CategoriesGenetic GenealogyMysteries

The Swedish DNA Mystery

Now that I’m pretty sure that I have my DNA at every possible location available to collect new matches, I’m coming across interesting things. I currently have two mysteries related to my DNA matches that I’m working my way through.

On a side note, I found the amazing free DNA Painter site that lets you “paint” your chromosome matches on both sides (paternal and maternal) which makes it very easy to see how people may connect, especially if you’re a visual person. Blaine Bettinger does a great walk-through video about it, if you’re interested.

First Mystery

The first mystery was a pretty large match that my father and I had, which meant it was a paternal match to me. This match (she) also matched my paternal cousin, one of my paternal grandmother’s cousins, and recently a cousin much further back on my Irish line. What is interesting about this match is that we have no common surnames even though she’s estimated to be a 2nd or 4th cousin and I have it mostly researched back that far. It turns out that her grandfather’s parentage is a bit on the flaky side. So, I’ve been working to triangulate and do some research to figure out anything I can over there. If not for me, for this lady who may have different ancestry than she originally thought.


The second mystery is more recent and much more exciting to me. I was going through my FamilyTreeDNA matches the other night and noticed a few users with very stereotypical Scandinavian sounding names. I viewed the family trees that were available and noticed that each of these people were basically 100% of Swedish descent. Their parents and all generations available were from Sweden. I have absolutely no Swedish or Scandinavian ancestry as far back as I can find. Some of these matches are sort of close (first page) in terms of DNA matching, so I’m curious. In my mind, there are two possible conclusions. Either there was an NPE (non-parental event) somewhere in my lines (i.e., an paper ancestor is not a blood ancestor) or somewhere, possibly recently, my line jumps over to Sweden. That is definitely possible.

I originally assumed it was on my paternal side as I’ve seen a few Scandinavian ancestors on some matches here and there. But, what happens when you assume? You’re right. I ran these matches against my father’s DNA and there was no match. I have yet to run them against my mother’s DNA, but I can assume they’re on that side. Both sides of my ancestry have deep roots in the modern day Poland area and Sweden is technically just across the water to the north. When I painted a few of the matches into DNA Painter, one of them slightly overlapped with a cousin of my mother’s on my DeBroux line, which is of Belgian descent. It may be too small to mean anything, but it is a clue. Belgium is very close to Denmark which is right next to Sweden.

I have much more work to do, but I have a lot of Scandinavian matches on FamilyTreeDNA who are “in common with” each other. Might be time to make some contact.

One of my favorite parts of genealogy, the questions that never stop!

Published by Brian Zalewski

I started genealogy research about mid-1999. My grandfather had passed away in April of that year. Since then I’ve done a lot of research not only for myself, but for friends and other relatives. In 2006, I married the love of my life, Darcy, and welcomed the birth of our daughter, Aerissa Jean, in 2010 and our son, Xander Lee, in 2012. I can’t wait to tell them stories about all of their ancestors.