I went on Wikipedia.com to look up the word “genealogy” and found an interesting statement:
“Genealogy received a boost in the late 1970s with the television broadcast of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, Alex Haley’s account of his family line.”
I remember that the movie was about slavery in America. It made me wonder how a person could trace their lineage from America to Africa. Taken from their ancestral homes, given Americanized names, and enslaved. After hundreds of years, could a person find a connection?
In my online search, I typed “Can African-American’s trace their heritage?” and “Can African-American’s use DNA testing to trace their family tree to Africa?” There were so many articles on this subject that it took me hours and I still had only nicked the surface! There were articles on MySlaveAncestors.com, Ebony.com, ModernGhana.com, and more.
On Quora.com, I found an answer written by Andreas West and dated March 21, 2017. He used data from 23andMe.com. This site offers a more detailed ancestry composition report than its competitors. He found that African-American’s can trace their ancestry. The only problem was that the tests only shows regions or ethnic groups.
Other websites state that DNA tests are being used to connect living relatives. The DNA databases store these results for many years. Should two people share the same DNA, the databases will notify them of a possible match.
Because of the lower cost of DNA tests today, they have become more affordable for the middle class. Which, in turn, means more people will take these tests and the results kept in these databases. Many websites make promotional deals at certain times of the year that you can also use.
One company, AfricanAncestry.com, claims to be:
“the only company that can trace your ancestry back to a specific present-day African country of origin.”
It states that it has the most extensive DNA database of over 30,000 indigenous Africans.
The database is a valuable starting point on the African side of this quest. I am sure it will only be a matter of time before African-Americans find the link to their African heritage.
Social media would be one way to get the word out about this subject. If you know of any other means, please leave me a comment below. Thanks, Donna.
Photo by Nathaniel Tetteh on Unsplash.