Did Siblings Marry?

A couple of surprises today. The first surprise: a DNA match I had known was related via her mother, then discovered her paternal aunt is also a DNA match. Second surprise: in trying to find the paternal connection, had I found siblings who married each other? And along the way — plenty of names with alternate spellings.

On MyHeritage, I match to a woman at 63cM. MyHeritage predicts that she’s a child of a 3rd cousin.

I already had placed the 63cM match in my tree because she also matches at Ancestry, and there is enough information between us to figure out she’s related to my ancestors from Silbodal parish in Värmland, Sweden, with 4th cousin being the closest match. Her maternal great-grandmother Blenda is related to them multiple ways.

Of Blenda’s great grandparents, one couple is repeated and are direct ancestors to me, another couple are also direct ancestors to me, and the last couple are related to me though more distantly. Only two of Blenda’s second great grandparents aren’t people I’ve discovered are related. (That branch of my tree, and Blenda’s, is full of mild endogamy. Many spouses of relatives turn out to be relatives as well, if I track them back. And there are some first or second cousin marriages or someone’s sibling marrying a sibling of their spouse, producing children who are double cousins.)

So I’m thoroughly related to Blenda.

Then I went back to my 63cM match, and sorted our common matches on MyHeritage. By sorting our matches by their relationship to me, I’d be able, I thought, to place a few of her closest matches that also match me on my tree.

Her aunt showed up on the list. But surprise! It was my match’s paternal aunt. I had found our relationship via a maternal connection to Blenda. So now I know that the 63cM match’s father, and not just her mother, is related to me. Many of her father’s ancestors are from the same area of Värmland. The aunt’s match in cMs with me is much smaller, so the relationship will likely be more distant for me.

So I worked back up her father’s tree, using ArkivDigital to reference Swedish records. I found birth records for all of his grandparents. Then I started with her father’s great-grandparents and second great-grandparents.

One second great-grandmother, Ingerd Nilsdotter, from Årjäng, which is in Silbodal parish. The rest of those I’ve found so far on her father’s branch were from nearby parishes, not Silbodal. So, my educated intuition says to follow the Årjäng trail through Ingerd.

I quickly found Ingerd and her parents in ArkivDigital’s records. Ingerd’s father I found as Nils Jansson (b. 1751). Her mother I found as Anna Jonasdotter (b. 1754). Both born in Årjäng. (Ingerd is also Ingeborg or Ingjerd, different spellings.) She is crossed out here as she moved during this time period, 1798-1804. A part of the record not shown here says she moved to Sillerud parish in 1803.) Ingerd’s birth record confirms her parents.

Silbodal AI:8 (1798-1804) Image 136 / Page 131
Silbodal CI:3 (1765-1797) Image 106 / Page 197

Then I looked for Nils and Anna in their childhoods in Årjäng. I decided to start with the 1769-1775 household examination record, since they’d both likely still be at home, but also I’d find any younger siblings.

And there, on page 182 (see large photo at top of article), are Nils (son) and Anna (daughter) of Jonas Svensson and Kersti Olsdotter. Nils is later referred to as Jansson, but Jonas and Jan are sometimes variations on the same name. Had I become confused? Were the birth records not correct? Could siblings have married each other?

One clue I should have noticed earlier: there are two children born in 1754, and two born in 1758.

Time for a bit more checking. Going back to the 1753-1756 household records for Årjäng, I found Anna and Nils in two different families (below). On page 82 is Nils with 3 siblings in a household headed by Jean Töresson and Kersti Olsdotter. On page 86 is Anna with several siblings with a household headed by Jonas Svensson and Ingierd Rasmusdotter. The same Kersti Olsdotter and Jonas Svensson, but with different (earlier) spouses. So they are not siblings, as would have been HIGHLY unusual.

Silbodal (S) AI:1 (1753-1756) Image 45 / Page 82
Silbodal (S) AI:1 (1753-1756) Image 47 / Page 86

I searched the ArkivDigital birth records to find Anna and Nils. And I found them. Anna daughter of Jonas Svensson and Ingegerd Rasmusdotter, on page 241, and Nils son of Johan Toresson and Kerstin Olsdotter, on page 201. (Nils is later called Jansson — Jan’s son — when his father’s name is Johan in Nils’ birth record and Jean in the 1753-1756 household record. The names are variations. Kersti can also be Kjersti, Kerstin, Stina, or several other variations. It makes research interesting!)

Silbodal CI:2 (1736-1764) Image 125 / Page 241
Silbodal CI:2 (1736-1764) Image 105 / Page 201

And then to be sure they were the same families, I searched ArkivDigital birth records to find other children of each of the fathers. I found that the older three siblings of Anna had a different mother, Ingeborg Ivarsdotter (instead of Ingegerd Rasmusdotter). Ingeborg died somewhere between 1742 and 1751. Ingegerd died somewhere before 1769. Jonas Svensson was married three times.

Before 1769, Anna’s mother Ingegerd and Nils’ father Jean or Jan or Johan have died. Anna’s father Jonas has married Nils’ mother Kerstin, and the children still at home are living in the blended family. So Nils and Anna were raised together, at least in their older childhood years, and then married. Anna’s father Jonas Svensson and Nils’ mother Kerstin Olsdotter do not seem to have had any children together.

I have still not found the connection between my tree and that paternal aunt of my fourth cousin. But this untangling was enough drama for one session!