Today, I got the complete result of my 23andMe Ancestry DNA test. I was born in Haiti, but moved to the US as a kid. I knew my ancestors mostly came from West Africa, but the exact place is something I always wanted to know. On my mom’s side, I knew I also had some European heritage but not much information.
The most interesting fact is my ancestry timeline. The timeline shows the ancestors who were 100% heritage and the time they were likely born. It seems correct because Haiti got its independence in 1804 which puts some of my ancestors as European slave owners from Spain, Portugal, Italy as well as Indigenous Americans and Southern East Africans in the times of slavery.
It’s also very interesting that I have a 100% Nigerian ancestor who was born as recently as the 1900s, which leaves a lot for research. To my knowledge, none of my grandparents is Nigerian. It could be a great-grandparent that I don’t know have much information about.
Some surprises, but not really that surprised. In college, I met a lot of friends from Africa who instantly recognized me as a fellow African, but I was somewhat annoyed because I had never set foot in Africa. Growing up, to tell Haitians that they are Africans is somewhat derogatory. It’s a form of self-hatred and ignorance. That changed for me because I was exposed to a lot of Africans in college and grad school.
I got along well and felt a connection with Nigerians, Ghanaians, Liberians, Senegalese, Tanzanians, Rwandans etc because I saw myself in them. In fact some of my best friends from are from this area.
95% Sub-Saharan African
- 46.3% Nigerian
- 23% Ghanaian, Liberian, Sierra Leone
- 11.1% Angolan, Congolese
- 7% Broadly West African
- 6.3% Senegambian (Senegal/Gambia), Guinean
- 1.3% South East Africa
- 2.4% Spanish, Portuguese
- 0.8% Italian
- 1% Broad European
1% Trace/Unassigned ancestry
Congo and Southern East Africa
Some of my European ancestors are from Spain, Europe, Italy
The 23andMe data set is very small (12 million customers compared to 8 billion people) so it’s interesting to see that I have 1380 distant relatives (2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Cousins) throughout the world of which 477 have added a location on the map.
Sadly, not many distant relatives show up in Africa and the far East yet.