Question of the Week: Do you have Scandinavian roots?

+86 votes

Do you have Scandinavian roots (i.e. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland)?

According to my latest AncestryDNA summary I have 1% in Sweden.  But I don't have the paper trail there. Yet.

How about you?

P.S. Reshare the question image on Facebook so your friends and family will see your answer.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
edited by Eowyn Walker
"Svendr" sounds like it may be Svendotter (daughter of Sven). In the church books the names were often shortened.



Sorry Staffan, I'm just now noticing this reply.  I had figured it was Sven's daughter, even though I've become used to something longer than "dr", so thank you for confirming that.  :)

I'm still slightly flabbergasted at knowing this at all.  My mother would be in total shock, if she were still living.  My kids are ecstatic.  (Even my cousin, a member of the LDS, doesn't know this.)

I'm still unsure about making the LNAB change without confirmation from the person who uploaded the information—or a look at the original register entry—but don't know what would be a reasonable wait time, or how to find/see the original (and how to understand it, if I find it).

More than anything, right now, I'd like to get my hands on my branch's copy of the family "book" my maternal grand-Uncle went to Sweden to get, that went missing somewhen in the 1940s—1980s.

DNA test say 35% Scandinavian
Three words that struck dread into the hearts of young men everywhere:  compulsory military service.  How old was he (or claimed to be)?  Many young men fudged the facts while looking over their shoulders for the long arm of the military police.  You never know when the Swedish / Russian / French / German navies are going to pull into your new port.
My father's family came from Norway.  My mother's from various parts of the German Empire.  My DNA says I am almost 60% Scandinavian.  Since some of my mother's ancestors were in northern Germany it is not surprising since they were in the region where much of the 30 Year War was fought, with heavy Swedish Danish participation.  Plus with all the incursuans into Europe during the Viking age, Scandinavian DNA is probably all over the place at some level.
My Paternal Grandfather is Oscar Wahlstrom from Sweden and my Maternal Grandfather is Johannes Oalai Telstad from Norway, so, yes very Scandinavian.

Trying to figure out how to add Family Search to Wikitree I have tons on my tree.
Four of my eight great-grand parents were 100 % Norwegian.
I have a few links to Scandanavian countries. Its more ancient, medieval lines.

My husband's grandfather was in the Swedish army, it appears.

You need to trace your ancestors back to the original New Sweden/New Netherland settlements in Delaware. There were a lot of Finns that emigrated to settle that area, just before the Dutch took it away from the Swedes.

170 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer

Well,....Ancestry says....My Scandinavian changed to Sweden. I am assuming that is Viking blood that got to Britain. I would have expected Norway or Danish more than Sweden. Maybe it was the Swedes that got to  Ukraine on their way to the Mediterranean. But then I have more than the 50% Eastern Europe that I would link to my mother. I didn't think you could get more than 50% from one parent, but how do they count their percentages? Then again there was that Albertson line. "George G. F. Albertson of Brookline, N.Y. is said to have researched this line. "The New England line" probably descended from Nicholas, probably of Sweden, revised in Scitnate, Mass. in 1636, had son John, who had grandson Jacob." 

by Sue Hall G2G6 Pilot (132k points)
selected by Steve Hatchett
+23 votes
I do - Depending on test at least 50% or more - and according to knowledge and documentation, definitely so. My paternal grandmother (Anderson) was born in Sweden in 1898 and migrated to US with her mother and one sister in 1901. My maternal great-grandparents - 3 were born in Norway (Engh, Gudim and Braaten) and one in Sweden (Johnson) before they came to the US in the 1870s. It's exciting to explore migration patterns and reasons behind movement. My stumbling block is not understanding Norwegian/Swedish documents found on the Internet - or on written pages provided by a "cousin" from Norway. Eventually some words become "clear" in usage but not enough to be sure at times. Patronymics can also add a degree of uncertainty.
by Sandra Miles G2G1 (1.6k points)
Hi Sandra,

This had me curious, so I had a look in the Swedish archives. I found your grandmother and traced what happened to her older sister who stayed in Sweden. I added the information and sources to their pages.

- Elisa
Elisa -

How wonderful! This is going to take me a bit to digest and incorporate in my Legacy program as well. I'm not sure how you managed in such a short time to pull this information together, but I can't thank you enough for this effort. To explain a bit further, most of what I had was family story passed to me, from what I can recall, from my grandmother's (Esther Marie Anderson Mollenhour) sister, Astrid, and her half-sisters (mother married in 1906 in Illinois) who were all adopted after their mother died (shortly after childbirth) in 1913. I may have also gotten some info from her oldest son (my uncle). Via DNA, I have made contact with some of the descendants of the half-sisters, most of whom knew little about their ancestor's birth family. Story is that mother had three daughters (including the oldest who stayed in Sweden, my grandmother and younger sister who migrated to US in 1901) by a Conrad Anderson. I know nothing else. Supposedly mother was "mistress" to Conrad who had a separate family and supposedly the oldest daughter stayed with father's family. That's not what it appears from info provided, but I certainly need to explore the information more thoroughly. This could be also why she was using name of Berglund (being "illigitimate"?) rather than Anderson. I'm going to have to review my documentation more closely for my grandmother and her younger sister now as well - just that their father was Conrad Anderson. My grandmother died when I was six and my father didn't know much either, and the sole surviving sibling is now 85. I love the genealogy community! Thank you!

Sandra (Mollenhour) Miles   (
+19 votes
I just saw our updated origins on Ancestry & my wife & I both have some Scandanavian roots.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
+16 votes

Yes , My 4th great grandmother was 

Nancy Deweese  , which her family ancestor came from the Netherlands 

Willem Dewees  I have not took a DNA test but my brother has and it shows he has 2 percent  Norway on his Ancestry .. so far this pretty much the only family line from the Netherlands .. but my son's wife has the same ancestor , her father's mother was a Deweese and has the same ancestor .. 

by Janine Isleman G2G6 (9.3k points)
Janine:  I just did my (autosomal) dna with MyHeritage and the results proclaim that I am 76% English and 24% Scandinavian (+ 0.7% Middle East). From the paper records I know that maternally I have Huguenot / Frisian connections and paternally I have Dutch / Frisian connections. I believe that the Frisian dna results are labelled Scandinavian.
So that’s what happened to our Frisian/Dutch ancestry!
+18 votes
Did AncestryDNA about a year ago, just before my 96-year-old father passed away. There were no huge surprises, except one --I'm Scandinavian. Despite all the family stories and research I had collected, I had absolutely no indication of this. It was the last thing I expected to discover, though in retrospect there had been hints maybe. My father finally revealed he did hear once that we were, in his words, "Norwegian-Swede" somewhere along the line, and his brother since then has taken the same test, confirming this. Turns out, our Hollenhors ancestors from Prussia (whom we had thought were Low German and Polish) were, according to other descendants of that family, from Norway, the precise area identified in the most recent update at AncestryDNA.
by Martyn Mulford G2G6 Mach 2 (25.4k points)
edited by Martyn Mulford
+19 votes
That was my big surprise when I took the Ancestry DNA test - I had 13% Scandinavian.  As others have said, there is no paper trail. I thought maybe it had something to do with Viking invaders in Britain and Ireland.  Or it could be my German ancestors on the border.  I haven't really added up the numbers yet to see if I have the correct amount of Germany ancestry. Duh.  My sister has only 1%, but then again, she has 13% Ireland and I only have a trace.

I found the Scandinavia thing to make a great excuse:

How come you put cumin in everything? - because I'm Scandinavian.

Why didn't you put out the trash? - because I'm Scandinavian

You are so pretty.  Why am I not as pretty as you? - because you are not Scandinavian.

Okay, the last one didn't ever happen, but you get the idea.  It played well for a while, I'll have to try it again.  The idea came about because I have a younger half-brother and he used to cry because my sister and I were allowed to stay up later than he.  We used to tell him it's because he's not Italian.  His parents never knew why he always cried because he's not Italian.
by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (429k points)
Oh, I thought cumin was German. Or Hungarian (second to the paprika).

And I thought Scandinavian would be dill.
Or why I like salmon?  I was just picking random things.
Good one, Lucy. Gotta remember that one, and just use my ancestry like that. Long reign HAGGIS!
Why do I love Lutefisk? Because I'm Scandinavian. No one else could even stand to eat Lutefisk!
So true, Richard :-)
+20 votes
Yes i am from Denmark Copenhagen, my dad was from Randers and his family are Danish. My grandfather are Danish from Varde Jutland.

But he emigrated first to USA then Hong Kong where he married my grandmother who’s dad came from Paisley in Scotland and her mother was Chinese
by Susan Laursen G2G Astronaut (2.7m points)
Susan, you’ve got Scottish blood! We gotta be related!
+16 votes
I have Ancestors from Orkney in Scotland and they are presumed to be descended from the Vikings. My DNA ethnicity estimate says I am 22% Scandinavian.

Unfortunately since the Orkney BMD records have been lost or were never written down, I cannot get back much earlier than 1797 - which was the first recorded marriage of my 4x Great grandparents. I have not been able to find any records of their birth place or parents, which is very frustrating.
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (792k points)
I read about a man (probably a relative of mine) who fled religious persecution in Dundee, Scotland, and landed in Norway.  This was in the mid 1600's, I think.  I hesitate to get more specific since the wording was confusing. (The word "he" was used after information about three different male individuals, so it's difficult to know which "he" was being spoken of.)

I wish I knew my history better, but I wonder how many Scottish people fled religious persecution and went to other countries.

RG, mine might not have fled religious persecution, but definitely economic played a part. Scotland, to Ulster, to America. But the Test Acts didn’t help.
+18 votes
All of my maternal great-grandparents immigrated into the US from Norway.  I always believed I was 50% Norwegian. However, I am getting a number of Swedish DNA matches that I can't figure out, and assume the Norwegians and Swedes did more "mixing" than I realized.  I still think I'm about 50% Scandinavian,  

Although I know that Norwegian records are supposed to be excellent, I have not learned to navigate them.  I have gotten generous help from others to pull together the sources I currently have, but still can't master how to locate and interpret them myself.  

I have gotten frustrated with the Norwegian Digital Archives, since I haven't figured out even the most rudimentary process to find an ancestor, even if I know approximately where they were located.  I can pull up 20 million results or zero results in a search, but rarely anything usable, even when starting out "knowing" locations, times, and names in Norway. I can't figure out how to enter the search parameters. Then I have an awful time citing the sources after someone kindly leads me to them. I'm just so sure I'm overlooking something very simple. (But now I'm just venting).

by R. Greenup G2G6 Mach 6 (66.1k points)
RG, I get the same from FamilySearch. I try entering different parameters, sometimes getting the same result, and sometimes getting a load of hits, but it’s a Mexican menu to me. (40,000 choices, no way to tell.)

You are allowed to vent!
Family Search can be somewhat daunting for newcomers, and now they have changed the layout with parents at the bottom instead of to the right. Sources entry changed from bottom of page to top of page. Maybe difficult to learn the system, but the reward is probably the single largest genealogical database in the world.  The source linker feature is amazing with burial, census, and old world links. The sources alone make it worth the trip sometimes. (And sometimes I still say, "Grrrrrrrr") :)

I'm glad you've got your DNA results back. Growing up in a scandinavian family sure has it's perks and also has some guess work when researching roots. One thing I have learned that really bugged me was my grandmother spoke in 3 different dialects (Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish). We have tried many times to translate her writtings but have been unsuccessful, even when submitting it to the Ministries for translation. The reason I say this is... I recently found part of her language was Bokmal and Nynorsk... the other portions are being researched.

When I use resources I usually begin with "Find A Grave" by entering the family member's information. From there I google it. That usually leads me to Scandinavian pages that need translation... HELLO GOOGLE TRANSLATOR! Some of the text I know, while others I do not... and dear this is where the translator comes in really handy. Citing your references/resources is easy as copy & paste, unless of course it's from a private collection (family) then just add in scanned from private collection. And then continue on with your research... I find most U.S. Census (NARA) will provide a bit more information as far as who was in the household at the time of immigration. Just look for your family members names.

Hope this bit of "tips" helps you out


The problem I find with using computer translation, is that the results do not always make sense. The grammar is often totally different.

I'm relatively new to WikiTree, but I've been doing Norwegian research for over 20 years. I am 1/4 Norwegian by heritage - 2 of my 8 great-grandparents were first-generation US-born Norwegians. Their parents came from Norway. I know specifically when for 3 of the 4. I've also had great success learning the naming patterns and tracing lines within Norway. If you're still in need of assistance, please hit me up with some specifics.

Gary Christopher
+17 votes
I have ancestors in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark! In Sweden, a direct line to about 1660.  My father, born in the US, only spoke Sweish when he entered school.  As an adult, he couldn’t speak a word—well, maybe a few words. My surname was originally a Danish name, but back when Denmark ruled Norway and a big chunk of Sweden, those Hvitfelts/Huitfeldts spread all over.
by Robert Hvitfeldt G2G6 Pilot (134k points)

Yes, Hvitfelt certainly was in Sweden too. In Göteborg, second largest city of Sweden, there's a well-known school, 

Hvitfeldtska gymnasiet

I’ve visited that school.  A great great great (I forget how many “ greats”) Aunt Margareta established the endowment for it. There’s a Hvitfeldtsgatan and Hvitfeldtsplatsen as well.
I wonder if some of those ancestors made it to the southern united states and americanized their name to 'Hatfield'?
I’ve seen changes to Whitfield and Whitefield, but Hatfield is not likely.  Aren’t they the ones who quarreled with the McCoys?
+18 votes
I have at least two  from Norway- and my daughters DNA just said over at that site I do not use that  begins with an A that she has Swedish - do not think that is from me, but might be her father
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (143k points)
“... that site I do not use...” Hilarious!
used to back in the day - you could earn hours by transcribing things census records and things - long ago on my slow slow modem
+15 votes
None that I can find by the paper trail, but I have about 8% according to Ancestry DNA. R-M269 by FTDNA. Pretty common and matches the paper trail.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+16 votes
As far as I can tell, I'm descended from King Canute, who simultaneously ruled Denmark and parts of England.  It was a long time ago, but I've not confirmed it with DNA testing.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1m points)
+14 votes
I don't have much faith in the Ancestry DNA as I have documented paper trails for my Swedish father and Danish mother to the 16th century. The Ancestry results said I was only 65% Scandinavian and 26% British Isles and the rest western European. Now they've revised their findings and I now have only 1% British (Irish), about 10% Germanic European and Finland, 46% Swedish and 43% Norwegian! I have found NO Norwegian in my paper trail, let alone 43%! Their results don't even mention Denmark. So unless Norway includes Denmark, something is rotten in Denmark!
by Richard Lindblom G2G6 (7.4k points)
Denmark is included with Western European - all those Vikings in England in the middle ages.
+13 votes
Yes, my mother's family is Danish with sprinkle of Norwegian.  Lund, Danielsen and Norby.
by David Norton G2G Crew (590 points)
+13 votes
Yes! I am 36% Scandinavian- My  PGG was from Denmark!
by Coreen Arioto G2G3 (4k points)
+13 votes
My dad's father's parents were both born in Jämtland, Sweden and came to the US in the 1890s.  They're my most recent immigrant ancestors.
by K. Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (123k points)
+12 votes
My Great Grandfather came from Norway. He was born Pederson (son of Peder) then changed his sir name when he moved to a summer pasture area(Sather) as was the custom at the time. Uff da

I only have the family bible for ancestors from there. GGM was Johannesdotter, her dad was Olsen ,Ole's son, his wife was Akseldotter, Aksel's daughter and so on.
by Robert Webb G2G6 Mach 4 (44.8k points)
+13 votes

Yes, I'm firmly rooted in Swedish soil, 100% since at least five generations  and I still live here.
DNA shows 100% European, 62% Scandinavian, 17% Finland/Siberia, 16% Great Britain and Ireland, bits and pieces Arabia and Asia.

A few ancestors emigrated to the USA where one of them has made a fantastic genealogy research on one of the branches, to be found at:

by Henrik Sundström G2G1 (1k points)
+11 votes
A little over a quarter Danish, with some recently discovered Swede and Finn added in. My DNA tests only show 16% Scandinavian, but the paper trail is very solid, and I find matches in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. I guess there's a reason they call those ancestry estimates!
by Gilbert Nelson G2G6 (6.5k points)

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