I’m sure you’ve noticed the growing popularity in those DNA kits and tracing your history/ancestry. If not, all you have to do is google “DNA kits” and you’ll see an array of companies you can use for this process.
Some are skeptical. I get it, but if you go into the research and know anything about biology or DNA you’ll realize this is no scam or gimmick. Just like figuring out Paternal DNA you can get your DNA tested against different groups of people across the world to see if you have similar DNA as those groups of people. I’ve tried two of the DNA companies but eventually I plan on trying all of them because they offer different services.
So I’m here to share with you my experience results and reasons for why I love this fairly new technology and think it is sooo important.
Being African-American we don’t really know where we’re from. Africa, but that is about it. The questions that surrounded and filled up my thoughts were ones such as, what countries? What is the culture? What are these people like? I really wanted to connect with myself and have an understanding of who I am and what fundamentally makes ME. I’ve always been interested in Biology and genetics so this is right up my ally.
I used Family Tree DNA first and secondly I used Ancestry.com
With Family Tree DNA I used a mtDNA test which is way more in depth than most and looks for a specific marker on your mitochondrial DNA which is only passed down by mothers. Everyone has it, but only women can pass it to the next generation.
When I got my first results back it traced my mtDNA to the L1B halo group. Which is the first group of people after “mitochondrial eve”. HOW COOL IS THAT? My lineage is around 180,000 years old on my mothers line in Central and Eastern Africa. Modern day countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya.
I wanted to also know the more recent parts of my ancestry too. The mtDNA tests the most ancient parts of your line and civilization.
The test I did with Ancestry DNA tested my recent genetic makeup percentages.
So I’m 78% African!!!! Woohoo! My top two African percentages are Cameroon/Congo and Ghana! I was ecstatic because I have been planning a trip to Ghana and felt as if I was Ghanaian.
There are also low trace regions on my DNA which just means these ancestors were further back, percentages and they’re not completely sure I share DNA with these peoples. Nigeria 18% (how cool is that?), Benin/Togo 4% Mali 3% as well as Africa North. Senegal, Africa South Eastern Bantu and South Central Hunter Gatherers are all lower regions. My DNA from those places isn’t recent enough for a higher number.
Next region. 21% European? I knew I had European in me just didn’t realize which countries. I happen to be 12% Irish (What?) 4% British, 3% Italian (I love Italian food) and 1% or less Europe West and Iberian Peninsula. I thought I would be more British and I had no idea about Irish. (How could I anyway?)
How awesome is all of that? I just love how much of a mixture I have in my DNA. Not to mention that 1% or less Middle Eastern popped up on there too. That was a shocker!
Why does all this matter?
It isn’t only important for African Americans to know their roots, everyone else should as well. Even if you know your family is Irish or Mexican, whatever the case you may get a surprise and find something you didn’t know. America is the melting pot of the world but our own uniqueness and differences matter and make us valuable individuals who bring different cultures and experiences to the table.
I’m especially proud to be from these African regions and belong to one of the oldest halo groups. At least I know my genes will be passed on for another 100,000 years (haha). Assuming we don’t wipe out humanity before then. I loved this experience and what it taught me. Considering my European DNA didn’t get there by choice I’m not as happy about it, but it is still apart of me which I acknowledge and learn from.
Remember if you don’t know who you are and where you came from how can you know where you’re going?
If you’ve ever considered doing one of these you should! Don’t be scared or nervous. Especially if you have no idea where your ancestors were from (like me). We should embrace our individuality and encourage others to do the same.
For more in depth information test your mom, dad, siblings and grand parents or even cousins. We get all different kinds of genes at conception you never know who got what!