Tag: Scandinavia

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!

Ancestry sent me an email a few months back giving me an early invitation to their new Ancestry DNA service. I couldn’t resist, so I ordered one and sent it back in. The results were recently posted and there are some cool new things in there.

The first interesting fact is that according to them, I am 50% Eastern Eurpoean (which is no news to me) but that I am also 45% Scandinavian. That is definitely news to me. The other 5% is lumped under “Uncertain.” Obviously, like an genealogy-related DNA test, according to Ancestry, “Your genetic ethnicity results may be updated. As more DNA samples are gathered and more data is analyzed, we expect our ethnicity predictions to become more accurate, and in some cases, more detailed.

My DNA results according to Ancestry DNA

This also doesn’t take into account recent history as DNA goes way, way back. I know I trace my family to Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, etc and none of those are listed. Poland and Germany can technically fall under “Eastern European.” According to their info, my guess is that I may descend from either the Vikings or the Goths.

While the Vikings were feared by the coastal towns of medieval Europe as seaborne raiders and violent pillagers, they were also well-travelled merchants and ambitious explorers. They raided the Mediterranean coast of Africa, settled areas as far south as the Black Sea, and traded with the Byzantine Empire.

The rise of the Viking culture spread Scandinavian ancestry far throughout Europe. Their earliest coastal voyages took them to Scotland, northeastern England and established the settlement of Dublin, Ireland. As their power continued to grow, the Vikings spread farther afield, down the Volga River in Russia, to the coast of France and Spain.

And it wasn’t just the Vikings who had an irrepressible urge for adventure. In the days of the mighty Roman Empire, the Goths, originally from Sweden, wandered south and settled in what is now eastern Germany.

That could explain the Scandinavian DNA. They settled (and probably sacked) a lot of areas I have ancestry.

The other part of Ancestry’s DNA area is the “Member Match.” The one thing that propels their test over 23andMe’s test is that it’s tired directly to member’s family trees that they uploaded. The matches are broken down into “Confidence” and “Distance.” I had 2 people match me within the “4th Cousin” distance with 96% probability. One was anonymous with no tree, so that wasn’t helpful, but I did leave them a message. The other was helpful and as soon as I saw their tree I knew how we were related.

On a side note, originally I had incorrectly linked my DNA profile to my family tree entry in my Facebook app Ancestry tree, not my full detailed main tree, which threw off the results. After I fixed this issue, when I went back to this match, it actually told me exactly which ancestor we shared. We both shared my 3rd-great-grandparents, William “Curly Bill” CORRIGAN and Mary MCCANN. I found that fascinating as I have not yet even found a genealogical match on my 23andMe test. Hopefully as more people add their DNA, I will get more matches. I do have a bunch of matches in the “5th-8th Cousin” area, but those are at Moderate confidence and I have yet to see any similarities.

Ancestry showing me exactly where we match in our genealogy. Click for larger version.

If you get an invitation or Ancestry opens the test up to everyone, I would recommend ordering one. Though, make sure you have a nice detailed tree uploaded and this will help a lot. I love the future of Ancestral DNA and it’s only getting better and cheaper.