DNA findings helped me find my African, European origins

Life before my ancestors landed in Virginia

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.

Total: 1150%50%100%
Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples19%2%21%
Benin & Togo6%2%8%
Ivory Coast & Ghana4%0%4%
England & Northwestern Europe0%4%4%
Southern Bantu Peoples0%2%2%
Nigeria—East Central1%0%1%
This chart shows the percentages of each ethnicity you inherited from my parents. Source: ancestry.com

What this means in common terms

  1. My DNA results are the closest estimate to 100 percent findings due to my gender.
  2. There are four discrete groups in the male DNA.
  3. Women inherit only three from this grouping.
  4. DNA testing puts the “gene” back in genealogy.
  5. DNA is one of many tools for genealogists. When used properly, it tracts direct-line ancestors and many cousins.
  6. DNA results help to fill in the blanks of the stories that we are building aboout our ancestors.
  7. 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.
  8. This is a process.
  9. Be patient with the results and keep asking questions of the experts along this journey.