Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2007-05 > 1179957435

Subject: [DNA] Euro-FTDNA-interest -- one Swedish perspective
Date: Wed, 23 May 2007 23:57:15 +0200 (CEST)

Hi again, List.

I'd like to share some reflexions on the original postings
with the three subjects 'Transcribing and Posting by LDS',
'Appealling to Europeans for DNA', and 'Scandinavian names'.

The below is from my personal ex-pat Swedish point of view.

You will find my insertions at the #-marks:

----- Message original -------------------------
Date: Mar 22 mai 2007 22:37

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In a message dated 5/22/2007 7:09:18 A.M. CDT

So, how can this field become more appealing
to those on the continent of Europe as well?
Language has probably been the biggest barrier.
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[...] I'm not sure it's as big a barrier as the
"I know where my ancestors have been for the last
umptyump 100 years, why should I care about DNA"

# I think this indeed can be the attitude in countries
where genealogists are privileged with very rich, com-
prehensive and easily accessible anagraphic archives.
Sweden is such a country.

[...] In Sweden, I am working with my cousin who writes
both English and Swedish fluently, to contact Swedes
who have taken the NG test or the 12 marker test to
explain to them how DNA can help make connections
between our families.

In Sweden, this should be a "natural market" because...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
... of the changing surnames before the late 1800s and
the use of the same names over and over -- Johan Nilsson
and Nils Johansson and Per Nilsson and Nils Persson etc
over and over and over. ...
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# What is between the dashed lines is perfectly true,
but I don't share the view that this would make Sweden
a "natural market" – and this exactly beacuse of its
tremendously rich and easily accessible State archives
where it is fairly easy to follow an individual through
time in a whole variety of records and see how his/her name
changes and how s/he appears together with family members.

...Our initial contact was sort of summarily dismissed with
"my family has been in this other province for a long time."
(Not that the other province is very geographically distant!)...

# This is quite common (and nothing is "distant" in Sweden
if compared to the literally continental distances in the USA).

...So I wrote an explanation of what a 12 marker match means
in terms of the probability of a common ancestor within the
last 1300 years or so and a summary of how rare our 12 marker
R1b haplotype is in Sweden, how the DNA varies within Sweden,
and explaining how with the changing surnames, more markers
might well narrow the timeframe. ...

# I believe that a typical Swedish genealogist would first try
to explore some of all the other N records before resorting to
any DNA test. As I've mentioned earlier, I have been doing quite
a lot of genealogical research (as a good amateur, but far from
being an expert of any kind) and most of us "ethnic Swedes" are
privileged to be able trace out roots back (I dare to say) at
least down to the mid-1700's unless you're very unlucky and e.g.
the church records of that particular parish have gone lost in
some church fire or similar. Most of my genealogist friends went
back that far in *all* ancestral lines without too much of an
effort. And for doing this research consulting these originals
(or optical copies thereof) it is sufficient to know how they
are structured logically (and there were pretty good standards)
and, of course, how to read the calligraphy as you go down the
centuries. That trickiness degree grows almost linearly, btw.

Even the language changes a bit, but not more than you can follow
it and adapt, as you gradually work yourself down through history.
I'd say that until you reach the 1600's / 1500's layers you can
decipher the text *reasonably* easily (depending on the clerk's
handwriting, of course!), but then all of a sudden especially
the calligraphy starts getting tricky, and so the language a bit.

[Well, I leave the rest here to those who know this better
and continue along Anne’s interesting posting, quoting ... ]

[...] My cousin translated it into Swedish, and when she emailed
the man that, he got really interested -- possibly because of
the rarity of our R1b haplotype. ...

# This is exactly what I would have been interested in myself,
as a genealogist or not – i.e. the frequency and geographic
distribution of one’s haplotype! As a Swede I would not
immediately make the connection to genealogy as there are so
many practically complete anagraphic resources to explore
(for free) in the first rounds of trials and info hunting.

This is also the reason why I *am* interested in mt/Y-DNA :-)

[I snip the rest of this part of Anne's message here
-- my message here is growing too long anyway]

[...]Europeans in general, I think, are less interested in
their personal genealogical issues than in understanding
historical movements of peoples and in science in general.

# *** This, I believe, is right on bull's eye, Anne! ***

Maybe, still, Europeans might be interested in their
personal genealogical issues but that information is
just "over there", in that public archive. For example,
When I lived in Sweden, the archive covering 1/8 of my
ancestry was just next to my favourite China restaurant
where I walked 5 minutes from my office at least three
times a week for lunch ;-9

[And here I snip the rest of Anne's message
altogether and move on the one of its follow-ups]

----- Message original -------------------------
Date: Mer 23 mai 2007 0:01

[...] Well, there is one other reason that the
Germans and Swiss might reject DNA testing.
As my Swiss friend wrote to me "...someone might
use this [DNA results] to prove one group was
better than another." That sent a shiver down
my spine. Shades of the Third Reich and the Aryan
supremacy. What if there had been DNA testing then?
Even now, we have the police wanting to test
relatives of suspects they can't catch to see if
the DNA is close enough to implicate the suspect.
While all this DNA testing is fun and games for
genealogy, there is potential for mis-use in some

# In fact, this is the comment I most often get
from my German friends and collegues, with whom I
discuss this (as seen here) "odd" hobby of mine
-- a hobby where I'm in good company however ;->

[And now on to the next message]

----- Message original -------------------------
Date: Mer 23 mai 2007 6:11

Actually the Scandinavian ladies kept their father's
first name, as in Persdotter (Per's daughter) and
Nilsdotter -- until the late 1800s when the govern-
ment decreed a family adopt a permanent surname.

# Right! I wasn't aware of this decree but I suspect
there were more forces working in this direction, as
I have seen how my own ancestors and their siblings
"freezed" their surname in exactly this period, and
this coincided with the peak emigration from Sweden
to the USA (starting in the 1840's, it peaked in the
1880-1890’s and the fell towards WWI). I guess that
the US immigration officers (or other, "real" Ameri-
cans, further inside the country were puzzled to
encounter a family all blood-related but possibly
with each member having a different surname. Most
likley these immigration officers were of Swedish
origin themselves, but US citizens, who adviced the
newcomers to drop their old patronymic tradition.

I believe that many Swedes even in Sweden started
perceiving this patronymic tradition as too old-
fashioned and that this change of surname tradition
was inspired largely by letter-writing and visiting
(and successful ;-] ) cousins in the New World.

Just as an anecdote,[...]So it's all VERY confusing,

# Exactly so!

...and DNA is a natural for Sweden with the name changes!

# Well, maybe not that much after all, given all these
public well-covering records where each individual
appears many times over and where you often can follow
him/her and even time-tag when and where (and sometimes
why) s/he settled for one of these family name variants.

[On to the last two messages]

----- Message original -------------------------
Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 07:27:37 EDT

Johan writes:
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JH: This I kind of knew already, as I have spent many
weeks especially in the late 70's to the late 80's
reading old Swedish (genealogical) church records both
on paper [...] and records on - at the time - microfilm,
where these films were all made in Salt Lake City of
Swedish records, [...]
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The LDS database is constantly growing. Some members
gather data from original written records, and share
the results by posting in online databases ... in
addition to adding the results to the LDS database.

Check the link above. The Colemans have produced
thousands of records, which appear in ROOTSWEB in
many files.

----- Message original -------------------------
From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
Date: Fri, 18 May 2007 09:45:12 -0400

I recall reading some time back that the LDS was
committed to getting it's entire library online.
I believe IBM is involved on the computer end.
Obviously, even with the massive resources of
both, this feat will take decades, but it's a
happy thought that the task has been undertaken.
Every time the LDS site goes down, as it is today,
for "maintenance," I find myself hoping something
interesting will have been added when the site
comes back up.

# I thank for the links and update on this huge DB!

Indeed, I hadn’t been there for a while, and even
when I insert the names of my own forefathers on
any Internet search engine I get quite a few hits
from all places on the web, not at least private
homepages where we happen to have common ancestry.

But even more interesting is, of course, that
complete records are being made available, i.e.
comprising *all names* and not only those that
have been identified by happy descendants.
I see that quite a few of these have been coming
up in Sweden during the last decade or so, and
often they are the fruit of the collective toil
of many a parish-based local genealogical society.

Thanks for letting me take
up so many K of your mailbox.


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