DNA Testing

So what is DNA about and is it just another way for businesses to get to our money? Can it really be used for family research? The answers are not that easy and would be both yes and no to both questions. I did take a test to see what I could find.

If we look at the advertising which is all about ethnicity, no it can't be used and it does not give you the answers. All companies use a different small pool of test which they compare yours to yours and these are not always so good. This bit, in my eyes, don't really give you anything more than some hints that might be right but also totally wrong. In my case I have extensive research to fall back on and compare with. Yes I do have a lot of Scandinavian ancestry, my other large part said British Isles. Nothing about northern or central Europe. According to the research I don't have any British Isles but a lot from northern and central Europe. So this would be a no to both questions.

However, there are other parts to it.
I used FtDNA which is used by most people in Sweden. I have a massive amount of matches but only one which is really good (over 100 centimorgans). Matches comes up in a list and you can then start trying to find out how you are related to your matches i.e. what person/persons you have in common among your ancestors and this then can verify your own research or in some cases also help you verifying unknown parents. They do give you an estimated relationship for example 2nd to 4th Cousin or 5th to remote Cousin. These are again just indications and estimated. I for example have branches in areas where lots of people are related to each other which mean that what seems to be a 4th Cousin might in fact be a 7th-10th Cousin.

In my case I did find three matches directly which I have in my tree and I have also been in contact with them before, nothing strange there and I had quickly some verifications of ancestors in Högsäter and Skinnskatteberg. My best match was with a person whose surname I did recognise from Skinnskatteberg but since it is a soldiers name we might not be related through his father. This also turned out to be the case, we are related through his mother. My second best match that gave me a clue at all where to look was on my paternal grandfathers’ side. I did look into his ancestry and found the common link, but there was one problem – we should not have a DNA match at all due to the paper research. His grandmother was a biological child to a couple while my link to the couple was via one of their foster sons. This foster son had unknown parents according to the birth records. If we do have a match (and we do) this means that at least one of the foster parents to my great great grandfather Johan has to be a biological parent. I have since then also found several matches which points to me being related to them via a couple who lived in the 1600s. This means that we can assume that Johan’s foster mum was also his biological mother.

I have manage to find some other common ancestors who I have been able to verify through DNA but it is a lot of work. It also seems that very few “closer or immediate” family members have done a test. Of the matches I have been able to find a common ancestor most of them seem to be on my mother’s side. So through finding people who have done tests and matches you in one way or another you can verify your research; mostly by finding others who also have the same ancestors or in some lucky cases like in my great great grandfather’s case even verify unknown parents. For unknown parents you do need to find close or immediate relatives for it to work. Now I have to try to contact some of my matches to see if we together can find out how we are related. I have sent for more test kits for my parents and my brother. This will help me to sort out which side in the tree to start looking at for different matches.

There is a but though, not everyone who does tests want to upload a family tree or if they do; it might only be two generations and less than 10 people. You can email them and ask if they have any research and if it have some names and places you recognise but again for several reasons you don't always get an answer. For some it seems the ethnicity has been why they did the test, others might have had a change of mind, not enough time, circumstances have changed in their life etc. The reasons for not wanting to have contact can be endless. Another group are those who have done the test, done no research and expect you to just give them all of yours.

So for a conclusion, I do think you can answer the two first questions with both yes and no. It all depends on why you take a test and then also how you use it. Not all DNA testers are also family researchers. Also for family researchers we do have to keep in mind the usual struggle for verifying our information. How good are our sources. If done right DNA can be used to verify and/or give us more indications about what can be an assumption.

Welcome back

As some of you may have noticed this website has been offline for quite some time. What happened?
In short my site was hacked and therefore taken offline. It has taken me some time to go through everything and try to find what did belong and what didn't. Anyway I am now back and if the site hasn't been online my research hasn't stopped.
I still don't have time to do a lot of research every day but I keep verifying bit by bit. Sometimes I come across new information to add etc.

I have also taken a Family Finder test with FtDNA and this was not to find my ethnic background, which I now fairly well by now, but to see if I could find links with other testers who might have more information about some of the branches. I did get loads of matches but sadly it seems at least half of them have no tree linked to their tests or minimal tree like themselves + one or two generations or all is private. This means you can't look for which ancestor you have in common.
Not all has been a waste since I have had indications that a foster son might actually be a biological son. Two independent matches confirms this. Next step is to test parents and a sibling to be able to guess on which side all the other matches fit in.

Verifying and adding more relatives

Since the last blog entry I have mainly worked on verifying more of the assumed entries. I have also added more relatives on branches from "Medlemmar av släkten Scheutz" (research done by Halvard Scheutz) and more to come when I have finished moving.

I have started a newsletter which will come out whenever I have something to share or when some of the other relatives I am in contact with have something they want to share. I was asked to start this newsletter so it would be easier to follow what is happening with the research and my progress. It will be in English so that everyone can understand. In the latest issue I introduce some of the authors found in the family tree.

I have also been in contact with some new found relatives near and more distant so some more branches have been added in mainly Västmanland to find out how we are related. I think I have to really make an effort to fit in a trip to Västmanland in the near future. It will be a lot of driving but I really want to know more about this part of the family.

von Mühlenfels

Having tried to solve the mystery around this family which moved back and forth between Sweden and Pomerania have been a hard task, and still is.
I did in the end opt for trying to find out how and if all the von Mühlenfels living in Sweden in late 1800 and early 1900 were related. I did know about the ones that were descendants of Wilhelm Edward but who were the others?
I did follow them back and found that they were mainly siblings to Wilhelm Edward (my grandmothers grandfather). Their father is said to be a captain in the Swedish Army based in Pomerania Gustav Friedrich Anton von Mühlenfels. He was married twice and it seems most of his children ended up in Sweden. All his seven sons that lived to be adults became soldiers - five of them in the Swedish Army. This makes sense since Wilhelm Edward gave his youngest son the name Gustaf Fredrik Anton. The names of all the involved are the best clue since they did like to keep a tradition of naming both boys and girls with 'family names'. Other clues have been who the witnesses have been at the baptism of the children born in Sweden.
At present I am trying to build a tree over how everyone is connected and then it will have to be verified as far as possible. This far I have used Swedish church books, newspapers, military history and records of nobility. There is also some information on the Internet but that really has to be verified since some of it is conflicting, both when it comes to Wikipedia and to family trees online. One of these days I will manage to find them in the church books for Stralsund, Rügen and surrounding areas.
If anyone of you who read this have any knowledge of the von Mühlenfels families please contact me.

Carl Victor Forsman

This summer I did a trip to Vaxholms fästning to have a look and ask questions about the fatal explosion 11 Aug 1887. Carl Victor was one of the 19 artillerists that died that day. I still find it strange that so little is know about this event and it is so hard to get more information about it. I am trying to find Carl Victor's story and will incorporate this in my planned book. Instead of writing pages of charts which even I find boring I plan to choose some of the people in the tree and write a bit about them so we through them can understand their reality and choices in life more like an anthology of the family tree.
I have now manage to follow Carl Victor from birth to death and although we can't ask him why he made his choices we can guess, a bit like why the explosion happened that killed him. Through choosing to write about him I hope to highlight a part of Army history that has been forgotten.

If you have ideas about other people to write about please let me know. There are a lot to choose from...

Sweden trip 2016

As usual I did not have time to do all the things I did hope to do. I did manage a round trip to Kosta, Transjö and Lessebo, mainly to look at buildings like factories and houses. In Stockholm I did visit Vaxholms kastell, the fortress, where Carl Victor Forsman was serving as a soldier and also died. I now know exactly where on the little island the explosion happened. I missed Vinslöv since roadworks and closures did take me on a detour away from anywhere near Vinslöv. Photos will find their way to be connected to the right people in the tree. I also meet most of my first cousins on this trip which was nice. On my dads side we had a dinner - my dad and his siblings, their children and grandchildren were invited. So 20 out of 32 managed to meet up for a few hours together with lots of chatting and a very nice meal.

A new trip to Sweden

I plan to visit Sweden again this summer and will be visiting Småland, Skåne and Stockholm. This time I really hope I can visit Riddarhyttan as well. I have never been there and since such a large branch of the family comes from this area I would like to see this place although I know very little is left of the places where the ancestors lived and worked.

Latest update

Since the last blog entry I have only done verifying in different branches of the tree. Most of them when I come across interesting green leaves on Ancestry. When something looks like it could be right I do check it with the correct church books and follow people to try to connect them with a person I have in my tree. This way I have manage to extend a branch of the family tree which ended with my 3rd great grandmother, Hedvig. She was born outside of marriage and the father is for now unknown. Her mother was Marta Catharina Miller. Hedvig was born in Jönköping and later came to Skåne. It turns out her mother Marta Catharina comes from a smith family called Miller which seem to have worked with making weapons in the Jönköping and Huskvarna area. The occupation in Swedish was Baljmakare and it seems they did make bayonets among other things. Part of the family can be found in Smedskivan 9. This family Miller in my tree is not the same as those Miller who are found in USA. The USA Miller branch comes from emigrated members from the Möller family in Skåne.

Long time since the last entry

I have been hard at work for many months and only occasionally been able to do some research. This has mainly consisted of revisiting branches and people where I have been stuck in my research for different reasons. In some cases I manage to go further, others are still mysteries waiting to be solved. When I have time I need to take a closer look at Johan Mattsson Wetterskog, his early year and who his parents really were are still unknown. I am not alone in researching this man - my 4th Great Grandfather - another decendant is also trying to solve this mystery. Every now and then we exchange information so hopefully one day we will be able to let you know who the 5th Great Grandparents were on this branch.

I have also looked closer at one of the branches in Västra Göinge in Skåne. It seem to centre around Vinslöv and include some prominent local farmers/landowners. Many of them worked as Nämdemän (jurymen) and I am coming closer and closer to the time when this part was in Denmark instead of in Sweden. Were the ancestors Danish or Swedish?

Trip to Sweden

So today I head for Sweden in my car. I hope to be able to have some stops connected to the ancestors. Maybe one or two glass factories? Maybe a trip to Riddarhyttan? Stockholm and Solna are already booked in...
Skåne will have to wait for another time as well as Västergötland (all counties included).
Looking forward to see family in Stockholm and I think the dog is excited as well (Yes she does have a petpassport) since she is coming. I hope she understands that we will not be spending the days travelling on the underground. She does like it, probably because everyone makes a fuss about her.

This far I have been to Kosta, Forsmarks bruk and Lövsta bruk, with some detours to Ekeberga & Lövsta grave yards. I have managed to take a few photos.