Genealogy and DNA help needed with Swedish great-great grandfather

+1 vote

Hello WikiTreers,

I am beating my head against a wall because I am totally unable to figure out why I am DNA confirmed/matched and genealogically connected to my great great grandmother, Hulda S Bäcklund, and her siblings’ descendents, but not to any of her husband’s, my great great grandfather’s family? I have found them, they have found me, but we are not DNA matched.

Did I research an entire ancestor’s family wrong? If so, where is the mistake? If not, did my entire Johansson/Johnson side get their genealogy wrong? My brain is about to explode. I really need fresh eyes with this.

Is it possible that (so far) I am not DNA matched to any Johansson’s/Johnsons, but the genealogical research is correct?

Thank you for your help!

Missy smiley

WikiTree profile: Victor Emanuel Johnson
in Genealogy Help by Missy Berryann G2G6 Mach 8 (87.3k points)
Scott, I have third cousins that I don't match at all.  I think Missy said above that the two matches were her Mom's third cousins.  If they were siblings, that makes it more likely that if one didn't share the mom's DNA, then the other didn't either (as opposed to third cousins who were not siblings).

When you say "multiple" descendants, as far as I can see that is just the two.

If I've misunderstood--not unlikely due to revisiting this thread multiple times and not thoroughly re-studying--then I could be wrong.
Hello Scott,

When you say "she" do you mean Missy or Missy's mother?  Missy's mother is GEDmatch HA7007697.  Missy should be comparing matches with her mother's GEDmatch ID.
OK, I am seeing now where she is saying she has been in contact with descendants of **siblings** of Victor not of Victor, so yes, while descendants of Victor would be her 3rd cousins, descendants of his siblings would be her 4th cousins and 3rd cousins of her mother.  Without going back through all the responses, did Missy say her mother was tested?  Or was it just Missy?  If her mother did, then everything I said still holds true, and if it was just Missy, then obviously the odds increase that they may, in fact, be related, but I would still say it is much more likely they aren't - the expected value (mean/average) of matching DNA for 4th cousins is 35 cM (it's 74 cM for 4th cousins) and most testing services report matches to well below 10 cM.   Not doubting what you say about your lack of matches with 3rd cousins, but just saying it is very unusual.  I have looked at the data and the statistics behind the table that I linked to and they are based on a very large number of tests.
The ISOGG table I usually use says 53 cM for third cousins and 13 cM for fourth.

I just looked at my own list of my 46 third cousins I know about who have DNA-tested.  I don't match seven of them, including two that are siblings to each other.
We are venturing farther off-topic but the ISOGG reference you give actually shows the same table I am using if you scroll farther down.  The one I am using is based on a research from the Shared cM Project compiled by Blaine Bettinger using actual DNA test results.  The numbers you refer to from the page are strictly theoretical and are arrived at by starting at 3400 cM for 50% of DNA shared between parents and children and then subdividing evenly by 2 for each new generation, but as we know, that is not what happens in the real world which is why we end up with ranges of matching DNA that get wider and wider with each successive generation.
Right.  So if we stick to Missy's issue, I don't think she should be discouraged because two Johansson descendants don't match her mother.  And I haven't gone back and looked, but I'm not sure how much confidence she has in their trees.
as to wikitree, DNA aside for a moment,

(the requirement for proper sourcing)

the documents pertinent to Missy's line reference

WILHELM not VICTOR  and there is no documentation

thus far that

indicates Victor had an included name of Wilhelm as well

as his included name of Emanuel. What advice would you

give Missy about this, as, future collaborators on wikitree

in the future may try changes on the profiles from Victor

to Wilhelm etc, based on documents obtained from

Ancestry and Familysearch ?
I would tell her to review Frank Stanley's answers below.


Your example of not matching DNA with cousins that are siblings is encouraging to me that this might be the case here too. I really appreciate you all taking the time to contemplate and discuss this issue with me. As you probably can tell, I have never had this happen to me. I have been able to prove with DNA back to a few of my 3rd great grandparents (on my moms side using her DNA) and almost all but a few of my 2nd great grandparents. l am confident in my research skills, especially in Sweden where my families came from (Värmland and Örebro) and confident about where they went in America. I would not even have questioned this if I had not been in contact with these couple of Johansson/Johnson cousins of whom I do not match with DNA. The fact that I do match all the cousins I know who tested on my great great grandmother’s side, and not found any for her husband (YET) just freaked me out. laugh


 descendants of his siblings would be her 4th cousins and 3rd cousins of her mother.  Without going back through all the responses, did Missy say her mother was tested?  Or was it just Missy?  If her mother did, then everything I said still holds ”

I have been using my mom’s DNA to match DNA with my 3rd and 4th cousins (on HER side). I make sure my mother matches her 3rd cousins and that I also match as 4th cousins. The Bäcklund matches have matched both my mother and me. No Johansson/Johnson matches have been found yet to match my mom’s DNA or mine. I hope this helps clear things up.

4 Answers

+2 votes
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I found Victor E Johansson’s birth Record and he was not adopted. All my dna has been proven back on my moms side to Sweden. I am dna confirmed to Victor’s wife Hulda S Bäcklund, her parents, and a few siblings back in Sweden and here in America. That is why I am so confused.

Thank you!
+2 votes

Have your mother take a Family Finder test with Family Tree DNA.

The above link provides WikiTree a small commission.

Your mother has twice the likelihood of inheriting your great-great-grandfather’s autosomal DNA as you do.  Testing with Family Tree DNA stores your mother’s DNA for future testing (e.g. whole genome).

by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (539k points)
edited by Peter Roberts
I have my moms DNA on MyHeritage, Ancestry and I believe GEDMatch.
Hello Missy,

Before I posted my answer yesterday to G2G, I checked to see if your mother might be in GEDmatch.  I did not find a match with anyone who was close enough to you to be your parent.   I recommend you add your mother’s AncestryDNA results to GEDmatch.  Please do NOT also add her MyHeritageDNA results to GEDmatch unless you use GEDmatch’s Tier 1 utility to combine them into a superkit.

She is right here (my first GEDMatch match at the top):

Kit 1:1 Name Email Largest Seg Total cM Gen Overlap Date Compared Testing Company
HA7007697 *SLW 151.9 3576.4 1.0 209426 2020-01-13 Ancestry
Very sorry, my mistake.
+2 votes

This is as much a question as an answer, but I'm looking at your maternal grandma's tree and I see a lot of that classic pattern you hear about. Erik, son of Nils is Erik Nilsson. Erik's daughter, Brita is Brita Eriksdotter. That sort of thing. I think they stopped doing it that way at some point, but I don't know when. Really, that alone is enough to make one a little crazy! smiley 

So maybe that practice stopped by your gt-gt grandparents' generation? That would explain why Victor, son of Karl, is Victor Johansson instead of Victor Karlsson. But then how does Hulda end up with a surname like "Bäcklund", which seems to come from nowhere?

* That being said, you should outline for us exactly how these distant relatives you know of who have tested are related to your mom. 3Cs match about 90% of the time. More distant relations, not as much.

* Is this on AncestryDNA, BTW? They don't put matches below 20cM on a shared match list, so be wary of that when determining if two people match.

* Are there people who match descendants of Axel and his siblings, but DON'T match Hulda's relatives? THOSE are likely Victor's relatives, whether they're Johansson or not.

* It's possible there were two husbands, but be wary of what I call "the name game" where somebody used their first name at one stage of life, but then uses their middle name at another, or vice versa. That, too, can make you crazy, but it happens all the time. This idea about brothers doesn't really solve anything anyway, does it? These people would STILL be related exactly the same way, right?

by Frank Stanley G2G6 Mach 6 (63.7k points)
Following the timeline:

28DEC1879: Viktor Emanuel b in Sweden

09AUG1880: Hulda's birth record gives her father's surname as "Backlund", so perhaps that answers my question.

13MAR1893: Viktor Emanuel arrives at NYC on the "Island" (destination: Worcester MA)

1900: In census Victor under surname "Swan" with his family (his mother's maiden name sometimes given as "Svahn" for some reason; her husband had just died)

05APR1902; Wilhelm Emanuel Johnson marr Hulda Sophia Backlund in Brooklyn

12&19APR1903: Birth & death records of infant son, George, (in Worcester MA) lists parents as Wilhelm E Johnson & Hulda S Backlund

31OCT1905: Axel Emanuel, born to Wilhelm and Hulda in Brooklyn (from b cert)

1910 census: "William", b ~1880, Sweden, helper, steel mill; to US 1890

1915: "William", b JAN1872, Sweden, Steel wkr

12SEP1918: Victor Emanuel Johnson, WWI draft regn: b 28DEC1879, Citizen of Sweden, res Burlington Co, NJ

1920 Census: "Victor", furnace tender, wire works

1930: "Victor"; heater, steel works

1942: Victor Emanuel Johnson WWII draft regn, Florence, NJ; b 28DEC1879, Sweden (tells exactly where); references Clarence Johnson [his son]

So we definitely have "William"/"Wilhelm" between abt 1901 and 1917, but he's the same age as Victor, has the same middle name, came from Sweden around the same time, also works in the steel indusrty, has the same surname. Plus, kind of like Superman and Clark Kent, they never exist at the same time, and one appears when the other disappears. Sounds to me like "Victor" just found "William" to be a more "American" name, and used it for a time.
My Bäcklund cousins are on Ancestry and they are all 3rd cousins or closer to my mom. I am not questioning my relationships to the Bäcklund family. They are coming up as dna matches and we knew we were related to the Bäcklunds/Becklunds before DNA testing. My Grandmom’s  family had visited Hulda’s brother, Otto Becklund, in Massachusetts (they lived in NJ). My grandmother actually stayed with Otto and Signe Becklund and their children when she was a teen (the same family that is popping up as dna matches on Ancestry). I have also found more cousins on Ancestry from my great great aunts and uncles who went west.

Btw- Hulda’s father, Per August Persson, started using Bäcklund while in Sweden by 1890. I do not know why yet.

I believe the Victor Emanuel Johansson/Johnson I researched is the correct (most likely 2nd) husband, for Hulda Sofia Bäcklund/Becklund. He is just not my biological great great grandfather.

I have not found other children or grandchildren of Victor and Hulda S Johnson yet (only my great grandfather’s and great grandmother’s children). I never heard of any siblings of Axel’s surviving, but that does not mean none of Victor’s children survived.
Frank, but then we are back to why I am not dna confirmed to any Johnsons I have found so far?

Clarence survived, married, had children, 1940 census +

U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Name: Clarence Avrid Johnson
Race: White
Age: 33
Birth Date: 13 Mar 1907
Birth Place: Jersey City, N. J.
Residence Place: Florence, Burl., N.J.
Registration Date: 16 Oct 1940
Registration Place: Florence, Burlington County, New Jersey, USA
Employer: John A. Roebling Sons'' Co
Weight: 168
Complexion: Light
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Brown
Height: 5Ft. 5 1/2in.
Next of Kin: Victor Emanuel Johnson
Household Members:
Name Age
Clarence Avrid Johnson
Mr. Victor Emanuel Johnson

Clarence A Johnson
Respondent: Yes
Age: 33
Estimated Birth Year: 1907
Gender: Male
Race: White
Birthplace: New Jersey
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Boarder
Home in 1940: Palmyra, Burlington, New Jersey
Map of Home in 1940: Palmyra, Burlington, New Jersey
Street: Cinnaminson Avenue
House Number: 328
Inferred Residence in 1935: Palmyra, Burlington, New Jersey
Residence in 1935: Same Place
Sheet Number: 8A
Occupation: Crane Oper
Attended School or College: No
Highest Grade Completed: Elementary school, 8th grade
Hours Worked Week Prior to Census: 40
Class of Worker: Wage or salary worker in private work
Weeks Worked in 1939: 51
Income: 1560
Income Other Sources: No
Household Members:
Name Age
Fremont E Miller 83
Clarence A Johnson 33
Mary E Johnson 29
Kathryn Johnson 13
Jane Johnson 11

Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: Palmyra, Burlington, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02319; Page: 8A

Missy, let's clarify now. You referred to your great-great grandfather's family, saying "I have found them, they have found me, but they are not DNA matched." The question is, how are these people related to your mom? These people who do not match her DNA. Do you know for a fact that they have been tested?

It sounds like my question about the break in the surname pattern is resolved as much as it needs to be for our purposes. They must have dropped the old system sometime after around 1850, and while Johansson decided to stick with Johansson, Persson decided to part with a patronymic name altogether - maybe Bäcklund" is a geographic name, or something like that. So that's interesting.

Unless someone can come up with a record for Victor being somewhere else, doing something else, between 1901-1917, the idea that he changed it - basically when he was joining the work force - seems the best bet to me. I've heard of more radical things - an Italian changing their surname to McCarthy, for example. Maybe he needed real documentation of his name for the draft registration, and by then felt comfortable going back to his real name. Absolutely everything about "William" and Victor is the same, right down to the middle name, and I'm not a big believer in coincidences.

It sounds like you haven't found closer relatives than 3Cs who you can use to point you to your gt-gt grandfather's people. Well, chances are there ARE matches to his people in there somewhere, in their own cluster then. One think you DO have to go on is that they have Swedes in their ancestry, yet they don't match your great-great-grandma's Swedes.
Actually, I just found an obituary index for Victor. It lists him as "Victor W. Johnson", of Burlington Co, NJ, with sons Axel, Clarence, and Carl. Really what that suggests to me is that maybe he had two middle names (like you often see in Germany, or England): "Victor Wilhelm Emanuel Johnsson". Obit dated 29MAR1950.

His brother, John William Johnson, BTW, is accounted for - stayed in Worcester MA the whole time.

If you want to know how crazy it can get, in the passenger list for my wife's great-great grandmother, coming to America from Germany, FOUR of the daughters were listed as "Margaret". Generally, they'd have a given name (which they didn't use), and two middle names. So I'm sure these 4 Margarets were not simply named Margaret, but all had different names, if knew their FULL names. Why on Earth they would chose to pick the Margaret, out of the three names each undoubtedly had, for all of them, is another question.
Frank, I commend you and Eddie both for the amount of work you've put into this question.  I'd give you a star if I didn't think it rude, since it's Missy's question, and I'm still not sure the mystery is fully solved.

Regarding your comment about your wife's great-great grandmother:  When I see a bunch of children in a family coming from Germany all with the same first name, I usually assume those were honorific names, and it was likely they used their "middle" names in their day-to-day lives.
I really appreciate all the time and thought people have put into this. I am convinced that I have the right person in America. In Sweden, his birth record and his family do match his family in America and the birth date he gives in America. So I am completely and utterly taken back by no dna matches yet to a Johnson or Johansson. I have been searching. I have found genealogical cousins through our common family trees on Ancestry. I meant that we have been in touch, but our dna has not come up as matches.
+2 votes

Missy ~ I think this may be the funeral notice for your Victor.  There's not much helpful in it but I'll see if there's something more extensive.

Clipped funeral notice Victor Johnson

Didn't find another one.  Just this one in several papers.  

by Laurie Miller G2G6 (7.9k points)
edited by Laurie Miller
I only saw a sort of computer-generated abstract of this, but the key thing is the middle initial, "W". Since his middle name is know to have been Emmanuel, that reflects that "William" was another name that he had used. Whether he had two middle names all along, or had changed his name along the way, or some other explanation, it gives a connection between "William" (who only exists for about 15 years) and "Victor", who disappears for the 15 years that William existed.
The W could also be a misprint.  I've seen some obituaries and notices that were so wrong.
True enough - in fact I have a sort of "rule" that says that every obituary has at least one mistake (OK, maybe it's more of a guideline). The point is, there's often a LOT of technical details given, and they're generally written by strangers just taking the word of the stressed-out people close to the situation and trying to get it right. Of course mistakes will be made.

HOWEVER, the thing about this case is that it adds to an already absurdly long list of "coincidences" that we'd have to believe in order to assert that there are two separate people involved:

* The typo just HAPPENS to give the first letter of "William", instead of the correct letter, "E". Handwritten and typeset versions of that letter don't really look alike, and they certainly don't SOUND alike either.

* The two men HAPPEN to have the same surname.

* They HAPPEN to both be immigrants from Sweden.

* They HAPPEN to have immigrated about the same time.

* They HAPPEN to be about the same age.

* Victor HAPPENS to be missing from the records for the exact same time interval that William appears.

* There HAPPENS to be no record available for the second marriage, or a divorce, or the death of William.

Did I miss any? Just how many coincidences are we willing to buy into?
Frank, ok so what do you propose?
I think they're one and the same personally.

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