African Results

I have always believed when it comes to DNA testing and “admixture” predictions (a.k.a. BGA or biogeographical testing) the proof of the pudding is when people who are “100%” from one particular ethnic background take the test. See how well their ancestry is being predicted or described and that already tells you a lot what you can expect for yourself 😉

On this page you can find the AncestryDNA results for Africans with confirmed ethnic background(s) within Africa. Unlike for Afro-Diasporans in the Americas or elsewhere these results can therefore be verified with known genealogy. This should be insightful on how reliable/predictive the various AncestryDNA regions can be and also how they might be interpreted.

Some results might appear to be “off” at first look for those not accustomed to how AncestryDNA or DNA testing in general works. Therefore please keep in mind the following disclaimers (for a more detailed discussion see the AncestryDNA Regions page):

  • DON’T take the labeling of the regions too literally. The regional scores merely signal close genetic similarity to samples taken from the countries/regions after which they get named. They are not per se indicative of actual recent origins from those countries/regions. They could also imply very ancient ancestral connections (going back hundreds or even thousands of years) due to either migrations or shared origins.
  •  AncestryDNA is NOT meant to be taken as anything definite or final nor is it meant to be a substitute for your family tree. Rather it may be seen as a valuable starting point for exploring how your ancestry could be described regionally speaking.

The number of Africans on AncestryDNA used to be small but fortunately it has been increasing rapidly. Below some of their results are being featured. You can also see their breakdown in my spreadsheet via these links:

For other African AncestryDNA results see these pages:



WA (LG)a


GH (4x)


LIB (4x)






compil CSA3




Compil NEA



122 thoughts on “African Results

  1. Hey I’m Kenyan and waiting for my results to come in the next 1-2 weeks atleast thats what ancestry said any ways I’m 1/4 kikuyu 1/4 Swahili 1/4 Mijikenda/digo and apparently 1/16 south asian on my 2nd kikuyu side and maybe even 1/64 Yemenese on my Digo side because my grandfather looks full blown Afro/Arab and my grandmothers father had mixed race features and she also admitted that he was half British or south asian so theres that :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,

    Nice work. I took the test on two years ago and scored 100% for Africa. I am west African myself and North Africa and Senegal are the only regions in Africa where I scored 0%. I noticed that dna.ancestry regularly update my matches. I now have a 4th cousin which is great, but the most surprising is that I now have three white cousins, who only have Africa North as a trace region in Africa. I am so confused since North Africa does not even shows as a trace region in my results. I really don’t know what to think anymore about these results…


    • Hello J, thanks for your comment! Would you mind sharing your complete results as well as your ethnic background/nationality? I am always very much interested in seeing the results of Africans as i find them very educational.

      As for your white cousins, that’s intriguing indeed! Personal DNA testing as well as DNA studies are revealing that quite a few white Americans as well as white Latin Americans have some minor African DNA and are not 100% genetically European. In many cases these small African %’s might be traced back to one single distant African ancestor from many generations ago i imagine. So in that way it might be possible indeed for you find some white matches. Judging the validity of your own matches might be tricky though given what you say. Because of socalled IBS matches your predicted DNA cousins might not always be the “real deal” but rather false positives. These articles have more info:

      Identical by descent (IBD) versus Identical by state (IBS) matches
      Goodbye False Positives! AncestryDNA Updates its Matching Algorithm

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey I wanted to kno if u can interpret my results. Iam 41% Nigerian
    14%ivory coast
    2%benin Togo
    1% hunter
    2% southeast bantu
    I kno I’m Igbo but I think I’m Mande and Yoruba too. Prob a bit Fula. Plz help.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lavade, are you African American?

      If so you might find this blogpost useful, it provides an analysis of 350 African American AncestryDNA results:

      It is important to realize that these AncestryDNA results will not function as some sort of intra-African blood quantum. Trying to figure out any ethnic connections will be highly speculative and fraught with easily overlooked complexities. If you lower your expectation level you can still get some valuable clues though about where your African ancestors were located in a regional framework. Admittedly quite sketchy but still not to be dismissed either as long as you are aware of its inherent limitations. I find that you can get more plausible answers by researching which ethnic groups were most frequently documented in historical sources for whichever place your family’s from (not only just 2 or 3 generations ago but rather 200-500 years ago). Also additional clues from other DNA testing results (such as haplogroups or DNA cousins) might provide further insights.


  4. Hello FonteFelipe, I have my results already here on this page, I am the IVC person. Concerning the 3 white matches, after reading your links, they may be false positive matches I believe. The single african region they had was North Africa, as I mentioned previously. Also, North Africa was in these 3 people’s trace region. I have no North Africa on , so I am surely not related to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find african results very interesting….I hope you will be able to find results from Guinea and Burkina Faso. I think people from these two countries may have high IVC/GH and high Mali as well. Hopefully they are working on providing more precisions on the IVC/GH region, which include origins from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and even Southern Guinea (the forest region), which is mostly comprised of Southern Mande speaking groups (Kpelle/Guerze, Dan/Gio/Yacouba, Mano, Kissi, and Toma). The girl on top mentioned in a comment that her parents are Asante from Kumasi. Here is a girl who is mostly Yoruba and Urhobo and she scored 72% Nigeria and 25% Benin/Togo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Salut J.! Maintenant je me souviens de toi 😉 You are absolutely right about African DNA results being highly interesting! I find it very regrettable that some people seem to think DNA testing is only worthwhile for finding out about racial admixture… When really it is about learning about your ancestors and connecting with your DNA cousins which in my opinion can never be boring. Also if your ancestors happen to have been all from the same place and all from the same ethnic group it will still be interesting to have confirmation!

      Personally i find homogenous results just as “cool” as very diverse ones. I don’t place higher value on having “exotic” ancestry even when it can be interesting of course. In fact even people who might find out that they are 100% of a particular background might still have more varied origins if you go back in time far enough. Ethnic groups did not pop out of the blue but are rather the result of ancient fusions and intermixing of previous ethnicities. Also even the most isolated groups could still be absorbing “new blood” every now and then by assimilating outsiders.

      Actually many Africans will find out that their DNA results will reflect a family history of migrations and inter-ethnic unions to varying degree. Both recent ones and more ancient ones (beyond family recollection or even beyond oral traditions). Which will usually lead to several regions being featured in their breakdown. Africans doing a DNA test might find out that they have close ancestral ties to neighbouring ethnic groups but even at times with African ethnic groups which are geographically far removed from their own family location.

      Furthermore they will learn about how they might have DNA cousins across the Afro-Diaspora. Many of whom will be very eager to get in contact to learn more of their shared heritage. This is what i find amazing about this whole DNA testing experience that it’s able to bring people together in understanding how we all might have distinct backgrounds but still be interrelated in unexpected ways as well!

      Would be great indeed to see a result from Mali, Guinea or Burkina Faso as well! It should be very insightful. Hopefully soon. More Africans seem to be testing with Ancestry these days. Have you see these videos yet? The half Ghanaian, half Australian result is again in support of how the “Ivory Coast/Ghana” region can be very predictive. The Gambian result is also very fascinating. I suspect she might have a Krio/Aku family line like yourself which would explain the minor “Benin/Togo”. The last video is done by a woman from Cameroon (Babanki/Kedjom). She scores a whopping 97% for the Cameroon/Congo region! Still doesn’t mean per se that she could not have mixed origins (within Africa) further down the line (the GedMatch calculators will be able to disentangle these more ancient components), but it does imply her DNA is a very near exact match to the Cameroonian samples used by Ancestry.



  6. I’m African American and from Louisiana. I ended up with 58% African. 23% Nigeria, 22 % Mali, and 13% went to 7 African regions. I believe you stated this is not common for African Americans. My brother likes to believe we are descendent of Mansa Musa because of the amount of Mali.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Jen, 22% Mali is indeed far above average. Even when quite a considerable number of AA’s do score similar amounts. Interestingly especially people from Louisiana i have surveyed seem to score high amounts of Mali. Are both of your parents from Louisiana, as well as all 4 grandparents etc.? I’m planning to do a separate blogpage on Louisiana results shortly.Here’s a link to the results i have collected sofar:

      Spreadsheet with AncestryDNA results from Louisiana


  7. Like your work on this blog – I’m African Yoruba (Nigerian) Mother and Krio (Sierra Leonean) Father I’ll share my results with you.

    It’s quite a mix – I think the Sierra Leone omission is due to the fact that a lot of the genes there are probably represented by surrounding areas especially in the case of the Krios who are returnees from the Americas. I was surprised that I had DNA from so many regions but after seeing your blog and seeing it’s a fairly common occurrence I was definitely more informed your spreadsheet on African DNA had one entry (member) that was close to mine DNA distribution which was also a surprise.

    I’m Lyndon Fasanya an African living and born in the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lyndon, thanks alot for your comment as well as sharing your results! If you are okay with it i would also really appreciate seeing the matches you received on AncestryDNA. You can share these by sending me an invite (FonteFelipe) by way of this link (choose “share full DNA results”):

      That’s a fascinating mix indeed! From the looks of it i’m guessing you might actually also have some Yoruba ancestry by way of your Krio father. It is known that the Yoruba were among the most numerous socalled African Recaptives who arrived in Freetown. Furthermore if you add up socalled Benin/Togo + Nigeria it’s 83%. Which means that at least 33% of it was inherited by way of your father. This is just an educated guess though 😉 Based on the assumption your mother would have given you 50% of your DNA compised exclusively of Benin/Togo + Nigeria. Actually Nigerians do show other regions as well in addition but usually only trace amounts of it or <10%. See also these blogs:

      Nigerian AncestryDNA results
      Krio from Sierra Leone: Afro-Diasporans with a twist?

      P.s. i am preparing a separate section devoted only to West African AncestryDNA results, it will feature a few more Sierra Leonean results, so keep an eye out on that!


  8. I’m an African American female from South Carolina. I ended up with:
    Africa 91%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana 41%
    Cameroon/Congo 22%
    Senegal 15%
    Benin/Togo 6%
    Trace Regions 7%
    Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers 3%
    Mali 2%
    Nigeria 1%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu < 1%

    Initially i was excited to get my results but not I am just confused. Could you help me to better understand what all of this means?


    • Hello E.

      AncestryDNA’s socalled “Ethnicty Estimates” can provide very valuable insight but only within a (sketchy) regional framework. It is important to realize that these AncestryDNA results will not function as some sort of intra-African blood quantum. Trying to figure out any ethnic connections will be highly speculative and fraught with easily overlooked complexities. You will need additional context/info to pinpoint any specific ethnic details or also combine with other DNA results, especially any African matches you might have.

      Your results are firstmost showing that you are a fusion of several ethnic/regional origins within Africa (and also non-African ones). As is the case for practically all African Americans. Who are all individually descended from most likely dozens if not hundreds of African born ancestors who were forcibly relocated to the US. Which makes perfect sense given the history of African Americans as a population group within its own right. What is striking especially is the great deal of mobility as well as blending of various African ethnic groups which must have taken place across the generations within the USA. This tends to complicate getting a clearer picture however it is also a fundamental part of the African American experience. For more details see also:

      African American AncestryDNA results
      Fictional Family Tree incl. African Born Ancestors

      Having said all that i think when you lower your expectation level your biggest regions will probably be most informative for you to find out about your predominant African lineages. Although in fact also the smaller regions may be providing valuable clues. The most striking part of your breakdown is of course the 41% socalled “Ivory Coast/Ghana’ this represents almost half of your total African ancestry (41/91=45%)! This gives your breakdown a more pronounced regional focus than the usually more fragmented standard. Your relative “Ivory Coast/Ghana” score (45%) is far above the “Ivory Coast/Ghana” average for African Americans (19,5%). I only observed a few similarly high scores for this region among my African American sample group (n=350). You would be among the top 10 of my sample group with the highest “Ivory Coast/Ghana” contribution. So that’s a significant finding in itself.

      Although this region is very predictive of Akan origins from Ghana it is actually also potentially describing origins from Liberia or even Sierra Leone! So don’t take it as anything final yet. Actually you may have inherited this sizeable chunk of your DNA from most likely dozens of individual African born ancestors who had offspring in the USA. Unless you happen to have an African parent or grand parent ofcourse. Otherwise it’s not like this is to be traced back to just one single ancestral location or just one single ethnic group. As in fact there may have been several ones combined in that 41% score.

      If you read through my AncestryDNA section you will learn more on how to possibly interpret your other regional scores. I intend to do a separate section on South Carolina AncestryDNA results eventually as well. So keep an eye out on that too.


  9. I was wondering if you could help me decipher my results? I’m an African American female.

    Cameroon/Congo: 35%
    Ivory Coast Ghaha: 21%
    Senegal: 15%
    Benin/Togo: 12%

    Trace African regions:
    Mali 3%
    African Southeastern Bantu: 2%
    Nigeria: 2%

    Asia South: 1%

    I wanted to include Europe, because of the connections I’ve learned about with Africa —
    Iberian Peninsula: 3%
    Scandinavia: 2%
    Finland/NW Russia: 1%
    Europe East <1%
    Ireland <1%

    West Asia: 1%

    Thank you to anyone that responds!


    • Hello aat04c,

      The reply i gave just above your comment on Dec 31st will also apply to you.
      Your own primary region, the socalled “Cameroon/Congo” region is ambigious because it may suggest a wide array of possible ethnic origins. From not only Cameroon and Congo but also surrounding countries. This also includes Nigeria in fact, but more so restricted to southeastern Nigeria (Igbo’s, Ijaw, Efik etc.). Otherwise based on slave trade statistics i’m assuming it will firstmost signal Central African origins and in many cases from the Bakongo people specifically.

      Especially in cases such as your self where Cameroon/Congo is convincingly reported as biggest region i would assume there is a very high likelyhood indeed that it will be Central African (Congo, Angola) rather than Biafran (Cameroon, eastern Nigeria). You will need to have additional research findings and/or DNA results though to zoom in to such a level. In particular finding DNA cousins will be very helpful (even when they will not fill in all the missing pieces).


  10. Hi Fonte, I hope all is well :). Thank you for your reply provided on top. I have seen the videos, and these people results look very consistent with their origins. I have a new cousin on ancestry, she is 3/4 Ghanaian from the volta region and 1/4 Togolese, her main regions are Benin/Togo and IVC/Ghana, and her traces Nigeria, Cam/Congo, and Senegal. I was wondering if you could please holla back if you get any more West African results. I have been using a few calculators on Gedmatch and depending on the calculators, these are the 10 recurrent populations I have the closest ties with (from my observations): Igbo, Mandinka, Hausa, Bambaran, Brong, Bamoun, Yoruba, Esan, and Kaba. I expected the Brong to be on top for the calculators where they are included (Punt K8, Punt K15, MLDP K23b, Dodecad V3, and HarrapaW) since I am predominantly Akan, however, it is never the case. Please see below my results from the following calculators:

    PuntDNAL K8 African only Oracle results

    #-Population Percent
    1-W_Benue_Congo 65.33
    2-E_Benue_Congo 18.73
    3-Nilo_Saharan 6.11
    4-Ubangian_Congo 4
    5-Omotic 2.31
    6-Western_Semitic 1.5
    7-Southern_HG 1.32
    8-Eastern_HG 0.68

    Single Population Sharing:

    # Population (source) Distance
    1 Nigeria_Igbo 6.3
    2 Mali_Mandinka 6.37
    3 Nigeria_Yoruba 8.74
    4 Ghana_Brong 9.08
    5 Mali_Bambaran 9.89
    6 Nigeria_Hausa 11.32
    7 Chad_Kaba 13.5
    8 Cameroon_Bamoun 18.24
    9 DRC_Kongo 19.28
    10 Cameroon_Mada 25.18

    PuntDNAL K15

    # Population Percent
    1 W_African 85.28
    2 Wht_Nile_River 8.44
    3 S_African 4.88
    4 Omo_River 0.67
    5 Horn_Of_Africa 0.49
    6 Oceanian 0.24

    # Population (source) Distance
    1 Hausa 4.1
    2 Bamoun 4.94
    3 Bambaran 5.14
    4 Igbo 5.35
    5 Brong 8.21
    6 Mandinka 10.91
    7 African_American 13.86
    8 Yoruban 13.94
    9 NE_Bantu 17.06
    10 Luhya 23.3


    # Population (source) Distance
    1 mandenka (hgdp) 3.9
    2 hausa (henn2012) 4.02
    3 bamoun (henn2012) 4.83
    4 igbo (henn2012) 5
    5 bambaran (xing) 6.02
    6 brong (henn2012) 6.59
    7 dogon (xing) 7.86
    8 african-caribbean (1000genomes) 8.27
    9 kongo (henn2012) 8.79
    10 yoruba (hgdp) 8.8

    Dodecad V3

    # Population (source) Distance
    1 Igbo (Henn) 1.69
    2 Brong (Henn) 3.05
    3 Bamoun (Henn) 3.27
    4 Hausa (Henn) 4.05
    5 Bambaran (Xing) 5.17
    6 Kongo (Henn) 5.71
    7 Kaba (Henn) 7.25
    8 Fang (Henn) 7.74
    9 Dogon (Xing) 7.92
    10 Yoruba (Henn) 8.84


    • Hey J.

      I just added a new result from Ghana, most likely Akan! That makes 8 Ghanaian results i have in my survey right now. I also have 2 Ivorians and 6 Liberians. I am still preparing a new page where i will post their screenshots eventually. Funny thing is that their group averages for the socalled “Ivory Coast/Ghana” region are nearly equal! Around 80%, it’s mostly the secondary regions which make each nationality more recognizable.

      See also this link for a full overview:

      About your gedmatch results perhaps it is your minor non-Akan lineage which is causing you to shift away from the expected Brong. But to be frank i have never been much impressed by these seemingly very specific ethnic breakdowns on Gedmatch. I think it creates a false impression of accuracy when in fact the science is not there at all to reliably make this kind of very specific ethnic predictions. Especially for Afro-Diasporans who will not be able to countercheck, as you can, this can be highly confusing and often also misleading.


      • Awesome!!!!! Thank you for your reply Fonte and for the link. It is cool to see more results from the LIB-IVC-GH, I am trying to convince more people especially from Guinea and Burkina Faso to do the test, but it ain’t easy cause generally when you talk to Africans about these DNA tests they think it is useless and a waste of money cause they already know where they come from, also they think it is always the same regions, hopefully Ancestry.DNA will get more specific with the regions. Je prend les resultats de Gedmatch avec des pincettes lol because they don’t make great sense to me…..Anyways I found 2 new results as well (1 IVC and 1 Liberia), I don’t know if they are already among the results you found but the Ivorian girl has her two parents from the Guere ethnic group (called Krahn in Liberia) they belong to the Kru family, she scored 80% IVC/GH, 8% Mali, 7% Benin/Togo….The Liberian guy is Kpelle and Kru and scored 91% IVC/GH, 3% SouthHuntGath…For some reason I think western Ivorian may have more Mali in them than the Akan…Please see the videos below

        100% African from Ivory Coast

        100% African from Liberia

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hello! Could you help deciphering my results as well? My family is from the Midwest as far back as I know (Mississippi, Kentucky and Ohio). Our family is very diverse as far as skin tones, hair types, etc. and I have the same lighter tone and curly hair as my mom, who had completely different results:

    72% African
    56% Nigeria
    6% Ivory Coast/Ghana

    27% European
    22% Great Britain

    1% Pacific Islander

    My mom is almost 20% Native American, over 50% European etc. I do know DNA is selective but I am very curious about how to interpret this. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jdaden,

      Those are indeed very intriguing results. Your “Nigeria” score is exceptionally high! I must have seen over 1000 African American results by now. But sofar i have only come across one other AA result who scored higher (57%). But relatively speaking your Nigeria contribution would still be higher (56/72=77%!). Even more amazing is that actually many Nigerian results i have seen scored below 56%. See also this page:

      Your African DNA therefore seems to be a very good match for the 67 Nigerian samples AncestryDNA is using to determine their estimates. Eventhough an update of their reference populations might very well change your breakdown, i think it’s already safe to assume that you are indeed primarily and probably also predominantly of Nigerian descent!

      I would love to view your complete results. That way i can give you a more detailed assessment and also give you more input on your mother’s results. Please send me an invite to share your ethnicity estimates with me (FonteFelipe) by way of this link (choose “share full DNA results”):


    • Hey Jdaden, thanks a lot for sharing your results, truly appreciate it!
      I have been going through all of your 106 pages of DNA matches to get more clues on your origins. Of course there’s only that much that can be confirmed at this very preliminary stage. So take what follows just as my 2 cents and nothing final 😉

      First of all i had a look at your closest DNA matches (up to third cousins). I found it very interesting that for 5 out of 7 Nigeria was also reported as biggest African region. This seems to imply that across your family Nigerian origins are indeed very substantial and it’s not just some fluke that it turned up so high in your own DNA.

      I then did a search on birth location to see if your Midwest family origins are ultimately more so linked with Virginia than with South Carolina. Of course this search is only based on very imperfect information, as not everyone fills in their family tree and i obviously also didn’t check to which degree any of your matches would have either VA or SC origins etc etc. Still interestingly i got 25 pages when performing a search for Virginia and 17 pages when doing a search for South Carolina. Historically this doesn’t seem that surprising as i believe most Midwest settlers came from Virginia or New England rather than SC. But also genetically speaking it makes a lot of sense given your exceptionally high Nigeria score. Which seems very much in line with the slave trade patterns of Virginia which were heavily connected with the Bight of Biafra. See also this blog post of mine:

      The Igbo Connection for Virginia & Virginia-Descendants

      I also looked for any African matches. I found one who is most likely Nigerian and another one who is at least half Liberian. I will PM their names to you. If you contact the Nigeria match it might give you more clues about the ethnic specifics of your 56% Nigeria score. Although i would advise you to be very careful and not to jump to conclusions. Afterall your Nigerian match might himself also be ethnically mixed (if not recently than perhaps several generations ago and even beyond family recollection) So your MRCA (most recent common ancestor) will not automatically be of the same ethnic background as your DNA match. Also it is very likely that your 56% Nigeria score includes several ethnic groups from Nigeria and not just one. Afterall neither of your parents is fully Nigerian rather this portion of your DNA is to be traced back to the 1700’s, possibly even to the late 1600’s. Which means that you probably have atleast dozens of individual Nigerian ancestors who were taken to the US. Many of them might have belonged to the same ethnic group, Igbo origins seems very likely indeed. But again not all of them would have been.

      The Liberian match is also very interesting as it quite likely connects to your 6% socalled “Ivory Coast/Ghana” score. As i have been mentioning on this page this region is actually also very commonly reported for Liberians. I have seen 6 Liberian results by now and their groupaverage for “Ivory Coast/Ghana’ is 81%, which is actually a bit higher than the group average of 7 Ghanaians (78%)!


  12. Hi, my results were Ghana 71%, Nigeria 13%, Benin/Togo 5%, Cameroon/Congo 2%, Mali2%, Senegal 1%, Eurasia 6%. I konw mother is from Ghana, possibly she accounts for 50% of the Ghana bit. My father is Caribbean, so I assume he is part Ghana perhaps 20-22%, and part Nigeria (13%, 5%, 2%, plus the Eurasian 6%). If his Nigerian bit is Nigeria 13%, Benin/Togo 5% and Cameroon/Congo 2%, which tribe would you say that this was from?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment! That’s a really high Ivory Coast/Ghana score but not surprising indeed given that your mother is from Ghana herself. Do you intend to test your mother as well? That might not only be interesting for her and yourself but it will also be very helpful in increasing the chances for other Afro-Diasporans to learn more about their heritage by getting matched with your mother.

      You might be interested to compare with another person who’s also half Ghanaian like yourself and half AA. She scored 60% “Ivory Coast/Ghana”. You can see her breakdown via this link.

      The reply i gave her actually also applies to your case. That ~20% Ivory Coast/Ghana from your father’s side is very close to what i found to be average for the West Indians i have surveyed sofar. To cover all grounds it might still also include ancestral connections with either Liberia or Sierra Leone. But i think there is a high likelyhood that there might also be Akan lineage included. That part of your DNA will afterall be the genetical sum inheritance of several ancestors who lived mostly in the 1700’s (unless your father also happens to have a relatively recent Ghanaian connection).

      Now getting back to your question about your 13% Nigeria + 5% Benin/Togo + 2% Cameroon/Congo scores. You seem to be making an assumption that somehow this part of your DNA would be traceable to just one single ethnic group from within Nigeria. It is indeed true that such a regional combination is very commonly reported for Nigerians who take the AncestryDNA test (see this page) However from what i have seen sofar this combo could describe any given ethnic group from southern Nigeria!. Not just the Igbo and Yoruba, but also the Bini/Edo, the Urhobo and the Efik , just to name a few of the many more ethnic groups residing in southern Nigeria. The current AncestryDNA format is therefore not suitable to zoom into close ethnic detail, you will have to look for Nigerian DNA matches to get more confirmation.

      Also i think that it is good to keep in mind that on your Caribbean side your Africanborn ancestors will most likely number in the dozens if not over a hundred and mostly to be traced back to the 1700’s but possibly also to the 1600’s. This means that each single ancestor would have given you a DNA inheritance of about let’s say on average 1%. It could be more or less in individual cases but certainly not more than 5%, unless you’re dealing with an ancestor who arrived in the Caribbean during the late 1800’s. This stands in great contrast to the genetical contribution of 50% from your mother. But it is crucial to grasp the difference.

      It will therefore be practically impossible that your 13% Nigeria + 5% Benin/Togo + 2% Cameroon/Congo scores can be traced back to 1 single ancestor (unless you have very recent African migrant ancestry on your father’s side as well). Instead it will represent at least 10-20 individual African-born ancestors going up to 20-30 separate persons perhaps. It is not unreasonable to assume that many of them would have belonged to the same ethnic group or at least closely related ones. However i would certainly not rule out the possibility that also other types of ethnic origin might be included in addition and also outside of Nigeria’s borders.


      • Hi. I’m 41% Nigerian, 24% Cameroon/Congo Bantu, 17% Mali, 9% Benin/Togo.
        Could these results link back to a specific tribe?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Jerome,

          What is your background? In case you’re either African American, West Indian or any other part of the Afro-Diaspora then it is practically a given that you will be descended from multiple ethnic groups and also from multiple regions across mainly Western & Central Africa. Keep in mind that tracing back your roots to the 1700’s your total number of dislocated African-born ancestors will easily reach 100 and possibly even several hundreds! See also:

          Fictional Family Tree incl. African Born Ancestors

          AncestryDNA’s socalled “Ethnicty Estimates” can provide very valuable insight but only within a (sketchy) regional framework. Each particular updated version to be judged on its own terms though. These estimates are NOT intended to pinpoint actual ethnic lineage. You will need additional context/info to pinpoint any specific ethnic details or also combine with other DNA results, especially any African matches you might have. See also:


  13. My father’s results are kind of mixed up and I need help interpreting them.

    85% African
    Benin/Togo 27%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana 16%
    Cameroon/Congo 14%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu 12%
    Trace Regions
    Mali 4%
    Africa South-Central Hunter-Gathers 2%
    Nigeria 1%


    • Hello Joseph,

      I take it you are African American? If so this kind of mixed breakdown is actually very standard. It just means that your dozens if not over a 100 African-born ancestors from mainly the 1700’s and possibly also 1600’s and early 1800’s were from many different places and intermingled across the generations. A melting pot if you like.

      For more tips on how to interpret see this previous comment which has links to all relevant blogposts i did. Especially do not forget to check out this article:

      Is “Benin/Togo” really pinpointing origins from within Benin’s borders?


  14. Thanks for you response. I would like to ask one mopre question. You mentioned in one post that the results for Nigerians are as follows: all have some Nigeria, Igbo tend to have more Cameroon Congo, Yoruba more Benin Togo (which others have, only less) and Fulani have more Senegal. What about the Hausa (without Fulani mix)?


    • No problem Mike. Sofar i have only seen two Hausa/Fulani results so i can’t tell you right now. Just going by these two results i find it striking that they hardly scored any Benin/Togo nor Cameroon/Congo. While one of them scored a minor but still above trace level amount of Southeastern Bantu. Now of course there will be a great deal of variation with other Hausa results, but i wouldn’t be surprised if this also goes for many other Hausa people when they test with AncestryDNA. Overall i suppose Hausa (without Fulani mix) might score the highest degree of “Nigeria” when compared with Igbo and Yoruba on average.


    • Woah! Congratz! That is the highest Mali score i have seen sofar among my African survey. Ironically it’s among AA’s and Jamaicans that i have seen the highest Mali score sofar (42%). The difference between you and him is just recombination, most likely one of your parents has a similar Mali proportion and your brother just happens to have inherited the whole chunk. I would love to include a screenhot of his results (incl. low confidence regions) on my blog btw 😉


      • Yea maybe he inherited the whole chunk from one parent like you said or maybe he inherited partial proportions from each…. but what I understand is that 21%Mali is the minimum one of our parent is supposed to have based on his results, and I am almost sure that high Mali % does not fully come from our Sierra L. side. I ll talk to him about your blog and ask him to send you screenshots of his results. 🙂


        • Merci! Btw just the other day i came across the first profile i’ve seen from Burkina Faso! Here’s what the ethnicity preview looks like:

          Regions: Ivory Coast/Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Africa North
          Trace Regions: Senegal, Benin/Togo, Iberian Peninsula, Africa Southeastern Bantu


  15. :0 how Interesting!!!! So he has more IVC/GH, I was expecting IVC/GH to be high for Burkinabes but not top region….can you actually tell his ethnicity by his last name? Given the Nigeria and Africa North as major regions I suspect that he can be part Fulani Gurmanche or Gourma???? My brother’s estimates are below
    71% IVC/GH
    21% Mali
    2%African South Hunt.Gh
    1% Benin/Togo
    <1% SouthEastern Bantu


    • He could also be part Touareg Tamashek with the high African North….And the high IVC/GH can be an indicator of Gur speaking groups (Mossi, Dagara, Lobi…) ? Seems like this region needs to be broken down further because it comprises Akan ancestry, but also Kru, Southern Mande, and likely Gur speaking groups as we can see with the Burkinabe results. A Guerze, Dan/Gio, Kissi or Mano from Guinea may likely have IVC/GH as dominant region.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Merci for you brother’s breakdown! I added his data into the tally. Lol samplesize is very minimal ofcourse but Liberia has the highest IVC/Ghana average right now! About the BF results, yes i agree IVC/Ghana will indeed describe not only Akan, but also Kru, Gur and southern Mande. I actually already also saw a Guinea Conakry preview but i’m not sure about that person’s background. This Burkina profile has a Mossi name but i suppose a partial Tuareg or Fula background would still be likely yeah. Have you seen my latest blog post yet? i would love for you to try this out and see how many “100% African”DNA matches you get:


      • Hi Felipe! I didn’t get the time to scan my matches and discover the 100% African, when I ll do it i ll let you know. I found 5 matches that are 100% african without scanning…. 1 is ghanaian mixed togo, 1 is jamaican, 1 is from Montserrat, 1 is Nigerian, and the last one told me she has 70% Mali and claimed to be Afram which I doubt lol.


        • Very interesting! Especially the Nigerian match! Have you been in contact with this match yet? Would be very cool to know if they are either Yoruba or Igbo, most likely to be linked to your Krio side i suppose.

          How many pages of matches do you have btw? I am right now preparing a new blog post in which i will provide a summary of the DNA matches reported for about 10 Africans across the continent. For example one Liberian (Kru/Kpelle) will be included and he has 39 pages of matches (1920)!! In more detail it looks like this, perhaps a bit overdone haha but i think it will be insightful to compare:



      • I found 3 other 100%…. another Jamaican, 1 is Afram/Guadeloupean/Dominican Rep., and the last one is Afram/Trini


      • No I did not try to contact the Nigerian match cause we share only 6.4 cm on 1 segment, I tried to contact the one with the 70% Mali, unfortunately she would not say where she is from, she has the same regions as my bro with Mali and IVC as main region and SouthEast.B, Nigeria, Hunt.Gath, Benin/tog as trace regions….she shares with me and my bro the highest cm among the 100% Africans….btw i have 9 pages of matches


  16. Hello,

    This site is amazing! I was totally unprepared for the results I received for my African heritage (didn’t know what to expect). Still trying to figure out if my results are random or if it provides insight into connections with an ancestral people/home? I am an African American female, from California. My father was from Arkansas. His maternal family was from Louisiana. Genealogy records indicate that the first male ancestor of my father’s paternal line emigrated from Barbados to South Carolina in the mid to late 1700. Please share any insight you may have. I realize this is all speculative, but like most African Americans, I yearn to know where my ancestors come from. My results from AncestryDNA are below.

    African 43%
    Benin/Togo 17%
    Cameroon/Congo 10%
    Nigeria 5%
    Senegal 5%
    Mali 2%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana 2%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu 2%

    European 55%
    Europe West 31%
    Ireland 12%
    Scandanavia 6%
    Finland/Northwest Russia 4%
    Great Britain 2%

    Native American 1%

    Caucasus 1%

    Very Best Regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Geneva,

      Thanks a lot for your comment! Your results are certainly not random but they are also not intended to be exact, they are afterall estimates based on comparing your own DNA to the samples of Ancestry’s reference panel. The AncestryDNA breakdown is very useful first of all because of your continental percentages which will be most reliable. But also the within Africa breakdown can be insighful as long as you realize it has inherent limitations and can only be expected to be “sketchy”. To zoom in closer in any possible ethnic connections hinding behind Ancestry’s regional categories i would advise you to follow this tutorial:

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry

      For more details on your African breakdown please read this comment which will also apply to your two biggest African regions and how they might be interpreted.

      Very interesting btw that you are aware of a Barbados born ancestor from the 1700’s. Was this a white or a black person? In the greater scheme of things the genetical contribution from this single ancestor from many generations ago will be rather small. You could however try to search your DNA matches for birth location and see if any Barbados born matches will show up to further explore this connection.

      These articles might also be useful:
      Is “Benin/Togo” really pinpointing origins from within Benin’s borders?
      “Cameroon/Congo” = moreso Angola/Congo for Diasporans?
      Louisiana: most African diversity within the United States?


  17. Hello there! I am Congolese from the Bakongo tribe and I took the dna test from AncestryDNA here are my results.

    Cameroun/Congo 89%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu 8%

    Low confidence region (trace regions)
    Mali 2%
    Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers
    Less than 1%
    Ivory Ghost/Ghana 0%


    • Thanks a lot for your comment Naomi! Very interesting breakdown given your Bakongo background! I have seen a few other Congolese results and yours fall right in line with them. You can see them on this page:

      Central & Southern African AncestryDNA results

      I would love to include a screenshot of your results on my blog as i find them very educational!
      If you’re okay with it please share your ethnicity estimates with me (FonteFelipe) by following these steps:

      – Sign in to
      – Click the DNA tab and select Your DNA Results Summary
      – Click the Settings button on the right side of the page
      – Scroll down to the sharing DNA results section
      – Enter my Ancestry username which is FonteFelipe
      – Select role of guest
      – Click the SEND INVITATION button

      Thxs in advance!


  18. Hello, your site is amazing! I have learned so much!

    I have tested with ancestryDNA and 23AndMe, and uploaded my information to GedMatch and DNAland. Several African ethnic groups keep popping up as potential matches: Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Mandinka, Bambara, Berber, Kikuyu, Kongo, Masai, Afar, Tigray, and the Sudan.

    My father’s family is from South Carolina, Georgia, West Virginia. My mother’s family is from the US and British Virgin Islands, South Carolina and Jamaica.

    My mother’s mother (my grandmother) is from the Virgin Islands. There is a very strong Akan influence on VI culture. And, most of my friends and family test very high in regard to Ghana/Ivory Coast. I figured considering my genetics, I would as well. However, my family has a unique twin rate that I have only noticed among Nigerians. I recently googled twin rates in Africa because I was curious. I was surprised to find that Benin and Nigeria has the highest rate in the world. My grandmother had twins, and she has twin siblings. Her mother, my great grandmother had two sets of twin, who died in child birth. My grandmother’s grandmother was a twin. Her parents had three sets of twins, which is crazy. I have been researching my family for years, so I can confirm this information. Every generation has at least one set of twins. So! I have been considering Nigeria and Benin and both are included in my results. Is that a possibility based on my DNA test results below?

    AncestryDNA results:

    Africa 89%
    Benin/Togo 29%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana 23%
    Cameroon/Congo 12%
    Nigeria 8%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu6%
    Mali 5%
    Senegal 5%
    Africa South-Central Hunter <1%

    Asia< 1%
    Asia Central < 1%

    Europe 7%
    Ireland 1%
    Europe West < 1%
    Finland/Northwest Russia <1%

    America 2%
    Native American 2%
    Pacific Islander < 1%
    Polynesia <1%

    23AndMe results:

    Dana 100%
    Sub-Saharan African89.0% (West, Central, South Africa)
    European8.1% (Northwest European Scandinavia/Ireland and Southern European-Iberian)
    East Asian & Native American 2.3% (Native American and South East Asian) my mother has 2% Yakut ancestry, they are connected to the Saami of Scandinavia. I assume this is why I have South East Asian ancestry. It appears to be common with Scandinavian ancestry.
    Middle Eastern & North African 0.2%
    South Asian 0.2%
    Oceanian < 0.1%
    Unassigned 0.2%

    Liked by 1 person

  19. In addition, all of my African cousin matches are from Nigeria. However, they are from different tribes: Esan, Yoruba, and Igbo.

    *Correction: my father’s family is from South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. Not West Virginia, I reviewed my genealogy research.

    Is possible my Nigerian amount which is eight percent has been absorbed by Benin/Togo and Cameroon/Congo? I’ve been reading your information in regard to Nigerian DNA results.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Chase, intriguing research findings for you and your family sofar! I have also heard about the increased frequency of twin births in Nigeria and apparently in particular among the Yoruba. I would imagine it could be related to your southern Nigerian roots which could very well indeed be described by a combination of “Benin/Togo” and “Nigeria” . Nigerian DNA is certainly not limited just by the AncestryDNA region labeled “Nigeria”, in addition most southern Nigerians who test on AncestryDNA also score “Benin/Togo” while southeastern Nigerians also tend to score considerable “Cameroon/Congo” scores. There is however a great deal of individual variation and you cannot pinpoint any of these tendencies to just one single ethnic group. See for yourself by following this link to my Nigeria AncestryDNA survey.

      Congratz on already having found some African DNA cousins! They might be all Nigerian right now but this most likely reflects the circumstance that Nigerians are overrepresented within the AncestryDNA customer database. As you continue to find new matches the patterns might become clearer, also keeping in consideration the size of the shared segments. Have you tried out this tutorial yet?

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry


  20. I enjoy these posts greatly. I did the Ancestry DNA test and being almost exactly half Eurasian and half African, I was not surprised at the results as far as that. The actual specifics have been a different story. One male sibling is estimated at Ivory Coast/Ghana, the two females are at 12 and 13% Nigeria. My brother and I have only trace Nigerian. And I came out with 13% South East Bantu while he had 9%. However, the most interesting aspect is the differences between myself and my two female siblings on gedmatch found on Chromosome painting 20, where I am about 80% African and they are nearly all Eurasian. I am wondering what that means. Now, I am sorting through the slave owners and believe I have the ancestors of my slave ancestors and even though there are two generations between, I am hoping that with DNA from matches, we can find a common African ancestor early in the nation’s history. The slave owners go back to pre-Revolutionary War days. Maybe my ancestors do as well, since I can at least get the ones I believe to be related back to the 1700s when Virginia slave owners began to see breeding as more profitable than shipping from Africa. Thanks for adding another dimension to the search for our ancestors that would otherwise not exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your comment, i am glad to know that my blog has been useful to you.
      Best of luck in your ancestral quest!


  21. I’m African-American and my ethnic origin is primarily West African. However, I’m trying to reconcile the various results I’ve received from different companies. Ancestry DNA seems to be the most specific but also the most inaccurate if in fact the other two are correct that my ethnic origin is primarily Nigerian. What’s the most likely scenario here to explain the discrepancies? How can Ancestry DNA break it down in such detail with so many different countries and yet have Nigeria as the outlier, while that country is primary in the other two tests?

    Ancestry DNA shows an 82% mix of several African countries as follows:
    Benin/Togo – 19%
    Mali – 14%
    Senegal – 14%
    Africa SE Bantu – 11%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana – 11%
    Cameroon/Congo – 9%
    Nigeria – 4%

    MyHeritage DNA shows an 82% African ethnicity:
    36% Nigerian, 29% Sierra Leonean, 7.5% West African (in general), 7.3% Kenyan and 1.6% Central African

    DNA Land shows a 75% African composition:
    41% Lower Niger Valley, 18% Mende/Akan, 12%, Senegal River Valley and 4.3% East African

    I appreciate that not all of the current borders existed several hundred years ago. I also understand that migration patterns are probably a significant factor. But are those the most likely explanations?


    • Hi GA,

      When comparing the results of different DNA testing companies/websites it’s essential to keep in mind any differences in their sample databases, the labeling of their ancestral categories as well as the algorithm they apply for calculating their ethnicity *estimates*. AncestryDNA is able to be more specific in its West African breakdown because currently it has a greater array of African reference populations in their database. So for example aside from Nigerian samples it also has samples from neighbouring countries such as Benin/Togo as wel as Cameroon against which your own DNA is being compared for genetic *similarity* (and not actual descent as is too often assumed!).

      Potentially this should provide more granularity. However taking the countryname labeling too literally can be misleading for the reasons you already pointed out. Socalled “Benin/Togo” can still be suggestive of (southern) Nigerian ancestry in fact, judging from actual Nigerians who take the AncestryDNA test (see this link). On the other hand it might also be suggestive of Ghanaian (Ewe) lineage. The distinction can presently not be made.

      Nonetheless i believe that your AncestryDNA results are bound to be a closer approximation of your actual regional origins within West AFrica than the results from either DNA Land or My Heritage. Frankly i am not impressed at all by the analysis offered by these two last websites. Their ancestral categories are misleadingly labeled and judging from the results of people with verified background i find their predictive accuracy much lower than offered by AncestryDNA. To be sure without correct interpretation and awareness of inherent limitations AncestryDNA’s estimates can also be confusing & imprecise. But based on my AncestryDNA survey among both Africans and Afro-Diasporans i am more confident that it will broadly align with actual regional origins within West AFrica.

      Just as a reminder of course any updates in the future might change and hopefully improve your current results. Also searching for African DNA matches will be helpful in pinpointing individual family lines:

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry


  22. Hi Felipe 🙂 I don’t know if you remember when I told you I was surprised that my Mali component was too small for an Ivorian….I have seen the Senoufo results in your spreadsheet and it seems like the differences between Ghanaians and Ivorians would lie in their 2nd main region, while Ghanaians would tend to have Benin/Togo as main region, Ivorians would lean toward Mali…i think this can be the reason behind the small differences in their phenos with Ivorians tending to look more sudanid… however, I am surprised the Senoufo person had more Benin than Ivory Coast….Are you going to update this page soon?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes finally an African result with “Mali” in first place! I might get some more such results shortly. I will do an update eventually, creating two new sections for West African results (Upper Guinea & Lower Guinea). However it might still take a while 😉

      As i had expected from the beginning socalled “Mali” is actually also describing Gur speaking DNA from Burkina Faso, as well as northern parts of CIV, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Not that many results to go by right now but i agree with you that Ivory Coast (as well as Liberia) is more so intermediate between Upper Guinea & Lower Guinea than Ghana.

      Striking indeed that “Benin/Togo” is bigger than “Ivory Coast/Ghana”, not sure what to make of it yet. However it does seem to suggest that “Ivory Coast/Ghana” is principally detecting southern Ghanaian/CIV as well as Liberian origins.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. hi! FONTE felipe thank you for your wonderful website .
    I’m congolese from the republic of congo from the bakongo ethnic group and I’m living in france.
    this is my results
    cameroon/congo 76%
    africa southeastern bantu 13%
    hunters central africa 5%
    I got 28 cousins in 4th degrees!
    Thank you to tell the truth about the congo-angola slave trade in united states.
    cause there’ s no trace nowhere in new world of the bamileke or cameroonians legacy .
    The only thuth it’s dna ancestry didn’t get enough samples from the congo angola regions.



  24. Fonte Felipe_ I was looking up some information I heard about West African slave trade, and it appears that what I heard was true looking at the dna results of Fulani. It appears that they were heavily involved in the interior slave raids, and were responsible for MOST of it. In these books printed before 1860 Fulani are always described as different in appearance, and at times not even Black but Arab. It also stated that they were very careful to not let Fulani be taken as slaves. Fulani seem to have a high amount of Senegal DNA. I notice that there are only very small amounts of Senegal among the diaspora, and little to no North African and Middle Eastern. They also seem to carry East African DNA, which I assume would be SE Bantu on Ancestry. Does that theory sound about right to you? I know they’ve largely mixed with the local pops. and are essentially Black now, but I have some Fulani matches who average only about 60% West African DNA


    • Hello M.Atkins,

      I will reply to your comments point by point. But first i would like to clarify my own position. The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was obviously an enormous tragedy. But it was also very much a complex affair which had a huge impact across Africa among hundreds of distinctive societies. And therefore involving not only many victims but also many local actors and local enablers! I do not believe in oversimplifying narratives which seek to assign blame solely on one party and i will also not condone any such demagogic or divisive comments on my blog.

      I do not know which sources you consulted. However there has always existed a great deal of bias and controversy about the Fula people. It’s best therefore to avoid any sources which are explicitly agenda-driven and/or are not able to provide verifiable references. Just to give one example of a reliable and objective historian who has written extensively about the dynamics of Slave Trade within the interior of West Africa i would recommend reading any of the works by Paul Lovejoy. And in particular: Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa.

      I also strongly believe that local African perspectives and local African contexts should be taken into consideration while any projection of internalized values, emotions or experiences from the Americas should be avoided. For a detailed overview of the various Fula states and their expansion see:

      Conquests: Fuuta Jalon, Fuuta Tooro, Massina. Sokoto

      And in case you know how to read French: this book has been recommended to me by a person who is Fula himself. it provides an insiders perspective into Fula identity:

      Amadou Hampâté Bâ – Amkoullel. L’enfant peul. Mémoires


    • 1) I do not agree with you about how the slave trading activities of Fula states should be ranked. Historically speaking there were several Fula states which were involved in slave trading (see this overview). Arguably the one in Fuuta Jallon (presentday Guinea Conakry) is most relevant for the USA. Their captives were exported mainly by way of Sierra Leone as well as ports along the Rio Pongo and Rio Nunez (presentday Guinea Conakry but often also grouped under “Sierra Leone” in slave trade statistics). The captives being exported from the Gambia & Senegal river (incl. Fuuta Tooro) are often said to have mainly originated from more interior areas: western Mali, eastern Senegal and northeastern Guinea. Mainly as a result of slave raiding performed by the Bambara states of Segou & Kaarta and not per se by the Fula from that area. They were infact often victimized themselves! Given the time frame (1800’s) and regional proportions of slave imports (Bight of Benin is very low for the US) the Sokoto Caliphate in northern Nigeria was probably a neglible source of captives for the US.

      If you look at the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade statistics for the Americas as a whole (see this map, based on the Slave Voyages database) you will see that within West Africa the main regions of embarkation are the Bight of Benin, followed by the Bight of Biafra and the Gold Coast. Like i said before it’s inevitable that this was made possible by the actions of many local actors and many local enablers. But historically and politically speaking it’s known that especially the Dahomey kingdom, the Igbo Aro Confederacy and Ashanti kingdom were involved in generating captives exported from these regions and not any of the aforementioned Fula states. See also this map showing most of these political entities in West Africa around 1750.

      Looking at US-specific data (see this map) we can see an increased proportion for Upper Guinea. But still especially the share of Sierra Leone (main export region for Fuuta Jallon) is clearly not predominant at all. And of course again aside from Fula involvement there were many other local actors and local enablers. This goes even more so for the data for Senegambia which is inclusive of varied sources but is probably mostly reflective of captives generated in western Mali by the Bambara states i already referenced and not Fuuta Tooro.

      I provided this overview merely to indulge you. Naturally it’s very sketchy and based on my limited knowledge of relevant sources. Obviously given the extensive timeperiod of slave trade as well as the extensive area where Africans were being enslaved this is an extremely complicated topic. Much still remains unknown and further research is needed. In particular to quantify the ethnic origins of captives being caught up in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. But also including a localized perspective on this immensely sad episode of African history.


    • 2) There have indeed been many historical as well as presentday observations about the distinctive appearance of the Fula people. However phenotype can be deceptive as we all should know. Current DNA evidence is not suggestive of any major Arab ancestry among the Fula people but rather (if anything) of shared origins (to some yet to be determined degree) with the North African Berber people.

      The minor West Eurasian genetic component for the Fula people might (partially) be derived from very ancient sources. It should be kept in mind therefore that the true ancestral populations which may have contributed to the formation of the Fula people, don’t exist anymore in their full or complete form. Also originally being a nomadic people the Fula have of course moved around quite a bit and mixed with other groups so the possibilities of more recent either Arab or North African admixture can be varied. Depending on the region, each individual and its family history.

      3) You are right about the high amounts of “Senegal” reported for Fula’s who have tested with AncestryDNA. See this link for group averages. Just based on 5 samples i have seen sofar “Senegal” is 50% on average while “Mali” is usually coming into second place (20% on average) followed by “Africa North” (11%). More research and more samples are needed for any conclusive interpretation. But i would say this outcome is already strongly indicative of the often assumed Senegal River (Fuuta Tooro) origins of the Fula people.

      I agree that their socalled “Southeast Bantu” scores (4% on average sofar) seem to be suggestive of ancient Sahel-East Africa connections. The amounts of “Africa North” and “Middle East” might indeed show strong individual variation among the Fula. But nonetheless i imagine that it will be their own Pulaaku notions of identity & ethnicity which will matter most to the Fula and not any westernized racial concepts. See this link for an overview of various Fula groups across West Africa & the Sahel.
      Evolution of Fulani Communities


    • 4) ” they were very careful to not let Fulani be taken as slaves.”

      This is an incorrect statement. There has always been plenty of internal conflict between rivalling Fula clans or groups. Not only for power but also for religious reasons as not all Fula converted to Islam (the socalled Pulli). Furthermore even when the various Fula states were generally expanding they did loose several battles in their warfare against neighbouring states. Also during some periods some segments of the Fula people were actually ruled by other ethnic groups such as the Wolof and the Mandinga.

      Plentiful documented evidence therefore exists of Fula captives being taken to the Americas. Especially for the USA there are even several remarkable personal testimonies! See these links (not all of them are confirmed Fula but they were all Muslim):

      Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1701—1773), also known as Job ben Solomon (from Bundu Senegal)
      Abdul-Rahman ibn Ibrahima Sori (1762–1829, Fuuta Jallon)
      Yarrow Mamout (c. 1736–1823, Guinea) (see also this link)
      Omar ibn Said (1770–1864) (Fuuta Tooro, Senegal)
      Bilali Mohammed (b. 1770, Fuuta Jallon)
      Salih Bilali (1765-1850’s; Masina/Mali) (see also this link)

      For the West Indies see this link for slave registers from the early 1800’s frequently mentioning people who selfidentified as Fula (a.k.a. Fulbe). They are usually grouped under Sierra Leone but also under Senegambia.

      West Indian Slave registers incl. Fula people

      For evidence from Haiti see this link (they are mentioned as Poulard=French term for Fula):

      Ethnic identities, incl. 71 Fula documented in Haiti 1721-1797

      For evidence from Latin America (mostly scattered sampling from the 1500’s/1600’s) see

      Early Fulani presence in the Hispanic Americas

      For evidence form northern Brazil see link below (Bahia might also have received Fula captives from Nigeria)

      Estimated Fula captives among slaves exported from Guinea Bissau to northern Brazil (1761-1815)

      For a rather late evidence of Fula presence in Cape Verde follow link below. Actually there is also literary evidence of a much earlier significant presence of Fula people in Cape Verde (1500’s) some of them also arriving there out of their free will (see this link).

      Fula captives documented in Cape Verde slave census of 1856


    • 5) I do not agree with your observation of “only very small amounts of Senegal among the Diaspora”. It depends on which specific parts of the Diaspora you are looking at. See this link for a full overview based on my AncestryDNA survey:

      “Senegal” proportions reported on AncestryDNA for people across the Diaspora

      For the West Indies (incl. Haiti) it is indeed rather subdued. For the USA it’s also perhaps less than sometimes imagined but still quite considerable (8% of the African breakdown on average in my African American survey based on 350 samples, the maximum score being 25 % “Senegal”). See also this link:

      350 African American AncestryDNA results

      However across Latin America the “Senegal” proportions within the African breakdown are much higher and in accordance with a Upper Guinean founding effect i have already blogged about in greater detail over here:

      Afro-Diaspora AncestryDNA results: A Comparison

      Obviously the socalled “Senegal” region on Ancestry does not exclusively indicate Fula ancestry but is also to be associated with many other ethnic origins from across Senegambia, Guinea Conakry/Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali and even possibly Liberia! See also this link:

      “Senegal” scores reported on Ancestry for Africans

      “Africa North” and “Middle East” are indeed hardly noticeable for African Americans and West Indians. However it’s again a different story for Latin Americans and Cape Verdeans! To be sure the scores will still be minor (<10%) but might partially be suggestive of Fula ancestry i suppose. Even when other ancestral scenarios by way of the Iberian Peninsula or the Canary islands are often (far) more plausible.

      Another strong indication of Fula ancestry among the Afro-Diaspora being rather extensive is the frequency of DNA matches being reported for Fula people who have tested with AncestryDNA. I intend to blog about this topic in the near future. I can already say that compared with other Africans who test with Ancestry, the Fula profiles i have seen tend to have significantly more DNA matches. There are however some complications which prevent a clear-cut interpretation. One of which is the circumstance that historically speaking the Fula people have absorbed many ethnic lineages within their ranks. In particular by taking wives from other ethnic groups. So technically speaking a Fula DNA match might not be related to a person from the Afro-Diaspora by way of a mutual Fula ancestor but rather a mutual ancestor with a Bambara background or Mandinga or Wolof or Susu or Temne etc. etc.


      • Thanks for taking the time to elaborate and to share your own findings. I wasn’t exactly singling out the Fula as being responsible for ALL of the slave raiding in the West African interior, but their footprints are much larger than what most people are aware of. Even as a high school student, I always wondered how it was possible for a relatively small amount of White slave traders to walk into the vast interior of many West African countries and seize entire villages without a large military contingent. That’s the way most people in the West see the method of procurement of Africans for the purpose of enslaving them.

        Really would like to know your opinion on the new updates. Seems to me from looking at several Continental African subject’s results that AncestryDNA may have flubbed this one. I saw people for example from Nigeria in the previous versions whose majority region was NIGERIA(70-80%), go to as low as 10% Nigeria and almost half Cameroon/Congo now. My Fulani matches lost their Senegal regions, which doesn’t jibe with the history

        As for the Fula matches showing on so many people’s lists, I believe that certain Fulani populations were largely adopted into the lower castes. Having served in the US Marines where I learned a lot of warfare history, it was(still is) ALSO a common practice for Islamic Jihadist to take as many women as they want into concubinage. I say that to say that undoubtedly many of these captured women may have been impregnated before they were traded to the Europeans bound for the Americas.

        Those are just theories based on what I’ve looked at from a glance. I plan to do some REAL in-depth research on this subject over the next few months. Modern-day historical views are very informative whereas they combine the research with scientific evidence, but the real-time texts offer more honest and raw observations in my opinion. I try to really see the world through the lenses of the author’s world, factoring the prejudices and biases of observers from THAT era.

        Thanks Again for all of your time and brilliant insight!

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi,

    I am an African-American and I have been trying to make sense of my ancestryDNA results but I am having trouble. My overall percentage of African is 73%. The break down is 20% Ivory Coast/Ghana; 17% Mali; 15% Nigeria; 8% Cameroon/Congo; 5% Africa Southeastern Bantu; 3% Senegal; 3: Benin/Togo; and 2% African South Central Hunter Gathers. Can anyone help me make sense of these results? Thank you!


  26. hi i was wondering if you could interpret my result, being that i am Liberian. please?? 24%Mali is it significant? seems high

    42% ivory coast/ghana
    24% Mali
    16% Senegal

    5% african southeastern bantu
    3% african South Central hunter gatherers

    <1% Iberian Peninsula

    could this result also be relating to some fulani ancestry?

    i do have west indies ancestry but it didn't show up in my result

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Belle, thanks a lot for sharing your results, they are very interesting!
      Sofar in my AncestryDNA survey i have included 9 other Liberian results (see this link). Your breakdown is broadly speaking in line. But you do have a somewhat subdued “Ivory Coast/Ghana” score and the 24% “Mali” does stand out indeed. It is the highest such score i have seen being reported for Liberians. This seems to reflect your Mandé side as you are of both Vai and Gbandi descent. Keep in mind that despite the labeling socalled “Mali” is also indicative of Guinean DNA! The 16% socalled “Senegal” is also indicative of Upper Guinean connections. It cannot be pinpointed however. From what i’ve seen sofar also Sierra Leoneans will tend to score substantial amounts for it. Your Bassa side (Kru speakers) would be mostly coming in through the socalled “Ivory Coast/Ghana”.

      The 7% “Cameroon/Congo” and 5% “Southeastern Bantu” are also very intriguing as they suggest Central African lineage. Combined this score is the highest i have seen among 10 Liberians sofar. I suppose this could be coming from your distant West Indian side? But possibly also inherited by way of a Liberian Congo ancestor? I’ve read that these liberated captives were assimilated within the Americo-Liberian group?

      The less than 1% Iberian Peninsula might seem very trivial and minor. But i do think you could have genuine European lineage! Possibly by way of your West Indian connection. But perhaps also otherwise. I had a closer look at your DNA matches. I first scanned all of them and then i filtered them for both 100% African as well as 100% European profiles (see this tutorial). Amazingly it seems that you have over 500 European-American matches! Some of them with also quite large shared DNA segments (around 20cM). Now it might be that actually in some cases there might be some hick up in Ancestry’s algorithm and these matches in fact are not 100% European genetically speaking. Sometimes also due to privacy settings Ancestry does not display all of the ethnic regions for your matches. Which could imply that it’s them who would have some distant African ancestor rather than the other way around. Still i think the odds are high that you have some distant European ancestor.

      Looking at your African matches, (possibly about 17), most of them seem to be from Liberia as expected. And also a few from Sierra Leone and Guinea. Interestingly two profiles could be partially Senegalese and one match might be Nigerian! You will have to contact them to verify. I did however not find any Fula matches and also otherwise i do not see any indications of Fula lineage in your results.


  27. Hi Fonte, my mum results are in:

    49% IVC/GH
    27% Mali
    13% Benin/TG
    7% Nigeria
    Trace: 2% SouthCentralGh and 2% Camer/Congo

    I think the Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon may be coming from her Sierra Leone side (Yoruba ancestry ?), but the Mali is probably coming from her Ivorian side…also I was wondering, based on the above, can you possibly somewhat estimate my dad’s regions % ? His IVC/GH should be very high probably in the high 90s, and he should have some SouthEast Bantu as trace region, but do you think he may also have some Mali and Nigeria as trace regions?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also she has a migration section that start with African Caribbeans with the British West Indies in 1800 (biggest spots are Jamaica, Barbados, and US Virgin Island) and that ends up with the migration of Barbadians to NY from 1900-1925 and the migration of Jamaicans to Panama thereafter… I am kind of confused, does that mean she has ancestry from Jamaica and Barbados?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed confusing on first sight. I have seen several Africans who are assigned to either the African Caribbean genetic community (renamed into “migration” after Ancestry’s latest update) or the various ones existing for African Americans. Basically it just means that they have matches within that group, it doesn’t say anything about the direction of geneflow. Generally speaking of course you would expect that it’s due to Trans Atlantic slave trade. In other words their MRCA’s (most recent common ancestor) would be African. Not surprising of course but still insightful as due to the required threshold these matches will be rather close.

        However intriguingly in your mother’s case i imagine her Krio side could theoretically also include some Jamaican or Barbadian ancestors who migrated to Sierra Leone! How many matches does she have in this African Caribbean group? Contacting these matches might give you more info.

        Some people complain about this socalled migrations or genetic community tool because it only points out the obvious or because of some seemingly inconsistencies. But i think it is potentially a very insightful tool. To me and many other people it already has added value because it provides an extra dimension to your ethnicity estimates and also because it allows you to zoom into a subsegment of your matches. I cannot wait until Ancestry expands it to also include genetic communities based on their African customers! Of course this will be database driven. So it will not be as finegrained as for many other nationalities. But just imagine that one day eventually it might be able to separate Kru migrations from Akan migrations for example!


    • Excellent! So it’s your mother who has one Krio grandparent right? Adding up the 13% “Benin/Togo”, 7% “Nigeria” as well as the 4% trace regions would make for a very good fit in that case, combined it would be about 25%. And Yoruba ancestry ancestry being predominant in this Krio line does seem likely indeed given what we know about the Krio’s origins. Doing a systematic scan of your mother’s DNA matches might give you more confirmation (check your PM 😉

      Impressive “Mali” score! In line with what you initially expected i think when you first got your own results. But it seems indeed that due to random genetic inheritance your brother got almost the whole chunk of it while you received much less. Still genealogically speaking it makes no difference of course 😉 I take it it’s your mother’s side where your Mandingue/Malinke lineage is from or does your father also have some?

      Tricky to predict your father’s results, haha. Due to the random aspect of genetic inheritance as well as Ancestry sometimes misreading one region for another one because of overlapping markers or trace region amounts. I do find this a very intriguing topic and in fact i have collected several results of siblings or parent-child combinations. i might do a blog post about it sometime. It’s difficult to get some good background info though on how recombination works exactly. I have a hunch it is not always as “random” as it is made out to be.

      Just assuming that no quirky recombination took place then yes i do think your father’s “Ivory Coast/Ghana” should be atleast in the 80’s and possibly even in the 90’s. Expectation being that you and your brother are scoring somewhere within the range of your parent’s amounts. However i have seen some instances where a child would score a higher amount for a certain region than both of his parents. In an extreme case it was even a bit bigger than both parental amounts added up! Within the whole reshuffled breakup it did still make sense though.

      Generally speaking you would expect that you cannot inherit anything that is not also being reported for one of your parents. So your father might indeed have a traceregion of socalled “Southeastern Bantu” like yourself as your mother does not have it. But who knows it might also be a case of misread DNA or the estimated range could be different resulting in a different trace region score for your father.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the “Mali” and “Nigeria” scores reported for yourself & your brother exclusively come from your mother’s side. But it’s still possible that your father shows some small amounts for these regions as well yes. I suppose this will also correlate with his Ivorian background. For Ghanaian Akans i have seen maximum scores of 9% “Mali” and 10% “Nigeria”. Even when on average it’s much more subdued and often absent.


  28. Hi Fonte,

    Could you help me make sense of my results.

    African 87%

    Ivory Coast/Ghana 37%
    Cameroon/Congo 23%
    Nigeria 11%
    Senegal 8%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu 4%
    Benin/Togo 2%
    Africa North 1%
    Africa South Central Hunter Gatherers 1%

    The results also said 75.23% Yoruba.


    • Hi Rhonda,

      I take it you are African American? If so, please read through this previous comment as it will also apply to you.

      The AncestryDNA breakdown is very useful first of all because of your continental percentages which will be most reliable. But also the within Africa breakdown can be insighful as long as you realize it has inherent limitations and can only be expected to be “sketchy”. To zoom in closer in any possible ethnic connections hinding behind Ancestry’s regional categories i would advise you to follow this tutorial:

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry

      Other than that i would advise you to take a multifaceted approach for Tracing African Roots. Besides DNA testing also focus on doing family tree research, learning more about the local history of the US states your earliest known ancestors are from. Plus learning more about African geography, history and ethnic groups, in particular in regards to your most dominant AncestryDNAregions.

      About your 75,23% “Yoruba” result. I’m assuming you got this after uploading your raw data on Gedmatch, DNALand, WeGene or myHeritage? Either way this outcome is absolutely NOT to be taken literally. It’s just a measure of how much your own DNA is similar to the DNA samples contained in their database. By default any kind of database will never be able to be completely representative of Africa’s enormous ethnic diversity. Usually West Africa is only represented by Yoruba samples because they happen to have been been widely available from the start. It is of no informational value beyond that this portion of your DNA is West African. You could in fact not have any Yoruba ancestry at all, but instead have Igbo ancestry or Ghanaian for example and it still would read the same because unlike AncestryDNA they have no samples from those populations. Any genuine Yoruba connection is to be confirmed rather by having actual Yoruba DNA matches, and preferably also with a decent segmentsize in order to rule out false positives.


  29. Hi Fonte,

    Could you please help me interpret my AncestryDNA results as well?

    Africa 100%

    Cameroon/Congo 37%
    Benin/Togo 21%
    Nigeria 18%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana 13%
    Mali 9%

    Trace Regions
    1% Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers
    <1% Africa Southeastern Bantu

    My mom is Nigerian (her dad is from Port Harcourt and her mom is an Efik from Calabar) and my dad is half Nigerian (Yoruba) and half Sierra Leonean. From reading your posts I can kind of make sense of the Cameroon/Congo percentage but I'm wondering why the Nigeria is so low considering 3/4 of my grandparents are from Nigeria.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi BJ,

      Thanks a lot for sharing your results. If you’re okay with it i would actually also love to have a screenshot of them! I think they are very illustrative and i would like to feature them on this page which has Nigerian AncestryDNA results:

      Please follow these steps if you want to allow me to view your results:

      – Sign in to
      – Click the DNA tab and select Your DNA Results Summary DNA
      – Click the Settings button on the right side of the page
      – Scroll down to “DNA Result Access”
      – Click on the “Add a person” button
      – Enter my Ancestry username which is FonteFelipe
      – Select role of viewer
      – Click the SEND INVITATION button


    • About the breakdown it does indeed make sense given your background. Your socalled “Cameroon/Congo” score is the highest i have seen sofar among my Nigerian survey participants (n=53). The ones who score over 30% for this region are like your mother from southeastern Nigeria. As i mention continuously on this blog the country name labeling of AncestryDNA’s regions is not to be taken too literally. Instead you should just take them as geographical proxies and be aware of how other people of your background score for these categories.

      For example your 21% “Benin/Togo” is likely to have been inherited for a great part through your Yoruba side. While the socalled “Ivory Coast/Ghana” and “Mali” amounts are most likely coming from your Sierra Leonean side. It’s interesting because in my Nigerian survey i have another result who like you has one Sierra Leonean (Saro?) grandparent. His breakdown is quite similar to yours eventhough he is mostly Ijaw otherwise. Which probably explains why he doesn’t have a significant “Benin/Togo” score like you. His results can be seen on the Nigerian page.

      Your 18% socalled “Nigeria” is indeed low, but it’s actually not the lowest score in my Nigerian survey sofar (6% for a person of Isekiri/Urhobo descent). It doesn’t per se say anything about your Naijaness 😉 When you get down to it, any of the regional scores you receive basically tell you to which degree your own DNA is similar (according to an algoritm) to the various samples within Ancestry’s referncepanel or database. I have no confirmation for it but it seems likely that the 67 Nigerian samples which Ancestry uses are mostly Igbo and Yoruba. However given the genetic variation existing even within those groups there might always be some statistical deviation which causes the socalled “Nigeria” amount to constantly shift and decrease. And instead either “Cameroon/Congo” or “Benin/Togo” will show up more strongly (depending on your ethnic background & deeper roots). A 100% “Nigeria” score will only be obtained if you happen to be a perfect match to Ancestry’s 67 Nigerian samples. I have not seen such a score thusfar…

      Your breakdown can still be insightful though as long as you keep in mind these limitations and know how to interpret correctly. DNA testing is revealing that ethnicity usually cannot be distilled into one single category, unless you happen to be a perfect match to the samples your DNA is being compared to. Instead typically most nationalities/ethnic groups will be described as a composite of neighboring and interrelated ancestral categories. This might be counterintuitive at first but does actually make sense if you take into consideration the genetic impact of ancient migrations and inter-ethnic mixing throughout the ages.


    • Question for you: would you know how common it is to have partial Saro lineage in Nigeria? Was your Sierra Leonean grandparent from Lagos or Port Harcourt?


  30. Thanks for the response, nice hearing your perspective. Wow I wonder how I got such a high percentage of Cameroon/Congo since only one of my parents is from southeastern Nigeria.

    My Sierra Leonean grandparent is actually from Sierra Leone. My dad’s dad was originally from Abeokuta and for some reason later moved to Sierra Leone. I’m not sure how common it is to have Saro lineage in Nigeria since I’ve actually never heard of that term before lol. Might do some research on that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, ok i just assumed it might have been socalled Saro a.k.a. Krio people from Sierra Leone who migrated to Nigeria and also other West African countries. In my survey i have come across several people already who have some distant Krio family line. See also this wikipedia article:

      Thanks so much for sharing your results btw! Really appreciate it! I had a detailed look into your DNA matches (by first scanning and then filtering them in excel for 100% African profiles). Just going by plausible surnames and plausible combination of ethnic regions it seems to me that you already have a few Yoruba matches and also a couple from southeastern Nigeria, some of them Igbo and others i cannot be sure (can’t recognize Efik names yet ;-). Interestingly also atleast 1 DNA match would be from Liberia according to his family tree details and in addition two others might be either Liberian or Sierra Leonean. Do you happen to know the ethnic background of your Sierra Leonean grandparent?

      Also very cool to see your genetic communities (renamed into migrations)! Given that you are of mixed background the connections should be tricky to disentangle. But given your mother’s Southeast Nigerian background the assignement to “African Caribbeans” and especially “Virginia & Southern States African Americans” seems fitting given their connection to the Bight of Biafra.


      • I was just told that my Sierra Leonean grandparent was actually Liberian but lived a large majority of her life in Sierra Leone. I had heard about that being the case before but wasn’t so sure. As for the ethnic group she’s from, I don’t know. I’ll have to wait until I get in touch with my dad.

        Thanks again though. Nice to know everything is making sense.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Indeed that does make perfect sense! Amazing how your African DNA matches are already so corroborating! Let me know if you like to have the profile links for those most likely 3 Liberian matches i found. I will send it by email then.


  31. Hello, I would like your input. I’m African American with roots from South Carolina and Virginia. My AncestryDNA results had 0% Nigerian, Zero. I have 21% Southeast Bantu, 18% Benin Togo, 15% Great Britain, 15% Senegal, 14% Ivory Coast, 6% Cameroon. Traces are Mali 4%, Scandanavia 3%, South Asia(India), Europe West, Ireland, African Gatherers. I can easily trace my English, German, and SaxonFrench/Barbados slaveowner dna past, but cannot find an African Tribe or 2 or 3 to claim. These results have me in that big ambiguous group.
    Gedmatch had me all over the place.So I did 23 & me too. My mtdna is L3e1b, My father’s is L2a1i (Guinea Bissau- Fula Forro), Our male dna is E1b1a1a1f or E-L485, I think his comes from the Efik tribe but that is not widely sampled or confirmed (found in one result from a search).I had an ancestor named Boson, I think that is meaningful for the Cross river area. But I know these haplogroups could represent only one person from those groups especially with these results. My L3e1b , I was told was Mozambique from one the scientists that I contacted. However 23 & me says 70% of my 73% African is West African.
    I know you said Gedmatch is not so great for direction, but I will tell you, all of them said I have almost no San,no Zulu, but Brong, Bamoun, Wambo, and Fang, occasionally Nigeria-Fulani and Hausa, Mandinka and Yoruba. If I have no Nigerian according to my Ancestry test, and I have no San, where am I likely from? Togo/Ghana, and Senegambia? I also should mention I dropped my raw data into African Ancestry too, and they said Sierra Leone and Kenya? A few the Gedmatch tests did have a small amount of Hadza, and Omotic , White River and some said “Eqyptan” spelled that way. I do not know how a slave from Kenya got here so I think it could be the Fulani, Akan or Efik histories of their travel from the east being validated.

    I have been thinking I should accept Akan (GhanaTogo), and Fula(Senegal), but I feel like I’m missing a big piece somewhere between the Cameroon, South Africa, and Kenya region. Please share your expert opinion.


    • Hi there,

      Please read through this previous comment as it will also apply to you.

      The AncestryDNA breakdown is very useful first of all because of your continental percentages which will be most reliable. But also the within Africa breakdown can be insighful as long as you realize it has inherent limitations and can only be expected to be “sketchy”. To zoom in closer in any possible ethnic connections hinding behind Ancestry’s regional categories i would advise you to follow this tutorial:

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry

      Having said all that i do think you can already get some additional insight just from your regional breakdown. Comparing with the hundreds of other African American results i have seen what stands out to me the most is your 21% “Southeastern Bantu”. It’s a relatively high amount given that the group average during my survey was 6,5%. Such double digit scores for this region are not completely unheard of but they are rather atypical from what i’ve seen. So i would definitely count this as a major lead for which it could be very beneficial to perform follow-up research. Aside from actively searching for African matches I would also advise you to do a close study on the documented slave trade patterns of South Carolina & Virginia.

      It is good to keep in mind that despite the labeling socalled “Southeastern Bantu” can actually also imply Central African DNA. Historical plausibility should be leading when wanting to make any sense of this potentially very wideranging region. Aside from Angola and Mozambique i would think that also Madagascar and possibly other Bantu speaking countries such as the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi could be connected with this score, given that you are African American. See also these pages:

      Central & Southern African AncestryDNA results
      Ethnic Origins of South Carolina Runaway Slaves

      In regards to your lack of any “Nigerian” score. This is indeed uncommon for AA results. However Nigerian DNA is not fully covered by the region “Nigeria”. Actual Nigerians who take the AncestryDNA test also receive substantial “Benin/Togo” and at times also considerable “Cameroon/Congo” scores. So possibly your socalled “Benin/Togo” might yet have been inherited (partially) by way of Nigerian ancestors. Have you read this latest blog page of mine yet? It features my updated take on how to make more sense of “Benin/Togo” (scroll to the end)


      • I FonteFelipe, Sorry it took so long. I just saw your response. Over the last 3 years I continued the research and your comment was dead on. My maternal mtdna had many matches in Madagascar(Tandroy and Tsihemity) and a few spots all up and down the eastern cost of Africa from Kenya to South Africa(Xhosa, Mpondo, Luo, Makoa. And bones from Mfongosi was an even more detailed match. I found this in old scholastic studies. Pierron, Salas. Father’s haplo was western division of the Gambia and his mother was match with Temne, and Mende. Big twist, I have 100% Ibgo matches and a 100% Liberian match from 23. ( also a Filipino). I understand this is misleading because only certain groups are actually taking the tests. So yes, northwest, southeast , all me.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. I sent you an invite to view my DNA results. Is 17% Mali kind of high? Can you please help me understand the results better? What exactly do they mean besides the fact that I am definitely from West Africa? I want to dig deeper and find out which tribes my ancestors came from. Might I add that I am surprised that I’m 15% European Jewish. I thought I was more Native American but there isn’t even a trace of NA in me. What can you decipher from my results below? Should I discount the Low Confidence Regions altogether?
    Cameroon/Congo 23%
    Benin/Togo 18%
    Mali 17%
    European Jewish 15%
    Nigeria 9%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana 6%

    Low Confidence Regions
    Iberian Peninsula 3%
    Great Britain 2%
    Senegal 2%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu 1%
    Middle East 1%
    Africa North < 1%
    Finland/Northwest Russia < 1%
    Caucasus < 1%


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carrie,

      Please read through this previous comment as it will also apply to you as an African American.

      The AncestryDNA breakdown is very useful first of all because of your continental percentages which will be most reliable. But also the within Africa breakdown can be insighful as long as you realize it has inherent limitations and can only be expected to be “sketchy”. To zoom in closer in any possible ethnic connections hinding behind Ancestry’s regional categories i would advise you to follow this tutorial:

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry

      I took the liberty to already have a look in your matches and i found atleast 5 African matches. Going by plausible ethnic regions as well as their surnames three of them are probably Nigerian and two of them are likely Fula. The Nigerian matches are most likely connecting into your 9% “Nigeria” although there’s also a possibility that also some of your 18% so-called “Benin/Togo” was inherited by way of Nigerian ancestors. Have you read this latest blog page of mine yet? It features my updated take on how to make more sense of “Benin/Togo” (scroll to the end)

      The Fula matches have a rather low amount of shared DNA with you (<7cM) which increases the odds of them being false positives. Still I would take this as a confirmation of your Upper Guinean heritage, which seems to be described by 17% "Mali", as well as 2% "Senegal". And i addition i would say it's quite likely that your own trace amounts of Africa North and Middle East are also connected this way. Given your Fula matches (who tend to have considerable "Africa North" and "Middle East" %'s). Inspite of these last two regions being low confidence regions this does not per se take away from their potential informational value.

      Your 17% "Mali" is indeed relatively high although not uncommon for African Americans. In my survey of 350 AA results the (scaled) group average was about 9%. Eventhough it cannot be ruled out that several ancestors from different ethnic groups and also different countries could have passed on this part of your DNA, i still would consider this score a major feature of your African heritage. The possibly Fula matches are already very insightful and hopefully future additional matches might provide even more clarification.

      Btw, intriguing that you were not aware of any Jewish ancestry before taking the test. A 15% score is quite considerable and probably to be traced back only 4 or 5 generations ago. In case you're interested to also investigate this family line again your DNA matches might very well be helpful to pinpoint and act as corroboration of your admixture results.


      • Hi again,

        Just wanted to share with you my updated DNA results. The Mali percentage has been reduced drastically from 17% to 4%. I also am now 1% Native American which is still much lower than what I have been led to believe. I will be taking another DNA test soon, possibly 23andme, and will share those results too. In the meantime, what do you make of these new results?

        Benin/Togo 33%
        Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples 28%
        European Jewish 14%
        Ivory Coast/Ghana 7%
        Nigeria 5%
        Mali 4%

        Norway 3%
        England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 2%
        Ireland & Scotland 1%
        Sweden 1%
        Native American – North, Central, South 1%
        Philippines 1%


        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Carrie, thanks for sharing! It is interesting and quite telling that your Jewish score has remained nearly the same. However your African breakdown shows quite some drastic changes. This has actually happened for almost all Afro-descendants. Frankly I think this update has NOT been an improvement in regards to the African breakdown. Instead regrettably it might lead to less insight into the African regional roots of Afro-descendants and actual Africans. I have blogged about it in more detail over here:

          Personally I would opt for sticking with my previous results and combine with follow-up research (DNA matches, genealogy, relevant historical context etc.) for more insight. Not much added value in trying to make sense of these updated and usually flawed results…


  33. Hello, recently in i got a South African cousin match which is the 5th-8th cousin range. From studying about the history of the transatlantic slave trade, i thought most descendants of slaves were taken from West/Central African and occasionally South Eastern Africa and Malagasy. I recently learned that some slaves were taken from Zimbabwe, but according to my South African match she has no known Zimbabwe relative. I must admit my Cameroon/Congo is over 30 percent followed by my South Eastern bantu of 3 percent. Interesting, enough my South African match has a 1 percent trace region of Mali, whereas my Mali score is moderate about 11%, plus a mere trace region of North African 1%. which may indicate fula ancestry. Question which is the likely scenario of my South African match, is she related to me by Mali?, or she is related to me by a distant ancestry that is originally from South Africa?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Elliot,

      There are always several ancestral scenario’s to consider when you receive an African DNA match. All of which preferably to be validated by corroborating evidence. It seems to me that based on your prominent “Cameroon/Congo” as well as additional “Southeastern Bantu” scores you can already be quite certain that you have Bantu speaking ancestors from Central Africa and/or Southern Africa. I would dismiss the possibility of the trace region reporting of “Mali” for your South African match being your mutual connection as highly unlikely.

      Just based on (informed) speculation I would guess that this match is probably a socalled “population match” and not per se a IBD (identical by descent) match. Which is to say that the amount of shared DNA between the two of you is probably to be explained by the great degree of shared DNA in the genepools of Bantu speaking Africans from Central as well as Southern Africa. While any actual most recent common ancestor for the two of you (MRCA) might possibly have to be traced back many hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Far beyond any relevant genealogical time frame ( last 500 years or so).

      You are correct for example to state that possibly your mutual connection could be by way of Zimbabwe. However this may go back much farther in time than the whole Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade period. Which is why it’s not surprising that your South African match would not be aware of any recent family-ties to that country. Then again of course other options are not to be ruled out either. For example Angola or Mozambique could also be the ancestral location of your MRCA with this South African match.

      Pinpointing the exact locations might be very tricky at this stage. However as your number of African matches will increase in time you will also hopefully obtain more useful patterns. Testing your parents and/or any older relatives could also be very helpful in establishing more certainty about your African DNA matches and how they fit in your family tree (provided they match both you and someone else in your family). See also:

      How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry


    • Cameroon/Congo dna which is currently now Cameroon/Congo & Southern Bantu peoples encompasses people of Angolan origin. Angolan slaves were sold to South Africa, as well as the United States & the rest of the New World.

      Most likely you and your South African cousin are both descended from a mutual ancestor who had descendants that were sold in the United States as well as South Africa. Not only this a small portion of the Atlantic slave trade concentrated in Mozambique & Madagascar, but a recognizable proportion of Mozambican & Malagasy slaves were sold to South Africa.
      Either you’re descended both from a mutual Angolan, Mozambican, or Malagasy ancestor who had slave descendants sold equally in the United States as well as South Africa. The first link I posted included information on Angolan slaves that were sold to South Africa, but it also discusses Mozambican and Malagasy slaves that were sold there. Here is it once more.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. I just recived my dna results for ancestry and mine showed as 35.8% English 25.6 Nigerian 38.6 10 other the complete breakdown showed
    Europian 50.5 % breakdown of North/West Europe 48.2% = English 35.8% United kingdom/Ireland North/West Europe 12.4%= german/French/dutch 2.0 % Iberrian= spain /portugal
    Africa 43.4 % breakdown of West Africa Nigerian 25.6 and sierra Leon 10.7% East Africa 5.1%= massai 1.8, Kenyan 1.7 , Somali 1.6% Central Africa 2.0%

    America 3.4 breakdown of = mestizo, mayan, domican republic
    Asia 2.7% Breakdown of west asia 1.9% =Turkey/Persia Central Asia 0.8%Huns/mongols(ghengis Kahn)

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I want to add my numbers to the mix!

    I am African American from Virginia. My father’s family is from Central Virginia. My mother’s family from the Northern Neck of Virginia.

    My numbers are:

    Nigeria 39%

    Great Britain 14%

    Benin/Togo 13%

    Cameroon/Congo 10%

    Mali 8%

    IV/GH 6

    Senegal 3

    Africa South Hunt Gath 1

    Finland 1

    Ireland 1

    Africa South Bantu <1

    Scandinavia <1

    Africa North <1

    Native American <1

    What do you think of those African based numbers?


    • Hi John, great results! Have you been doing any familytree research already? Do you know if each one of your four grandparents or 8 great-grandparents was also born in Virginia?


      • Done…and yes all my grand parents and great grands and great great grands are from Virginia. As far back as I have gone, everybody is from Virginia. My father’s side Central (Richmond and Clover) and Mother’s (Northumberland/Lancaster County). Why do you ask?? Looking forward to your analysis.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks John! This is great! I have been collecting AncestryDNA results for AA’s with deep roots within Virginia/Maryland. Hope you have no objections but I have added your breakdown into my ongoing survey as well. It can be seen in this online spreadsheet (right now in row 8):

          The sample size (n=17) is still very minimal actually. Especially when compared with my larger sample size (n=350) for African Americans as a whole. However even if only preliminary the main trend of predominant “Nigeria” scores is very striking. Seemingly already corroborating the historically documented African origins of Virginians. It is widely known that the influence of the Bight of Biafra and more specifically the Igbo presence has been very significant. See also this blog post of mine:

          The Igbo Connection for Virginia & Virginia-Descendants

          Your own breakdown also features a primary ranking for Nigeria, representing about 47% of your total African DNA (39/82). Very convincing and in line with most other VA results I have seen sofar. Actually some of your socalled “Benin/Togo” and “Cameroon/Congo” scores could also be derived from Nigerian ancestors. Because Nigerians who test on Ancestry also tend to receive these additional regions in their own results. See this page:

          Nigerian AncestryDNA results

          To zoom in closer in any possible ethnic connections hiding behind Ancestry’s regional categories I took the liberty to scan and filter all of your matches on Ancestry by way of this method:

          How to find those elusive African DNA matches on Ancestry

          Out of your 10,419 matches I managed to find atleast 7 African matches! Going by plausible ethnic regions as well as their surnames four of them are probably Nigerian and three of them are likely Fula. You will have to contact these matches yourself to get more certainty however just going by the names I believe atleast 3 out of your 4 Nigerian matches could be Igbo. Again this would make sense given your Virginia background! The Fula matches are also very interesting and appear to be consistent. To be correlated with either your 3% “Senegal” score or also the 8% “Mali” and quite likely also the trace amount of <1% "Africa North".

          You do not seem to have any African matches yet corresponding to your "Ivory Coast/Ghana" score. However this may very well occur in the near future as an increasing number of Africans are doing DNA tests. Keep in mind that aside from genuine Ghanaian origins this region could *possibly* also indicate Liberian or even Sierra Leonean DNA.


          • Wow 😲…..and Thank You 🙏🏾 🙏🏾🙏🏾 This is a lot to take in. And yes it was okay to include me in the list. Take Care so. I will be following along. Let me know if I can help.

            Liked by 1 person

  36. These are my DNA results from Ancestry I did not expect Mali to be there at all. I am American and was aware of some of my mixed heritage. However I have no information about my mother or her family’s ethnic background and attempting to put together what I can find.
    Mali 23%
    Nigeria 21%
    Benin/Togo 15%
    Great Britain 10%
    Africa Southeastern Bantu 7%
    Ireland/Scotland/Wales 7%
    Low Confidence Regions
    Scandinavia 5%
    Europe East 3%
    Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers 2%
    Cameroon/Congo 2%
    Senegal 2%
    Asia South <1%
    Iberian Peninsula <1%
    Native American <1%
    Europe West <1%
    Ivory Coast/Ghana <1%

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Edy,

      From what I’ve seen 23% “Mali” is indeed above average. But not entirely atypical either. Many other African Americans might score in the 10-30% range for Mali. In a survey among 350 African Americans 20 persons had “Mali” as biggest region. For more details:

      African American AncestryDNA results


  37. Hey Fonte!

    I just wanted to let you know that I was able to verify with one of my matches. They are Igbo. My match was born in Port Hacourt and raised in Amaigbo, both in Nigeria. Their family as much as they knew was all raised in Amaigbo. So that is at least one confirmed African Ancestral heritage! Thanks again!!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Hi Fonte,

    Thanks so much for this study.
    I recently got my AncestryDNA results and would love your input.

    40% Ivory Coast/Ghana
    20% Cameroon/Congo
    20% Benin/Togo
    7% Senegal
    3% African Southeastern Bantu
    3% Mali
    2% Africa South-Central-Hunter Gatherers
    1% Nigeria
    1% Africa North
    <1% Finland/Northwest Russia
    <1% Ireland/Scotland/Wales
    <1% Europe South

    My mother’s side of the family has roots in South Carolina and the West Indies. However, my mother’s grandmother was Native American.

    My paternal side of the family is from the West Indies. My father comes from Trinidad and Tobago, but believes his family spent time in Monsterrat prior to arriving in Trinidad.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Hi. I recently received my Ancestry DNA results and would love for you to interpret them if possible. I’m not sure how to upload themon this blog for interpretation, but am so fascinated about “who” I am. Thanking you in advance. I am able to email my results to you upon request though. T. Williams


  40. Do you think Ancestry DNA is a useful testing service for current-day Ethiopians? They seem only to have a large category of “Africa North” for that entire East African region. My son is thinking of testing but I can’t tell if this particular company has adequate DNA sampling from that part of Africa to give useful results. He’s not looking to find distant family members, but to identify the mix of different African (and Middle Eastern, given the history of that region) backgrounds that make up his identity.


    • Hi Deborah,

      Both AncestryDNA and 23andme are currently implementing an update of their admixture reports. They could very well both be increasing their reference samples for Northeast Africa. But I have not seen any confirmation or specification yet. Keep in mind that the implied timeframing of DNA results is always crucial for correct interpretation. Are you interested in knowing the very ancient origins of your son or rather wanting to find out if there might have been any non-Ethiopian lineage within his family tree going back only in recent generations? Depending on the answer you might go with either AncestryDNA or 23andme. That last company being geared more so towards describing Ethiopian’s DNA in a relatively recent timeframe. On 23andme you do also receive your haplogroups in addition. Either way after having done your DNA testing you can always choose to upload on the free GEDMatch website which offers several socalled admixture calculators enabling you to look into your son’s background with even greater detail. For more info:


  41. Hi I’m overwhelmingly glad I came across this blog. We are truly kindred spirits at heart.

    Both my maternal and paternal lineages have a long history in South Carolina. Initially when I tested with Ancestry DNA Ghana/Ivory Coast, Nigeria, & Benin/Togo ranked top three from greatest to least in my ethnicity estimates following the update it is Cameroon/Congo & Southern Bantu peoples, Benin/Togo, & Mali with Ghana/Ivory Coast coming in at 4, but still not the lowest of African percentages. I’m wondering if some of my Ghana/Ivory Coast got absorbed in the Benin/Togo category through represented Ewe dna in my gene pool or some even in the Mali category through Gur ancestors, among Ghana’s northern Dagomba peoples. My Mali is at 19 percent, but prior this my Mali at 8, and Senegal at 7 culminating into 15 together equalling the same percentage for what I would regard as a synonymous Senegal River category on Dnaland, leading me to slightly believe maybe that 19 is a slight over exaggeration. What’s your opinion?

    Also in the puntdnal Africa admixture calculator on gedmatch, concerning the 20 populations you’re given with their corresponding genetic distance between you and them, is this ultimately stating you actually share ancestry among these populations? If such is the case, is the calculator ultimately stating for example Mandinka being the population wherewith I have the lowest genetic distance at 15 is more than likely the people group I have had the most recent ancestors taken from a midst during the Atlantic slave trade, possibly in the late 1700’s, where Kaba of Chad(maybe Kanuri kin of Nigeria or literally Kaba) being ranked 2 at a genetic distance of 17, Hausa being ranked 3 at a genetic distance of 19, and Igbo ranked 4 at a genetic distance of 19.34, & Bakongo ranked 5 at a genetic distance of 20.05. Is this ultimately representative of an order, at least the top 10, of a time period I may have had prospective ancestors removed from cyclically reproducing among these people groups, being the lower the genetic distance, possibly the most recent ancestor I had removed from a midst of them? First of all as I mentioned before is this indicative that I may have a literal relationship with these people? Sorry for branching off in totally two directions(the Mali & Benin/Togo category inquiry and gedmatch).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, very good to hear we share the same interests, always nice to meet kindred spirits! Thanks also for the insightful links about South Africa, I have a few more on the sidemenu on the left under “Dutch Related”. Eventually I might blog about South African Coloureds as I consider them part of the Afro-Diaspora as well, despite living in Africa itself 😉

      I have already posted two blog posts about the update on Ancestry, with a third one in the making. Basically i find that it has been a setback, atleast for the African breakdown. With regional amounts for “Cameroon, Congo and Southern Bantu Peoples”, “Mali” and “Benin/Togo” generally speaking tending to be inflated. While for MANY people “Nigeria” amounts have dwindled to almost nothing. But also “Ivory Coast/Ghana” and “Senegal” generally in decline. These are all patterns indicating some structural flaw in the update.

      Frankly I think it’s best to stick with your previous results, at least in regards to the African breakdown. It will not be perfect either but you’re more likely to get an approximate indication of your possibly Nigerian, Ghanaian, Liberian and Senegambian lineage. For more details see:

      Feel free to join the discussion over there as it will be more fitting!

      About Gedmatch: it is a very common misconception that its socalled Oracle predictions may depict shared ancestry with the listed reference populations. This is however NOT the case! It merely measures genetic similarity with a given selection of samples and not actual genealogical descent. These reference population might seem impressively specific and exact. However the truth is that your DNA is being compared to only a small and inherently limited subset of Africa’s VAST diversity which literally includes thousands of ethnic groups! (see this section of my blog: )

      In order for you establish a truly verifiable genetic connection with Africans it is best to search for autosomal African DNA matches. It will also help you put your regional breakdown into better perspective. See also this blogpost of mine:

      To be honest I have never taken much notice of Gedmatch and other third party websites because I found their ancestral categories not up to par with AncestryDNA (before the update). Going by other people’s reactions I also find Gedmatch to be highly confusing and potentially misleading because of the way their results are presented as seemingly very “precise” and “specific”. When in fact such a presumed accuracy cannot be attained with current DNA testing technology. AncestryDNA’s country name labeling may be misleading as well, but on a different scale I would say. Especially since they do mention the limitations of their “estimates” and also quite clearly illustrate the inevitable overlap with their regional maps.

      The labeling of ancestral categories is trickier than many people may realize. But I find it more reproachable when false hope is being generated of pinpointing a particular “tribe” based on the ethnic labeling of DNA scores which again are merely based on some measure of genetic similarity with a given selection of samples and not actual genealogical descent! The shakiness of these Oracle predictions is best revealed by simply experimenting with other calculators. You will quickly find that each time different results will appear. This variance being caused by the particular tweaking of algorithm and constellation with other reference populations! In other words nothing exact about it! And not really even indicative I would say going by the Gedmatch results of actual Africans i have seen which were usually off.


  42. Hello,
    I’ve recently dna tested with MyHeritage (will soon be testing with 23 and Me) and received the following estimates:
    82.5% African: 57.3% Nigeria, 16.4% Sierra Leonne, 3% trace West Africa, 5.7% Maasai
    East Europe: 8.7%
    Baltic: 1.5%
    Scandinavia: 3.9%
    Italy: 2.3%
    West Asia (Turkey/Iran): 1.7%
    Oceania (Melanesia): 0.9%.

    My history is complicated as I’m adopted. Was born in Connecticut and told that the biological father may have been Caribbean. The highest dna matches I received all show recent generations from Trinidad/Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada, Panama, Guyana, and 1 match (highest) based in the US (Louisiana). As well, all matches show highest african estimates from Nigeria, Kenya (all have both Kenya and Maasai under East Africa). All except me have between 9-11% North Africa. One match has specifically West Asia like me and the rest are listed as specifically Middle East.

    As stated before, will soon be testing with 23 and Me to possibly identify which relatives are from biological mother’s side. I don’t necessarily want to meet anyone but rather an understanding of my roots (past and recent). This was a ramble but this is all so fascinating to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tanya,

      Finding out about our roots is always fascinating but in your case it will be even more exciting of course!
      MyHeritage is a great platform for looking into your DNA matches. However the regional admixture scores are to be taken with a very big grain of salt! Frankly I would not recommend their test if it was only for the admixture. Especially any East African scores are very likely to be false. See also this blog post of mine for a review:

      You are much better off in that regard with 23andme. If your dad was indeed from the Caribbean this might actually also be indicated by 23andme’s “recent ancestor locations” tool. It is a good strategy either way to widen your pool of DNA matches!

      In case you’re looking for more advise there are a couple of FaceBook groups out there which specialize in DNA testing for adoptees. I wish you all the best in your journey!


  43. Hi,

    My name is Angela. I am a Black American/African American woman from Detroit, MI. Like many Black folks I am one generation away from ancestors who migrated from the South – Memphis, Tennessee on my Mom’s side and Mississippi and other Southern areas on my Dad’s side.

    If you are still answering questions I would love to know your insights about my ethnic breakdown according to

    Ethnicity Estimate

    Nigeria        39%
    Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples        25%
    Benin & Togo        7%
    Scotland        6%
    Mali        5%
    Norway        5%
    Senegal       5%
    Ireland        3%
    Southern Bantu Peoples       2%
    Germanic Europe        2%
    Ivory Coast & Ghana        1%

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Angela,

      Nice results! Pretty much in line with what I have seen for other African Americans. The primary score for “Nigeria” is very common. And possibly to be connected with your earliest USA-born ancestors having a Virginia/Maryland or North Carolina background. This area is known for having a very substantial connection with the Bight Of Biafra (=southeast Nigeria) due to Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Subsequent Domestic Slave trade forcibly bringing their descendants to states like Tennessee and Mississippi. But you will have to do your own family tree research for confirmation of course. As other possibilities could also be true.

      Although representing a very minor share of your total DNA I still also find the 2% Southern Bantu Peoples interesting. As such an amount is quite rare for African American results I have seen. It is of course only an estimate but could very well be indicative of Bantu lineage from beyond Central Africa (as indicated by “Cameroon, Congo & Western Bantu Peoples”). Generally speaking it might be either Mozambican or Malagasy lineage. To be corroborated whenever possible of course by additional clues such as corresponding DNA matches as well as Southeast Asian admixture or haplogroups in case of a possible Madagascar connection.

      Have you tried finding any of your African DNA matches yet? Really they will give you much greater insight into your specific African lineage. While this regional framework is more useful for knowing the approximate proportions. See also this tutorial:

      Actually I am offering a service which you might be interested in as well. Whereby I will scan and filter all of your matches on in order to find your African DNA cousins! As well as giving you my best shot at correlating this info with your ethnicity estimates. For more details see:

      African DNA Matches


  44. Hello,

    I am a 1st generation American of African ancestry. My father is from the Kalenjin people of Kenya. I have read a lot about his people, and according to historical records, it appears that the Kalenjin are classified (ethno-linguistically) as Nilotic speakers who migrated southwards from the Nile river in Sudan to (Rift valley) Kenya centuries ago. Along the way, they appeared to have absorbed/interacted with Cushitic speaking peoples from Northeastern Africa. There is evidence of this in the customs of modern day Kalenjin (& other tribes), via male/female circumcision & the age set system. Kalenjin people have also been known to have intermarried with bantu speaking peoples who migrated into Kenya a few hundred years ago. Some Kalenjin clans have members from other tribes, so they are a diverse group. Also, I couldn’t help but notice (over the years) that a few Kalenjin people I know have Oromo-like features (my father included). I’ve always speculated that my dad had partial ancestry from the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia/Eritrea or Somalia) based on his looks alone. But, I just couldn’t prove it, and he never knew his biological father (who I’m told was also Kalenjin). That’s one reason why I took this DNA test. Another reason I took this test is because my mother’s origins are a complete mystery. She is from Jamaica. Her family descended from slaves. So I want to know more about her origins. My ancestryDNA results as are follows:

    Eastern Bantu Peoples = 37%
    Nigeria = 33%
    Cameroon, Congo, & Western Bantu peoples = 10%
    Ethiopia & Eritrea = 8%
    England & Northwestern Europe = 4%
    Khoisan/Aka/Mbuti Peoples = 3%
    Senegal = 2%
    Benin & Togo = 2%

    Mali = 1%

    Some of the results appear to have confirmed my speculations, but I’m not entirely sure on everything. I would also appreciate your ethnic insights into my DNA results.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment. You have a very interesting background! About your father’s Kenyan side you will have to take into consideration that any ancestry from the Horn of Africa among East Africans could be something (very) ancient due to absorbtion of South Cushitic DNA many centuries ago through ethnic intermingling. This seems to be true for several ethnic groups within Kenya and is detectable by way of “Ethiopia & Eritrea” scores on Ancestry.

      Depending on your personal genealogy of course it might also be that Kenyans could have relatively recent ancestral ties with Cushitic speaking people. All the more so given that such ethnic groups also live within Kenya itself! To explore such a scenario you could first of all look at your regional admixture scores which are suggestive of Cushitic lineage. And then compare with other people of your father’s ethnic group to see if it’s more or less in the same range or whether it appears to be clearly above average. In the latter case you might be on to something. However the best way to verify a recent ancestral tie is by closely examining your DNA matches to see if you have a distinct frequency of matches with a Cushitic background.

      To learn more about your mother’s African origins I would again advise you to look for African DNA matches. This blogpost I wrote last year could be very useful:

      African DNA matches reported for 30 Jamaicans on Ancestry

      In case you like me to assist you further please reach out to me via this page:

      African DNA Matches


  45. My Ancestry results were
    30% Nigeria
    25% Cameroon, Cango and Western Bantu Peoples
    21% Mail

    I am an African American woman, from Columbia SC

    Anyone able to help decipher:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Teka, each one of those 3 main regions are very common for African Americans. And this makes sense given what we know about the main sources of African ancestry for African Americans. Your “Mali” score appears to be above average, but this would be in line with your South Carolina background. As from my survey findings people from South Carolina tend to receive higher “Mali” scores than other African Americans (on average).

      Which community within South Carolina are you being assigned to by Ancestry? Performing some basic family tree research (going back to at least your 4 grand parents birth locations) should be very insighful already to add greater context to your results and how to interpret them.

      Comparing with other results from South Carolina should be helpful as well. See last section of this page below. Do keep in mind that Ancestry has had several updates. To learn more just follow any of the links provided on that page:

      South Carolina 23andme results

      As I always say you can derive a great deal of information from these regional admixture scores. As it will usually point in the right direction. And with correct interpretation it will enable you to learn more about your multi-faceted background. However it is important not to take the labeling too literally! Take into account the maps that are provided by Ancestry to realize that for example so-called “Mali” is also indicative of DNA found in countries such as Sierra Leone and Liberia. So you could actually also have ancestors from those countries!

      The best way to delve deeper into the specifics is by zooming into your African DNA matches and then combine the outcomes with your regional admixture. In case you’re interested I provide a service to look into this more systematically:

      African DNA Matches


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