View Full Version : Cemeteries Question

08-04-09, 04:58
I may be missing this in the archives somewhere but I was wondering what is the best tool for finding burial locations of ancestors in Finland, thinking 1880ish to early 1900s. Anyone have any suggestions?

08-04-09, 21:57
I would be interested in this too. I have tried contacting the Porvoo, Finland church people multiple times about my grt grandfather's gravesite, but to no avail.

I read in a Finnish genealogy LDS article that graves were often re-used after 20-30 years, and that detailed records were kept of the former and current occupants of the gravesite. I really (really) wish these were available...

In the meantime, you can goto the Genealogical Society of Finland's grave marker project. They have a sporatic but growing list of gravesites across Finland, with pictures of the tombstones.

Good luck!

June Pelo
08-04-09, 22:34
It's true that they do re-use gravesites after a while, especially if there have been no recent burials in the family plot, or if it hasn't been maintained. One of our family graves in Pedersöre was re-used, and also a gravesite in the Gamlakarleby cemetery was almost take over. Fortunately there was a notice in the newspaper, listing the graves the church would take over, and a relative saw our name on the list and notified us. In by-gone years, most cemeteries outside the cities were located near the parish church where there was plenty of land. But now civilization has extended into the suburbs, leaving no land available for the church to expand the cemetery - so they have to re-use gravesites.

June Pelo
09-04-09, 00:07
http://www.genealogia.fi/haudat/indexr.htm This is the Finngen website of gravestones in Finland. The text is in Swedish, and the location of cemeteries is at the left. I believe this data was collected by volunteers and there is no official site where all cemeteries are listed.

Alice Finnerty
09-04-09, 04:09
June - If the graves are reused what happens to the headstone? If its reused are we to assume its a 'shared' grave. I am a clerk for 3 cemeteries in my area - so I am very interested in different ways and customs and the record keeping. Finland grave yards are so beautiful and interesting. I hope there is more out there on this subject.
Thanks! Alice

Kaj Granlund
09-04-09, 08:13
This seems like it is one of my areas.

If you don't know where an anchestor is burried start by checking the parishoffice. They should know. But ususally et the end of 1800 beginning of 1900 it might still be difficult to find the specific grave. That depends on the records and graveyards.
The present law states that the lutheran church is the maintainer of the graveyards. There are some that aren't under the lutheran church. The church also has to keep non- confessional graveyards. Also to me this is a strange law, but it is due to the historical situation that the church for hundreds of years has been the one keeping the graveyards.
The soil in Finland is usaully very unsuitable for burrials and has to be replaced with sand. That makes establishing a new graveyard very expensive and is also a reason why the graves might be reused. If a grave is reused or not depends on demand. If there is a great need for new graves it might be reused. Like in the bigger cities.
The older records are usually not that detailed that you might be sure to find a grave from the record. Sometimes it is possible, sometimes not. The old way of burrials also was that during the winters as the ground was frozen the caskets were kept in a common cellar and as they were able to dig a big grave all the bodies were put together in that one.
If a grave is reused it isn't regarded as a shared grave. More than that the former family remembers the place. But usually if there is a family that wants to keep the grave it isn't reused.
The stones or crosses are usually not stored, sometimes there might be places where you put the older iron crosses and gravemarks that are historically important.
My experience is that usually the parishes do not understand the need to find the gravesites because we have the good familyrecords going far back that gives you the information you needa bout the persons.
One reason why you might not get any information asking about graves might also be that those working with graveyards do not understand why you want the information. They aren't usually the same ones that keep the churchrecords. The church secretaries know why people aske for familyinformation. What a bad excuse...

The records are not availabe online. But Yes they are kept.

09-04-09, 10:02
In addition to Kaj´s information, I have to add that some parishes are more researcher-friendly than others. The attached photo is from Malax.

Karen Norwillo
09-04-09, 15:41
When I was in Kemijärvi last year, looking for the grave of my greatgrandmother, all they could tell me at the church was, yes, she is buried in their cemetery, but not where. There are alot of unmarked graves. Many of the old crosses and markers are lined up against the fence because they must have fallen over and weren't replaced or maybe the grave was reused. Space is at a premium in that cemetery. Unlike the beautifully kept graveyard in Esse where I found all my family easily.

Kaj Granlund
09-04-09, 15:52
Thanks Karen, I've got to forward that to our churchyard staff.He puts an honour in his work and so did his predecessor. You sometimes just have those people that you can trust and they do a wonderful job. I think Kemijärvi suffered from the withdrawal of the German soldiers that were situated in those parts of the country.

June Pelo
09-04-09, 17:02
Torbjörn - those crosses are very old - probably from the 1600-1700s. I haven't seen many of them. Here is an old cross in Elisabet Cemetery in Karleby for Klockaren Karl Källström, 1819-1878. It has been maintained in good condition. He was the father of my uncle Arthur Spring (Adolf Källström) who was married to my moster.

09-04-09, 19:27
June, you don´t have to wait too long now, until we get all the old graves in Karleby online. The old part of the cemetery had a very special atmosphere with all the old trees.

June Pelo
10-04-09, 00:06
That's good news, Torbjörn. During one of my first visits to Karleby, I wanted to find the grave of my father's little brother and sister who were buried in Elisabet. I bought flowers and walked and walked up and down all the paths, looking for the grave. We even asked people but no one could help us. We had to leave because we were late for dinner with cousins and as we walked toward the gate, I looked back at the cemetery, and there was the gravestone. What a welcome sight that was. So I was able to place my flowers and take pictures to show to my father. Here is the picture. We have many relatives buried there, but this one was important to my father. He had never seen the grave, but he paid for the headstone.

Alice Finnerty
11-04-09, 03:00
Please tell the Esse cemetery staff - my family and I think they do a most wonderful job. I have pictures to show relatives here in USA and the pictures reflect the dedication of your Church and cemetery and you. I am so proud to have my ancestors well taken care of in Esse.
Happy Easter

Kaj Granlund
13-04-09, 12:24
I think the Lord is the best one to take care of those that aren't among us any more ;)