Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Where Did I Come From?

And I'm not referencing that book about the facts of life. Sarge says he will tell me about that when I'm old enough.

I'm talking about from where does my family line descend. In order to find out, I went to Number 28 on my Bucket List: take a DNA test to find my African ancestry.

To do this, my brother and I pooled our resources of money (nearly $500) and saliva. He provided the saliva because men carry DNA from both the mother and father. So my brother swabbed his spit and stuck it into a vial -- I know, huh? Gross! -- then sent it to a lab.

We went through, which is not the most user-friendly website in the world, despite their touted tutorial.

According to the MtDNA --DNA strictly from the mother with no influence from the father (which is certainly how my household is run) -- we descend from the Upper Guinea region of Africa, which follows along the West African coast from Senegal to Liberia, and includes about 27 ethnic groups, of which one is the Mandinka. I always knew Mandinka Warriors were somewhere in my life, ever since I saw that movie Mandingo. (Oh, where are you now, Ken Norton?)

Our maternal Haplogroup (groups who share a common ancestor) is L3, which are Africans who migrated to Asia, some of which then became aboriginal Americans. That explains my mother being Native American. Great! But on the flip side, that makes us related to NY Governor Paterson, as he is also in Haplogroup L3.

On the paternal side, the Y-DNA, we descend from the Lower Guinea region, which runs from the Ivory Coast to western Cameroon, with the Gold Coast smack dab in the middle of all that. Ethnic groups include the Yoruba, which explains why I've always wanted to go there. Oh, wait. . . that Aruba I've always wanted to go to. Nevermind.

Anyway, it's all very technical, but well worth the money to find your way back to Africa where mankind began. They even gave us a certificate with the results, which my brother and I plan to frame and hang right next to our family tree.

On to the next adventure!


PatriciaW said...

My husband and I have been talking about this since the first Dr. Gates special. I really want to do this so I guess I have another item on my bucket list.

I, Star Woman said...

Great! AfricanDNA is Dr. Gates company, or at least he's associated with it. Good luck!

Annette said...

What an awesome story! That is soooo cool that you have such a fascinating heritage! Sadly, my own is limited: Sicilian Mafia and Ariosophic Germans. =( One of my Bucket List items is to visit Palermo. I've already checked off Berlin--hated it there.

Keep working your way through your list! I think blogging about it is such a great idea! I can't wait to hear more about your adventures. =)

I, Star Woman said...

Thanks Annette! But are you kidding me? I WISH I had Sicilian Mafia in my family history. How interesting does that make you? Extremely! I could see you at a party saying, "Yes, my great-grandpa was a Godfather. No, really." LOL