many court books. They show from which page one district court session starts. If indexes were found, they were digitized with the rest of the book. They can be found before the first pages.Note that the page numbers in the index don’t necessarily match the image number. There are not indexes in nearly all books however, and in that case the right session can be found by browsing.

The domsaga index by the Finnish Genealogical Society:

Selected literary sources about the subject in Finnish: Valtionarkiston yleisluettelo: Översiktskatalog för Riksarkivet. 1. Helsinki: Valtionarkisto (Riksarkivet), 1965.

Karskela, Sirkka, ”Pitäjien kuuluminen tuomiokuntiin”. Selvitä sukusi. Tietoa sukututkijalle. Toim. Marja-Liisa Putkonen. Helsinki: Sukuseurojen keskusliitto, 1992.

Some of the results I’m getting are not the word I’m looking for.

You might want to set the confidence filter to a higher percentage.

However, sometimes you might get a false positive result even on high confidence levels, especially on pages that are harder to read and thus have higher character error rate. This is because if the character error rate is high, the probability of the HTR misrecognizing characters in KWS is also higher. If you are searching words from hard to read pages, you might want to set the confidence filter lower, since the word you’re looking for might be lower on the confidence list.

Some letters and letter combinations are also vulnerable of being confused with each other, even on high confidence levels (a and u, k and h, St and H, etc.), which might result in false positive results.

Read more:

I’m viewing a page on image and text view. Why are some of the lines in the text field only partial lines in the image?

The lines in the text field correspond with the automatically detected lines in the image. Sometimes the page’s layout is hard for the automatic line detection, so the lines won’t perfectly correspond with the page.