Coming to the table too

I have been on a journey to uncover my family’s genealogy and I recently had my DNA test taken by AncestryDNA.

I anticipated finding out what my ancestral countries of origin were in Africa and hopefully the tribes my ancestors belonged to. The good ole “this” percent African and “that” percent what-I-thought-was-Native American.

Well, I didn’t find a single trace of Native American DNA. But I did find 28% European.

AncestryDNA provided a three person genetic match with a man named Gustavus Boone Robertson and his wife Isabella (Gentry) Robertson.

On my father’s side, my paternal great grandmother is Gladys Gentry. I know nothing about when she was born or when she died. I have her husband’s name, Henry Jackson 1874 – 1967. What I do have from her is her blood. Her memory. A suggestion of a tragic memory from her family’s past as enslaved Africans.

What I ended up finding was DNA traced to a genealogist that suggests we are 3rd – 5th cousins with a three-times great grandfather in common, Elijah Gentry Jr.

After trading many emails, running DNA into two different systems, and analyzing the data, my cousin Judy G. Russell wrote this blog post that brought me to tears and gave me goosebumps.

It gave me something I never anticipated finding, and brought two people from different worlds together who may never have met if it wasn’t for advancements in technology.

The confirmation of pains of a traumatic ancestral past as the descendant of enslaved African ancestors and also the hope for a future built on knowledge and acknowledgement as well as love.

“But as she and I are turning to that paper trail now … we do so with an eye on a dream. It’s a dream articulated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his speech at the Washington Monument on August 28th, 1963. It’s a dream, he said he had, “that one day… the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”So maybe it won’t be the sons, Dr. King.Maybe this time it’s going to be the daughters who will sit together.”

Read the blog post for yourself.
 
Contemporary African Ethnic Groups

Contemporary African Ethnic Groups

This article provides a list of the ethnicities that today’s American descendants of African ancestry are genetically connected with.

Looking at my own DNA summary, this is what 70% of my genetics break down to:


According to my genetic breakdown, I have 32% Nigerian and 6% Benin/Togo and 2% Cameroon/Congo in my ancestry.

The article describing the ethnicities, originally posted by TheRoot.com, provides a list of ethnicities that I have been able to compare to my DNA break down.

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Comparing these ethnicities to my DNA break down, it appears that I have Ibibio and Yoruba ethnicities. If I did not have Benin/Togo or Cameroon/Congo in my DNA, I would have narrowed down my ethnicities to several of the ethnicities under the country of Nigeria. Because of the trace amounts of Benin/Togo and Cameroon/Congo, I can confidently narrow down my ethnicities to Ibibio and Yoruba. This finding is exciting!

To confirm the ethnicities, I will have to get further DNA testing done, as I plan to do through AfricanAncestry.com.

46 Ethnic Groups

When it comes to pinpointing your DNA, most Americans of enslaved African ancestry come from only 46 ethnic groups.

The areas that Africans were enslaved in and brought to America from during the transatlantic slave trade were few and were documented by both European and American slavers.

This article explains in detail how DNA is used to find out where your African ancestry is traced, both by country and by ethnicity.

When tracing my DNA, I found out that I am 32% Nigerian and 19% Malian which is common for people who are descended from Nigeria. While Nigerians certainly see themselves as citizens of Nigeria, they recognize their ethnicity first. I will need to get further DNA testing done to determine which of the 300 ethnicities in Nigeria I am genetically connected to.

I recommend that you take either a maternal (if you are female) or paternal (if you are male) DNA test from AfricanAncestry.com to get the full picture of both countries and ethnicities.