Today, approximately 5.6% of the current Finnish population are considered to be Swedish-speaking Finns. This history of Swedish-speaking Finns dates back several centuries to when Finland was under Swedish rule and trade was prominent along the Baltic coast.

In the 1830s, Swede Finns moved to Alaska and beyond. Another period of emigration occurred in 1848 when gold was discovered in California. The Great Emigration occurred between 1860–1940. 390,000 people, 70,000 were Swedish Finn, left Finland.

People left Finland due to difficult times, overpopulation compared to available land, threats of conscription into the Russian army, lack of economic opportunity, smaller farms and the perception that opportunities were better elsewhere. They left families, traditions, culture and a unique life style.

An event called chain migration occurred; an individual who found work or land wrote home and even helped buy tickets for others in the family and parish to join him or her.

Our mission is to gather and preserve the emigration history of Swedish Finns across the world, connect Swedish Finns to their roots in Finland and celebrate our cultural heritage.

The various combinations of routes that Swedish Finns took during their emigration.
Routes that Swedish Finns took during their emigration.
The marked areas show areas where large groups of Swedish Finns settled.
Areas where large groups of Swedish Finns settled in North America.

Our goal is to document every Swedish Finn emigrant, archive related materials, and fund a permanent home for these items in perpetuity. We will continue to celebrate our Swedish Finn heritage wherever descendants are located.

The Swedish Finn Historical Society was founded in 1991 by descendants of Swedish-speaking emigrants from Finland interested in preserving the cultural heritage of their families. There are now about 700 members from around the world in this unique organization.

Office and Archive Location
1920 Dexter Avenue North
Seattle, Washington 98109

Office Hours:
Monday & Thursday 9:00 am–12:30 pm
Wednesday 2:00 pm–5:00 pm
First Sunday 10:00 am–2:00 pm


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