The Long Finn Logjam: A Rebellion against Recombination

Thanks to his dad, my oldest son inherited some interesting DNA.  His father’s paternal roots ran deep- very deep- into Colonial America.  Because his ancestry encompasses so many colonial lines, I handle Jeremy’s match list very differently than any of our other kits. I may struggle with my 2-4th cousin matches, but for Jeremy, his paternal 4th and 5th cousins have often proven the easiest to identify.  He has  a group of matches that descend from the Pfautz/Fouts family of Rowan, North Carolina, and the bulk descend from the couple Jacob Fouts and Anna Margaretha Kuntz.  Jacob’s father, Mr Pfautz is Jeremy’s 10th great grandfather.  FTDNA classifies these matches as 5th to distant cousins. Featured image

FTDNA advertises the Family Finder test as reaching back 5-6 generations, so finding matches that share a 10th great grandfather, with segments between 8 cm and 12.4 cms seems like wishful thinking.  However, because there were many cousin marriages in the Pfautz line, as well as multiple cousin marriages with the Hoovers, who married into the Pfautz line, most of Mr Pfautz’s descendents come down from him and his children many times over. That has doubled, tripled or even quadrupled the amount of DNA Pfautz descendents would normally have.  The family is well documented, the DNA groups together, and the matches are easy to identify.  He has similar cousin groupings with descendents of his 8th great grandfather Hendrick Courpenning and twice 7th great grandfather Nicholas Copple.

When Jeremy’s results first came in and he had a long list of small segment matches on chromosome 13, I did a triple take.  Many of the names looked Finnish, and they turned out to have Finnish email addresses.  By the time I counted, he had 22 paternal matches on chromosome 13  currently living in Finland or Russia.

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Through his dad, Jeremy is a descendent of the New Sweden Colony in Delaware, and is related to many of the colony’s transplanted Finns. Jeremy’s last known ancestress to have been born in New Sweden was Mary Stalcop, born 1753 to Erikus and Mary Twigg Stalcop.  Mary later moved on to Sumner, Tennessee where she raised her family.

When I researched Jeremy’s family tree, I became intrigued by his New Sweden Colony ancestors.  The colony kept detailed records, and the founders leapt off the page with their exploits, from their participation in the Long Finn Rebellion of 1669, to reaching the ripe old age of 100 in adverse conditions to duelings and floggings and fines. One colonist in particular, a Swede named Johan Andersson Stalcop was particularly colorful, “The ‘Steelcoat’, it was whispered, looked lecherously at lovely ladies and dallied with the thought that he could have a harem. His trim, gold-laced uniform [the one he wouldn’t give up], especially designed to set off his best features and to divert attention from a certain physical peculiarity, was always glittering where the women of the colony were wont to congregate. It was, in fact, his longing for the wives of other men that first caused his fellows to band together for overthrow.”

I admit, when I swabbed Jeremy’s cheek I had hoped some of that New Sweden Colony DNA had hung on in his genes.  The colonists were too colorful, and much too larger-than-life to have had their DNA recombine out of existence without a fight.

Soon after his results were in, I received an email from one of Jeremy’s matches in Finland saying, “We share 6 Finnish matches. One has ancestry from Rautalampi, a Forest-Finn stronghold.”

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He was right, not only did they have 6 Finnish matches in common, but when I used the Advanced Matching Tool at FTDNA and  asked the database to compare Jeremy’s data to that of the entire Finland Project database, he had even more Finnish matches.  Many of them I had already identified via what I had come to think of as his chromosome 13 ‘Long Finn Logjam’.

Were these small matches real or something that anyone with distant Finnish ancestry should expect to see?  I knew it was possible that they were genuine based on the small identified segments he shared with his Pfautz, Copple and Courpenning families.  I turned to the FTDNA Advanced Matching tool again but even though many of his New Sweden Finn ancestors were Forrest Finns deported to the colony as punishment for slash-and-burn agriculture, he only matched one person in the FTDNA Forrest Finn Project.  When I ran him against the Swedish DNA Project, he had no matches at all.

Connecting the Dots

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None of his Finn matches are yet connected to our tree.  Although Jeremy’s Finn ancestry is documented back to Peter of Finland who was born about 1600, his logjam matches are Finns that stayed in Finland, rather than immigrating to New Sweden.  Unfortunately, the New Sweden Colony documentation is proving to be more detailed than the documentation of some of his cousins in Finland and finding the connection has been difficult.  So far, our best lead is with the cousin who emailed us, as Jeremy’s 11th great grandfather, Morton Mortonson is also from a Forrest Finn stronghold of Kuopio.

Recently, has changed its method of determining the validity of matches in its database.  If Jeremy and his Finn matches had tested through Ancestry, would they have even been allowed to see each other as matches?  Given the sheer number of small blocks on the same chromosome, would they be considered a population based pile up ?  Given that Ancestry isn’t currently selling kits outside of the US and Jeremy is in Holland while his matches are in, well, Finland and Russia we won’t have the answer to that question any time soon.  In the meantime, we will continue to follow the paper trail and attempt to document relationships.

I, for one, am delighted at the idea that a little bit of that old rogue Steelcoat lives on in Jeremy.