DNA and the Diaspora

Last Christmas my younger brother gave me a greeting card telling me that he would pay for a DNA ancestry test as my present. After taking my sweet time to select a testing company, order the kit, and send in my specimen (cheek swabs), I finally received my results. After reviewing the results I called my  mom and told her, excitedly, that according to FamilyTree DNA I am 87% African (85% West African and 2% Other African).

Given that we are black people with roots in the Caribbean this news is not exactly a surprise. Based on what we know of our family history, world history, and what we see in the mirror everyday we would expect the majority of my ancestry to trace back to West Africa.

So why was I so excited? It was not because it was surprising or unexpected information, but just because it was information.  It makes it real in a new way.   A true genealogical journey is not for the faint of heart, and sometimes finding evidence that  confirms a conclusion can be just as exciting (but hopefully not as disruptive) as coming upon information that disproves a long-held belief or interpretation.

Now without further ado, here are my full, not-so-surprising results:

Family Tree DNA 7.19.17

Family tree DNA Map 7.19.17

IMPORTANT  NOTE: The main reason I had not taken one of these tests already was my struggle with how much stock to put in the results. I just started reading a book called The Social Life of DNA, which explores the level of import and authority we give genealogical DNA analyses. In addition to unpacking why I am so excited by news that is so obvious, I also hope the book will give me a tighter grasp on the science and what the results really mean, especially considering the fact that you can get slightly different results depending on which DNA testing company you use.


7 thoughts on “DNA and the Diaspora

  1. Thank you Anulkah for all the work you have done. I’m sorry that you think I was not excited enough with the official DNA results; I do believe that it is important to have a somewhat confirmation of what we figured.

    1. Oh I hope it didn’t sound like you didn’t care or find the information useful – I do not think that and didn’t mean for it to come off that way. I was just more talking about how the information is not surprising. I’ll revise the post if it sounds that way.

  2. Yeay!!!! This is so cool!!!! I’d love to hear more about how you are processing the results, especially in terms of how it impacts the way you see your identities. Lots to unpack, I’m sure!!!! Very very cool!!! Glad your excitement for your genealogy work has been renewed again!

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