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:
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.