Is Finland Part of Scandinavia? - A Genealogical Controversy

Is Finland Part of Scandinavia?


By Andy Lee

You never know what kind of controversy you can dig up with an offhanded comment. So today, we’re going to tackle one that I made while filming a video about DNA and Ethnicity. If you've attended my workshops or watched my DNA videos on YouTube, you've heard me say "DNA doesn't lie, but it doesn't tell the truth." One would think that is the most controversial topic, but not so.


Here's the controversial question:

Is Finland part of Scandinavia?


HOW. DARE. I!

Let's face some facts:

First, Finns have DNA. 

Second, Finns have different DNA from most other Europeans. 

So, what's the problem?

Thinking back to the earliest point in my life when Finland was included as part of Scandinavia was with the game RISK! 

If Parker's Brothers Say It's True.... 


That’s right, the board game that has been around for generations where you take over the world. Looking at the board, we can clearly see that Parker Brothers considers Finland to be part of Scandinavia. Case closed.

Not quite. CPG Grey has a great video that points out the problem is one of language (No), geography (Yes), and politics (sometimes, sometimes not), plus a lot of other factors. Watch his video and see if you aren’t even more confused. (Here's the link)

But in genealogy, what matters? Well, Sweden, clearly a Scandinavian country ruled Finland for several hundred years. In fact, I learned from a friend with Finnish ancestry that before 1800, all of the records for Finland are in Swedish, not Finnish. 

At RootsTech this year, we decided to go to genealogists to find out what they think. 

We asked them a simple question without any introduction or explanation. We wanted to get their unprompted response. What countries are part of Scandinavia?

They had a variety of different answers that are included in the video I'll share at the end of this post. (Yes, you have to wait for it). 

Since a conference poll of attendees, a YouTube video, and a board game haven't resolved the issue, I found the authoritative answer - The Scandinavian Genealogy Group. And their representative said yes, Finland is a part of Scandinavia.

So with that, I’m going to say. If you want to hear why he thinks that is so, you'll have to watch this video.



If you are from Finland or the other parts of Scandinavia, tell me what you think. You can add to the conversation on YouTube or let me know on this blog post. Either way, it's been fun to be a little controversial in a harmless way. 

1 comment:

  1. Finland is not part of Scandinavia. Scandinavia is Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Sometimes the expression "Norden" (The North) is used. In this case it is common to include Finland and Iceland. Maybe the genealogy group presented in the video should change the name to "Nordic Genealogy".
    In my opinion the question has no practical importance and I fail to see that it should arouse any strong feelings.

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