Discovering DNA Communities – Ethnic Origins

A new study uses genetic data and genealogical research from more than 700,000 <> customers to reveal migration trends in North America over the past 300 years. Findings, which were published in the journal Nature Communications <>, are the basis of AncestryDNA’s Genetic Communities user experience.
According to an Ancestry,com announcement, the study shows “how specific groups of people are connected through their DNA, what places they called home, and which migration paths they followed to get there.” The results correspond strongly with documented history and the results of genetic data done by 23andMe, GPS DNA and Family Tree DNA.
Researchers first identified genetically related groups and smaller clusters within them. Then they used family trees associated with those similar DNA profiles to describe the geographic origins and migration patterns within each cluster. Of specific interest were communities that have develop distinguishable genetic patterns due to “gene flow barriers” such as isolated geographic locations or cultural identity that encourages mating within the community.
Unfortunately, there has not been a methodology research model to reasonably determine African-American and Native-American clusters based on the above mention. The DNA Communities does afford African-American and Native-Americans the opportunity to identify additional relationships based on the DNA Community findings.
If you are a member of FamilyDNA, GPS DNA or 23andMe you will find similar clusters and ethnic communities base on similar methods. The National Geographic Project (Geno 2) was the first and is still actively working to define their results. The only draw back for most is the cost which is over $200 to participate.


Mitochondrial Eve (mtDNA)

Mitochondrial Eve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Haplogroup Modern humans
Early diversification.PNG
Possible time of origin c. 100–230 kya[1]
Possible place of origin East Africa
Ancestor n/a
Descendants Mitochondrial macro-haplogroups L0, L1, and L5
Defining mutations None

In human genetics, the Mitochondrial Eve (also mt-Eve, mt-MRCA) is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all currently living humans, i.e., the most recent woman from whom all living humans descend in an unbroken line purely through their mothers, and through the mothers of those mothers, back until all lines converge on one woman. Mitochondrial Eve lived later than Homo heidelbergensis and the emergence of Homo neanderthalensis, but earlier than the out of Africa migration,[2] but her age is not known with certainty; a 2009 estimate cites an age between c. 152 and 234 thousand years ago (95% CI);[3] a 2013 study cites a range of 99–148 thousand years ago.[4]

Because mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is almost exclusively passed from mother to offspring without recombination (see the exception at paternal mtDNA transmission), most mtDNA in every living person differs only by the mutations that have occurred over generations in the germ cell mtDNA since the conception of the original “Mitochondrial Eve”.

The male analog to the Mitochondrial Eve is the Y-chromosomal Adam, the member of Homo sapiens sapiens from whom all living humans are patrilineally descended. Rather than mtDNA, the inherited DNA in the male case is the nuclear Y chromosome. Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam need not have lived at the same time.[5]

As of 2013, estimates for mt-MRCA and Y-MRCA alike are still subject to substantial uncertainty; thus, Y-MRCA has been estimated to have lived during a wide range of times from 180,000 to 581,000 years ago[6][7][8] (with a most likely age of between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago, roughly consistent with the estimate for mt-MRCA[4][9]).

The name “Mitochondrial Eve” alludes to biblical Eve.[10] This has led to repeated misrepresentations or misconceptions in journalistic accounts on the topic. The title of “Mitochondrial Eve” is not permanently fixed to a single individual, but rather shifts forward in time over the course of human history as maternal lineages become extinct. Unlike her biblical namesake, she was not the only living human female of her time. However, by the definition of Mitochondrial Eve, her female contemporaries, though they may have descendants alive today, do not have any descendants today who descend in an unbroken female line of descent.

The National Genographic Project Genetic Markers



Dr. Spencer Wells, explains how genetic markers can be used to build a family tree for everyone alive today.


Resource: The Nstional Geongraphic “The National Genographic Project, accessed May 1, 2017,


New or Just Getting Started with Genealogy or Family History Research


New or Just Getting Started with Genealogy or Family History Research has been written continuously by authors Louis Gates, Tony Burroughs and others, providing great direction and tools to build your genealogy skills. The tools for building a strong African-American genealogy tree lies within the methodology and structural approach. It is going to be frustrating at times, too slow and too much time and attention to details. The rewards however is a family tree you will be proud to share with family. A good detective looks for clues, evidence, who, why, when, where and how in their investigation to reach sound conclusions. Evidence Explain-Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills, 3rd Edition 2015 is an excellent source you must read. Understand that genealogy starts with you and proceeds backwards. So start with your self and add your mother and father, grandparents on both sides and their parents on both sides and  you have now started your tree. Add your siblings, aunts, uncles and their children and continue. Gather as many family records as possible if you can,. Often our relatives are protective of the information or want to know exactly what you are doing. Example of discovery, I found old photographs, newspaper clippings, awards and a sundry of items never seen before of Annabelle Boothe my mother’s sister. This gave me a lot of information about my mothers sisters life I never knew. I complied all of her material into one folder along with a Family Group Sheet, Source Summary, Ancestral Chart, Research Extract and Photographs.
I was able to confirm information I had researched on my grandmother (Saluda Slade) and my grand step-mother (Annelee Thomas) and both great grandmothers. My grandfather (Samuel Johns) and his father (Allen Johns) and his father (Jack Johns) and his father John B. Johns who was a slaveholder in Wake County, NC. I also learned that some Johns after the Civil War changed their name to Jones, Johnson and Johnnes. There were also some family members sold before and the during the Civil War. Note: When I get to DNA, I will point this out to you by looking at matches with 20 cMs to 40 cMs (centimorgans) over at least one segment or more.  For right now I will continue with genealogy. Collect, scan or photograph family records and papers. Organize all of your records into genealogy charts that trace blood lines and group people in family units. 
Next Step
The goal and objective is to research your family back to 1860. I know some are saying that is a brick wall. It’s a brick wall if you let it be for you. Example, my great-grandfather Allen Johns was a slave born in 1823 and court records of the Johns family show the plantation locations as Wake County, NC and researching old maps I can pin point his location. I just went beyond 1860. I found his brothers Washington and Mark Johns and an old family photograph. What is the history of that location and the people who lived on and around the plantation? According to a journal written by another relative (Gwendolyn Johns) my great-grandfather Allen John’s mother was African and sold to another plantation when John B. Johns decided to take a wife. Her name was Elizabeth; no known location or name change was provided. Typical of that period among owners. I found two cemeteries where a lot of family members are buried in North Carolina, about 150 individuals and some with unmarked graves outside of the cemetery walls. I found this information looking at the Johns Family in Colonial Maryland and Colonial Virginia historical records.
Research your family to 1860 and beyond identify the last Slave Owner (if you cannot you are not going to get very far). Side note, I hear several times a year that my ancestors were not enslaved. I will not dispute that, but tell me how you know that and how can you verify that information? Did any one come from Africa?  Remember evidence is important. Research the slave owner, the history of slavery and understanding the environmental conditions, Federal, State and Local laws, slave and slave owner customs and practices. Hint: Look at the census before 1860 and you will find slaves listed with a monetary value with just ages sometimes with their first name.
Many African-Americans only know the surface of their rich history, so I highly recommend researching your history not told in history books. Example, many African-Americans know very little, if anything about the migration to England, Spain and Portugal mainly in the late 1500’s. I was told that we arrived from Africa however,  not so true for so many.  We were shipped to the Caribbean and South America in the millions and only around 450,000 actually arrived from Africa to the Americas (US).
It is imperative you research Canada, Caribbean, India, South America and Europe for ancestors. With the pioneering effort in Genetic Genealogy we can cross the pond for our ancestors and that is beginning to happen. I suggest you subscribe to Ancestry UK, libraries in other countries or International. More testing for health reasons are being done in African which will benefit genealogists.

New or Just Getting Started with Genealogy or Family History Research P2

                                 I invite you to spend a little time understanding the basics of genealogy or family history research. You may be excited and ready to jump right into DNA. A little genealogical effort to building your family tree is imperative to using DNA results. There are thousands of eBooks, books, literature and websites dedicated to genealogy and family history goals and objectives. I will provide information I think is helpful to avoid the most common pit falls that even the most seasoned genealogist occasionally fall prey to.
Do Your Home Work
So I will tell you that you need to start at home. Play detective when looking for information and you start at home
Other places to discoveries your relatives:
Birth records, marriage and death certificates
Newspaper articles or clippings,including obituaries and wedding and anniversary announcements
Religious records
Family Bible
Letters and addressed envelopes
Military, school, occupational, business, land and legal records
Diaries and journals
If there’s family members your age or older (second, third cousins included), pick up the phone and contact them today; not next week or next month but now. Get started a family detective and ask questions. You will need to generate a list of questions before you  start contacting family members.
Don’t Believe Everything You  Hear or Read
Example: All Africans came to America (Not true, historical evidence proves it)
Capture What You Learn
There are two forms I think are important and essential in your quest to understand and learn about your genetic roots. The pedigree or ancestral chart shows your direct-line ancestry of a particular individual and the descendancy chart or descendant tree (a chart which a selected ancestor appears at the top, and all descendants are depicted in successive generations in rows below him or her)
Pedigree Chart
Left side of the tree Y-Chromosome Line (Paternal), Right side of the tree mt-DNA Line (Maternal)


Descendancy Chart


Ancestry/Pedigree Chart records the ancestors from whom you directly descend–those for whom you intend to compile and complete and correct a family unit. Id shows at a glance the progress you have made towards this goal and what remains to be done.


New or Just Getting Started with Genealogy or Family History Research P3


In New or Just Getting Started with Genealogy or Family History Research-Part 1, I discuss the importance of doing your homework, not believing everything without validation, capturing what you learn and using charts. There are forms just as important and examples are below.

Family Group Records (also called family group sheets) are forms with space to record information about the parents and children in one family. Good family group records show names, dates and places of births, marriages, and deaths. You can enhance their value by citing the sources that document these events in the lives of family members. If you use computers to generate family group records, you also can easily display additional events such as censuses, change of residence, land purchases or sales, wills proved, and any other events in the family members’ lives. The most useful family group records display as many events and sources as possible. Family group records include all of your relatives, 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th  cousins. Often you can go further beyond your 5th cousin.

When you begin research on a new family start by compiling a family group record showing everything you know about them. It is important to list every known event in each person’s life. The more events you list, the better. It is also important to cite the sources of your information. Some of your names, dates, and places may be guesses or estimates. Your sources for this data should explain how you arrived at the estimates.

Blank forms and software to help compile family group records.

Blank forms are available on-line at no cost through a variety of web sites including Ancestors (the television series),, and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Each organization’s version of a Family Group record is slightly different.  The form, for example, is more detailed and includes blanks for recording christening, occupation, burial, cause of death, and will. The form provides blanks to record LDS ordinance.  Choose whatever form best meets your research interests.

Family Group Record on BYU website

Family Group Record on

Family Group Record including LDS information462px-family_group_record_side_2


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

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
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