As a Black American, I have always wondered where I came from. Sure, I knew it was Africa but where specifically. As as traveler with infinite wanderlust, I needed some guidance. I am finally getting back to the Motherland this year, but there are so many areas that I want to visit, and always have. I wanted to visit Egypt…because pyramids. I have also been interested in South Africa, Kenya, and recently Tanzania. And, of course, I have always (even as a child) wanted to visit western African countries like Ghana and Senegal because those were the last ports before the slaves were brought over on the Middle Passage. That has been a passion of mine, to see these various regions and countries in Africa.
I had been dying to take an Ancestry DNA test forever so I could get some clarity on where my ancestors originated. Turns out, in talking with my dad, I learned that had the same desire. He had tried to do trace his family tree, but hadn’t gotten very far. So we decided to embark on this journey together.
My dad and I decided to, simultaneously, take Ancestry DNA tests. Our plan was to take the test together, wait for the results, then open them together to see the similarities and differences between both of our genetic makeups. And, given any differences, we would also have insights about my mom’s side of the family, as well.
The process is really easy…but it ain’t cheap. None of these tests are inexpensive, but in my opinion Ancestry DNA was totally worth it! Look, slavery was a painful experience that Black Americans and this country had to endure. It can be touchy trying to explore your roots when you are Black because, all in all, it all leads back to slavery. But I needed to know where I come from, and it was so worth it to have the ability to explore more.
So how does it go? You spit in a tube, shake, put in an envelope and send. Then you register your code online with your account so they can electronically assign your results. You get an email stating your results are ready.
Then you wait. It takes about six weeks to get your results back. So you wait and wait. In fact, we got our results before our appointed time to meet up and open the results, but we both promised not to open them until we were together. And, added bonus, my grandma would be there as well, so she would get to see the results.
Okay, so here it goes.
I’m Blackity Black, y’all. 85% of my roots are from Africa. Specifically, 23% are from Cameroon/Congo, 22% Nigeria, 19% Ivory Coast/Ghana, 10% Benin/Togo, and 8% Mali.
Interestingly, I had trace amounts from South-Central and Southeastern Africa as well, but lion share is clearly West Africa. I guess that explains some of my desire to go and experience where and how the slave trade occurred.
I also had 13% European blood, mostly from Western Europe. I didn’t have much British blood, which was a little disappointing…since I fancy myself royal and all, but overall not much of a surprise there.
I was, however, surprised to know that I had 1% of my roots from the country of India, and I am 1% French Polynesian! I had heard that my family thought we had some Asian in our bloodline, but it was only 1% in mine and I must say I was highly excited that it was French Polynesian in persuasion.
My Dad’s Results
So here’s where it gets interesting. My dad is more European than me. My dad is 82% of African descent and 16% European descent with the majority of that being from Great Britain (10%). So he is more royal than me.
But here’s where the interesting part comes in. My dad had long been told that his great grandmother was a large percentage Native American. Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case according to our Ancestry DNA results, because it states that only had 1% trace amounts of Native American blood. Needless to say, my grandma was shocked by these results.
Do we believe all of these results? We don’t know. Honestly we have no frame of reference, nothing else to go off of. Maybe we will someday do another test or delve deeper. But for now, we have these results.
My Results and My Travels
Tahiti, here I come!
LOL. But in all seriousness, these results reaffirm my passion for traveling and experiencing the world. I have been longing to get to Ghana and Senegal as my west African countries. Now, though, maybe that has changed a bit. I still want to visit Ghana very badly. But I will admit, I don’t know much…if anything…about Cameroon. These results have definitely encouraged me to learn more about Cameroon and the Congo, as they represent the highest percentage of my results, according to Ancestry DNA.
These DNA results have not just inspired my travels but my desire to learn about different places to which I am connected. It’s a little crazy when you realize that you literally know nothing (or not much) about the place where your ancestors came from. I am going to explore more and learn more. And I hope to travel to at least one of these African countries, in addition to South Africa, next year.
Here’s to hoping for that perfect glitch. So I can go home.
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