Unique Visitors
Total Page Views
View Teri Hjelmstad's profile on LinkedIn


Learn Your Place

A cardinal rule in genealogy is to learn all you can about the places your ancestors resided. Normally I have not had trouble doing this, and I readily have found information on many places over the years of my research.

This year, however, I have encountered difficulty as I have tried to trace my Finnish heritage. Their history is so complicated, and so much depends on geography. I have yet to find a Finnish gazeteer or a good map.

I never feel comfortable adding new ancestor names to my database until I am reasonably sure they are actually my ancestors. If a purported husband and wife came from different villages, I want to know how close they were. Or in the words of genealogist Pat Hatcher, were they in “kissing distance”? I need a good tool for identifying place names and locations.

So far, I have struggled along with little snippets of maps from various Finnish websites. The Family Search wiki ( has helped with place names in church parishes. Still, I wish I had the right tools to find my place.


Leave a Reply