Kemi, Finland Births and Baptism Lists 1853-1857, p.55
I believe this is the birth record of Kasia Fredrika Tormanen
B: 15 JUN 1858, D: 17 SEP 1900 in Kemi, Finland.

I am finding it very difficult to read and translate the writing on this page. Although the parish is in Finland, the months are written in Swedish. I cannot read the headings along the top of the page and I am not sure if the body of the text is also written in Swedish or Finnish. Kasia is supposed to have been born in Kemi on June 15th; I can see "Juni" and I can see "15", but what does the number 18 refer to? Also, what do the numbers along the right-hand columns refer to?

From what I can decipher, the text reads:

"Torparen (crofter?) Josef Johansson Tormanens & hsn Anna Greta Matts drs barn: Caisa Fredrika. Faddr: Pehr Majala oned ksn Greta Mathil da; Matts Tormanen med hrn Anna Lisa; mngk. Pehr Pelts och jhr Sofia Lillia. af G.W. Appelgren."

There are so many names in here, which ones are the parents? Are the others witnesses or grandparents?

Kemi, Finland Births and Baptism Lists 1853-1857, p.4

Also, Kaisa married Matti Laho, B: 13 MAR 1853, D: 6 NOV 1901. I am finding this record even harder to read that the previous one. I think that I can see "Laho" in there, but maybe it is just wishful thinking? The date is right. I'm not certain that he was born in Kemi, but it would make sense given that they eventually married. Can anyone decipher this? I have linked both individuals to the digital scans of the records held by The National Archives Service of Finland so that you can see the full page of handwriting.

  • 2
    FamilySearch.org's wiki has genealogical word lists: Swedish and Finnish and Latin
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 14:54
  • I've noticed that, with my having answered the part that I could, the other and probably more important part is going unanswered. As a suggestion, I think it would be more likely to attract one if you were able to extract the unanswered part(s) into a new (and now simpler) question, and edit this one back to just the bit that has been answered. An extra question will do no harm in terms of attracting visitors to our site.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 5:18

2 Answers 2


I would read Kaisa's birth record as

Torparen Josef Johansson Törmänens & hru Anna Greta Matts drs barn:

Caisa Fredrika.

Faddr: Pehr Majala med hru Greta Mathilda; Matts Törmänen med hru Anna Lisa; ungk. Pehr Pelto och jfr Sofia Lillia.

af G.W. Appelgren.

A translation:

Crofter Josef Johansson Törmänen's & wife Anna Greta Mattsdotter's child:

Caisa Fredrika.

Witnesses/godparents: Pehr Majala with wife Greta Mathilda; Matts Törmänen with wife Anna Lisa; young man Pehr Pelto and miss Sofia Lillia.

[baptized] by G.W. Appelgren.

The text is in Swedish as was common in Finland up to about 1880. Some explanations:

  • "hru" (or just "hu") is short for the Swedish word "hustru" (wife). The abbreviation is also indicated by underlining the ending (ru)

  • "drs" is short for "dotters" (daughter's)

  • "faddr" is short for "faddrar" (godparents)

  • "ungk" is short for ungkarl (ung karl = young man, bachelor)

  • likewise "jfr" is short for "jungfru", unmarried woman

  • the name "Törmänen" contains the "umlaut" characters "ö" and "ä". It is not a big mistake to use "o" and "a" instead but they are definitely different letters. There is the "squiggle" (looks like number 2) above the letters to indicate umlaut.

PolyGeo is correct about the number 18 - it is the baptism date, i.e. 18th of June (not May, since the heading on same page says June). And the name is Kaisa/Caisa/Kaisa, not "Kasia".

"Pag 353" refers to the communion book page: http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=7833728. The number 25 below that is the approximate age of the mother (she was actually 27).

The numbers on the right are probably the amounts they had to pay for the baptism. The first page in the book http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=7833827 contains the headings "Fattiga" and "Lazarett", meaning "The poor" and "The hospital". Apparently this was a way to collect funds for the welfare at that time...

Matts' record is

Inhyses Henric Lahos och dess hustru Mathildas


Faddr: Johan Pölhö med hu Lovisa, Matts Orava med hu Mathilda, Ungl: Matts Akola och pig? jungfru Maria Leinos?


"Dependent lodger" Henric Laho's and his wife Mathilda's


Godparents: Johan Pölhö with wife Lovisa, Matts Orava with wife Mathilda, young man Matts Akola and miss Maria Leinos

The last name (Leinos) is not certain. The word "pig" (maid, unmarried woman) is also not clear.

The place is Lautiosaari.

  • Hello, Kari! Excellent answer. Welcome to G&FH.SE!
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 17:55
  • Welcome to G&FH SE! I was really hoping someone like you who could read and translate this text would see this question. You've just made me realize that the 15/18 birth/baptism of interest is the one on the right hand page when I was looking at the one on the left hand page. I'll correct my answer now - thanks!
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 10:18
  • Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! So excited to dig into more records now with your excellent tips :D Now I won't feel so disoriented. Thank you :) Commented Aug 30, 2014 at 23:13
  • 1
    And thank you for pointing me to the communion book record! According to Leif Mether's article in The Finnish American Reporter, July 2000, "the most important church records used by Finnish genealogists are the communion books (in Finnish rippikirja, in Swedish kommunionbok). They start during the two last decades of the 1600s and are found only in Finland and Sweden. It is a unique source usually neglected by researchers familiar with research in other European Countries." Commented Aug 31, 2014 at 3:17

I think I can answer one part of your question which is what the number "18" after "15" refers to. I think it is born on the 15th and baptised on the 18th. That this might be the case is based on the second number for other individuals on the two pages being always slightly larger (later in the month) except two. I have included a picture of the first exception below.

enter image description here

I read this one from the left hand page as meaning born 31st (of May) and baptised 6th June.

I have concluded that your 15 and 18, on the right hand page and not to be confused with the 15 and 18 on the left hand page, are of June. The month "Juni" can be seen on the top left of the right hand page which is below.

enter image description here

These are the conclusions of an English speaker so no account has been taken of the Finnish or Swedish languages.

  • 1
    Thanks PolyGeo! Nice call on the baptism date. That totally makes sense. The top of the right-hand page shows the June births :) Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 7:50

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