Question of the Week: Do you have Scandinavian roots?

+66 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.

asked in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
edited by Eowyn Langholf
This is my second response due to when I answered the first time, it was due to my original 27% results from my DNA testing. I felt there was some surprise at other regions indicated but overall was fairly acurate from family stories. Somehow, science changed and they since announced I have 0%. Imagine criteria they say, or am I to believe any of it now other than may just be a prediction of the names I have in my tree....
Yes, Brenda, I have had a similar disillusionment - with the National Geographic Geno 2.0 project, for which I paid $100 for the initial !.0 testing, and then $200 for the 2.0, sucked in by the lure of the addition of my paternal lineage, and the chance to discover the neanderthal contribution to my genetic heritage. Imagine my surprise as a Northern.European to be informed by the results that I had 4% Denisovan gene! An internet search brought me to the site of an eminent National Geographic Society genetic paleoanthropologist who stated that it was impossible and that it therefore brought into question, also, the credibility of the percentages for the neanderthal data (and, I would add, for all of their data!!!)  All my attempts to get some redress on this issue finally elicited only the cavalier response that they have withdrawn their denisovan claims. Meanwhile, I am out $300. I think that it is an outrage!
I’ve traced back to my 14th great-grandmother with proof to Margaret of Denmark and Norway, Oldenburg Queen consort of Scotland, also working on finding proof (very difficult) that I have ancestral connection to the Founder of Denmark, l’ll keep researching.

The estimates change from time to time. Go back and check your DNA Origins. I had 13% Scandinavian and now I have none. This is the explanation on Ancestry.

What happened to my Scandinavia region?

As we’ve gotten more data, we’ve gotten better at distinguishing between regions. This is especially true for regions and ethnicities with a similar genetic makeup or that overlap, such as England, Wales & Northwestern Europe. Because we can now more clearly distinguish each region’s DNA, some people’s estimates may show more or less DNA from Scandinavia.

I'm 15% Norwegian born in 1953. . My maternal great grandmother was full Swedish. I stand 5'10" and I'm a woman. How tall are you?  :)
I don't know how I got contacted by this question. I've seen no evidence of my having any Scandinavian ancestry. Love 'em, but I'm not one.
I have Norwegian roots on both sides of my family, born 1950,  5 ft10.5, I have a great aunt who was 5ft 9 and all the men are over 6ft

Just now seeing this question.  (Still too busy fartling around adding members to my tree to come and read billions(?) of forum posts.  cheeky )

My mother's grandfather was born in Liverpool to a Swedish father and a possibly Swedish mother.  The family name as it went to Australia is Williamson.  Gr-granddad's name was Ole Halley (often rendered as Harry).  His father's name was Larsse and mother was Anne Swanson (at least as recorded on Ole's marriage certificate).  The only other name I have is from family knowledge passed to me by my mother, via her uncle, that of Ake Wiberg (I believe that is the correct spelling).  Apparently this Ake Wiberg went to Australia some time in the middle of the 20th Century with a bunch of books that contained our family tree back in Sweden, going back to the late 1400's.  There was a copy of this book for each one of Ole's kids.  As my mother's father was deceased by the time Ake arrived in Queensland with these books, his copy was left with the uncle to be held in trust for the two children of my grandfather (because you couldn't cut it in half).  Years later when we tried to find our copy of this book, we were told it'd been stored in the shed down in the garden and had gone missing.  No other members of the (extended) family know anything about our copy, or their own copies.  The "Swedish family tree" book has, apparently, vanished.  (When I heard this I almost cried.)

TLDR: yep, I have Swedish ancestors, but, sadly, I only know two generations.

To answer the question Do I have Scandinavian roots? Yes, I am rooted with the term Swede-Fin. My grandmother from Norway/Sweden. Her mother from Finland, the grandmother from Finland. My grandfathers from Finland and Ireland. You could say we have more scandinavian blood than Irish

139 Answers

+14 votes
Best answer
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).

answered by R. Greenup G2G6 Mach 6 (63.1k points)
selected by Barbara Cooper
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


+18 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.
answered by Sandra Miles G2G1 (1.4k 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   (
+14 votes
I just saw our updated origins on Ancestry & my wife & I both have some Scandanavian roots.
answered by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
+12 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 .. 

answered by Janine Isleman G2G6 (8.2k 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!
+14 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.
answered by Martyn Mulford G2G6 Mach 2 (22k points)
edited by Martyn Mulford
+14 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.
answered by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (253k 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 :-)
+16 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
answered by Susan Laursen G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
Susan, you’ve got Scottish blood! We gotta be related!
+12 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.
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (463k 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.
+13 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.
answered by Robert Hvitfeldt G2G6 Mach 8 (89.6k 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.
+14 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
answered by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Mach 6 (67.6k 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
+10 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.
answered by Pip Sheppard G2G6 Pilot (827k points)
+11 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.
answered by David Hughey G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
+10 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!
answered by Richard Lindblom G2G1 (1.7k points)
+9 votes

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." 

answered by Sue Hall G2G6 Mach 8 (84.1k points)
+9 votes
Yes, my mother's family is Danish with sprinkle of Norwegian.  Lund, Danielsen and Norby.
answered by David Norton G2G Crew (470 points)
+9 votes
Yes! I am 36% Scandinavian- My  PGG was from Denmark!
answered by Coreen Arioto G2G3 (3.5k points)
+9 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.
answered by K. Anonymous G2G6 Mach 2 (27.6k points)
+8 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.
answered by Robert Webb G2G6 Mach 3 (30.1k points)
+9 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:

answered by Henrik Sundström G2G Crew (850 points)
+7 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!
answered by Gilbert Nelson G2G4 (4.6k points)

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