Scandinavian DNA

I worked on my father’s lines for awhile last week, in the search for Scandinavian ancestors. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are part of Scandinavia. From my father I have inherited 4.9% (he has 12.5%) and from my mother, 2.8% of Scandinavian DNA. The reason I worked on my father’s lines is because most of my paper family tree on his side is complete going back a couple of hundred years, so I thought it would be easier to confirm or rule out.

One of the things that 23andme does is assign a time frame for DNA. It states that my Scandinavian ancestor is most likely my great-grandparent, second great-grandparent, or third great-grandparent who was 100% Scandinavian and born between 1810 and 1870. My father’s report says the same thing but from 1820 to 1870.

I did make a lot of headway in finding some additional ancestors and was able to complete my father’s entire family going back to my fifth great-grandparent level, yay!!!! When I say complete, I mean names, I just still have to record a lot of the important dates into my software program for a lot of the fifth great-grandparents. But yay!!!!

Anyway, my father is mostly Dutch (Germanic French as it is called). As I’ve mentioned before, the Netherlands has excellent records going back centuries, so it is very easy to confirm/verify where an ancestor was born, married and died in the Netherlands. I was able to confirm that every single ancestor of my father’s in that time frame was born in the Netherlands (32 ancestors). There is absolutely no one from a Scandinavian country during that time frame. It’s possible there is one full Scandinavian ancestor in previous generations but it may be difficult to confirm that the further I go. I still have to go through those 64 ancestors, but I already know a lot were born in the Netherlands.

So I started reading more about Scandinavian DNA/DNA testing, wondering if any DNA in the Netherlands could be coming up as Scandinavian DNA.

As a reminder, DNA ancestry tests work by comparing the subject’s DNA with the DNA of individuals who are assumed to be able to stand in for reference populations. When long segments match, they can be assumed to be IBD (identical by descent). It doesn’t really tell you where the segment originates. Since the primary customer base of the commercial testing sites (Ancestry, 23andMe, etc.) are Americans of mixed ancestry, heavily concentrated with European ancestors, the companies are content to use large geographic areas as their reference populations: Britain and Ireland, France and Germany, South Asia, etc.).

I read that Scandinavian DNA is most commonly found in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, of course, but, interestingly, it is also found in Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Baltic States, and Finland. Specific to the Netherlands, between the 9th and 11th centuries, the Vikings raided and settled in that area. Around the year 879, Friesland, which is part of the Netherlands, fell quickly under the control of the Vikings. The heavy Norse presence is evidenced in the high percentage of Scandinavian DNA in the northern area of the Netherlands there, as well as Zeeland and the province of Holland. This came from the MyHeritage website, citing Britannica’s “History of the Low Countries”.

Friesland is in the very northern area of the Netherlands. The Verkruissen line, my father’s mother’s family, are all from Friesland, going back to the 1700s, beginning with my great-grandmother, Jacoba Verkruissen. I have read that if the Scandinavian DNA is over 20%, that large of an amount probably would indicate a more recent ancestor. However, being a smaller amount, it is probably an inheritance of small amounts from different ancestors.

So perhaps the Scandinavian DNA comes from that line because of the location, and maybe it is an inheritance from the great-grandparents and great-great grandparents?

Of course, we have to always remember that it’s all an estimate, and the ancestry companies interpret this information from comparing the subject’s DNA with the DNA of individuals who are assumed to be able to stand in for reference populations. So we can’t really completely rely on it unfortunately. But as the testing companies become more advanced at it, it will become more exact. I’m not sure when that will be but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Until it’s all figured out one day, here’s one interesting article on Dutch DNA:

Believe it or not, I’m not nearly done with DNA testing although I’ve tested at two different companies. This time I’m not doing autosomal testing, which is what most do, but mtdna testing, testing specifically the matrilineal line, my mother’s line. Every woman passes down her mitochondrial DNA to her children, but only females continue to pass that down. It’s like y-dna for males. More about that in a future post!

Thanks for reading!


The holidays are different and sad this year because of Covid-19. Although many people are flagrantly abusing recommendations to stay away from each other, which has caused the virus to be out of control, many are staying home, and we will be doing that, missing our families. The good news is vaccinations are starting to roll out so it may be the beginning of the end of it, but I’m sure it will be chaotic and confusing for awhile. In the meantime, I’m posting some photos of holiday things for your enjoyment.

Here is our Christmas tree, electric cords and all. I’m not patient with tinsel so it’s a little messy but pretty.

Here are the back ends of our dogs, Coco and Eddie, because they refuse to pose for me. Yes it’s going on our holiday cards again.

A menorah for my son-in-law. My daughter sent me a beautiful photo of their lit menorah on the first night of Hanukkah but I didn’t include here because a photo directly behind it might identify people who aren’t in the family, and it’s an intrusion. Anyway, they also have a beautiful Christmas tree.

And the last photo is of a fruitcake.

For many years when I was younger, our family received a Collin Street Bakery fruitcake from my paternal grandfather, Simon Ooms. I hated the taste of that fruitcake but as I grew older, actually began to enjoy it (as often happens). So I had to try it out again to see if it is just as good. It is! This fruitcake is marvelous, and Collin Street Bakery is famous for it, has been making fruitcakes since 1896 in Texas. I highly recommend it!

Happy holidays, peace and blessings for 2021!

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DNA and common ancestors

I haven’t been doing much research lately and I tend to gravitate toward genetic research these days if I do. DNA reports are interesting and my father’s report is very interesting since though he is majority Dutch (well classified as French/German), he shares a common ancestor with some Irish guy named Niall of the Nine Hostages.

I really thought the Irish came more from my mother, but interestingly, according to 23andme, it comes more from my father. So my father’s haplogroup starts with haplogroup A, where all of everyone’s paternal lines can be traced to one man, the common ancestor of haplogroup A. Other male-line descendants lineages died out except the one guy, and his lineage gives rise to all other haplogroups today.

Then his paternal line stems from a branch called R-M269, a very prolific paternal lineage across Eurasia. These farmers pushed east into Central Asia and into the Caucasus Mountains. Some reaches the steppes above the Black and Caspian Seas. Eventually, a new steppe culture called the Yamnaya was born and they spilled into Siberia and into Central Asia, to the west they pushed into the Balkans and central Europe. Their descendants spread from central Europe to the Atlantic coast. The spread of my father’s haplogroup in northern Ireland and Scotland was probably aided by men like Niall of the Nine Hostages.

One website says Niall may be the big daddy of Ireland. His actual name in Irish was Niall Naoi Noigiallach and the myth is that he was descended by an unknown number of generations from Conn Ceadcathlach aka Conn of the Hundred Battles, who may have lived in the middle of the second century and was the first high kind of Ireland. Research has revealed that as many as three million men living today may carry his y-DNA signature. y-DNA is only traceable through men, women do not have y-DNA. Niall got his name by taking nine key hostages, including Saint Patrick, in raids on his opponent chieftains in Ireland, Britain and France to cement his power. He is said to have twelve sons.

You never know what you’ll find when you check out your DNA!

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Wednesday Weddings — Bass

This is the marriage certificate for my maternal grandparents, William Peter Bass and Madeline (Schoudel) Bishop (“Pap and Gram”), married on October 18, 1941. I love these old marriage certificates, they’re so beautiful.

They were married at St. Willibrod Catholic Church in Roseland. Witnesses were Pap’s sister, Ruth, and her husband Bob Smith. I swiped this photo off of a FB thread, it was taken in 1909. The church was organized in 1900 and located at 114th and Edbrooke.

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Fun DNA Stuff!

My father finally got his DNA tested! It’s really interesting to see someone’s DNA versus paper genealogy results and people make alot of assumptions and some are very disappointed when they get their results.

Looking at the paper genealogy for my father, one would think all of his DNA would be French and German (the tests do not categorize Dutch yet), and he does have 77.3% of that DNA in him, but I was even surprised with a couple of the things.

What’s interesting is how specific his British and Irish DNA is, as it is very specific as to the location of the DNA. The Ashkenazi Jewish is surprising, and the amount of Scandinavian DNA. The biggest surprise of all is Cypriot, which is Greek.

The reason it surprises me is that I basically know his family history on paper going back five/six generations and everyone is from the Netherlands. The Netherlands has an excellent registration system, which goes back through the 1800s. There are a couple of little blanks on the family tree, so I can’t say I know all of his ancestors, and most likely some of that surprising DNA is going to be from just one or two people. But so far I haven’t found any names other than Dutch names. Another puzzle to work on!

Another exciting feature in 23andme is when it has one parent’s DNA, it can show the inheritance from both parents, here is mine:

My father’s DNA is on the left side and mother’s estimation is on the right side. I already know from my paper genealogy that alot of my mother’s family is from the Netherlands and Germany. I also know there is British and Irish on her side, but am surprised by the low amount. I’m not at all surprised by the Eastern European DNA, that 8.6% would be the Polish ancestry from my grandmother’s side. I have no idea where the Scandinavian will come from, it may be tied into the Irish side.

Now one of the things about these DNA tests is they are not 100%. DNA testing like this in it’s infancy stage, and as it evolves and the testing companies get better at it, they change it all. For example, I had a very small amount of Ashkenazi Jewish DNA in me but recently they removed it; and they completely changed my daughter’s DNA results. And you can get different results from the different testing companies. My DNA results from Ancestry is very similar to 23andme’s results when it comes to French and German, British, and Scandinavian DNA, but they recently changed the Irish to Scottish. Go figure.

Thanks for reading!