I’ve always been a little envious of people who know their heritage. People who can trace their family tree back to a specific country or region, or know when and how their family immigrated to the states.
My grandmother on my mom’s side has done a lot of genealogy and can trace our roots back to New York and even parts of the Caribbean. But I’ve always thought it would be nice to have some more solid information about my roots.
Making things more complicated, I don’t know much about my biological father. He passed away before I ever met him and I’ve only seen a few photos. My dad, who adopted and raised me has a whole different background that I’m curious to know about and would love to delve into as well.
So, here’s the funny thing. I’ve always thought I was part Asian. Don’t ask me why.
Ok, well, my mom thought my biological dad maybe could have been part Asian. Then growing up people frequently asked me what I was “mixed with” my eyes are more almond-shaped than the rest of my family, I mean hey… It could be possible.
I’ve been excited to try some kind of DNA test to trace my roots and see what I’m make up of. I am not sure what took me so long to get around to it, but finally, I ordered a $99 test from Ancestry DNA. I’d read a few Ancestry DNA testing reviews and thought it was right up my alley and what the heck, why not?
After I got the box in the mail it took another month for me to take the test and send it back. I wasn’t nervous as much as I was lazy and busy and worried I’d screw it up.
Once I realized all I had to do was spit a bunch in a little tube and twist and shake in some other mystery liquid I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t sent it in immediately.
I dropped it in the outgoing mail box in the pre-addressed and posted box and set the timer for 6-8 weeks.
About 5 weeks later I got my results.
I was on the phone with my 19-year-old sister when I saw the email came through.
“Oh my gosh, my DNA results are in!” I told her.
“Oooh read them, I want to know!” She urged me to tell her first.
Part of me wanted to record my reaction on video, but it was late, and I was too impatient to wait and read it.
I clicked the link to see my results. The page loaded and showed me a pie graph of my ethnicity. Here I was at the moment of truth.
Ok, that’s not a huge surprise. Below though was a breakdown of what countries and regions of Africa my DNA matched.
I have a handful of friends who proudly share their Nigerian pride and I’ve grown to admire it over the years.
I scrolled down further.
26% European. Say what?
But I guess that could be expected for most African Americans. Still, my husband has started calling me whitey.
The largest European region in my DNA was Scandinavia at 9%.
I kept scrolling to see how much of my DNA has Asian, not bothering to do the math in my head and realize I was already at 100%
What? No way.
I kept scrolling to see if there was another region of Asian ethnicity my blood matched.
Wow. That’s a shock. At least to me.
Not pictured below are my Pacific Islander and West Asian results which are all 0%.
So I felt slightly disappointed and a little awkward considering most of my life I convinced myself I was part Asian. But I’m excited to explore more about Nigeria and even Scandinavia and Western Europe. This also makes me so curious about my children and what percentage of a mix they are.
My mom just ordered a test to do as well and I’m hoping to deduct her results from my own to see which parts I get from her, and what must have come from my biological father.
Hopefully I can pick up our genealogy search where my grandmother left off and do even more. It’s of course not as easy with African American records but more and more information is becoming available.
So now I’m feeling excited. Excited to know a little more about my roots. Excited to have more information to share in conversations about our heritage. Excited to have a starting point to study and share with my kids.
Hello! I’m Jennifer, an African American with roots in Nigeria and Scandinavia. I didn’t know this until yesterday and I’m SO eager to learn more.
Have you gone any genealogy or DNA tests to discover more about your roots?