Word to Henry Louis Gates! A few months back, a coworker and I ordered 23andMe kits to find out if we were cousins. The kit provided ancestry composition and health reports. I have to say I was pretty shocked at what the report revealed. Oh, my coworker and I aren't cousins by the way. LOL! 

I have got to admit that when I saw my genetic ancestry report I was a bit taken back. When I saw that I was almost 23% European I was shocked. My brother called me a "damn pilgrim." I anticipated that there would be some European ancestry because of slavery! DUH! I thought the number would be like 5-10%, but not almost 23%. The report showed this came from Great Britain, Ireland, Finland and Norway. Norway, Finland what? There was a tiny percent of Italian. Y'all know I love Italy! LOL! 

My ancestry DNA report! 

My ancestry DNA report! 

The Sub-Saharan African ancestry showed the largest make up was West African at 65.7%. Again this is no shock, well because of slavery. Just know that I can not wait to visit Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria! I also had 3.1% of Central and South African ancestry. "Central Africa extends from the Central African Republic at its north to Angola at its south. Southern Africa encompasses Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe," the report states. Well this year I went to three of those countries, so that's a start. 

Now I can officially say "I've got some Native American in me." LOL! It's only 2% though. Then I saw something a bit startling -- 1.1% South Asian. WHATTTTTT?

I click on that to reveal that "South Asia is represented here by the diverse populations of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh." Come again. I never thought I would ever see those countries in any report of my ancestry. So then I dug a bit deeper into the report to find more details. I see that my maternal haplogroup is M23. Now what the hell does that mean?

Taking the first step to finding my roots! 

Taking the first step to finding my roots! 

A haplogroup is a family of maternal or paternal lineages that descend from a common ancestor. I googled M23 haplogroup to find out what this means. I found that haplogroup M23 is a rare, deep-rooted subclade of haplogroup M, that is present in Madagascar. M23 seems to be restricted to Madagascar as it was not detected anywhere else. M23 could have been brought to Madagascar from Asia where most deep rooted subclades of haplogroup M are found.

WHEW! So somewhere down the line my people came from Madagascar. This would explain the small percentage of South Asian DNA. If you believe in Pangea, Madagascar would have been touching modern day India. It's all starting to make sense now.

I then researched to see if any slave ships came to America from Madagascar -- and guess what, they did! The Slave Trade showed that slaves from Madagascar were directly imported into New York City, Boston, and Virginia between 1678-1698 and 1715-1721. Not just any part of Virginia. These ships came in through the York River Port. Virginia you say??

A good amount of my ancestors lived in this area of Virginia.  When I was in elementary school, I remember visiting a plantation in Virginia with my mom and my great-uncle. My great-uncle along with my great-aunt traced back a relative to a plantation in Virginia. Now I am so intrigued! 

I must say I am up to the task of tracing back my family tree and completing a family tree. However, it has proven difficult because of slavery records that were lost or destroyed.  However, after doing this report I am inspired to complete the task!

Have you traced your family's ancestry? What difficulties did you run into? How did you work around them? Talk to me!

AB

If you are interested in ordering your own 23andMe kit feel free to use my referral link here.

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