Inquiries related to Official Certificates and address information
The United States does not have a centralized population registry system. Therefore, all birth, marriage and death information is state-specific.
The closest equivalent to the Finnish Official Certificate in the United States is an affidavit. The affidavit can be issued by someone who knows the person in question well. You can ask a relative, friend or acquaintance that knows the aforementioned person well to consult a Notary Public and testify to the person’s family line. Testifying is voluntary and the person testifying may wish to know more about how they are involved the matter.
Local authorities can provide birth, marriage and death certificates only for a fee and on the condition that the event (birth, marriage, or death) has occurred in the United States. When requesting certificates from the state capitals’ registrars, remember to include:
- detailed personal data of the person in question
- as exact information as possible on the event’s time and location
Obtaining a document usually takes several weeks, sometimes even several months.
When searching for information, you may also contact law firms, e.g. the Finnish-American Lawyers' Association.
Free online phone directories
Search engines (these usually require getting a membership and/or charge for their services)
Other data sources
www.genealogybank.com (includes articles and death reports that were published in the journal)
www.findagrave.com (burial information + cemeteries)
Death certificates can be retrieved from the websites listed above (e.g. ancestry.com) or requested from the local funeral homes and/or cemeteries and county recorder offices. It is possible, for instance, to search in Google for “graveyard” or “death certificate” along with the name of the state or the last place of residence. Death certificates must be ordered and are usually subject to a fee. Delivery takes approximately 2-8 weeks.
Inquiry sent to Finnish-American magazines/journals:
The Finnish Reporter section: Tracing our Roots – family relationship inquiries are free of charge.
The contact person is Dave Mäki: davemaki ( at ) finnishamericanreporter.com
As of May 2019, the diplomatic missions will handle address or Official Certificate inquiries only if they are due to special reasons. One of such reasons could be a situation where an official of the country in question will only provide information to a person representing a diplomatic delegation. Law amending the Act on Consular Services, February 12, 2019 (174/2019)com