Before I start, let me just say that I am not or have I ever been an employee or paid advertiser for Ancestry.com. I just love their product!
Just think of it, you can access records that you’d probably never could before, but due to technology, it’s totally possible. And ever since watching Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on PBS’ Finding Your Roots, I have always wanted to do this. I thought surely it’s too much for me to afford.
On that last account I was blissfully wrong. How much? A little under 200.00. Wow. So I gladly paid my fee and in a few weeks I received my DNA analysis kit in the mail. I had to spit in a vial and close the lid down on it. When I gave the required amount, I repackaged it (packaging included) and sent it back off.
Once again, I thought: Well, this is going to be a minute. But in just several weeks my results were back by email. (At that particular time, the DNA analysis was being offered with a six-month membership to Ancestry.com). Talk about ex-cit-ing! I was 84% West African which includes the countries Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Gabon, Congo, and various other nations along Africa’s west coast, from The Gambia to Equatorial Guinea. Great, but no surprise there – many African Americans are from there as well. But interestingly, I was 6% Scandinavian (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), 6% Southern European (Italy, Spain, Portugal) and 4% uncertain. Although this was a pleasant surprise, I would have guessed anywhere but these areas.
I thought the rest of my DNA would show up Native American. I know, right? It’s a running joke (especially in black families) that somebody in yo’ fam’ly was a full-bloodied Indian! But then, this leads to the question, what was the 4% uncertain? According to Ancestry.com the 4% uncertain was determined when “small traces of a specific genetic population may have been found in your DNA, but the probability levels were too low to pinpoint to a specific ethnicity.”
My interest was piqued. Brain storm! Get my mom’s DNA tested and I might fill in some of the holes. Since my paternal grandfather was mulatto according to birth records, I was pretty sure the Scandinavian and Southern European part came from dad’s side. So naturally mom will be sending her DNA off soon.
What did I really learn from all of this? How did this make me feel? How does information and knowledge make anyone feel? You are better for knowing – always and without a doubt. A puzzle piece had been snapped in. It is a well-known fact that it is rather difficult for most African Americans to list their complete family tree due to slavery. Even though I didn’t feel forlorn about this fact, it did make me wonder from time to time what was in my history or my bloodline.
And finally, in honor of my new-found heritages and to represent each of the countries of my descent, I requested that my friends, family and coworkers call me by my newly adopted names: Dita Fatou Sidsel Adalina. Of course they pay me no attention. Peasants! Clearly, this discovery has brought excitement to my life that kept me talking all that weekend when I first received my results, and will no doubt make me smile when I think about it from now on.
So in the end, it’s worth it. Believe me.