Several months ago 23andme was running a special for African Americans, in order to broaden their genetic base. The price was right (free) so I signed up and received my spit test kit in a timely fashion. I sent it back, curious about what my percentages of DNA from the various continents would be. After a wait of 5 or 6 weeks I was informed that my results were posted. There they are above. None of this was surprising to me. Looking at myself and my relatives I knew there was some European DNA in there. My father’s sister and I had done an Mtdna test awhile ago and both my maternal and paternal grandmother’s lines back to West Africa. The small amount of DNA from Asia, I learned from the 23andme website, could be Native American DNA or it could be from the Asian DNA found in some African’s DNA. They (23andme) cannot predict Native American DNA in African Americans yet because usually it is (they said) mixed with a small amount of European DNA and then there is that African/Asian DNA thing.
Now, as I said, none of this surprised me. And it also didn’t change the way I feel about myself or my ancestry. I know the European DNA is there but the men that “donated” it didn’t leave a story, a whisper or a name on a death certificate as a clue to who they were and where they came from. There is one exception, post slavery, that we have used reasonable clues to pinpoint – including family stories, naming patterns and geography. So, aside from the physical evidence/residue/DNA, they are invisible and likely to remain so, in spite of the “cousins” I find listed in my account.
I had not even thought about finding long lost cousins from the past. The first message I received turned out to be from an old family friend in Detroit. That was amazing and kind of funny. She and her husband were friends of my father’s family for decades and to get a message from her daughter saying we are possible 5th cousins was nice. We don’t know which side of the family we are related through, and I don’t see how we can ever trace it, but it’s nice anyway. I would like to hear from that possible 2nd cousin who hasn’t contacted me yet. That seems close enough to figure out how we’re connected. Maybe I already know them. If only it would be one of Uncle Hugh Reed’s long lost grandchildren. Or maybe my grandfather Mershell Graham’s brother’s or sister’s descendants.
My feeling is that the only way I’m going to find out where the last ancestor’s I’ve found came from, who their parents are, is to find the plantations they were on and look for the records. I don’t think I’ll find out anything shockingly new about those lines from 23andme. My husband received his kit yesterday. Can’t wait to see his percentages.