African DNA Matches

African DNA matches (autosomal) provide one of the most reliable avenues to Trace African Roots. Even more so when combined with well-interpreted admixture analysis. Fortunately an ever increasing number of Africans, or better yet African migrants and their children, are taking DNA tests. All of them potential DNA cousins for Afro-descendants to get in touch with and establish meaningful contact. Representing unique opportunities to learn more about your specific African lineage! Still many people are having trouble to find their African DNA matches while others remain stuck by only focusing on a few ones. Missing out on a great occasion to utilize their complete overview of highly informative African DNA matches!

I am therefore pleased to offer a service whereby I will scan and filter all of your matches on Ancestry.com in order to find your African DNA cousins! Because I am using an automated process in principle I should be able to zoom into all of your “100% African” DNA matches. Including those profiles without African names or family tree! Which from my experience is actually the case for a majority of native Africans on Ancestry.com. Furthermore I will analyze the most likely background of your African DNA matches. I will send you a full overview of all your matches, incl. clickable links to their profiles, within a Excel file. The African matches will be listed in a separate tab.

Sample Report (Excel file) 

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Excel File

Example of an Excel file containing all African DNA matches I managed to find for someone. Because this person also tested both of her parents I was able to establish if these matches were IBD: Identical By Descent. In other words shared matches with either mother or father. Very useful for placing certain types of African lineage within your family tree. For privacy reasons I have cut out the names of the DNA matches, which normally appear in column B.

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In addition to this basic overview in Excel I can also create a more elaborate PDF report. This will again include a full overview of your African DNA matches, incl. clickable links to their profiles. As well as plausible backgrounds indicated. Due to format it might be more convenient viewing than the Excel file. Furthermore it will include a map showing the most likely locations of your African matches.

In the main part of this PDF report I will also provide a thorough analysis of your regional admixture results. Correlating your African DNA matches with your ethnicity estimates on AncestryDNA. Whenever possible I can compare your regional results with my various survey findings over the years. Relevant to your specific nationality or Afro-Diasporan background. This also includes any 23andme results you might have. Knowing your relative position might give you extra insight. Plus I will provide links for suggested further reading. Naturally all done on a best effort basis.

Sample Report (PDF file) 

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These are a few pages (out of 9) of an African DNA Matches Report (PDF file) I have sent out to someone, along with an Excel file. Just in order to give a sample of what to expect. For privacy reasons I have left out the complete name details in the screenshots.  Obviously the number of African matches will vary for each person tested. No guarantees given.***

This service therefore has two versions: basic (Excel file) or elaborate (PDF file + Excel file).

  • Basic: Excel file containing all your DNA matches on Ancestry, sortable on shared DNA (cM), profile name and ethnicity. With African DNA matches (plausible background indicated) being mentioned in a separate tab, incl. clickable links to their profiles on Ancestry. Most convenient viewing on either Desktop PC or laptop.
  • Elaborate: Analysis of your African DNA matches & regional admixture (PDF file), incl. clickable links to the profiles of your African matches, plausible background of these African matches; map showing the location of these matches; my personal interpretation of how your African breakdown on AncestryDNA correlates with your African DNA matches, incl. relevant context and links for further study. Should be conveniently viewable also on your mobile phone. The basic Excel file will be sent to you as well.

Afterwards, on request, I can also provide assistance with follow-up research.

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Interested? 

This will be a paid service in order to compensate for my time spent in producing your African DNA Matches Report. As well as sharing my experience which I have built up in the last ten years or so. Customizing my knowledge for your personal benefit. I will however be making use of a scanning & filtering method which you can still access for free and try out for yourself as well:

In order to receive your personal African DNA Matches Report please send me a message in the comment box below. After receipt I will send you further instructions. Please clearly indicate if you are interested in the:

  • Basic option: Excel file ($30)
  • Elaborate option: PDF + Excel files ($60)

I will only handle requests which have been paid in advance by way of Paypal! Multiple orders will receive a discount. Whenever you have tested one or both of your parents it is highly recommended to scan their matches as well.

On request I can also scan for non-African DNA matches (Asian, European-American, Native American, Jewish etc.) and provide a separate overview for them. As this might be helpful in learning more about any specific non-African family line you are curious about. For example it might be useful for tracking down slave-owning families whose descendants might have useful information about your enslaved ancestors.

UPDATE: 01-09-2020

Due to the recent deletion of smaller matches (6cM – 8cM) on Ancestry the expected number of African matches I will be able to find is smaller than it used to be. However based on my experiences sofar I do think I should be able to find at least several African matches for most people. Otherwise disclaimer 3 will apply.  Because of the increased threshold (>8cM) these remaining African matches will be more reliable either way. For more details see also:

Disclaimers 

1). For the time being this service will be limited to people who have tested with  Ancestry.com only.  In the future I might expand this service however and also take into account other DNA testing companies as well as apply more advanced genetic genealogical tools.

2). I will analyse and single out any potentially African DNA matches on a best effort basis. It will be a snapshot of your DNA matches at the time when I will perform the scanning. It might be possible that you might yet have more African matches. My African DNA Matches Report will not pretend to be a final overview of your African DNA matches. And it should therefore also not be seen as such. Obviously it does also NOT claim in any way to reflect your entire multi-layered African lineage!

3). No guarantees given about the number of African matches. Also no refund options. Unless I am not able to find any African matches at all. In this case you may choose either for a refund. Or alternatively I will rescan your matches on a quarterly basis (during 1 year) until I do find African matches.

4). I will mention a speculative background for your African matches. But this will mostly be an educated guess on my part. I will be going by birth locations, plausible ethnic regional combinations, surnames and other relevant profile details. In case I find actual confirmation in the profile details of the match I will indicate this. In other cases you will have to find out for yourself (by contacting the matches and/or checking their profiles) what their true background is.

5). Any needed follow-up research is your own responsibility. Ordering the African DNA Matches Report entitles you to receive an analysis of your African DNA matches on Ancestry (PDF file) as well as an Excel file containing all your DNA matches on Ancestry. Any additional consulting on my part is not included. Upon request I can however offer further assistance.

6).  Admixture analysis can be very valuable, given proper interpretation. However the labeling of ancestral regions used in DNA testing should never be taken too literally! Rather consider these regions to be indicative proxies. Also taking into consideration surrounding countries, ancient migrations and inter-ethnic unions. (see this link for more discussion)

7).  Not all your African matches will be “identical by descent” (IBD). Especially the smaller-sized matches might often be false positives or “identical by state” (IBS) (see this useful chart).

8).  Ancestry’s customer database is not perfectly representative of all your possible African lineage. Certain African nationalities will be over-represented or rather under-represented due to their relative migration presence in the US, Canada, Europe or other places where the AncestryDNA test was purchased. (see this graph for biggest groups in USA in 2015).

9).  Each individual African DNA match will usually only be informative of one single family line out of potentially hundreds others! Such a finding might be very valuable in itself but can never give you a total overview of your complete ancestry as given in proxy by Ancestry’s ethnicity estimates. (see this article for more discussion)

10).  There might be a higher likelihood of your African DNA matches reflecting mutual ancestors from the early 1800’s and late 1700’s. While there might be a built-in bias (due to the matching threshold) against African ancestry which is to be traced back to the early 1700’s, 1600’s or even 1500’s.

11). Your mutual ancestor may not per se have been of the same ethnic background as your match. The occurrence of inter-ethnic mixing within African societies and also among your own African ancestors is often underestimated.

12).  My attempts to correlate your African matches with your admixture results are again not intended to be seen as conclusive or set in stone! They will mostly reflect my own reasoning. Although I do provide relevant background information. Any future new findings/insights might obviously alter my statements.

Nonetheless I firmly believe that correlating (regional) admixture analysis with DNA matches can be rewarding and reinforcing in many cases. Both aspects of genetic genealogy obviously have their own shortcomings. But admixture results can reveal insightful ancestral connections even when DNA matches are not (yet) available and vice versa. Regional admixture may also enable the identification of a plausible background of ones DNA matches. Your admixture results can be helpful as well to gauge how your DNA matches relate with actual ancestral proportions. While DNA matches may serve to corroborate distinctive ethnic/regional lineage detected by your admixture results. As always it pays to use scrutiny and discretion in stead of jumping to conclusions or putting all your eggs in just one basket!

Recommended reading

12 thoughts on “African DNA Matches

  1. I’ve been researching my paternal genealogy for a few years now and have made break through after breakthrough until I hit a brick wall at 1780. Being a descendant of enslaved Africans has made it difficult to find information regarding my ancestors past that point, that is the reason I turned to DNA research! Thanks to Ancestry and the help of Fonte Felipe I’ve been able to connect with several distant African cousins and I couldn’t be more ecstatic! His process was easy, quick and very thorough! I would recommend his service to EVERYONE!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m beyond satisfied with the results of the DNA Matches report I received. I have always been intrigued in my roots and had been wondering how I could gain more context on my ancestry. Through my studies I found this site and the African DNA Matches service. I had way more African matches than I expected, and I am very intrigued by the report. Through this service I have gained much more knowledge on my roots and possible origins of my ancestors. Thanks Fonte!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very much appreciative of your hard-work and insight you have provided to the Diaspora with your blog. Thank you for the African Dna Report your service has done for my parents and I. Fonte Felipe your expertise has given me the possible origins in some of my family lines.

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  4. Fonte Felipe’s service was invaluable in analyzing my Ancestry.com DNA results. He finished the report in a timely manner and was always prompt in communicating. I recommend the African DNA Matches report for anyone who is interested in learning more about their African heritage.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If anyone is really wanting to find actual African connections that go past the Ethnicity Estimates, I highly suggest that you do this. I purchased this service and it has definitely been an eye opener! Money well spent!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a decades long researcher who has always been interested in my African ancestry, I want to thank Brother Fonte for his expert assistance. His work is unmatched. Please consider obtaining these reports if you want to know more about yourself, your origins and your identity. While the names of my ancestors may be ultimately be lost, I am elated that I can connect with several people who share African ancestry with me and my family. You will receive reports that outline probable countries of origin and the names of relatives. There is no way I could’ve done this myself!! Please give this gift to yourself and your family. Thank you Brother Fonte!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very excited to receive my report. Thank you Fonte Felipe, I have followed your work for a while and now I believe I have the clues to make new genealogical connections.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Fonte. What is the likelihood of a 10.8 cm match being truly related to someone as opposed to IBS. My mother matched with a Ghanian with an Akan background. While her mother does not match to him (my grandfather is deceased) nor I, my mother does show up with a very high Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone category on 23andme (higher than her Nigerian). We are African Americans with roots in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia.

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    • Generally speaking the odds of it being IBD should be pretty high. Possibly over 90%. But even so it could still be IBS in a few cases. See for example this blog post:

      https://thegeneticgenealogist.com/2017/01/06/the-danger-of-distant-matches/

      I take it this is on 23andme? If so you can investigate the matches your mother might have in common with this Ghanaian. To be found under the button “Find Relatives in common”. If there are indeed any shared matches showing up see if any of these shared matches triangulate on the same DNA segment (shared DNA = Yes). If so, by comparing family trees with the other matches who also have the Ghanaian match in common you might possibly be able to zoom into an earliest family line associated with this Ghanaian match.

      Like

      • Hello Felipe,

        This is actually on Gedmatch. This person uploaded theirs from MyHeritage while my mom uploaded hers from 23andme. Thanks I will check out the link! On Ancestry, her mother shows up only 1 percent Ghana (though with significant Mali) but I have a high amount of Ghana (especially before the Ancestry update) and almost as high as my mother on 23andme. My father has less Ghana than me, though significant. Thus, I know that my maternal grandfather would have tested heavily Ghana on Ancestry and 23andme, based on the fact I my mother has a high amount (despite her mother being very low in Ghana although having several Sierra Leonean matches).
        I don’t have close relatives on my grandfather’s side who have taken the test to confirm whether this match is IBD (though I am working on getting some tested). I feel reasonable confident though given the CM.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Fonte I also wanted to ask if you could help me learn about this person’s background. They are an African match to my friend. Their African match’s 2020 Ancestry results are 37 percent Mali, 9 percent Benin/Togo, and 54 percent Ghana/Ivory Coast. Their first name is Udu, but I couldn’t find their origin. The last name is by far the most common in Liberia, but, to a lesser extent, found in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Togo. What do you think? Is this typical for someone from Liberia.

        Liked by 1 person

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