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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?

ancestry-dnA-PIC

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.

74% African.

Ok, that’s not a huge surprise. Below though was a breakdown of what countries and regions of Africa my DNA matched.

51% Nigerian.

YAASSS!

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%

0% Asian.

What? No way.

I kept scrolling to see if there was another region of Asian ethnicity my blood matched.

Nothing.

Wow. That’s a shock. At least to me.

Not pictured below are my Pacific Islander and West Asian results which are all 0%.

I got my ancestry DNA testing reviews results and they weren't what I expected.

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.

I got my ancestry DNA testing reviews results and they weren't what I expected.

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?


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christina says:

how cool!!

I’m pretty fascinated myself!

I would love to do this! I’ve always thought I’m Italian… But only for the same reasons you thought you had Asian in you!

You totally should do it!! I just updated the post with the map so you can see how it breaks it down. I have more Italian in me than Asian. Maybe it’ll be opposite for you. haha.

That is so awesome to finally know! I really want to do this, too. I’m so interested in learning more about where my dad’s roots. We have stories from my grandfather about his mother being predominately Native American. In images she has some physical features that reflect that, but we honestly don’t know because he was also an awesome storyteller, haha! Thanks for sharing your experience! xoxo

That would be so cool to fund that out!! Yes, definitely let me know if you decide to take one!!

Tiayonna says:

I love it! I can feel your excitement! For quite a while now I have wanted to do this as well. I always have people ask me where I am from. I know a lot of black people get asked this in general (at least most of my friends). But I tend to get the question more than most (as well as most of my siblings). So over the years I have come to believe that maybe I have some features that closely resemble those of a certain region. Mostly, I get Ghana or Ethiopia but people are so surprised when I tell them I’m just from good ole North Carolina. I like to add an extra thick country accent to it just for fun, when I am annoyed and I know what they are implying. That’s a whole different discussion lol. But right now I just cant bring myself to drop $99 on the test. Definitely, in the future though! It’s so cool that you can say that you know now!

Kia says:

Super cool! I get told that about my eyes too…so yeah probably no Asian mix here either haha

Tara says:

That is so cool! My husband is adopted and has been toying with the idea of doing one of these. I kinda want to get one for all of us after reading your post!

Yvonne says:

I haven’t done this yet, but my aunt did an Ancestry test on my grandmother before she passed away. I am the family genealogist so she shared it with me right away.

We always thought grandma had native American in her. She was forever being called “redbone,” which to most folks that means someone black with native blood. To our surprise though, she was 83% African, 13% European, and (surprisingly) 3-4% middle eastern. Not a drop of native American blood. I was curious about the middle eastern blood and a friend mentioned that Africans and arabs have mixed for a long time, but I had to remind her that arabs (and Africans) and Europeans have mixed for a long time as well. We can’t really be certain which side provided that smidgen of middle eastern blood. It could easily be both sides.

I am really interested in doing my DNA, but I’m not expecting any surprises…and maybe that is something I shouldn’t think. I have long known my dad was mostly black with some white and my mom’s side is about as purely british (English/Irish/Scottish) as it gets. My maternal great-great grandmother hired some detective 100 years ago to investigate as many of our families as possible in search of Revolutionary War heroes so she could join the DAR (and she did). That man traced a large chunk of that side of the family back to 11th century Britain and provided parish records to support his work. Those people lived in a few tiny towns in a small portion of southern England long known for its endogamy. There’s maybe a small chance of an odd Spaniard or Frenchman or even a Jew showing up in the DNA (because that area has ports and would have had traders from far away lands on a regular basis), but I’ll be greatly surprised. He/she didn’t show up in the research we have so far, but you never know. 🙂

Love the excitement of your post. Genealogy is such a neat topic. I think the DNA tests will help bridge a gap between us that just about nothing else could. It tends to show that we are all a wonderful mélange of cultures and peoples, and ideas of purity and superiority (which can to divide us) tend to be blown away by reality. It is really a lovely thing.

Now it’s your husband’s turn. LOL!

Moonsparkle says:

That’s cool finding out about your heritage. I’ve never done a DNA test but it would be interesting to find out one day. My dad was Cameroonian (100% as far as I know) and my mum is mostly English with some Scottish. (Her dad was English and her mum was half English and half Scottish). I’ve probably got some Irish heritage on my grandma’s side, especially since her Scottish mum’s maiden name was McNally which is Irish.

I’ve traced my family tree back a bit on the English and Scottish side but it’s harder to do on the African one because they didn’t keep records like Europeans.

I have kind of slanted, almond shaped eyes, I’ve always thought it would be cool if I was part Asian! It could be from the African side but then my grandma (English and Scottish) also had similar eyes.

Dani says:

I wanna do this so bad. My heritage is so mixed up and I’d like to know what’s really in me.

K. Elizabeth says:

I can’t wait to do one of these with my family. My husband doesn’t know much about either side of his family because he was raised in foster care. He recently connected with one of his great, great cousins and she revealed that his family started off Parisian on his father’s side. We’ve been trying to trace his family tree as far back as we can with the limited information that we have, but I think an in-depth DNA analysis like this will help him to get some answers to where his family came from and who is.

Likewise, I’m curious to see if my DNA results will confirm what my parents have told me about our heritage.

Montserrat says:

I’ve had my DNA tested through 23andMe. My results surprised me too! For some reason I just didn’t think about how much Native American I would have even though I am part Mexican. I have 21.4% Native American. The other surprise? I have 4.1% African! I figured it came from my dad’s side and that it was probably the Moors from Northern African who kept trying to overtake Barcelona where my grandfather is from so my parents got their DNA tested too. We were shocked again to find that ALL the African comes from my Mexican mother’s side. It has been exciting to try and figure it all out.

You should get your children tested because their makeup will be different from one another. My kids were so different I was shocked! One daughter has 10% more British/Irish than the others while another inherited more Native American. While we each inherit 50/50 from our parents we don’t inherit 25/25/25/25 from our grandparents. My kids can see that certain traits they share 75% with my dad and only 25% with my mom for instance.

Genes are awesome!

Jessica says:

I sent my test in and am waiting on the results! I also ordered a test for my grandma – I can’t wait to see her results, too!

Jennifer says:

Ahhhh! Jessica how exciting! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Keep us updated!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

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