* Country name(s) for Finland

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AdrianBruce
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Country name(s) for Finland

Post by AdrianBruce » 25 Jan 2019 21:23

This is a "Got any better ideas than me?" kind of post...

Sometime soon, I am going to have to record someone who, according to their grave, lived from 1869-1965 in Finland. Now, for anyone not conversant with Finnish history (me!), it is necessary to explain that from 1809-1917 what is now Finland was the Grand Duchy of Finland and was part of the Russian Empire (the Tsar was the Grand Duke in question). The Finns declared independence in 1917. Thus the lady in question was born in the Grand Duchy of Finland, when it was part of the Russian Empire and died in the independent state of Finland.

So - at some point I am going to need to record place-names against her and the question is - what should the final (country) elements be for 1869 and 1965?

If I use "Finland" for both 1869 and 1965, then this doesn't convey to me the essential fact that Finland was under Russian rule up to 1917. (I wouldn't be at all surprised if Finnish genealogists didn't use "Finland" for both - but they're more likely to be aware of their own country's history!)

I'm inclined to go for "Finland, Russian Empire" for 1869 and (of course) "Finland" for 1965.

"Finland, Russia" might be easy to type the first time but doesn't make sense to me - it wasn't in the country called "Russia", it was ruled by the Tsar's representatives.

If anyone can think up anything better, or see problems ahead, I'd be grateful for any comments. (I suspect similar - but slightly different - issues may arise with Poland, which also had no independent existence during 1795–1918 - the difference is that Poland was partitioned between the Austrian, Russian and Prussian / German Empires. And no doubt other countries have similar issues.)
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themoudie
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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by themoudie » 25 Jan 2019 21:44

Aye Adrian,

May I suggest for pre 1917 you use "Grand Duchy of Finland" and for post 1917 you use "Finland".

No need to guess any abbreviations and no mention of "Russia" to confuse.

I haven't done any research, but are areas of the "Grand Duchy of Finland" now within the borders of U.S.S.R. or what is now Russia? ;)

After that I shall take my hat and coat, quietly shutting the door behind me.

Happy hunting and good health for 2019, Bill

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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by tatewise » 25 Jan 2019 22:00

Whatever you choose to call it, that Place name will actually reference a Place record in which you can record whatever clarification details you think are necessary in the Note field. So if you choose to use Finland throughout, then the Note can explain it was actually the "Grand Duchy of Finland" in Russia prior to 1917.

Similar scenarios exist with many countries, and some have been discussed in these Forums, and have many similarities with historic UK Counties.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by AdrianBruce » 25 Jan 2019 22:43

themoudie wrote: ... May I suggest for pre 1917 you use "Grand Duchy of Finland" and for post 1917 you use "Finland".
No need to guess any abbreviations and no mention of "Russia" to confuse. ...
I did think about "Grand Duchy of Finland", but more like "Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire" - which seemed too much of a mouthful. Just "Grand Duchy of Finland" on its own has attractions - hmm - hopefully people might see that, think "That's different..." (especially when compared to just "Finland" for the later events) and look at any notes I have written. As Mike suggests (albeit for "Finland") (my emphasis):
tatewise wrote:... the Note can explain it was actually the "Grand Duchy of Finland" in Russia prior to 1917...
Yes, I'm now actually inclined to prefer "Grand Duchy of Finland" on its own as the terminal node of the place-name, along with an explanatory Note in the place record. And eliminating the "Russian Empire" also enables me to avoid that nagging consistency issue of, "If I have 'Russian Empire' for Finland, why don't I have 'British Empire' for places in Australia, etc.?"

Thanks guys.

NB - I would not be at all surprised if there are bits of current Finland that were never in the Grand Duchy and vice versa. Wikipedia isn't dogmatic on the exact relationship between bits of soil - fortunately, according to the maps, it looks like my area of interest is slap in the middle, where there seems no doubt.
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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by themoudie » 26 Jan 2019 16:37

Aye Adrian, a pleasure.

My regards, Bill

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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by Gowermick » 26 Jan 2019 19:50

Point to consider - think about all the countries that belonged to the British Empire!

Would you enter ‘India, British Empire’, for India pre-1947? :D
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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by tatewise » 26 Jan 2019 19:52

Adrian has already said that !
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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by Gowermick » 26 Jan 2019 21:01

oops, I missed that.
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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by Peter Collier » 28 Jan 2019 14:27

I knew that, under Russian rule, Finalnd was certainly autonomous. That said, I have never seen a map from the time that showed Finland as being anything other than a part of Russia. Interest piqued, I had a dig around online and found reference to the Organic Law (constitution) of the Russian Empire, the first article of which described Russia as a "single, indivisible state". Another article described the thrones of Poland and Finland as being indivisible from the Russian, and yet another described Finland as being an indivisible part of the Russian state with internal affairs governed by special regulations. From all that it seems clear that - at least as far as Russia was concerned - Finland was part of Russia, not a separate country with a Russian monarch. The Russian Empire was also a contiguous land area, not a collection of different territories dotted around the globe. In that regard, and given their Organic Law, I think "Empire" in Russia's case means something closer to the German, Austrian, or Ottoman Turkish models (single states headed by an Emperor), rather than the British or French-style colonial empires that we perhaps first think of.

Ultimately, it's up to everybody to decide what works best for them. Using as I do a 4-level place hirearchy (lots of Americans on my wife's half of the tree), I would probably plump for putting Russia at the top level, for example Helsingfors, Nyland Governorate, Finland, Russia*. For dates after indpendence, that would change to Helsinki, Uusimaa Province, , Finland.

*Just to keep us all on our toes, the official local government language of Finland under Russian rule was Swedish (Finland had been part of Sweden until 1809).

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Re: Country name(s) for Finland

Post by AdrianBruce » 28 Jan 2019 22:00

Yes - I wasn't certain what "autonomous" really meant. I got the impression that there was a degree of genuine autonomy to start with but it was gradually (or not so gradually) removed.

Very much of a moot point how people want to play it - the idea of some text held as a note against the place-record seems sensible - just ensure that gets printed when needed. And remember that you will never convey a whole history in a single place-name.

PS - that said, I'm really glad I don't have any of the French overseas departments such as Martinique, which is really, really part of France. But "Martinique, France" just doesn't look right to me! On the other hand, maybe to French genealogists it looks perfectly normal!

PPS - the French overseas departments are / were by no means the only non-European places legally part of a European country... I guess that if we are not frightened by "Hawaii, USA", we shouldn't be frightened by "Martinique, France".
Adrian

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