Gene Study Shows Most Black Americans Have Some European Ancestry



Harvard University’s School of Public Health has concluded a genetic study on Black American heritage. Using a technique known as ‘gene expression’, researchers were able to conclude that most Black Americans have some European ancestry. According to the study the average Black American today has an ancestry of 80% African, with the remaining 20% most likely white European.

The technique of gene expression used by the researchers measures the amount of protein produced in cells. Cell protein is a product of both genetic and environmental factors and can be used with statistical analysis to trace the ancestry of large groups.

Most of the race mixing is thought to have occurred during the period when slavery was legal in the United States. Slavery began soon after Virginia was settle by English colonists in 1607 and lasted for 250 years until abolished in 1865. During this period , an estimated 12 million Africans were shipped to the Americans (mostly to Brazil) to support agricultural production. The 1860 US census records almost four million slaves residents in the United States, representing over twelve percent of the total population. Full link noted above.

Citation: Price AL, Patterson N, Hancks DC, Myers S, Reich D, Cheung VG, et al. (2008) Effects of cis and trans Genetic Ancestry on Gene Expression in African Americans. PLoS Genet 4(12): e1000294. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000294

Editor: Greg Gibson, The University of Queensland, Australia

My Ancestors-The Dallas Johns Family, Wake County, North Carolina




Across the ocean lies my ancestors home in Africa. It is the place that saw the birth of all humans on this earth. The original women and man. I am Bantu or Igbo according to all accounts I have researched so far. This website will provide information on DNA testing, research, impact on African-Americans and possible uses to genealogy research and identify your ancestors. I most confess I have European ancestors because of the slave trade and the rape of African women during slavery. They came across the ocean not voluntarily but they were forced.    My great great great great grandfather was a slaveholder in Wake County, NC and so was his father in Virginia. My great great great grandfather was born a slave as were his two brothers and sister. I was told the plantation owner married the African Slave who brought Dallas, Mark , Jack and Elizabeth Johns into this world.  I can find no evidence of the married or the name of the African Slave.However, my cousin Gwendolyn Eudina Johns Hawkins produced a Journal on enslaved Johns in North Carolina.  DNA testing has proven that I am a direct descendant.Gwendolyn Eudina Johns and Island Lemuel Johns.png.

I had to get my head around this bit of information and to accept my Eurasia relatives: 1. We can not pick and select our relatives, 2. We all are from one place and that is Africa, 3. If the DNA segments matchup I need to except that a least on a genetic genealogical level.

Over the next few weeks I will provide Information on DNA in layman terms and I promise no quizzes. DNA can be great and it can be bad depending on your decision in using the results. I will explore all in my blogs.

I will be using my ancestors and their DNA results as examples to show how it works and how to read the results

Genetic Genealogy



Genetic Genealogy started becoming know back in 1994 publicly. Today genetic genealogy is a tool for investigators, historians, scientist, anthropologist and genealogist. While many records have been lost or destroyed during the Civil War and fires afterwards, African American have not had their records available until around 1860. African American were not recorded in census, will (unless a free person of color) or in land records (See the Freeman Land Records). DNA might be the last piece of information available to locate ancestors. Note: DNA testing cannot answer all the questions and maybe none at all depending on the research efforts of genealogist.

Understand all test are not equal, given the algorithms used by each testing company and the methodology  employed. In early 2000, two companies began offering DNA testing to genealogist: Family Tree DNA <>, based in Houston, Texas, and led by Bennett Greenspan, Max Blankfeld and Jim Warren; and Oxford Ancestors >>, based in in Oxfordshire, England, and created by Bryan Sykes of the Sykes surname study. Both companies launched by offering Y-DNA and mtDNA testing to genealogist.  depending on the database held by the company providing the test result. 23 and Me, Family Tree DNA and AncestryDNA have strong and growing databases of testors. Raw data is tested and analyzed with the raw data of other testers to predict relationship matches within their database. You my see different results from one company to another. which we will be in another blog is a valid place to load your raw data to get more matches and analyzes.

As the databases’s grow with each company, so does the power of genetic genealogy with one exception. There needs to be a lot more testing of African American and comparison of DNA testing in Africa, Caribbean, India and South America. The National Health Institute in Washington is doing just that today, but it will be sometime before and results can be release that would be meaningful in I identifying tribal communities and ancestors.



Before You Buy a DNA Test

Before You Buy a DNA Test

From ISOGG Wiki (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) 2016

This guide provides advice on some points to consider before you buy a DNA test.

  • Clarify your goals. What do you hope to learn from a DNA test? Which DNA test(s) should you or your relatives take to address your questions? Consult the beginners’ guides to genetic genealogy for more insights. Don’t hesitate to seek advice about your specific scenario on some of the genetic genealogy mailing lists. The DNA-NEWBIE list is a good place to start.
  • You may need to lower your expectations a bit. DNA is a “novel, objective, and independent form of evidence,”[1] yet uncertainties may remain. The nomenclature or the interpretation of your results may change over time. Each type of DNA test has its limitations. You may not have an immediate match in a Y chromosome or mtDNA database. Your haplogroup may not tell you exactly where your paternal or maternal line originated. Autosomal DNA tests may not identify a known fourth cousin or break down that brick wall. Admixture percentages may show inconsistencies from company to company and fail to detect small components of your ancestry. In spite of all those caveats, success stories do abound.
  • Ask yourself if you really want to know. A DNA test can sometimes provide surprising results, which might challenge your sense of ethnic identity, contradict your laborious genealogical research, or reveal unsuspected relationships. Your results may have an impact on your family members as well. You are your own best judge of your ability to handle the unexpected.
  • Do some comparison shopping. See the list of DNA testing companies, which also has links to side-by-side comparison charts for different types of test.

We ill be discussion this topic further in more detail with the hope it gets you better acquainted with DNA.

Source: International Society of Genetic Genealogy, Dec. 22, 2016 (ISOGG Wiki)

 Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner. Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree. Rodale Books, 2004, page 57

How DNA Testing Can Help Your Family History

March 3, 2016 By

Using DNA for Family History ResearchDNA testing and how it supports family history is one of the hottest topics in the field of Family History Research. Jim Brewster, Group Project Liaison at FamilyTree DNA recently spoke at  RootsTech 2016. He explained the top 10 reasons to take a DNA test. Among other things, they include contributing to breakthrough research, learning the ethnic makeup and migrations of your ancestors and discovering new cousins.

As a reminder of your biology class, you get your DNA from your parents. DNA tests analyze the chromosomes that are found in your cells. You have several types of DNA that can be used for genealogical testing, including mitochondrial, autosomal and X and Y chromosomes that determine your gender. Think of pictures of tightly wound thread-like structures (shown below).

There are three main types of DNA testing, including: autosomal DNA, YDNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA).

Autosomal DNA testing is the most common test and the results provide you with your ethnic background percentages by regions and subregions. In addition, autosomal DNA test results will provide you with family members (who have also been tested) who share common ancestry in the last five generations. The results also show how closely they are related to you, based on your DNA results. Autosomal DNA test results include both your maternal and paternal family lines.

YDNA testing traces the direct paternal line for men who get this test. If you think of your family tree in landscape mode, YDNA testing traces the direct male line across the top of your tree or pedigree chart. Similar to other DNA test results, YDNA test results provide a list of others who have been tested and that have a common male ancestor within the last 25 generations. YDNA testing also provides the haplogroup and sub-groups that you belong to and the migration patterns of the haplogroup. For YDNA testing, you can choose to test 37, 67 or all 111 DNA markers — as you might expect, the more markers you choose to test the more detailed your results and the more you can expect to pay for the testing. FamilyTree DNA allows you to upgrade at a later time, from one level to the next level by paying the difference in price.

Mitrochondrial DNA testing traces your maternal direct line for up to 52 generations. Similar to YDNA testing for a man’s direct paternal line, mtDNA test results can provide both the haplogroup and ancestral migration routes of your maternal line. And like other DNA testing, mtDNA testing provides you a list of others who have been tested and to whom you are related to and how closely related.

All three types of DNA test results can help your family history efforts by confirming things you already know as well as connecting you with others. Many people are able to break through the all too common brick walls with the help of a second- or third-cousin whom they have never met.

DNA testing is available from FamilyTree DNA and several other companies. If you’ve already had your DNA tested, consider uploading your results to additional DNA databases to learn even more and to find additional cousins. One such DNA database that is relatively new, yet growing rapidly is — is both the name of the project and its URL web address. accepts DNA file uploads from FamilyTree DNA, and 23andme. The consent agreement is both short and simple enough to understand in a few minutes. 90% of users have one or more cousin matches — and this will grow as more people upload their autosomal DNA test results.

Finally, consider joining a group project to learn even more. Group projects are organized by surnames, haplogroups, geographical locations or a combination of these. Try an internet search for your surname and DNA — in my case, I searched for “Davidson DNA” to find my surname group project. Each group project has a volunteer administrator that can help you get started.

Source: Family Family Search Blog, March 3, 2016 by Bill Davidson, Lecture from RootsTech 2016 presented by Jim Brewster, Group Project Liaison at Family Tree DNA.

Out of African Migration Route


Source: National Geographic

Explore Our Genomic Journey

Fossils and other archaeological evidence provide many clues about where humans came from, but the picture is far from complete. Genomics helps us find the missing pieces of our distant past by looking at genomic differences between people living today. These small genomic changes that were passed down connect us to our ancestors – preserving the story of their journey in our DNA.
The genomes of modern African populations are far more diverse than those of Asians and Europeans.
Our species, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Genomics shows that early Asian and European populations originated from small African groups who started moving to the Middle East about 60,000 years ago. Those small groups carried only a small fraction of Africa’s genomic diversity. Even today, the genomes of modern African populations are far more diverse than those of Asians and Europeans.
Our DNA also reveals that our species mixed with ancient human species that are now extinct – Neanderthals in Europe, and a mysterious Asian group called Denisovans. Small amounts of Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA sequences are found in the genomes of some 21st century people.
Small differences … are reminders of how our ancestors were shaped by different environments on their journeys
Through migration and mixing populations, all the while encountering new environments and diets, DNA variants spread across many populations. Nevertheless, the genomes of any two unrelated people today are about 99.9 percent alike, and small differences in our appearance, or our risk or protection from disease, are reminders of how our ancestors were shaped by different environments on their journeys across the world.
As you explore DNA, you may start to wondering about human origins and your own family’s genomic journey.
Related Articles
Source: Courtesy of the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

DNA-What is it?

DNA-What is it?

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)

DNA is the chemical name for the molecule that carries genetic instructions in all living things. The DNA molecule consists of two strands that wind around one another to form a shape known as a double helix. Each strand has a backbone made of alternating sugar (deoxyribose) and phosphate groups. Attached to each sugar is one of four bases–adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T). The two strands are held together by bonds between the bases; adenine bonds with thymine, and cytosine bonds with guanine. The sequence of the bases along the backbones serves as instructions for assembling protein and RNA molecules.

Source: NIH-Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

Charles P. Austin, M.D., Director, NIH Chemical Genomics Center (NCGC); Senior Advisory for Transitional Research

The African Diaspora Integrating Culture, Genomics and History

Identity, Health, and Personal Ancestry Come Together

by Jacquelyn K. Beals
The genetic techniques have to be combined with anthropological knowledge, with historical knowledge and, ultimately, the people who we’re discussing have a say in their identity… Identity is more than just the science, it’s also the culture.
 Fatimah Jackson, UNC Chapel Hill
The Smithsonian and the National Human Genome Research Institute in September 2013  co-hosted a symposium on the African Diaspora: Integrating Culture, Genomics, and History (view video), in conjunction with the “Genome Unlocking Life’s Code” exhibition.  “The Symposium explored how historical and genomic information is used to understand identity, health, culture and personal ancestry,” stated Vence Bonham, chair of the planning committee.
With advances in technology, a younger group of genealogists now searches for their personal history and identity using genomic analyses and Internet search engines. Symposium speaker Dr. Alondra Nelson showed a typical group of genealogists when her research started a decade ago. “It tended to be a pursuit of older folks, older African-Americans,” said Dr. Nelson. Today she’s “trying to make connections with younger genealogists, and you find a lot of these on YouTube.” For younger
African-Americans, genealogy is less about archival research and more about cutting-edge DNA ancestry testing and its results.
Dr. Nelson’s shared the story of a young Black woman who’d just received hergenetic ancestry test results and called her grandmother  to share the results. “Grandma,” she said excitedly, “we’re from Cameroon!” After a pause her grandma replied: “No, we’re from South Carolina.” And therein lies the big question – where is anyone from, really? And another compelling question – what can our origins
tell us about ourselves? People used to answer these questions  by following paper trails. Has DNA testing made genealogy simpler or more complex?  It depends who you ask.
Where are we from, really?
Mary Jo Arnoldi, curator of Africa Voices and chair of the museum’s Department of Anthropology stated,  “that our human species evolved in Africa and we all share the same ancestry at this most profound level.”
“Our human species evolved in Africa and we all share the same ancestry at this most profound level.”
But African-Americans want to search for ancestors who crossed the oceans – willingly
or unwillingly – in the last 500 years. Testing companies are using that scientific innovation and research to enrich African Americans’ search for their cultural and genetic roots by identifying more specific
geographic locations and ethnic groups. With larger and better-researched reference populations, geographical localization will improve. But even the best estimates are based on statistical probability. One respected company requires 70% confidence to report a given result – a reasonable standard, but that 30% leaves a lot of wiggle room!
Types of DNA testing: What can they tell you?
Wall of ACGT characters
Most testing companies analyze three types of DNA:  mitochondrial (mtDNA), Y chromosomes, and autosomal DNA. A woman’s egg passes mtDNA to her children, whether boys or girls, but a sperm’s few mitochondria don’t persist after fertilization. All of your mitochondria contain your mother’s mtDNA, and all her mitochondria contain hermother’s mtDNA, so only one of your eight great-grandparents (your mother’s mother’s mother) contributed your mtDNA. The other seven are not represented, and this ratio gets progressively tinier the further back you go.
The Y chromosome passes from father to son and genetically defines a human male. Only males can transmit a Y chromosome, and only males inherit them. A man’s Y chromosome can be traced to his father’s, father’s, father’s, father – and farther. But, as with mtDNA, this represents only one man in each generation – one out of 16 great-great-grandparents.
Autosomes are the 22 chromosome pairs that aren’t X or Y. Half come from your
mother,  half from your father – each parent contributes one of each pair.
But during egg or sperm formation, chromosomes are mixed and matched, dealing
out randomly assorted chromosomes from each grandparent – and here genetic
genealogy gets really fascinating! Scientists are starting to pinpoint small sections
of each chromosome, finding their probable origins in African, Asian, European,
Jewish, or Native American gene pools.
What do our origins tell us about ourselves?
 DNA evidence can also carry meanings that reach beyond historical records.
A husband-wife team of intermedia artists – Dr. Mendi and Keith Obadike – described
their “American Cypher Project,” which examines American stories about race and DNA.
Starting with the relationship of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, they asked:
How has DNA evidence changed the way people talk about that story? How does it raise different questions? What do people think DNA does?
Family History Documents
Paper trails, old photos, and family stories contain inconsistencies and gaps. But people tend to expect precision and infallibility from DNA science.
And yet: “We were really sort of inspired by how ambiguous some of the science was, or how inconclusive it was,” Keith said. “As artists we thrive on ambiguity. It’s like when all the answers aren’t there, so we can really generate some … We don’t know how you feel about it as scientists, but for us, it’s a goldmine.”
Speaker, Dr. Sandra Soo-Jin Lee picked up these ambiguities in her survey research,  which asked the question: “An individual who identifies as African-American receives genetic ancestry test results that indicate that she has 0% African ancestry, 87% European and 13% Asian ancestry. I would classify her as _______.”  16% of respondents chose: “What she said is what she is, African-American”; 2% picked Asian-American, 18% said European-American, and 41% said “other”; the remaining 23% “don’t know.”
The survey allowed respondents to explain their choice of “other.” Write-ins included: lab mix-up; mixed race, but it’s not up to me to decide; African-American is a cultural identity, not about a “racial blood quantum”; I’d call her Eurasian; and, I’d need to know why the classification: social and cultural might be African-American, but to tailor drugs/treatments for medical purposes, then European/Asian would be most important.
 “Has DNA testing made genealogy simpler or more complex?” It does depend who you ask.
So we ask again, “Has DNA testing made genealogy simpler or more complex?” It does depend who you ask. But more and more people are asking, and the answers extend far beyond the sequence of bases in DNA, encountering issues of culture, history, and personal identity.
“Over the past several years, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has produced a very ambitious series of engaging programs with a primary focus on historical events or figures and the vibrancy of  African American culture and art,” said Dierdre Cross, program coordinator at the NMAAHC. But “the African Diaspora Symposium … added another dimension to our programming: to have our audience participate in discussions focused on scientific innovation, as represented by genomic research, and its direct impact on African American health issues and community history.”
* held September 12, 2013, at the Smithsonian National Museum of
Natural History, Washington, DC
(1) Author, Scientist Assist in Tracing Lineage. National Public Radio.
(2) Ancestry-informative Markers Explained .Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms, National Human Genome Research Institute.
(3)  The African Diaspora Symposium: Integrating Culture, Genomics, and History. National Human Genome Research Institute.

DNA Family Ancestors and Collateral Relatives

dna-84px-adn_animationFamily, Family, Family. Our roots, our genes, our culture, our collected community pride, our health, traditions, morality, our lives matter. All human life originated in Central Africa long before all others. It is believed that there were more than one Adam and Eve (Non-biblical) according to research by scholarly works by NIH and others.. Genetics has proven that point but does not answer the key questions or does it. Who are you, where did you come from, what was your community group and what connection to other groups? Adopted from the Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill: “This is me, this who I am and this how I came to be”. I estimate there are more than 100,000 direct and indirect relatives genetically connected to me who have transition or living in America, Canada, African, South America, Caribbean, Cuba, and India particularly. Supportive documentation will be unveiled in upcoming blogs.
 Welcome to African-American Ancestry DNA. We will provide non-bias information, links to other websites, Tools, objective reviews of DNA testing, research and genealogical methods with African-Americans in mind. We welcome your feedback and comments. We welcome material from others with experience that they want to share with others on our website. (We reserve the right to review the material for its relevancy and it can not support a particular company or product over another).
This site objectives is to provide the most current information available on genetic genealogy, family tree research, DNA testing specific to African-Americans and all people of color and we invite our European relatives.
I in order to really benefit from information contain in our blogs you must have done your homework and have a family tree going back as far as you can. If you hit a wall, contact your local genealogy society for help or contact us. We can also provide you with a list of Genealogist that you may contact in your area.
As we go along this journey information will change as feedback and comments are sent to us.
%d bloggers like this: