When I fill out paper work, my ethnicity is one or more, or other depending on which form I’m filling out. My mother is British and my father is African-American. Being mixed ethnicity has led me to be neutral to just about anyone, I don’t care about the color of your skin, I really don’t care what you look like at all, and I don’t like to put people in boxes or stereotypes. This is who I am, I am a human being and I don’t think ethnicity should be a determining factor in anything. People who are confused about my ethnicity always ask me “What are you?”, and lately, I’ve replied, “Well, I’m human”. Usually, they give me a face and walk off, or they ask me “No, I mean what are you?”, if they ask twice I usually tell them “I’m mixed”. That usually makes people leave me alone, but some just need to know and I tell them “I’m British and African-American”. Even though people are confused by me and have questions the only question I’ve ever had has been, “Exactly where are my ancestors from?”. I know about where they are from, but I really want to know exactly where they are from.
My mother’s side has been British for at least the last 4 generation and my uncle did some genealogy hunting where he found out more information. I’ve been meaning to get in contact with him so I can ask him to send me everything he has, but of course, we won’t know exactly where everyone is from. My grandfather is from a town that is pretty much on the border of Scotland so I’m expecting to have some Scottish. My grandmother’s family is from the south-eastern side of England. That side of England was extremely popular with the Vikings, they pillaged, raped, and burned down villages all through that area of England. With that knowledge, it would be interesting to see if we have any Viking blood a.k.a Scandinavian blood. My mom also has blue eyes which are a mutation that happened with the Vikings. So I’m pretty excited to see exactly what we are made up of.
My father’s side can only be traced back so far without DNA. I was able to trace our ancestry back to 1825, where I found out my 3rd great-grandfather was born in Alabama and had a unique name, Scipio. Judging by the timeline, he was more than likely born a slave, he couldn’t write or read according to the 1870 census. Since he was born a slave and was alive during the Emancipation Proclamation, he is the oldest relative I was able to find. I don’t know when the first person of our family was brought over from Africa, I don’t know their names, I don’t know their stories, slavery took away so many things including the knowledge of peoples family histories. I’m hoping that with this DNA testing, I can find out what part of Africa my family is from and then do some research on where my ancestors came from.
With all of these questions, I had to select a DNA testing kit. The only ones I had heard of and had great reviews were Ancestry or 23 and me. I ended up choosing 23 and me. They look at the DNA in your saliva to look for Ancestry Composition, Neanderthal Ancestry, and Haplogroups. They also offer a couple different reports with the breakdown of your DNA, one of those reports shows what side of your family has which DNA. All of these things lead to me choosing 23 and me over Ancestry. Plus they had a holiday deal going on, and I can never say no to a good deal.
The process was simple. I ordered my kit on a Monday and received it on a Thursday. It took me a couple days to get around to actually collecting my sample. You cannot eat or drink for 30 minutes before you can give your sample. The instructions were simple and easy to follow, I finally got around to collecting my sample on the following Tuesday. I mailed it off on the next day, the kit arrived at their facility on Monday, July 4th. They started processing it on Friday, July 7th and I received my results on August 2nd. Which was earlier than they estimated me. And to be honest, I was surprised with my results!
These are my results:
I thought I was going to be split straight down the middle, 50/50 European and African. I was wrong, yet presently surprised. I am 52.7% European, 45.2% Sub-Saharan African, and a surprising 1.8% East Asian & Native American. I’m more of a mixture than I even knew! Now for a deeper dive into my DNA backgrounds.
Let’s start with the one that surprised me the most! My mother’s side. I thought my European side would be mostly British & Irish, with a small bit of Scandinavian. I was wrong again!
My mother’s side was so sure they were 100% British, turns out, they are also French, German & Scandinavian! It was so interesting to learn that I am a mix of European countries, I even have a splash of Spanish! Which was unexpected and probably came from my father’s side. Another unexpected result was this shown in the graph below.
This graph shows an estimate of when my most recent ancestor had 100% of each of the populations DNA. My mother and I thought the Scandinavian would have been further back! It turns out that either my second, third or fourth great-grandparent was 100% Scandinavian! Which was so interesting. We think it was my grandfather’s side because he was from a town in northern England. Another thing that was interesting is that the last ancestor who was 100% British & Irish was either my great grandparent, my second great grandparent or my third great grandparent! The same goes for French & German, when we go back to England we plan on asking my Uncle who did some genealogy work to think about who the French & German grandparent was! It’ll be so much fun.
Now for my father’s side:
My African side was not much of a surprise, other than the fact that I wasn’t 50%. I had guessed we were from West Africa considering a lot if not most slaves were taken from West Africa. This is my fathers side of the puzzle, and somewhere along the lines, someone was Spanish. I also have another ancestor on my father’s side who was native American, which also makes sense considering my family would have been slaves for a very long time in America.
Just like with my mother’s side I have a graph that shows an estimate of when my most recent ancestor had 100% of each of the populations DNA. Here it is:
I put in boxes what my father and I believe are the DNAs from his side of the family. The really interesting thing is that one of my grandparents was 100% West African! Which is amazing, it’s amazing to think about what my ancestors went through to get here. The other DNA’s were from slavery times and so we think that is when one of our ancestors had some mixed children, even way back then!
This whole experience has been amazing, and I’m so happy I spent the money to do this. I would recommend it to anyone! It’s so easy to do and you can find out more about yourself and your family DNA. In the future, I hope to get my parents to take the DNA test so I can see exactly what their DNA is made up of. I also want to see if our theories about where different DNA came from are true! That would be great! I hope you enjoyed this post! It was a long one, if you have any questions about my experience with all of this please do not hesitate to ask.
From now on when someone asks me, “What are you?”. I’m going to reply with, “I’m everything”. If they ask me again, I’ll simply say, “I am the future”. Because I am, and I hope my children will be even more of a mixture than I am. I hope they love themselves and all their cultures just like I do.
Have a good day everyone! Thanks for reading!
P.S. Just in case it isn’t obvious, all of the graphs where made by 23andme and their amazing team!