Jonas Nilsson/ New Sweden

+3 votes
I’ve been stuck researching my ggg grandfather Silas B. Jones (b. Abt 1830, most likely in SE Missouri) for a few years. I recently took the ftdna y-37 test and have a few matches that claim to be descendants of Jonas Nilsson. What is the best way to go about proving or disproving this?
in Genealogy Help by Luke Jones G2G1 (1.1k points)

Do you have a spouse or any sibling of your ggg grandfather? Date of death?
Here is Luke's profile for Silas

1 Answer

+2 votes
Hi Luke

Even though DNA is involved, it is still the same process as always, find sources, weigh their credibility, develop an hypothesis, test it....

You could start by having a very close look at the trees of the DNA cousins of yours that claim Jonas as an ancestor.  If you see weak spots in their research, then maybe Jonas isn't their ancestor.  But whoever their ancestor really is, that person is someone related to you. So you could try doing a better job of researching their trees back in time a few generations, then choosing a reasonably distant ancestor and finding all his descendants,  One of them might be your Silas!

If their link to Jonas looks completely believable to you, then trace all Jonas's descendants to see if you can find a connection to Silas.  

Do you have a profile for Silas yet? Any way we can see the family trees of the Nilsson cousins of yours?

And just how close a match are those DNA cousins of yours?

The answer is out there...somewhere!
by Shirlea Smith G2G6 Pilot (135k points)
edited by Shirlea Smith
I had forgotten I had added them! It is hell to get old sometimes!! Curious though my sister Kim is not showing up on the DNA like I see on some of our other relatives..... what does that mean?? This might get interesting.

Edit: Mystery solved, I never put Harriet as John Divines daughter!!!

2nd Edit: Kim matches Johns wife, but there are no matches for John.
That is the right Silas according to Luke's WikiTree profile for him.  Surprisingly, there are 2 or 3 other Silas Jones of about the same age and even similar military experience, (one of them, Silas G Jones, even passing away the same year).  I was poking around a bit this afternoon - you might be able to get to my Ancestry tree called 'odds and ends and speculations', user name shirlea_smith i think. Let me know if you find any corrections.

Looks like Silas was only about 33 when he passed away, and a few years later his widow married Luke Smith and had one more child.  Of course there are several Luke Smiths as well - fortunately her name Eveline is not Mary!

One of Silas's sons later gives his father's place of birth as Scotland, but i don't see where he would have gotten that idea.  That son was the youngest, and would not be able to remember much about his father.  He might be mixing up some other family stories.


Terry, i think it takes overnight or 24 hours for the DNA connections to percolate through...
Hi everyone.

Yes, that is the correct Silas. For being an amateur at this, I’ve been able to document his adult life very well. I have him working on the Poe farm as a laborer at 18, his marriage to Evaline in 1853 or 1854, all his children, his enlistment, death, and even his pension file. His wife did eventually marry Luke Smith and he later adopted Silas’ minor children. Side note: I was basically named after Luke Smith. His youngest son named his first son after Luke, who raised him. I’m the 4th with j that name.

I ran into that Silas G. Jones when I started this process and had their records confused for a while. He served in the same unit and died around the same time. I also saw where his youngest (my gg grandfather) son put Scotland as his father’s place of birth. He never met Silas and was raised by Luke (an English immigrant). I’ve just assumed he was confused or talking about his step-dad.

Silas put New Madrid, MO as his POB on his enlistment paperwork, but that has been dead ends. I’ve considered Silas may not know where he was born. Since I can’t find his parents and he was working on the Poe family m at 18, they may have died when he was young and may not have had a lot of info about his birth.

With the DNA hits to people that claim to be descendants of Jonas, I’m hoping to be able to start with him and work through 200 years to Silas. It’s just a lot of people to go through so I’m hoping to find some of the work done for me.

Thank you everyone for responding.
Hi Luke!  it is indeed an interesting puzzle!  I think you will find it is not too difficult to go thru the male descendants of Jonas Nilsson who used the name Jones.  Jonas Nilsson's WikiTree profile lists most if not all of them if you click on the descendants button.  You only have to follow the trail till you get past 1850 without a sniff of Missouri, then document that fact for yourself and move on to the next man. Keep a list of the ones who vanished into thin air before 1850, for further research. Of course it is possible that one didn't get a profile on WikiTree though he might exist in the official records. That is worth checking if you come up empty on all of the above.

Have you gotten your aDNA done, or better yet your father and any of his siblings?  (auDNA, atDNA, whatever you prefer to call it)  If it were my brick wall and i was this close, i'd be jumping on Ancestry's next sale.  The distribution patterns of cousins should lead you to the right family line because the DNA of your own great great great grandmothers will be in there too.

Another lead to try is the Poe family.  There is probably a 50/50 chance that they knew each other before.  Taking a quick look at where they came from and their previous few generations might reveal a connection.

And then there is Silas G Jones,  who might be a cousin or second cousin, both named after the same grampa, or possibly an uncle who had just passed away around the time they were born.  Might be worthwhile to see where he came from.

And don't forget to peruse all the Cape G historical society writings for mention of your family.  It might just be one line or a caption of an old photo, but it might give you the clue you need.

Apologies for mentioning it if you've already done these things!


Hi Shirlea.

Please don't apologize. You have some great ideas. Some of that I have done. I hadn't considered Silas G may be a cousin though that seem like an obvious lead now that you mention it.

I went through Jonas' descendants on Wikitree, but many of his sons show unknown children. I have an active membership with Ancestry, so I was going to try that next.

My father and I have taken AncestryDNA and both are uploaded to GedMatch. I've also taken the Y-37 test with FamilyTreeDNA. That is where I found the matches with the individuals that led me to Jonas.

Thank you for all your help and thoughts everyone.
Have you mentioned your DNA tests on your own and your father's WikiTree profile?  It is supposed to propagate outward for about six generations and show the GEDmatch number.  Or did you just do it recently?  I think it takes 24 hours to work through the system.

Did Ancestry find you a bunch of cousins (by whatever family name) whose roots go back to Missouri?

Did you search your Ancestry DNA matches for the surname Jones? (no, i'm not being facetious.  As a researcher of both Smith and Jones lines, i'm finding that the same methods apply.)


I have not put the dna on my wiki tree profile. I shouldn’t of do that.

I have searched for the surnames through dna matches. Funny story, I thought I found Silas B’s parents through a match. Everything made sense connecting her tree to mine, but then I got my parents tested and she matched my mother instead of my father.
Well, you know, we each only get half of the DNA that each parent has, so we have a lot more blood relatives than DNA matches. If the paper trail really works out, maybe it is right! Can I have a look somehow?

Please forgive brevity—doing this on my phone on a day that everything is at a standstill because of a snow storm


Shirlea in Manitoba
There wasn’t much of a paper trail, just a lot of circumstantial evidence. My ancestry tree is under the username lukejones78. Feel free to check out anything you’d like.

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