Akan or Ewe? West African AncestryDNA results 2013-2018

Without wanting to rehash things this blog post and one more upcoming will provide a quick recap of my final AncestryDNA survey findings for continental Africans. These results were obtained during 2013-2018 but I had not fully processed all the data up till now. Arriving now at the first part of my West African section. Which contains results from Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana & Benin. One striking research outcome was the clear distinction between Akan & Ewe results.

I first published my preliminary West African survey findings on 24 February 2018 when I had only 41 AncestryDNA results available for my analysis (see this overview). As my survey has been ongoing I have managed to collect a sample group which has now doubled in size. Consisting of no less than 82 AncestryDNA results from Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Benin! Follow the link below for detailed analysis & new screenshots:

Table 1 (click to enlarge)

Stats (n=82)

Notice the striking difference in group averages for “Ivory Coast/Ghana” and “Benin/Togo” for my Akan and Ewe survey participants. Although actually there was also much underlying individual variation (see this more detailed overview).


Aside from my Nigerian survey group (n=87) the sample size of my Ghanaian survey group (n=42) was the biggest within my entire African survey. Although still limited this already provides a rather robust basis. And also crucially I have managed to gather plausible ethnic details for almost all of my Ghanaian survey participants. Allowing for a finer detailed ethnic analysis of Ghanaian genetics. Which is why I think these “old” results may still be useful and are not obsolete yet. Even when I did discontinue this survey after Ancestry’s update in September 2018. Because in my opinion Ancestry’s new version of their ethnicity estimates regrettably has been a downgrade in regards to their African breakdown, overall speaking (see also this blogseries).

I originally singled out three main implications for Afro-Diasporans. All of which can be maintained and have been discussed already in previous blogs. In this blog post I will revisit the question if it is possible to distinguish Akan from Ewe lineage. Furthermore I will briefly touch upon 23andme’s new “Ghanaian, Liberian and Sierra Leonean” category and also how Ancestry might improve things in the near future. Especially in light of their upcoming update.

  1. “Benin/Togo” also describes DNA from Ghana (see this blog post as well)
  2. “Ivory Coast/Ghana” also describes Liberian DNA
  3. “South-Central Hunter-Gatherers” suggestive of remnant West African Pygmy DNA?
  4. Is it possible to determine the most likely ethnic source(s) of your Ghanaian lineage?

Figure 1 (click to enlarge)

Compil GH

The two first results are most illustrative of how AncestryDNA’s 2013-2018 version was able to  clearly distinguish between Akan & Ewe lineage (for Ghanaians themselves!). Obviously there was greater individual variation though. And in no way was either “Ivory Coast/Ghana” or “Benin/Togo” an exclusive marker for any given ethnic group! Ghanaians will usually know of course (even when going back several generations they might also be more multi-ethnic than they are aware of). However for Afro-Diasporans follow-up research is required (DNA matches, historical plausibility, genetic genealogy etc.).



Can the Akan be genetically distinguished from the Ewe?

Map 1 (click to enlarge)

Source. Notice how these language groups are adjacent and crossing modernday country borders.  Ewe forms part of the Gbe language family, which extends into Togo and Benin. The Gbe languages on their turn are classified as Volta-Niger, together with southern Nigerian languages as Yoruba & Igbo.  While the Akan languages (such as Fante, Ashanti, Twi but also Baoulé) are spoken in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. See also this section for more linguistic maps as well as detailed historical maps.


To get straight to the point: my answer to the question posed above would be a qualified yes when it comes to Ghanaians themselves. I discuss this in greater detail on the main page if you scroll down to section 3. My survey findings might be counter-intuitive at first sight when overfocusing on country name labeling. Therefore I also take into account ancient migrations and the distribution of African language groups to make more sense of my research outcomes.

However for Afro-Diasporans this is an entirely different issue. Because of all the complexities involved.1 And generally speaking I do not think it is currently possible to obtain a “100% accurate” ethnic specification of your Ghanaian ancestry. At least not by relying solely on admixture analysis, such as performed by AncestryDNA and other commercial DNA testing companies. And actually also not by testing your direct maternal or paternal line (see this article). However by conducting careful follow-up research (DNA matches, historical plausibility, genetic genealogy etc.) I do think you can increase the chances of learning more about the likely ethnic backgrounds of your Ghanaian ancestors. See also :

Returning to my Ghanaian AncestryDNA survey findings. The two ethnic groups I have selected for this research question the Ewe and the Akan2 are indeed fairly distinctive going by the preponderance of either primary “Ivory Coast” or “Benin/Togo” scores. This can be verified from Table 1 and Figure 1 above. And in even greater detail from the overview below. Which also features the actual range (min. & max.) within each subgroup. Obviously there are still limitations in sample size. Especially for the Ewe. Nonetheless it is quite telling that for all 18 of my Akan survey participants “Ivory Coast/Ghana” was convincingly reported as primary region (which actually also happened for my Ivorian Akan samples). The lowest score being “only” 71%. While for all 6 of my Ewe survey participants it was rather “Benin/Togo” which showed up with the biggest amount. Albeit with greater variation.The lowest amount being 46%.

This type of clear-cut differentiation is quite astonishing given that the Akan and the Ewe are actually neighbouring people with a great deal of historical interaction. Possibly the Volta river may have acted as some kind of barrier for greater genetic overlap. But most likely it is rather the relatively recent migration history of the Ewe and fellow Gbe-speakers which lead to this outcome. Originating in southern Nigeria according to traditional accounts and ending up in Benin, Togo and eastern Ghana (see this map).

DNA testing is revealing that usually ethnicity cannot be distilled into one single genetic category. Unless you happen to be a perfect match to the samples your DNA is being compared to (see figure 1). Instead typically most ethnic groups will be described as a composite of neighbouring and interrelated ancestral categories. This might be counter-intuitive at first. But it does actually make sense if you take into consideration the genetic impact of shared origins, ancient migrations and inter-ethnic mixing throughout the ages.

The distribution of language groups is a good indicator of the broader patterns to be taken into consideration. As generally speaking the initial expansion of distinctive populations was accompanied by the spread of their language and often also their particular mode of livelihood. Various scientific papers have already demonstrated that broad-scale population structure within Africa reflects both geography, (pre-)history and language (see this section for references).

Unfortunately this highly fascinating topic of early West African (pre-)history is often absent or poorly represented in the curricula of primary and secondary education. Furthermore both scholars and laymen tend to pay more attention to other areas of Africa. In particular Northeast Africa because of early human evolution or Ancient Egypt. Regrettably this relative neglect of West African orientated research has lead to a severe lack of basic knowledge among the general public. Leaving them vulnerable to serious misinterpretation and even at risk of being mislead by agenda-driven fringe movements.

It is a true shame that West African (pre-)history too often is forcibly linked to other faraway places simply for prestige reasons or misguided ideology. This is not to deny that West Africa has indeed been in long standing mutual contact with neighbouring parts of Africa. And these connections are certainly also research worthy. Then again so much insight is to be gained when you consider West Africa to be a regional unit within its own right and on its own terms. With its own independent historical driving forces centered principally in modern-day Mali and modern-day Nigeria along the Niger river valley, the true bearer of civilization for West Africa in so many ways. Some suggestions for further reading:

In conclusion my final Ghanaian survey findings are suggesting a noticeable degree of genetic differentiation can indeed be observed between the Akan and the Ewe. Not per se consistent on an individual basis but quite apparent when based on group averages and approximate tendencies. Highlighting that regional admixture DOES matter!3 Correct interpretation might not always be easy. But being aware of the relevant context does clarify things. More research is however needed to establish a firmer basis for determining the degree of genetic variation and how it may (roughly) correlate with ethnic background in Ghana.


Find your Akan & Ewe matches 


Table 3 (click to enlarge)

DNA matches

This is the first page of an African DNA Matches Report I made for an African American person. Showcasing the potential of how your West African DNA matching patterns may enable further ethnic specification of your Ghanaian lineage. I have left out name details for privacy reasons. However going by surname and other profile details as well as predominant “Benin/Togo” score the most likely Ewe match still stands out! Also intriguing to see the equally impressive number of Sierra Leonean and Liberian matches. Which are quite likely also associated with this persons 9% ‘”Ivory Coast/Ghana” score (prior to update). As well as his 26.8% “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” score on 23andme. For more details see my African DNA Matches service.


African DNA matches (autosomal) provide one of the most reliable avenues to Trace African RootsEven more so when combined with well-interpreted admixture analysis. Fortunately an ever increasing number of West Africans, or better yet West African migrants and their children, are taking DNA tests. All of them potential DNA matches for Afro-descendants to get in touch with and learn more about your specific Ghanaian lineage by finding your Ghanaian DNA cousins! See also my tutorial below as well as my recently started service which will provide you with a African DNA Matches Report.

Despite the great potential to learn more I would still advocate a cautious approach though! Make a careful assessment of your Ghanaian DNA matches, if you happen to have them. Taking into account shared segment size and the possibility of population matches (IBP) and false positives, so that only genuine IBD matches are left over. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have any Ghanaian matches?
  2. How many of them are likely to be Akan, Ewe, Ga-Adangbe etc.?
  3. Is any ethnic background predominant among them?
  4. Is the shared amount of DNA big (>10cM) or small (<7cM)?
  5. Are these matches also shared with your close family members?
  6. How do these matches fit in your overall African DNA matching patterns?
  7. How do your Ghanaian matches correspond with your admixture results indicating Ghanaian lineage?

Read the blog post below for much more details on how I performed such an analysis for 50 Cape Verdeans and their 437 African matches. I intend to do similar blog posts for other parts of the Afro-Diaspora eventually. And also among Ghanaians themselves (of both Akan and Ewe background) to establish which parts of the Afro-Diaspora appear to be most genetically linked to them, going by DNA matches.

Surprisingly also two Ghanaian matches were included among these findings. Uncommon and atypical given Cape Verde’s nearly exclusively Upper Guinean origins (confirmed also by admixture analysis). Both matches however had only a very minimal shared segment size (6 cM). A useful reminder therefore that smaller-sized matches might often be false positives (IBS) or also population matches (IBP) (see this useful chart). Genealogically not meaningful and definitely not for establishing if you could have substantial Akan or Ewe lineage. Although an increased frequency of such small matches might still be indicative I suppose. Especially when combined with bigger matches.

23andme better equipped now to distinguish West African lineage?

Map 2 (click to enlarge)

23andme vs ADNA

The map on the left shows the distribution of  “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” scores among my African 23andme survey participants. The map on the right shows the group averages for “Ivory Coast/Ghana”. Both regions appear to be quite similar in scope. The predictive accuracy being somewhat greater on 23andme though. Going by preliminary group averages. In particular 23andme can now provide a much better coverage of Sierra Leonean DNA. However in Ancestry’s 2013-2018 version the additional regions of “Benin/Togo” and “Mali” did enable greater and often also meaningful resolution. Helpful for making the distinction between Akan and Ewe results for example.


Ancestry’s West African regional framework (2013-2018) was pioneering and could be very useful. Given correct interpretation. However sadly after Ancestry’s update in 2018 it lost most of its informational value. Currently you are much more likely to get a realistic estimate of your West African lineage on 23andme. Even if of course not 100% accurate 😉 Still going by actual West African 23andme results the predictive accuracy of their 3 new West African regions (“Senegambian & Guinean”, “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” and “Nigerian”) is quite impressive.

I have started a new survey based on the newly updated African breakdown on 23andme among not only Africans but also various parts of the Afro-Diaspora. It is ongoing but you can see a preliminary overview by following the links below:

The number of my West African sample group on 23andme is still minimal however it is already quite telling how generally speaking a greater predictive accuracy can be observed. When going by the group averages of my West African survey participants. Even when actually the difference is not always that big when compared with Ancestry’s 2013-2018 version (see table 1). In particular for Ghanaians it seems that additional “Nigeria” scores on 23andme have substituted former “Benin/Togo” scores on Ancestry. Resulting in similar group averages of around 70% for either “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” or “Ivory Coast/Ghana”.

It should be noted also that even when similarly labeled, ancestral categories on different DNA tests will not be perfect equivalents or measuring the exact same thing. The additional Sierra Leonean samples on 23andme for example are clearly causing a shift westwards. While there may also be some algorithm differences. Furthermore the current lack of similar categories on 23andme for “Benin/Togo” and “Mali” does impact its ability to attain the same level of often meaningful resolution on Ancestry’s 2013-2018 version. But regrettably Ancestry’s last update has only made things worse. The generally inflated “Benin/Togo” and sharply decreased “Ivory Coast/Ghana” scores epitomizing the loss of focus in AncestryDNA’s updated African breakdown.

Suggestions for improvement


“ Replacing the current “Ivory Coast/Ghana” region with three separate and properly labeled regions to describe and measure genetic affiliations with either Kru, Akan/Kwa or southwestern Mandé samples could increase its informational value tremendously.”

“The creation of a more narrowly focused region to describe and measure genetic affiliations with Gbe samples from not only Benin and Togo but also Ghanaian Ewe would be much more beneficial”

Gur samples from Burkina Faso might be used to create a greatly needed intermediate region to cover the genetic legacy of people nowadays found in northern areas of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and Togo as well as Burkina Faso itself. It may also result in a sharper delineation of especially the “Mali” region which will become more strictly suggestive of Upper Guinean roots.”

Create new African “migrations”, a.k.a. genetic communities.  As far as I am aware currently there are only two “migrations” in place for Africans. […] Especially for Nigerians and Ghanaians I would imagine something could already be set up. Even more so when appropriate academic samples can be added.


The quotes above are taken from my previous blog post from June 2018:

Unfortunately hardly any of these suggestions were taken up by Ancestry when they did their last update in September 2018… However it seems that a new update may be upcoming already (see this link). And from what I have seen in preview this will also affect the African breakdown. Either way Ancestry has announced they aim to expand their African Reference Panel (see this blog post). So I might as well give it another shot 😉 I still stand by my statements quoted above.

In particular I believe that when wanting to get more solid ground on the question of either Akan or Ewe origins for Afro-descendants it will be very helpful if Ancestry were to create Ghanaian “migrations”. However not ethnically labeled. As this will often be misleading! But rather something along geographical lines like distinguishing a western Ghanaian “migration” from an eastern Ghanaian “migration”. The latter grouping perhaps to be combined with southern Togo and southern Benin. After all if a country as small as Ireland has no less than 92 (!!!) distinctive sub-regions on Ancestry (see this article) why not further specify Ghana, which is among the principal countries of provenance for Afro-Diasporans!

Obviously AncestryDNA’s regional breakdown (2013-2018) was rather basic and had several flaws. I like to underline though that my West African AncestryDNA survey (2013-2018) did produce several potentially insightful findings. Not only for improving the interpretation of the results of Afro-Diasporans. But also for West Africans themselves it may lead to better understanding of the understudied migration history within the African continent. Both relatively recent (last 500 years or so) and more ancient. I have had many stimulating discussions with West Africans who did a DNA test over the years. Unlike what some people might assume many Africans themselves also take a great interest in these matters.

Then again my intention is not only to look backwards but also forwards! In particular I believe that my survey findings (see table 1) may provide a helpful baseline to compare with 23andme’s newly updated African breakdown (see this overview). As well as functioning as a benchmark for Ancestry’s upcoming update, which hopefully this time will lead to improvement!

Over all I would say that my West African survey findings are pretty much reinforcing the main message I have been trying to get across from day 1: the labeling of ancestral categories in DNA testing is often not be taken too literally. However this does not mean you cannot derive a great deal of informational value from your socalled ethnicity estimates! Proper interpretation is a precondition. And it has been my experience that being aware of the DNA results of native West Africans certainly helps in this regard. If only to know what to expect more or less. And also in order to make a proper inference of how you yourself fit in the scheme given any other ancestral clues you might have. Even more so when also taking into account your African DNA matches, relevant historical context, (advanced) genetic genealogy and other means of follow-up research.


I am aware that ethnicity can be a sensitive topic for West Africans. Aside from wanting to learn more about my own West African roots my motivation to research these so-called Ethnicity Estimates is purely scholarly. It stems from a deep fascination with West Africa’s ancient population migrations, its many connections with the Afro-Diaspora as well as a profound love for its vibrant & diverse culture. I do not condone the misuse of my research for identity politics! I am in full support of democratizing knowledge. However when parts of my work are being copied I do expect that a proper referral to my blog and the additional context it provides will be made.

Please also keep in mind that DNA testing can be very educational and may have many positive effects. However in some cases it may also be abused by people with bad intentions.



1) Understandably many people desire to have the most specific degree of resolution when searching for their African roots. They want to be able to pinpoint their exact ethnic origins and preferably also know the exact location of their ancestral village. In a way following in the footsteps of the still very influential ROOTS author Alex Haley. Unfortunately these are rather unrealistic expectations to have in regards to DNA testing (at least in regards to admixture analysis.). Not only given current scientific possibilities. But also because such expectations rest on widely spread misconceptions about ethnicity, genetics, genealogy as well as Afro-Diasporan history. Too often people ignore how the melting pot concept is really nothing new but has always existed, also in Africa!

Generally speaking the African regions on AncestryDNA have become more generic and less specific after the update in 2018. As a consequence the country name labeling has become even more misleading when taken at face value. On the other hand ancestral categories referring to ethnic groups might be just as deceptive or even more so! As many people will again tend to take them too literally. Underestimating not only the sheer number of ethnic groups existing in Africa (thousands!) but also the complexity of interplay between fluid ethnicity, overlapping genetics and shifting political borders. The same goes for precolonial African kingdoms which again were not static entities. But instead very often ended up being multi-ethnic after expansion and assimilation of neighbouring peoples.

Either way for such an endeavour to succeed one should preferably use ancient samples from relevant time periods and locations. Rather than modernday African samples whose pedigree may very well include many inter-ethnic unions within the last 200-300 years or so. Of course the intermingling of African ethnic lineage continued even more so within the Afro-Diaspora. Again during several centuries but this time also involving ethnic groups geographically far removed from each other. All of which resulting in a very intricate mix which remains tricky to disentangle.

Personally I prefer ancestral regions which are referring to either non-political geography or meta-ethnic/linguistic groups. Such as Atlantic, Mande, Kru, Akan, Gbe etc. (see this page). But I fear that inherently there will always be some degree of blurriness involved and exact delineation might be impossible to achieve in many cases. Instead of generating false hope it might be a more honest approach to go by the motto of “don’t be more specific than your data supports”. Previous blog posts of mine dealing with this topic:

2) Technically speaking the Akan are more so a so-called meta-ethnicity: a grouping of closely related ethnicities based on linguistic similarity. Consisting of well known subgroups such as the Ashanti, Fante and also the Baoule from the Ivory Coast.

3) According to some people only continental admixture is to be taken seriously in DNA testing. Sub-continental admixture, a.k.a. ethnicity estimates, a.k.a. regional admixture only being fit for entertainment purposes. I myself have never taken this stance. Preferring to judge each case on its own merits. Attempting to maximize informational value despite imperfections and avoiding source snobbery. Which is why I have conducted my AncestryDNA surveys among Africans and Afro-descendants in the past. Applying an additional macro-regional framework for extra insight (Upper GuineaLower GuineaCentral/Southeast Africa).

Basically combining interrelated & neighbouring genetic regions in order to allow certain regional patterns to show up more clearly. This turned out to be particularly helpful when wanting to explore any rough correlation between aggregated AncestryDNA results for Afro-Diasporans and slave trade patterns. Which I indeed established for the most part. See this post below for a summary of how my Afro-Diasporan findings (2013-2018) more or less fall in line with historical plausibility.

In the context of my Ghanaian survey it seems that useful clues about underlying ethnicity can be revealed (for Ghanaians themselves!), given correct interpretation and awareness of relevant (pre) history. Even when in fact from Ancestry’s information (see this plot) it can be gleaned that the “Benin/Togo” and “Ivory Coast/Ghana” regions actually cluster the closest from all other African regions on AncestryDNA (2013-2018 version). And furthermore the samples from Benin/Togo and Ivory Coast/Ghana are the only ones that seem to overlap to some degree.

4) To be fair Ancestry’s African breakdown during 2013-2018 was far better in my opinion than 23andme’s African breakdown during that same period (before their update in 2019). Unlike any of its commercial competitors AncestryDNA was able to distinguish no less than 5 different West African regions. In addition it also did a reasonable job at separating West African DNA from Central/Southern African DNA (“Cameroon/Congo” and “Southeastern Bantu”). Which is essential for getting a full scope perspective on the origins of the Afro-Diaspora. See also:

13 thoughts on “Akan or Ewe? West African AncestryDNA results 2013-2018

  1. 23andme says I’m 12.3% Ghanaian, Liberian and Sierra Leonean which is the same as ancestry’s pre-update which also gave me 12%.

    Unfortunately I’ve only found 1 IBD Ghanaian (Akan) match on Ancestry. She is of the Ashanti subgroup tribe.

    The other is a man whose father is full Ghanaian, but he is half African American.

    He says his fathers tribe is the Osu but when I researched it the only thing it kept tracing back to was somehow Igbo in Nigeria.

    What do you think?


    • I am not familiar with that name referring to any specific ethnic (sub) group. Can you see his ancestry composition or ethnicity estimates? That could provide some indication of how Ghanaian he might be. Probably more so on 23andme though.


      • His results are: 11% Cameroon/Congo, 43% Benin/Togo, 29% Ivory Coast/Ghana, 6% England, 7% Mali, 1% Native A, 2% Sweden, 2% German. (He is half Ghanaian)

        His surname is Ashong. Hope that helps 🤔

        Also, i’ve recently found 1 other IBD Yoruba match on Ancestry(bring the total to 3 IBD matches). Could that be in reference to any possible Ewe lineage or should I keep digging to find an Ewe match?


        • The breakdown seems compatible with him being half Ghanaian but of course its after the update so not in any way conclusive! Surname also appears to be Ghanaian (check forebears.io). Combined with what he said himself I would just take him for his word. If Ancestry shows any shared matches with him or if he’s on gedmatch triangulation could establish which side you’re related with him.

          I see no immediate reason why a Yoruba match should be connected to any potential Ewe lineage. Keep in mind that “Benin/Togo” is not an exclusive marker for any given ethnic group.


  2. My “Ivory Coast/Ghana” went from 22% in the previous update – my largest region, African or otherwise – to 8% in the current update. My “Benin/Togo” went from 12% in the previous update, to being my largest region in the current update at 29%. My Mali stayed about the same. It would seem, then, that my Benin/Togo ate up quite a bit of my Ivory Coast Ghana, which would point towards a more easterly spot in the Ivory Coast/Ghana region. But, you’ve said that that might not even be correct.

    It is really quite sad that it appears that the comparison between Ancestry’s previous update and 23andMe’s current update is a better comparison than comparing between the two most recent versions of Ancestry’s updates. It’s a damning indictment of how badly they botched the African regions in their 2018 updates.

    Before they took it down, though, the most recent proposed update but me at 2% Ivory Coast/Ghana, and 7% Benin Togo. It will be interesting to see, then, if the proposed data should be compared to the 2013-2018 update or the most recent 2018 update. Because for me, the proposed update doesn’t seem to match either. Maybe the proposed update will be comparable to 23andMe’s recent update. Who knows! lol

    What a headache!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. BTW, I have two Ewe matches that I know of. Under the current Ancestry DNA update, the first one has 64% Benin/Togo, and 36% Ivory Coast/Ghana. The second one has 77% Benin/Togo, and 23% Ivory Coast Ghana. It seems as if even know the two regions must be fairly predicactive, as I was surprised none of them scored any third region.

    I have one known Akan (Ashanti) cousin from Ghana. His regions are 63% Ivory Coast/Ghana, and 37% Benin/Togo, and no third region.

    All-in-all, the current update seems fairly predictactive just like the previous one for Africans, at least Akans and the Ewe. How accurate it is for African Americans or other African groups is a mixed bad. It’s pretty horrible for Nigerians I know for a fact as they rarely score highest for “Nigeria.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • True I am usually also still able to distinguish Akan from Ewe results, even after the update. But “Ivory Coast/Ghana” scores have decreased a great deal for Akan people, and are now around 50-60% instead of typically around 80-90%.


    • No idea to be frank. Ancestry has not made any official statements about the update yet as far as I know.


  4. Hey Felipe, a couple of questions.
    The first is whether African American”/ Ghanaian, Liberian, and Sierra Leonean heritage is likely to be more Ghanaian (Akan), Mende (Sierra Leone), Liberian (Kru), or Togo (Ewe) based upon slaves taken to the US. I know for Jamaica the answer would be Akan, but what about for the US specifically for those with South Carolina and Mississippi roots.
    Secondly, we talked about me being 0.8 percent Southeast Asian (my dad is 1.7 percent) and 2.6 Southeast African (dad is 2.0 percent). In your opinion, that was a pretty good indicator of Malagasay ancestry. But did a lot of slaves come from Mozambique or Zambia to America? Or do you believe the bulk of my East African ancestry comes from the Malagasay. I ask because I’ve talked to many people about their 23andme results and no African American has scored as high as me in the Southeast Africa category (most are below 1 percent or right at 1 percent).


    • About the likelihood of Akan lineage for people with a SC background check this blog post where i go into that in greater detail:


      Basically all three ancestral options (Akan, Sierra Leone and Liberia) are perfectly plausible. Direct slave trade with the Gold Coast was quite substantial actually, even if not most significant. See chart below where a proportion of about 13% is mentioned. But in addition also early inter-colonial trade with especially Barbados might have brought over people from the Gold Coast into South Carolina.

      “But did a lot of slaves come from Mozambique or Zambia to America?”

      As far as i am aware there is hardly any direct or even none documentation of the presence of persons from the presentday Zambia in the USA during slave trade. Probably by way of Angola or also Congo the interior slave trade did reach Zambian territory as well though. But to what degree we will probably never know. For Mozambique there are a few documented slave voyages, but mostly dating from the 1800’s. This contrast greatly with Malagassy captives for whom extensive documentation exists. And of course as your case demonstrates their genetic legacy is also more clearly recognizable through the Southeast Asian component.

      See also the charts on this page:



  5. Still haven’t had my updates put through, it seems, but some of my African matches have. My Ghana Ashanti (Akan) match is now 43% Ghana, 30% Benin/Togo, 19% Mali, and 8% Nigerian. My Ewe match is 76% Benin/Togo, 13% Nigerian, and 11% Ghana.

    Looks like Benin/Togo may have very well been improved to make it a better marker for Ewe/Gbe-speaking populations, but perhaps Ghana has been weakened as it relates to Akan ancestry, which would be a shame, especially since they supposedly pared this region down/tightened it up.

    And, unrelated, but my southern African matches (two of which are a Shona from Zimbabwe and a Zambian cousin of Nsenga (Bantu) background) seem to have almost 90% Cameroon, Congo & Southern Bantu Peoples, with smaller secondary Eastern Bantu Peoples, which seems pretty predictative. Glad to see the Eastern Bantu Peoples added.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. New updates for my relevant African matches for this discussion:

    Ashanti Akan (Ghana): 43% Ghana, 30% Benin & Togo, Mali 19%, 8% Nigeria
    Ewe (Ghana): 71% Benin & Togo, 17% Ghana, 11% Nigeria, 1% Mali
    Ewe (Ghana): 76% Benin & Togo, 13% Nigeria, 11% Ghana

    It looks like “Ghana” is still a pretty solid fit for predicting Ewe ancestry among Ewe. As for the different Akan peoples? Just one example, but it looks like this region continues to leave a lot to be desired. I don’t know if Akan peoples are just so much more recently mixed than neighboring populations or what. But the region doesn’t seem to be a good indicator for for Akan ancestry.

    Liked by 1 person

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