I grew up hearing about my European ancestry: Scandinavian on my mom’s side and Dutch on my dad’s side. My great grandfather Hans Bergman even authored a book in 1926 documenting the history of Scandinavians to the Pacific Northwest, and even mentions his daughter, my grandma (whose guest book entries I shared with you a couple years ago). I have always been fascinated by my family’s history, and have periodically asked my relatives what more they know.
It only really occurred to me how privileged I was to have this information when I met and married my husband.
(Photo by Devon Michelle Photography)
While members of Terry’s family have done some research on their ancestry, unfortunately, they can only go back as far as America. Due to the effects of slavery, they simply do not know which country(ies) in Africa his family’s roots are from.
Terry has always wanted to know this information and for a long time, but we simply didn’t think we’d ever find answers for him.
Several years ago, my husband had the opportunity to serve on a couple medical missions to Sierra Leone. While there, several people remarked to him how much they thought he looked like he could share their ancestry. This sparked Terry’s interest even more in knowing his African heritage.
Shortly after, we’d heard that new technology had been developed to trace DNA to present day African countries! We’d heard that celebrities like Oprah and Morgan Freeman had been able to successfully trace their roots through this method. Terry remarked to me how much he’d love this done, but we assumed it would be thousands of dollars and generally out of reach for the average person and never really looked into it.
Last month was Black History Month and also Valentine’s Day and I decided to finally do some super secret research on this myself. After a quick Google search, I found the company we’d heard about – AfricanAncestry.com. To my utter surprise, the DNA tests weren’t thousands of dollars – they were $299! At this point, I decided to reach out to the company to see if they’d be interested to have us review their test and share Terry’s results online. They agreed and I have to tell you, I couldn’t be more impressed with this company.
I had the opportunity to interview Gina Paige, president of African Ancestry over the phone last week. I wanted to hear more from her about the story of African Ancestry, and what makes their company unique.
She told me that African Ancestry was founded by Dr. Rick Kittles, who was curious about his own ancestry. When he was able to develop the science to provide those answers, there was immediate demand in the community to make it available to others. African Ancestry is an African-American owned company responsible for pioneering the DNA technology that enables African Americans to trace their roots not only to Africa, but to specific ethnic groups within specific countries. African Ancestry maintains the largest database of African lineages in the world!
I broke the surprise to my husband on Valentine’s Day! My son drew a special book to share the happy news. (The idea is Terry can fill in the pages when he gets his results.) Here’s the wonderful thing about getting the answers to your African lineage: it’s a gift for your entire family!
When my husband gets his results, he’ll be able to share those with his mom, his sister, maternal relatives, and our kids. Gina shared with me that sometimes families will pick one member to take the test as the results will be the same for a number of family members. (For this reason, you might want to learn the difference between the maternal and paternal lineage tests and which family members will share results.)
Terry took it last night and it’s quite simple to do. You’re simply going to swab the inside of your cheek with the enclosed swabs. You then mail it all back and get your results sent within 6-7 weeks.
African Ancestry also sent us a kit called myDNAmix. This kit breaks down the continental ancestries in your family tree by percentage. As the site explains: “Your ancestral mix report includes the percentages of African, European, Indigenous American, East Asian, and Indian ancestry that you have.”
We thought this would be a good test for my son to take! Whatever results he gets will be the same for his sister. The current price of the myDNAmix test is $180. The testing process is extremely similar to the African Ancestry tests – you just swab the insides of your cheek!
I was excited to put both my husband’s and son’s tests in the mail today! We should have our results in about 6-7 weeks and I will look forward to sharing what we learn with you. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out AfricanAncestry.com and make sure to share it with your friends or family who may be interested to learn their African roots!
Disclosure: We were provided a Maternal African Ancestry test as well as a myDNAmix test in exchange for a review here at the blog. No other compensation was received. For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy.