View Full Version : Out-of-wedlock babies in Finland

June Pelo
21-11-06, 21:40
This was posted on Finngen and may be of interest to members who don't subscribe to Finngen:

Half an hour ago there was an interesting discussion on this topic on the Finnish morning television. It is a worn-out claim that you never know the real father of a child. Going back a few centuries, you cannot obtain information even about the mother (but about the legal father), since the wives were not documented in the records. Clearly, there must have been a mother, too.

According to the tv interview, in Finland about 40 percent of the children are now born to couples who are not married, neither by a the church nor the civil authorities. This figure has grown from a five percent in the seventies. This development does not mean that the Finns today are living in the grass. Virtually all of the babies born to couples living together without being married are being acknowledged by the father in a simple procedure taking 10 to 15 minutes at the premises of the local Child Welfare Officer (lastenvalvoja). As the officer who was interviewed said, it's usually a warm occasion with basically one simple question: "So I'm the father, am I not?" (sounds perhaps too much British English, but I cannot find a better translation right now).

There are opinions in the air, urging this routine matter to be made possible by filling in a form on the Internet or by a letter. Agreeing with the Child Welfare Officer interviewed, and as a conservative grandfather, I have my doubts on the advantages of this reform.

Things have changed quite a bit from the 1800's when (I suspect) the landlords may not too seldom have abused their position as employers. As sort of a compensation, many of us may have more "celebrities" and their allegedly good genes in our ancestry than we actually know.