When I first started the idea of this blog, I only had to things two go on. First was that Finns started coming into the U.S. at Delaware. Second was I had heard lots of stories about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Minneapolis, New York, Berkeley, and Florida. What I was missing was what had happened in between. Then I found this map on Wikipedia.
The map shows those answering Finnish heritage in 2000 on the US Census. Finns were in a lot of places. But how did they get there.
A great source of information for both research and images is the Siirtolaisuusinstituutti (Migration Institute) in Finland. The Siirtolaisuusinstituutti is an organization in Finland that looks at immigration from Finland, migration within Finland, and most recently, emigration into Finland. They provide great tools for research. From the site I found two maps that helped me to fill in some blanks.
The map above from 1931 started to show some interesting concentrations. See that little spot in Mississippi? That is Kreole, Mississippi, which was home to fifty Finnish families until the 1940’s. But the concentrations around the Great Lakes and Washington State are interesting too.
This map from 1899 creates some mysteries to resolve. There’s a small dot in 1931’s map in Arizona near Nevada’s border. That’s not here in 1899. I also ran some searches and found a “Little Finland” in Nevada but near Arizona. It is a rock formation but does it make sense to have been called “Finland”. Only a bit more research will tell.
Looking at old Census records from 1910 seems to line up too. Below is a list in order of size of a state’s Finnish heritage where both parents were Finnish. It’s going to be much easier to focus on large population centers. Out of the top 10, I’m familiar with stories of a few of them.
|18||North Dakota||1,186||43||New Mexico||25|