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Jöns Nilsson (1620 - 1693)

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Jöns (Jonas) "Joens" Nilsson
Born in Skänninge, Skaraborgs län, Sweden (now in Östergötland län, Sweden)map
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in New Sweden Colonymap
Died in Tinicum Island, New Sweden, (now Pennsylvania, USA)map
Nilsson-20 created 11 Mar 2010 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 1,158 times.

Categories: New Sweden Forefathers.

Flag of Sweden Jonas Nilsson migrated from Sweden to New Sweden in 1643 aboard the Svanen. Flag of New Sweden in 1643 aboard the Svanen



Birth and Name

Jöns Nilsson was born in Skåning, Hundred, Skaraborg, Sweden about 1620. The many variations of his name are due not only to the relaxed spelling of the times but also the mix of nationalities occupying New Sweden. The meticulous account books of the New Sweden Company were 'not written in Swedish but rather in Dutch, the language of the New Sweden commissary Hendrick Huygen." [1] "The person's first name in Swedish was Jöns, which later evolved into Jonas. Huygen generally wrote that name as “Joen.” Further, Jöns’ patronymic was Nilsson (son of Nils), which Huygen spelled as “Nielson."[1] So, he was born as Jöns, referred to as Joen by the Dutch, and in later life known as Jonas, while the last name was variously Nilsson, Nielson, and Nelson.

Immigration to New Sweden

Jöns Nilsson arrived at Fort Christina, New Sweden on 15 February 1643.

"1643 - The Fama and Swan arrive from Sweden, bringing Johan Printz, first royal governor of New Sweden, six feet tall and weighing 400 pounds, with 50 new settlers, including Captain Sven Skute, soldiers Jonas Nilsson, Jürgen Keen, Johan Gustafsson, Anders And-ersson Homman, Peter Jochimsson and the family of Anders Andersson the Finn. Printz builds Fort Elfsborg on east side of Delaware and Fort New Gothenburg on Tinicum Island, where he also builds his own manor house, called Printzhof."[2]

Jonas came to New Sweden as a soldier with Governor Printz and was described in the accounts of the colony as a tailor as well as a soldier. After marrying and becoming a freeman in 1654, he established his farm at Kingsessing with his wife Gertrude. When the first governor, Printz, was replace by Governor RIsing in 1654, Jonas was owed a significant amount in back wages. "New Sweden was essentially a barter economy where the currency consisted of beaver skins, half-beaver skins and sewant. To collect real money for one’s services, it was necessary to go to Sweden, which is exactly what Jonas Nilsson did." [1] In July 1654, he left his pregnant wife in New Sweden and sailed to Sweden on the ship Ornen (the Eagle) to collect the wages owed him by the New Sweden Company for service as a soldier and tailor, which amounted to 505 guilders and 18 styvers (net of his purchases at the company store). [1] He returned on the Mercurius in 1656.

Jonas Nilsson is mentioned several times in the records of the church at WIcaco, known now as Gloria Dei ("Old Swedes") in South Philadelphia. He signed the loyalty oath in 1654, pledged support to the church in 1684, and appears in the 1693 Census. [3]


Husband of Gertrude Svensdotter — married 1648 in New Sweden (alt marriage date is 1654) Father of:[4]

Gunilla Jonasdotter, married Måns Petersson Cock
Nils Jonasson (Jones)
Måns Jonasson (Jones)
Anders Jonasson (Jones)
John Jonasson (jones)
Judith Jonasdotter, married Peter Petersson Yocum
Christina Jonasdotter, married Frederick Fredericksson King

Each of his sons took the patronymic of Jonasson which evolved into the surname Jones.

Death and Legacy

He signed his will on 14 Jan, 1692 and died in October 1693 in New Sweden. He was buried in the Gloria Dei Old Swedes' Church in Wicaco (now Philadelphia).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Craig, Peter S. "Jonas Nilsson in the news 350 years after his death" in Swedish Colonial News, vol 3 no. 8, Spring 2008
  2. Dr. Peter Stebbins Craig. "Chronology of Colonial Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1713." orig. pub Swedish Colonial News, Volume 2, Number 5 (Fall 2001). Retrieved from
  3. Craig, Peter Stebbins and Kim-Eric Williams, Colonial records of the Swedish churches in Pennsylvania. Volume 1: The log churches at Tinicum Island and Wicaco, 1646-1697, pp. 17, 64, 167, 174, 192-93.
  4. Craig, Peter S. The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware. (Winter Park, Fla: SAG Publications, 1993) Family numbers: 22 (Jonas), 8, 23-26, 35, 55

Note: Nilsson listed here as correct LNAB.

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No known carriers of Jonas's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 1
The Peterson or Yocum Family
The Peterson or Yocum Family


On 27 Jun 2016 at 20:22 GMT Jim Angelo Jr wrote:

Nilsson-20 and Nielson-96 appear to represent the same person because: Nielson-96 is an older, skeletal profile that needs to be merged away.

On 27 Jun 2016 at 17:37 GMT Jim Angelo Jr wrote:

I made quite a few edits to the bio, and kind of jumped the gun in changing the "official' first name to Jöns. Craig and the Swedish Colonial Society use Jonas, and I have no problem with that. I was thinking of first name in line with 'last name at birth', so went with Jöns Nilsson. If there is a consensus to go back to Jonas, that's fine.

On 30 Nov 2015 at 02:33 GMT H Husted wrote:

Nilsson-1866 and Nilsson-20 appear to represent the same person because: We have four duplicates. Please merge into the lowest numbered profile, Nilsson-20. The Swedish Colonial Society uses the name Jonas Nilsson. He arrived in Fort Christina on 15 February 1643, so a 1620 DOB seems a good approximation.

On 4 Nov 2015 at 13:39 GMT Michelle McQueen wrote:

Jonas NILSSON (1620-1693) & Gertrude SEVENSDOTTER (1636-1663) both born in Skoonings Harad, Skaraborge, Sweden.

Jonas is 17 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 11 degrees from Abraham Lincoln, 18 degrees from Ayn Rand, 18 degrees from Peter Roberts and 17 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth Realms on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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