Breaking Brick Walls in Norway

DNA Success Stories

By Kitty Cooper
Blogging at blog.kittycooper.com

My Dad, his sister Marian, and his brother Henry in the late 1980s, Virginia

My biggest brick wall was my 4th grandfather Lars Monsen from somewhere near Bergen. He was a Norwegian sailor who met a girl from Farsund and married her, settling in Norway's southernmost city Kristiansand.

My Norwegiam American Dad did not know much about his ancestors but his older sister had an album of photos and lots of stories

My biggest brick wall was my 4th grandfather Lars Monsen from somewhere near Bergen. He was a Norwegian sailor who met a girl from Farsund and married her, settling in Norway's southernmost city Kristiansand.

It was at her funeral, my Aunt Marian, that I remet my genealogist cousin Dick who had done much research on our Munson family

My biggest brick wall was my 4th grandfather Lars Monsen from somewhere near Bergen. He was a Norwegian sailor who met a girl from Farsund and married her, settling in Norway's southernmost city Kristiansand.

Our 8th grandfather's farm was taken by the King to found the city of Christiansand!

My biggest brick wall was my 4th grandfather Lars Monsen from somewhere near Bergen. He was a Norwegian sailor who met a girl from Farsund and married her, settling in Norway's southernmost city Kristiansand.

I suspect that all Norwegians are descended from King Harald the Fine Hair who united Norway. If you connect yourself and your family to the one world collabotative tree at GENI.com you might find out how you are related by going to his profile.

Painting of Kristiansand, Summer 1800 by J W Edy

Our brick wall on the Munson line was my 4th grandfather Lars Monsen from somewhere near Bergen. He was a Norwegian sailor who met a girl from Farsund and married her, settling in Norway's southernmost city Kristiansand.

My biggest brick wall was my 4th grandfather Lars Monsen from somewhere near Bergen. He was a Norwegian sailor who met a girl from Farsund and married her, settling in Norway's southernmost city Kristiansand.

The collaborative world tree at GENI has lots of Norwegians but no one had solved our mystery

from the Kristiansan Museum at vestagdermuseet.no/kristiansand/

My 2nd cousin Dick, a wonderful genealogist, and I had looked at the ten possibilities of Lars Monsen's we found in the censuses born between 1785 and 1795 in the Bergen area. These days you can use the online digital archive...

Father's father's

line

Mother's mother's line

All your recent ancestors

(reliably about 5 generations)

Then along came DNA testing, Lars seemed a perfect candidate to find this way since my Dad is in the direct male line of descendancy from him.

Diagrams from the NIH http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov

Your 23rd chromosome pair is either 2 X's (girls) or an X and a Y (boys)

The Y chromosome changes very little over time and is passed father to son without recombination (since there is only one copy) so the only changes are mutations. Thus it can be used for paternal line searching quite easily.

SNP - Single Nucleotide Polymorphism

a DNA mutation where a single letter chang3s

STRs are short tandem repeats

An extra copy is made of a sequence of DNA

An extra copy is made of a sequence of DNA

An extra copy is made of a sequence of DNA

An extra copy is made of a sequence of DNA

An extra copy is made of a sequence of DNA

2 Types of Y DNA Tests

Deep ancestry - haplogroup

More recent ancestry - surname studies

My Dad's STR results were not a very useful display by itself. So I joined him to the Norwegian DNA project to see the big picture. There is likely a project for your area, surname, or haplogroup so join one to see this picture

Dad matched almost 6000 people at 12 markers on the family tree DNA site. Upgrading to 25 markers got him down to about 2000. Upgrading to 37 eliminated all his matches but one with an ancestor from Sweden who never replied to my emails. This is a common problem. If you are not part of a surname project but just test your Y hoping to find a match, much of the time there will not be one so either wait many years or try some other approaches.

My other approach was to try a site where people had uploaded reulsts from other testing companies - the Ysearch.org site (no longer available). Again no good matches at 37 or 33 markers. So I decided to look for only Bergen area matches with fewer markers tested

These days there is the mitoYDNA.org site which collects other Y results but not that any users have added results yet

The best approach for using Y testing is to develop a theory and then test a descendant who will prove or disprove that theory

I contacted the two matches I found from Bergen and heard back from one, Sigmund, who lives there. He enthusiastically took on my case.  Next he upgraded to 37 markers to see if we still matched. Too distant.

Sigmund, posted some queries in Norwegian in the best Norwegian forums for the Bergen and Kristiansand areas and the local historian/genealogy experts found a few more records and found a very good candidate for our Lars.         forum.arkivverket.no/

Now Sigmund tracked down Einar, a male line descendant of the paternal grandfather of the most likely Lars, my possible 6th grandfather Ole Monsen Titland born 1702. Sigmund called Einar on the phone and convinced him to test. Sigmund had a spare test he had gotten on sale which he sold me and then mailed to my possible cousin. We decided to start with 12 markers and only upgrade it to 37 if it matched at 12 Waiting is always hard

The results came in and were a match, so we upgraded to 37 which matched at 3 steps - that means 3 markers different - full story here: blog.kittycooper.com/2013/03/we-have-found-our-ancestor-lars-monsen/

The match at the current ftDNA site

Clicking the New icon gets a display of the likely time range for the common ancestor of the match - ours is Mons Knutson Titland b. ca.1665, so fits this estimate

Now we have Lars' ancestors back another 200+ years from the various farm books.

 

Since this happened we have done the Y-700 SNP test and discovered that this R1b line came from Sweden

There is a facebook group as well as an ftDNA project for our terminal SNP L-238

 Summary of Lessons from Y testing

It is likely that there will be no close matches so develop a theory and test a descendant

You could get lucky and find a Norwegian cousin willing to help!

Join relevant geographic and SNP based projects and possibly a surname one

Next brick wall was my great grandmother who married a Munson. 

My grandmother Anna Lee

My great-grandma Maren Wold, my brick wall

Drammen, Norway where Maren was supposedly born  ... I looked through every parish register in Buskerud county (former county for Drammen)

Then one day I got an email from a MIchael Wold who said I think your great grandmother was the sister of my great great grandfather Martinius Wold

Michael and his Dad had hired a researcher in Norway who found much information about our family. He sent me photos of Maren's parents Jorgen and Anna Wold,  photos from the late 1800s

Maren was from Skoger not Drammen

Part of Skoger was in Vestfold county not the same county as Drammen (Buskerud) !!

Now I could find her and Martinius' birth records from the churchbook for Skoger in Vestfold

Michael's test at 23andme compared to my Dad, his 2nd cousin twice removed (expected range 0-244). Michael also matched many other of our cousins on that side

Next I heard from a Norwegian cousin named OK at 23andme  who was a wonderful genealogist and very helpful

OK did some research and told me I had the wrong parents for Anna! There were two Anna Knutsdatters born that year in Seljord

But when I connected her to the correct parents it seemed too distant

OK's parents' tests came in ...

Both his parents share DNA with my Dad!

The new tree for Anna Knutsdatter

Blog.KittyCooper.com ----- Norway visit June 2015

With my 4th cousins found with DNA, descendants of the correct Anna's brother

Lessons Learned

Our cousins in Norway who have tested DNA are happy to help us

Double check the geography when you can't find your ancestor

Confirm your research with DNA

New Tools like clustering can help confirm your ancestors via matching cousin groups or show an anomaly

https://blog.kittycooper.com/2020/05/who-is-my-great-great-grandfathers-daddy-a-thrulines-experiment/

ThruLines shows the Westby relationship but a half 3rd once removed is less than 1% while a half 2nd once removed is 18%

Getting a male Westby to do a Y test should resolve this see

blog.kittycooper.com/2021/12/the-westbye-mystery-finding-a-y-tester

Breaking Brick Walls in Norway with DNA

By Kitty Cooper

Breaking Brick Walls in Norway with DNA

Two personal success stories of breaking genealogical brick walls with DNA

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