Finns, Swedes and Danes?

The long haul to figuring out my Y DNA results has left the playing field for Thompson ancestors more open rather than closing it up. I’m R1b-U106 which is pretty popular anywhere around the North and Baltic Seas. My closest Y DNA matches at are from Denmark and England. YHRD has Denmark and Germany, SMGF has Anglo-americans, Swedes, Germans and Russians. That’s a lot of ground to cover and these people have been mixing and matching for centuries.

In looking for some information on the Corson family (higher matches at Ysearch) I got embroiled in New Amsterdam and associated colonies. Since any of these places is reasonable, I did a search for Thompson and Sweden and found an interesting article on Thomas Jacobsson the Finn and  his Thompson descendants. The article follows several generations of Thomassons/Thompsons in the New Sweden Colony:

These are Finns who lived in Sweden and moved to the (eventually) Dutch colony of New Sweden at the junction of White Clay and Red Clay Creeks. The article was interesting in that these Thompsons sort of melt into the fabric of Pennsylvania, Delaware and the Carolinas, blending in with other Thompson families and becoming “lost”.

It was an interesting possibility but really any “Thomas” who had sons from Ireland to Prussia would be a good candidate. So I put the article away.

Then I had my tests done at 23 and me. A friend who is also doing family research told me I should load my results into which is a free gedcom and genome comparison tool. All free things cost somebody something and I’m sure this is no different as the person developing it is donating all their time and effort, let alone the costs of hosting.

Anyway I did load my results and (as with 23 and me) there were no really close matches. will return results you wouldn’t normally see at 23 and me. These would be the smaller and older matches that many people disregard. Among my matches, was one email address with a .SE extension and given that Danes are at the top of my Y DNA list and Sweden is not too far away, I decided to contact her.

She didn’t have a whole lot to go on, because Swedes switched last names every generation, but she did have a large “Forest Finn” family that she could give me last names for. I had to look up Forest Finns. That got me thinking again about that article I had read so many months before. So I shared the Thomas Jacobbson article with her to see what she thought.  She immediately recognized a name from the article as a relative of hers, a Mulikka or Moulica. She told me that the Forest Finns often intermarried.

That led me to do a quick study of my smaller matches at and I noticed quite a few .FI email addresses.

So here’s where all this could make total sense. The Forest Finns had a kind of diaspora leaving the Swedish empire and were on the move within the empire in the 1500s. My Y DNA matches are no closer than the 1500s and are “sons” appearing in Denmark and England. It’s possible that a common Forest Finn ancestral family left the Baltic and headed for points west depositing DNA along the way. Also since my Thompsons may have been from Pennsylvania and these Finns disappear into Pennsylvania there is a good case for matching proximity. I also seem to be related to at least four other people with ties to the same New Sweden colony.

Here’s where it all falls apart. I don’t know which side of my family these Finns fall into. It is most likely a grand coincidence that my genetic matches with Swedes and Finns would turn up a Thompson. After all I am completely missing my German Schultz family after my great grandmother. There are hundreds of possibilities there for intermingling with Swedes and Finns. I also don’t know the last names of many of the mothers in my tree, any one of which could provide me with Baltic DNA.

Without a clear paper trail, this is just more conjecture. It’s worth following up on as one more possibility in a sea of possibilities.


  1. Mike, I am an R1b1a2a1a1a and my direct paternal ancestor was listed as a Forest Burning Finn on the ships manifest of the Kalmar Nyckel on the voyage from Gothenburg Sweden to America. Clement Joransson's family came from Southern Finland and migrated to the forests of Central Sweden at the behest of the Swedish government to clear land and farm. Clement and some others like him were a little too successful and was essentially forced to come to America. Look us up under the Clements surname project at We're group number 10.


    Joe Clement

  2. Thanks Joe, that's good to hear. I read some of the information at the project. I was impressed by how well everyone can document their lines. For the moment I don't have anything so clear cut. My nearest Thompson shares some of my odd markers with me but not enough to call it a good match. Since there are only the two of us and we tested at different companies it makes grouping us a bit harder. Not like comparing apples and oranges but more like oranges and tangerines. Neither of us gets back further than the 1800s. The other Thompson is from Lancaster PA and moves down to North Carolina, my Thompson is from Butler PA and moves to Indiana, although I have some suspicion that his family came to Butler from Lancaster.

  3. I recently had my father tested at 23 and me. Most of my Swedish matches went with my mom. The Finns were split with most going to my dad and Danes stayed with my dad. That can make this line of inquiry a bit murkier since both families have a presence around the Baltic.

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