*Disclaimer: My AncestryDNA results were updated/ changed after this blog was written. Update summary was later written at the end of this blog.
Hello my love,
For some time now, I have found it fascinating to collect more and more knowledge about my ancestors…who they were and where they came from. I have always grown up knowing that both sets of my grandparents (my mom’s side and my dad’s side) “migrated” from Louisiana to Texas. My ancestors were creole folk who spoke a form of French back in the day until generation after generation, the English language dominated and eventually the creole language became much less spoken in my family. Many of my family members still live in different parts of Louisiana such as Lake Charles, New Iberia, Opelousas, and other areas. Some even still speak creole. I love it there, the food, the music and of course the people!
I would often attempt to discover old photos and gather around my elders to listen to stories of when they were younger, just to get a better picture of my lineage. I never hesitate to ask questions about where my ancestors originated and would dig as deep as I could. From what I could gather from family reunions, old photos and family stories that had been passed down, my ancestors were pretty much French, Native American, African and probably Jamaican… or so I thought. And further, I REALLY wanted to know from what part(s) of Africa my ancestors originated.
I wanted to confirm that every ethnicity that I thought was in my DNA profile since childhood was actually the case. So, my husband and I both purchased AncestryDNA kits a couple of months ago. Finally discovering our true genetic makeup was a mutual interest and something we want to pass on to our children. Once our DNA kits arrived, we excitedly read the instructions (which basically require you to fill up a tube with your saliva) and mailed in our individual saliva samples. It was a pretty easy and straight -forward process!
About a month after mailing in the samples, my husband Kenneth got an email notification that his AncestryDNA results had come in! Our hearts stopped briefly and deep breaths were taken before he opened the email that revealed his DNA makeup. That day we learned that my husband is over 32% Nigerian and 17% Ivory Coast!! The DNA profile was VERY detailed and even indicated the ethnicities that showed up with as little as 1% of his DNA makeup. Overall he was 89% African. Contrary to what many may have expected… no Asian was found in my husband’s DNA profile. lol To find all this out was monumental to say the least! For what I believe are obvious reasons… I got emotional. (Including the fact that I’m naturally dramatic.) As African Americans, it is nearly impossible to trace our roots back to Africa. If it had not been for this test, we would not know!
So since we shipped our results at the exact same time, I expected our results to also come in at the same time. NOPE. It was then that I wondered, “How complicated is my DNA profile?” Tell me why my results came in the day after his and ironically on September 14th… WHICH IS MY BIRTHDAY!! I couldn’t make this up you guys… But without further adieu… here are the results from my AncestryDNA…
- Mali – I really didn’t know anything about Mali before this. I’ve since learned about the numerous sandcastles that still exist in Mali and that Timbuktu is in the African nation of Mali.The indigenous people of Mali speak French and that is the official language of the country. Wowww…. it all makes sense!! That means my ancestors either: A. Migrated from Africa to Louisiana, a state occupied by the French (or) B. Were taken from Africa to Louisiana, a state occupied by the French. Wowwww… Also, the richest man to HAVE EVER lived was named Mansa Musa (B 1280 – D 1337), and he was a Malian man. A BLACK MAN! His individual net worth would be over $400 billion in today’s money as he owned more gold than you could imagine. Musa was big on education and scouted African writers from all around to fill his libraries. More Africans could read and write in Mali than most other places on the continent at that time. Mali was known around the world centuries ago for the black Kings and Queens, educated scholars and general wealth.
- Nigeria – You mean to tell me Kenneth and I could’ve had a traditional wedding and gotten sprayed with cash?! Redo!
- Africa Southeastern Bantu
- Senegal (I do love Senegalese twists as a protective style!)
- Cameroon, African South Central Hunter/ Gatherers (sounds thug af), Ivory Coast/ Ghana.
- Ireland – Now ya’ll…. I knew I had some European in me, but if you would have given me 100 guesses I probably would have never guessed Ireland. Need-less-to-say… hence forth, I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day entirely different. I most certainly embrace this entire 10% because it is a part of who I am. Someone get me a shirt that says, “Kiss me I’m Irish”. lol! The following photo was provided by my dad’s side of the family, not from Ancestry. But Ancestry has been able to confirm that the man in this photo was of Irish decent.
- Italy/ Greece – I have always heard stories from my mother’s side about the first Simien (my mother’s maiden name) to come to the U.S. from Europe. We know what several hundred years ago he came from Marseille, France. I now know his blood line was likely Italian. I was JUST there touring Italy! Make sure you check out my previous blog post “Adventuring: Tour of Italy!!”
So wow… some other random trace regions like the Iberian Peninsula and Finland/Northwest Russia, but that’s basically it! No Asian was traced for those that like to say I look “Blasian”. lol! The colors on the map correspond with the above percentages and the shaded regions are the most prevalent in my DNA. Pretty cool huh? What an en-lighting experience!!! Now I know… I’m on the wrong side of the globe! I would love to travel to Africa to visit Mali and Nigeria in the future… stay tuned. Leave a comment below if you have ever taken the AncestryDNA test or would like to!! After all this, at the end of the day I am PROUD BLACK WOMAN! But nevertheless… this was fun. xoxo
*Updates with AncestryDNA happen periodically as technology improves and more samples are gathered world wide. In an update of my DNA profile, Irish was actually pretty much eliminated and I found out all of my European(ness) came from France which is what I’d always been told growing up. Makes WAY more sense. Great great great gramps was a frenchy. The African countries in my profile stayed the same with the percent of Cameroon, Congo and Southern Bantu peoples increasing significantly. The updates were as follows: Cameroon, Congo & Southern Bantu Peoples 32%, Mali 23%, France 19%, Benin/ Togo 18%, Nigeria 4%, Ivory Coast/ Ghana, Native American, Senegal, and Portugal all picked up a 1% trace. All of my ancestors whether African or European, spoke French and arrived to the United States by way of Louisiana between the years 1700 and 1850.
Thanks for reading! Xoxo – Riss
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