MN Woman Discovers Heritage in Swedish Reality Show

Updated: 02/07/2013 8:04 AM By: Kate Renner

If you've ever heard a good "Sven and Ole" joke, you can credit that to the large Scandinavian population that settled in Minnesota. Nearly 10 percent of our population has Swedish ancestors. According to the 2000 Census, 586,000 Swedish-Americans have settled in Minnesota.

For Minnesotans tracing their heritage back to their home country can be a daunting task. But a Swedish reality television show could help. It aims to do the genealogy leg-work and fly contestants to Sweden to meet their relatives.

This reality show doesn't have hidden alliances or back-stabbing brutality. Allt For Sverige flies 10 American to Sweden for a six-week excursion that traces the contestants Swedish heritage. The grand prize has nothing to do with cash or fame, but the winner gets to meet their relatives in Sweden. The competitions were team-based; teaching the contestant about their homeland. The further along they made it, the more they learned about their family's life in Sweden.

Maple Grove mother of two Debra Sisneros heard about the show from a friend and sent in an audition tape. Something about Sisneros struck a chord with the show's casting director, and Sisneros made the cut over the 3,600 Americans who auditioned. Sisneros was given a treasure box with a letter explaining her family's history. Sisneros made it far enough in the show to learn some of her family history but was kicked off before she was able to meet her relative. Sisneros got to keep her treasure chest full of letters and photographs, her family tree, and a wine bottle, the last artifact found on her ancestor's land.

The show is now casting for season three, but shy folks need not apply. If you have Swedish heritage, you could be a contestant on Allt For Sverige, known as "The Great Swedish Adventure." Allt For Sverige is closing it's casting on February 11th.

You can fill out an online application for Allt For Sverige here.

If the past two seasons are any indication there will likely be a Minnesotan picked for this season.

For all you Nords and Danes out there, there are reality shows for you as well.

The Great Norway Adventure, Alt for Norge

The Great Danish Adventure