Globally linking African American families and other histories. Check out posts @goodgenesgenealogy on wordpress, fb, twitter and via firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out @goodgenesgenealogy on wordpress
In late March 2023, I located an ancestor whose 1850 career title on the U.S. Census Slave Schedules was “Slave owner.” After 15 years of searching, I am unearthing exciting finds in my genealogy quest to locate ancestors.
I am not mentioning his name of the slave owner and that of certain other early family members until my Good Genes Genealogy Services business partner and maternal first cousin concludes his verification of my research. As genealogists, we are bound by our professional standards and ethics in ensuring accuracy although record-keeping on our Black ancestors was not as precise.
DNA results have contributed to my findings.
There are two kinds of regions in your ethnicity estimate. When women’s DNA first became allowable to test nearly 15 years ago, I jumped right in. The results have been surprising me as my data is periodically refined. For instance, I did not estimate the high percentage of my European DNA results.
From Ancestry.com, my results are published below.
Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples
Benin & Togo
Ivory Coast & Ghana
England & Northwestern Europe
Southern Bantu Peoples
This chart shows the percentages of each ethnicity you inherited from my parents. Source: ancestry.com
What this means in common terms
My DNA results are the closest estimate to 100 percent findings due to my gender.
There are four discrete groups in the male DNA.
Women inherit only three from this grouping.
DNA testing puts the “gene” back in genealogy.
DNA is one of many tools for genealogists. When used properly, it tracts direct-line ancestors and many cousins.
DNA results help to fill in the blanks of the stories that we are building aboout our ancestors.
Note that all of the extra cousins you inherit from the DNA results are not tested via your DNA results. You will have to contact them one-by-one to verify your linkages.
This is a process.
Be patient with the results and keep asking questions of the experts along this journey.
I’ve always been a sure and confident person who was fortunate to be raised in a family with positive messages from my mother, father, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and distant relatives. However, we — like most African Americans — have confusing, hidden and proud heritages that are often difficult to fully uncover.
If you or others fall in the categories of mixed heritage, I am encouraging you to keep uncovering your ancestry. One way is through DNA testing and related results. Thankfully, about 10 years ago, I completed my DNA evaluation and discovered that although I have the appearance of a full African American, my mutual families’ backgrounds produced the following:
Summary of DNA results for Ann Lineve Wead Kimbrough, updated 2021
Read every drop of DNA backgrounders
The above image is a just snapshot. There is a whole lot of drilling down to review the estimates provided by the DNA scientists. Like all who engage in DNA testing, my results unfold with enormous information found in tables, linkages, background explanations, photos and important health and social characteristics.
As I expected, the largest gathering of my DNA estimated ancestral roots are found in Africa to include the regions of the Southern Bantu Peoples, Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo and Western Bantu Peoples. The United States ethnicity estimates show that Virginia is the landing place for my ancestors during the slave trade.
“Your ethnicity estimate includes regions based on two different scientific processes: the AncestryDNA reference panel and our Genetic Communities™ technology.” That’s from the Ancestry.com DNA overview of my discovered heritage.
There is so much to learn from one’s DNA. My data is constantly updated as new 3rd, 4th and even more distant relatives are added to tree. Once I receive updates, I spend time tracking whether we are related and if so, how. For instance, one of my so-called 3rd or 4th cousins, did not have direct DNA linkage to our family. Yet, her information was always pulling on our family’s DNA. After several conversations, we figured it was because her son’s father is our family is my family member. I considered our realization a victory because I would not otherwise have known about this young relative.
I have an estimated 767 4th cousins or closer relations. The DNA results are the first major step towards conducting additional research and can serve as a confirmation about whether the individual is related to you. I caution that even if limited or no DNA exists regarding a relation, consider the investigation on the linkage because slaves were often mortgaged and sold to keep their enslavers in business. For instance, in some cases, slaves from neighboring plantations were paired up with another group and sold, thereby breaking up blood families of slaves. Yet, those same individuals may have served as a “family member” in the slave community structure.
Centimorgans in your family tree
Each person who has received her/his DNA has a special number and that places you in the range or numeric grouping of your family member. That numbering is known as centimorgan The chart below supplied by FamilySearch.org, gives the numbering range for individuals to prove whether they are blood relatives.
According to FamilySearch.org: “All the testing companies now provide the total amount of DNA (measured in centimorgans, or cM) shared with each genetic match, information that can be vital for determining the genealogical relationship. A cM is a measurement of the distance between genetic markers on the DNA based on the expected frequency of recombination with each generation. On average, one cM equals one million base pairs, although this can vary.” This is from Family Search.org to explain the importance of cMs or centimorgans in connecting genetic matches.
I am actively researching my family and along with my business partner/first cousin, Mark Owen, we will explore many African American and Afro Caribbean tenealogy family topics with more depth in our upcoming e-book series.
Stay tuned to this blog for more information about our August 1, 2021 debut!