Those of us whose Sámi ancestry was suppressed by internalized racism and assimilation may find it challenging to research our family ties. Elderly relatives may resist any challenges to their constructed or received ideas about family origins. They may be reluctant to find the “skeletons” that are an inevitable part of everybody’s closet. Some will resist DNA research, which carries privacy risks.
But don’t let that deter you! There is a lot of help available.
First, you may want to join the Saami Genealogy Facebook group (even if you aren’t sure if you have Sámi roots). Members are generous with assistance. If you have names of ancestors and possible villages, you will find people willing to search parish records for you in the language needed.
For local, “in person” assistance, there is genealogy help at the Swedish Cultural Center on Fridays from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Reserve time or ask questions in advance by email.
If you are interested in DNA testing, it is important to realize that it won’t “prove” Sámi ancestry (yet). However, much can be inferred from specific mutations, e.g., for maternal haplogroup U5b1b1ba, and from close matches with known Sámi. Registering your DNA with a testing company gives you access to genetic matches in a worldwide database. Some of your relatives may have already solved the riddles in your family tree through old-fashioned record searching.
Geni.com has a good guide to getting started.
At least seven members of the searvi have tested, and in comparing data, discovered we are genetic cousins.
The Sámi family is not so very big, after all.