Tracing My Roots: I Discovered I Am Not Just African American but European, Jewish and Native American

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It’s been about a month since I received my DNA results. I took the test for fun (and because there was a special that made it extremely worthwhile to purchase). I did not expect the test to yield anything other than my obvious black roots, since I am African American. This is what I believed and understood from my family history. But, after receiving the DNA results, I was surprised for many reasons including that the results matched me with 400+ DNA connections (with various degrees of relatedness). I am still trying to make sense of this.

I thought it would be great to share this with others, as I am sure other people have had surprising DNA results. The majority of the results show that I am majority African. My ancestry can be traced back to:

(1) Nigeria

(2) Ivory Coast/Ghana

(3) Africa Southeastern Bantu

(4) Benin/Togo

(5) Cameroon/Congo

(6) Senegal

(7) Mali

(8) Africa South-Central Hunters and Gatherers

The migration map was limited to the 1850 to 1950 showed a migration in the South and North Carolinas and Virginia and Southern States area.

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However, there is still several portions of the DNA results that show I am non-African. In particular, my results show I am also European, Native American and Jewish. How could this be?

My European ancestry can be traced back to:

(1) Ireland/Scotland/Wales

(2) Europe South

(3) Finland/Northwest Russia

(4) Europe West

(5) Europe East

(6) European Jewish

My Jewish ancestry is European Jewish. The DNA results did not yield any indication of what Native American tribe, just Native American.

It’s obvious that my ancestry tells a story, but what story? What I can conclude is that I come from an extremely diverse, strong and very resilient group of people. I would love for these DNA testing companies to begin offering services that go deeper into not merely countries or tribes but genealogy research in telling that story.

Associate Professor. Author. Tech Enthusiast. TEDx Speaker. Former UN Delegate for WILPF-US.

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