Brazilian 23andme results

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary of survey findings
  3. Screenshots of Brazilian 23andme results
    • Southeast Brazil
    • Northeast Brazil
    • Bahia
    • Mixed or unknown regional origins

Intro

This page features screenshots of Brazilian 23andme results. When reviewing these results it is essential to be aware that 23andme has implemented several updates in the last two years. Often beneficial for Tracing African Roots! Starting with the introduction of a new African regional framework in 2018. In 2019 new reference samples were added for especially North Africa. While also the potentially very useful Recent Ancestor Locations feature has been greatly expanded. In 2020 an upgraded algorithm was introduced. I will indicate for each screenshot which version it represents. In fact the differences between the 2018 & 2019 versions tend to be slight for most people. When looking only at the African scores. But the 2020 update did cause a greater impact. For greater understanding of how 23andme is able to come up with these results and how to correctly interpret the African breakdown read these links:

Brazilian group averages

In order to attain greater insight for these Brazilian results I have performed a survey (based solely on the 2018 version).1 Given that the sample size of my Brazilian survey (n=72) is quite robust it will be useful to look into their group averages and compare with other parts of the Afro-Diaspora! Also in your personal quest as it might serve as a helpful benchmark so to speak. Which makes it easier to see how your own results fit in the greater picture. Do keep in mind that in my surveys I always scale the African breakdown to 100%! So in order to compare you will first have to calculate your own scaled results. Which is very simple. Basically: % for a given African region divided by % of total African amount. Naturally individual variation is a given and is not to be denied! Any meaningful deviations from the group averages hopefully serving as helpful clues.2

Aside from a strictly personalized perspective of course also on a more broader population level the historical context  will remain essential to really get the most out of your own admixture results. As most of the time your results as a Brazilian will actually conform more or less with the results of fellow Brazilians. Or atleast Brazilians from your broader region. And therefore in the greater scheme of things your own personal African roots will be greatly similar when compared with the African roots of other Brazilians. Afterall as Afro-descendants generally speaking most of our more distant African lineage will be shared with our countrymen with whom we share much more recent ancestral ties.

Reinforced at times by relative endogamy and localized genepools. Because Brazil is such a huge country this is actually a significant factor to take into consideration. Because quite likely there will be substructure on a regional level within Brazil. Even when of course across the generations Brazilians have also been migrating and intermingling with people from other parts of the country. In particular due to modernday migrations into southeastern Brazil. But possibly also already during colonial times. Also involving Domestic Slave Trade covering great distances. A perhaps still somewhat understudied topic.

Table 1 (click to enlarge) 

For most Brazilians in my survey (45/72) “Angolan & Congolese” represents the biggest part of their African breakdown. However for many people also other categories turned up as primary regions. Especially “Nigerian” (20/72, see Ranked #1). The “Broadly…” categories cover a substantial part for most people. Which is indicative of how especially Central African DNA may have been underestimated for many people. Even when already it is showing up in a very distinguishing fashion when compared with other parts of the Afro-Diaspora. In accordance with historical plausibility. Brazil’s slave trade patterns being focused on Central & Southeast Africa to a greater extent than most other places in the Americas.

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Regardless of the total amount of African ancestry the scaled African breakdown often looks similar for many Brazilians. Even more so when also taking into account their regional origins within Brazil. But there is still a great deal of variation on display as well. For most people (45/72) “Angolan & Congolese” showed up in first place though. It is good to keep in mind that despite the seemingly very specific country labeling “Angolan & Congolese” covers much more territory than just Angola and Congo! See also this map I made based on my own African survey findings.

Actually originally this category was named “Congolese”. Which is also to be seen in most of the screenshots featuring the 2018 version. But in 2019 somewhere around June 23andme decided to rename this category into “Angolan & Congolese”. This was before they performed their update in October 2019. As far as I am aware 23andme did not add any new Central African reference samples at this time nor were any formerly “Congolese” scores impacted. Just a superficial name change therefore but of course very appropriate for the Brazilian context!

It is also important to realize that 23andme does not have a separate category to assign DNA from Benin and Togo. Which is why “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” will be mostly pinpointing lineage from Benin for Brazilians. Aside from such origins also partially being described by “Nigerian”. Again the country labeling is not intended to be taken as gospel! In fact based on known slave trade patterns the odds of Brazilians having real Ghanaian, Liberian or Sierra Leonean lineage are very low. Only Pernambuco possibly having a more noticeable connection with Ghana (perhaps as a legacy of the shortlived Dutch occupation?). See also table 4 further below which shows slave trade originating from the Gold Coast, Windward Coast and Sierra Leone to be practically absent for most parts of Brazil. Only a 6.4% share of Gold Coast for Pernambuco being noteworthy.

Table 2 (click to enlarge) 

In the above chart I am using a 3-way macro-regional framework. However due to fewer West African regions available on 23andme it is not completely the same as what I have used for my previous Ancestry surveys (Upper Guinea, Lower Guinea, Central/Southeast Africa, see this chart). Similar regions to “Mali” and “Benin/Togo” are lacking on 23andme at this moment. This inevitably results in some shifts within 23andme’s African breakdown. Nonetheless still instructful to see that Brazilians are the only ones in my Afro-Diaspora survey to show a greater Central/Southeast African component. In line with historical plausibility. Actually the West African share is still also quite substantial at 40%. However Central African DNA was most likely underestimated in 23andme’s 2018/2019 version.  Not shown in this table but also the additional and rather high 14.6% (!) “Broadly African” is to be taken into account and probably to be added mostly to the Central African proportion.

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Table 3 (click to enlarge) 

This overview shows my Brazilian 23andme survey findings in greater detail. Also accounting for any regional substructure within Brazil. Despite minimal sample size quite insightful for revealing the various tendencies in African regional admixture across Brazil. Corresponding actually with known differences in African origins for various parts of Brazil. Southeast Brazil stands out as having the highest group average for Central African DNA (50.7%). Most likely an underestimate even because of 23andme’s conservative approach in its 2018/2019 version. Other Brazilians actually also tend to receive substantial amounts of “Angolan & Congolese”.  But do notice how my Bahia survey group is the only one to show a greater West African component (56.9%)! 

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Table 3 is indicative of regional substructure within the Brazilian population. Even when obviously the sample size is minimal and also other shortcomings might apply. Such as incomplete details concerning the exact family origins of my survey participants etc.etc.. Genetic substructure is basically referring to subgroups within greater populations. To be defined along geographical, social, cultural, or even “racial” lines. Despite commonalities various localized factors may still have caused differentiation between various subgroups within a given population. In particular pointing towards a distinctive mix of African regional origins. Showing overlap to be sure but still recognizable due to deviating proportions.

This is a theme I have been researching for Brazilians already in my previous Ancestry survey. In upcoming blog posts I will discuss these preliminary outcomes in more detail. However I can already say that roughly speaking my data-set indeed conforms with known differences in slave trade patterns for especially Rio and Bahia. This can be seen most clearly by contrasting their group averages for West African & Central/Southeastern African DNA. Southeast Brazil (Sudeste = Rio de Janeiro but also Minas Gerais and São Paulo) is showing the highest level for “Angolan & Congolese” (36.2%) as was to be expected. And this part of Brazil also obtains the highest subtotal of Central/Southeast African DNA: 50.7%. While Bahia is showing the most elevated levels for both “Nigerian” and “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”. Both categories actually being indicative of Bight of Benin lineage, incl. Yoruba origins for which Bahia is of course famous! The combined West African subtotal for Bahia being 56.9%, which tellingly is greater than its Central/Southeast African component of 28.7%.

But in fact also other Brazilian regions show distinctive differences. The Northeast of Brazil (Nordeste minus Bahia) seems to be mostly conforming with slave trade patterns being recorded for Pernambuco. See also overview below and this link in case you are not familiar with Brazil’s geography. Actually Pernambuco is quite similar to southeast Brazil in regards to its predominant share of Central African slave trade. Also showing up in their group average for Central/Southeast African DNA. Which is considerably higher than for Bahia (42.1% vs. 28.7%). Although preliminary still interesting as well to see a somewhat elevated level of “Senegambian & Guinean” arising for the Northeast (9.3%). Actually this group average would have been more pronounced if I had also included the results of my 2 strictly northern Brazilian survey participants. Because in particular the north of Brazil (Amazonia = Maranhão, Pará, Amazonas) is known for its exceptional connections with Upper Guinea (measured in proxy by “Senegambian & Guinean”). As can be seen in the overview below.

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Table 4 (click to enlarge) 

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (2020) (www.slavevoyages.org). For more discussion and similar overviews see this page.

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See link below for my online spreadsheet which features all of the individual results:

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Brazilian Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 Brazilian-born grandparents. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation among Brazilians in the first place. Despite the limited sample size I do suspect that these results might already be quite representative. The results have been arranged from highest degree of African admixture to lowest. And additionally I have also applied a grouping on  regional origins within Brazil. Whenever such details were available to me. Naturally I did not have perfect information about everyone’s complete family tree. So the headings on top of the screenshots are only meant as an approximation of recent state origins! Check this link  case you are not familiar with Brazil’s geography:

Also take note of the recent ancestral locations which I have highlighted myself. Actually these were greatly expanded in the 2019 update, also specifying Brazilian state origins. But already in the 2018 version Brazil and usually also Portugal  appeared in almost all results. Very useful for confirmation. Even if most people would already be aware of course. Regrettably I have not yet seen any recent ancestral locations appearing in the African breakdown. Something which is also quite uncommon for my other Afro-descended survey groups. But this did still happen with some frequency. For example 6 times for 43 Jamaican results. And among 30 Haitians I observed an African recent ancestral location for two people. Each time confirming and sometimes even specifying Nigerian lineage on a state level. Very valuable results therefore.

I believe this feature (based on DNA matching strength) holds great potential for further specification of African lineage in future updates. Although the implied timeframe has to be expanded from the current 200 years to atleast the 1700’s. Many Brazilians might actually have relatively recent African lineage from the 1800’s as well. I imagine especially self-identified Black Brazilians. However I greatly suspect that Brazilians with only minor African admixture will more often have African ancestry dating back to earlier time periods, possibly even into the 1600’s! Therefore it will always be essential to know the most relevant time period when wanting to Trace African Roots (see this chart). I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me!

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Southeast Brazil

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Minas Gerais) (1/4 Cabo Verde)

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2018 version.Very fascinating results for this woman from Minas Gerais. She has the highest African amount within my survey by far. In fact most of my survey participants had minor African admixture of around 17% (median score, see table 1). Her Central African lineage is clearly predominant. Probably by way of Rio de Janeiro where almost exclusively captives from Central & Southeast Africa were arriving (97%, see table 4). Intriguingly one of her grandparents was from Cape Verde and this is also apparent from the exceptional  10%+ “Senegambian & Guinean” score. A prevailing (>70% when scaled) African category for Cape Verdeans but almost always subdued (<10%) for Brazilians. Indicative of Upper Guinean DNA,  see also: 100 Cape Verdean AncestryDNA results.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Minas Gerais) (1/8 Cabo Verde)

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2018 version. These are the results of the son of the woman above.  His 8.1% “Senegambian & Guinean” being more diluted but still striking. Despite a somewhat lower total African amount actually his “Congolese” score is the highest in my survey. The country labeling not to be taken too literally. As afterall it is known that for Brazilians most of their Central African lineage hails from Angola. Still genuine Congolese roots are also widely documented for Brazilians and still celebrated as well during so-called Congadas.  I have actually seen this person’s African DNA matches on Ancestry and he might possibly also have lineage from other neighbouring countries in Central/Southern Africa!

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Rio de Janeiro) (1/4 Cabo Verde/Santo Antão)

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2020 version. These are the recently updated results for a person with 3 grandparents from Rio de Janeiro and 1 grand parent from Cape Verde. In fact from the same island as my own family: Santo Antão! This person’s Cape Verdean lineage has been detected very well by 23andme. In the first place again the elevated “Senegambian & Guinean” score. Just above 10% which is very rare to attain for Brazilians otherwise. But also the recent ancestral location is pinpointing Cape Verde! Strangely enough no additional locations even for Brazil. Looking into the remaining part of his African breakdown we can see an astonishingly high “Angolan & Congolese”  score. Very much in line with Rio’s known African origins. The 2020 version of 23andme probably resulting in improved detection of Central African DNA.  In the 2018/2019 version this person scored 37% “Angolan & Congolese” as well as actually 7.9% “Southern East African”. Which now seems to have been totally homogenized, see also this screenshot.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Rio de Janeiro)

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2019 version. Again primary “Angolan & Congolese” score. But not truly predominant, notice that West African regions are also still present at a considerable level. Recent ancestral locations for both Brazil and Portugal were quite standard for practically all of my survey participants. See also this screenshot for the previous 2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Rio de Janeiro)

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2019 version.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Rio de Janeiro)

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2018 version. Central African lineage is more clearly predominant in this breakdown than the previous one. Also relatively high “Southern East African” score. Most likely suggestive of Mozambican DNA. Brazil’s slave trade with Mozambique was mostly passing through Rio de Janeiro (see table 4).

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Rio de Janeiro)

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2018 version. Even more extraordinary score for “Southern East African”. The highest such score within my Brazilian survey. Again not surprising that this person should be from Rio where such lineage is probably most frequent. Comparing Brazil with other parts of the Trans-Atlantic Afro-Diaspora this level of Southeast African DNA  is really a stand-out among my entire Afro-Diasporan survey. But again historically plausible given prevailing slave trade patterns (see also this page).

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: São Paulo)

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2018 version. A more balanced breakdown between West African & Central/Southern African DNA. “Nigerian” even being mentioned as biggest region. Not really a reflection of Rio’s predominant Central/Southeast African slave trade patterns. Then again São Paulo is of course very much a metropolis of migrants, incl. also many from Northeast Brazil. So even though this person might be from São Paulo I suppose he might still have family origins from outside southeast Brazil going back a few generations.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Rio de Janeiro)

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2018 version. More so tending towards Central/Southeast African this time. Although still West African regions are at a significant level as well.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: São Paulo)

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2018 version. This person is actually also aware of distant origins from Minas Gerais and Rio. Intriguing that also Italy appears as recent ancestral location, despite the minimal score of only 1.3%. However of course not really surprising given the huge Italian migration into southeast Brazil and in particular São Paulo. Other Paulistas will therefore often show much higher levels of “Italian”. Especially after the 2020 update.

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BRAZIL (Sudeste: Minas Gerais)

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2018 version. African origins of people from Minas Gerais could actually be a reflection of slave trade patterns from both Bahia as well as Rio. Because up till perhaps the mid 1700’s many if not most African captives were transported to the interior state of Minas Gerais through Bahia. Only later on did Rio assume a dominant role in domestic slave trade for southeast Brazil. Possibly therefore people with only minor African admixture might more often trace back their African roots through Bahia. But I am guessing this will be greatly convoluted for most people.

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Northeast Brazil (excl. Bahia)

BRAZIL (Nordeste: Pernambuco)

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2019 version. Convincing share of  Central African DNA for this person from Pernambuco. State origins also being confirmed by 23andme’s recent ancestral location feature. In line with known slave trade patterns for this state and its main port Recife. See this screenshot of this person’s previous 2018 results.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Pernambuco)

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2018 version. A greater West African share this time. Highlighting how a great deal of variation is still possible within the African breakdown of Brazilians. The recent ancestral location for Azores is a recurring outcome for many Brazilians. It could be true in some cases. However genearlly speaking I suspect it’s merely reflecting how Azorean migrants living in the USA are overrepresented in 23andme’s reference database.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Alagoas)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Ceara, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte)

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2018 version. Remarkable Native American score for this person. The second-highest in my survey. A person from Amazonas/Pará scoring even higher with 44.2%. Actually Native American admixture being reported for nearly all of my survey participants with only 1 exception. Group average being 9.6%. With the subgroup average for Northeast (excl. Bahia) being the highest with 12.1%. See also column U in my online spreadsheet.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Ceara & Piaui)

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2018 version. Quite varied and also balanced African breakdown. Still interesting that “Senegambian & Guinean” is showing up quite closely with the other regions as well. Despite of course the minimal amount still possibly an indication of Upper Guinean lineage by way of slave trade in neighbouring Maranhão / São Luis.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste:Piaui)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Ceara (3gp) & Pernambuco)

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2018 version. Exceptionally “Southern East African” is the biggest African region within the African breakdown. Actually this happened 5 times in my Brazilian survey (n=72). But otherwise for other Afro-descendants in the Americas I have not observed this at all, except for 2 Mexicans and 1 Cuban! Admittedly the amount itself is not that shocking. But still this could provide a very valuable clue for follow-up research. Especially when combined with finding associated Southeast African DNA matches. Most likely Mozambique will show up as the origin of this ancestral component. Documented slave trade with Southeast Africa represents a share of 3.1% for Pernambuco (see table 4).

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Ceara & Amazonas)

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2018 version.  Strictly speaking this person is only half Northeast Brazilian. However his family from Amazonas might also ultimately have Ceara origins. The Native American admixture is still elevated though. Regrettably I could not include more results from strictly northern Brazilians. It would have been very interesting to see if their African breakdown (on average) refelects the singular slave trade patterns being recorded for Amazonia/Maranhão (see table 4).

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Bahia

BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia)

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2018 version. Highly distinctive when compared with Southeastern Brazilian results!  Especially the ones with predominant African admixture (>50%). The “Nigerian” score is easily the highest in my survey.  Both scaled and unscaled! Most likely including Yoruba lineage aside from any other type of Bight of Benin origins. This area being the predominant area of provenance for Bahians, when going by documented slave trade patterns (56%, see table 4). Still also a substantial share of Central African DNA on display, almost 30% combined.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia)

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2018 version. Pretty similar to the previous breakdown: “Nigerian” firmly in first place. Again most likely covering southwestern Nigeria, as well as Benin, Togo and possibly even eastern Ghana. See also this youtube video this person made about her results.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia)

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2018 version.  More balanced between West vs. Central African this time. “Congolese” being the primary region. The recent ancestral location feature is correct about this person’s Bahia state origins. The pinpointing of Portugal is also bound to be correct. But further specification into the Azores is not per se (fully) accurate though. Because this is a  recurring outcome for many Brazilians. It could be true in some cases. However generally speaking I suspect it’s merely reflecting how Azorean migrants living in the USA are overrepresented in 23andme’s reference database. This feature is potentially very useful. But it’s not meant to be conclusive. The prediction is based on DNA matching strength. Due to skewed migration patterns certain provinces/regions within a country will be overrepresented. And you will be more likely to get assigned to that particular overrepresented place. Therefore it is good to know that the Azores as well as Madeira are a prime origin for many Portuguese-Americans.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia)

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2018 version. Another primary “Nigerian” score. Out of 7 Bahians in my survey 4 people had “Nigerian” as biggest African region; furthermore 1 primary spot each for “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”, “Angolan & Congolese” and “Southern East African”. Very minimal Native American admixture score btw. Possibly indicating that this person’s Brazilian roots go back mostly to the 1800’s when both his European and African ancestors arrived? Earlier colonial Brazilian lineage (often with more noticeable Native American admixture) not  included?

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia)

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2018 version. Very singular outcome! Only 3 out of 72 persons in my survey had “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” as biggest region in the African breakdown. Given the known slave trade patterns for Bahia it is most likely that this category is indicating Bight of Benin lineage. See also results of an actual Beninese and Togolese person on this page. As always the country labeling of ancestral regions is not to be taken as gospel! However with correct interpretation it can still be very informational.

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia & Sergipe)

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2018 version. 

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BRAZIL (Nordeste: Bahia & Sergipe (3gp))

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2019 version. The recent ancestral location feature accurately pinpoints Brazil. But on a state level at times it seems to be less correct. Although of course going back further than 2 generations this person could still have family origins from neighbouring Minas Gerais I suppose.

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Brazil (mixed or unknown regional origins)

BRAZIL (?)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Goiás, Pernambuco)

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2018 version. I do not know the full family details for this person. But the mere fact that Minas Gerais is being mentioned as recent ancestral location within Brazil is not per se true. This feature (based on DNA matching strength) is potentially very useful and on a country level its predictions will practically always be correct from what I ‘ve seen. However it does sometimes get it wrong in the specifics. Often assigning to certain areas which are overrepresented within 23andme’s customer database. Because of skewed migration presence of Mineiros in the US I imagine this could also be true for Minas Gerais. Then again this person could also very well have distant family connections to Minas Gerais. Which is afterall a neighbouring state of Goiás.

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BRAZIL (Ceará, Pernambuco, São Paulo)

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2019 version. See this screenshot for the 2018 version.

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BRAZIL (?)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Minas Gerais & Pará)

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2018 version. This person’s partial northern Brazilian origins (Pará is located in the Amazon region) seem to be well reflected. Not only in the elevated Native American admixture. But in fact also the relatively high “Senegambian & Guinean” score might be correlated with predominant Upper Guinean slave trade to the north of Brazil (see table 4).

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BRAZIL (Ceará & Minas Gerais)

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2018 version. Intriguing mentioning of Cuba as recent ancestral location. Multiple ancestral scenario’s might apply because of all sorts of migrations (incl. involuntary ones). Involving both shared Iberian (Galician!) and African (Yoruba, Angolan/Congolese etc.) origins. But either way it is first of all an indication of this Brazilian apparently having a susbtantial number of Cuban matches in 23andme’s reference database. But it doesn’t say anything per se about where their shared ancestors are from 😉

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BRAZIL (?)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Centralwest: Goiás (4gp))

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2018 version. People with deep roots in Centralwest Brazil  are probably most similar to people from neighbouring Minas Gerais in their African origins.

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BRAZIL (Bahia, Goiás, São Paulo)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (?)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (?)

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2018 version. Another fascinating mentioning of Cuba as recent ancestral location. Not to be taken too literally! But rather to be seen as a relatively high degree of shared ancestry between this Brazilian person and Cuban customers within 23andme reference database. Several scenario’s could be valid, given that both Brazil and Cuba had similar incoming migrations in the 1800’s. Infact both from Europe and Africa!

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BRAZIL (Goiás & Minas Gerais)

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2018 version.

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BRAZIL (Bahia & Rio de Janeiro)

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2018 version.

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Notes

1)  Many results included in my survey have been shared with me by the DNA testers themselves. Many other results were kindly shared with me by friends from among their matches/connections. And some results were collected by me from social media as well. Naturally I verified the background of each sample to the best of my capabilities but I did not have absolute certainty in all cases. This page features a selection of these surveyed results. I do actually have more screenshots available. However these were mostly obtained from the DNA Relatives page. And therefore these screenshots are in a less viewer-friendly format (see for example this screenshot). Their results are fully detailed though within my online spreadsheets.

My survey of Brazilian 23andme results is exclusively reflecting results which were obtained after the 2018 update (Ancestry Composition v3.0 & v5.0). In 2019 23andme expanded their reference datasets with South Asian, West Asian and most importantly North African samples. This prompted me to stop my survey because ideally you would want to only collect DNA results produced on the same footing. In order to avoid comparing apples and oranges so to speak. Even when the differences between the 2018 & 2019 version were not that drastic afterall. However for Brazilians and other Latin Americans it did have as a major consequence in that their “Unassigned” scores increased a great deal. Aside from minor variations in “North African” and also “Senegambian & Guinean”. See also:

2)I firmly believe that despite inherent limitations and given correct interpretation 23andme’s regional admixture estimates can be very useful as a stepping stone for follow-up research. And just to get a general idea of where most of your African ancestors hailed from. All according to the latest state of knowledge. Which naturally may be improved upon across time. I find it important to stay positive and focus on what ever informational value you can obtain despite imperfections. Instead of taking an overtly dismissive stance. Preferring to see the glass as half full rather than half empty 😉 You do need to make an effort yourself and stay engaged to gain more insight though!

In particular your follow-up research may include a focus on your African DNA matching patterns and how your African DNA matches may validate or correlate with your regional admixture scores. For example if you find around 20 African matches and 10 of them appear to be Yoruba Nigerians then this solidifies and also potentially specifies any major “Nigerian” score you might have obtained. See also:

  • African DNA matches reported by Ancestry for 20 Brazilians (under preparation)

Furthermore you will want to expand you knowledge about the historically documented presence of Africans in your earliest known places of origin within the Americas. In order to establish the historical plausibility of your 23andme scores. For example if you happen to be Brazilian it is vital to be aware of how Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade patterns varied quite a great deal, going from northern to southern Brazil. In particular northern Brazil and Bahia having distinctive origins when compared with southeastern Brazil (see this chart).

Any follow-up research is of course to be customized according to your own personal situation and also according to your research preferences. Plain genealogy is indepensable for dilligently building up a decent family tree. Which is very valuable in itself. But regrettably these strictly genealogical efforts will not always lead you back all the way to Africa. Save for some rare exceptions (Questlove on Finding Your Roots). Hence why I always insist on avoiding any source snobbery with relation to regional admixture analysis, such as performed by 23andme.

However when duly performed your family tree research will allow you to at least identify your earliest known ancestral locations within the Americas. Which will make it easier to correlate with slave trade patterns and documented African ethnicities for those areas. And if you are very persistent and/or lucky this might also eventually allow you to find localized documentation (plantation records; private correspondence of slave owners; church records; newspaper advertisements about runaway slaves etc.) possibly even mentioning any of your African-born ancestors on 1 single family line!

Combining advanced genetic genealogy techniques such as triangulation and DNA Painter with regional admixture of shared DNA segments also holds great potential in my opinion. As it might enable you to identify an earliest family line associated with such regional admixture! Especially when this regional admixture is distinctive such an approach can be very fruitful. For example when dealing with possible Central African lineage the presence of any “Angolan & Congolese” admixture should be very useful. Even when somewhat subdued such scores are likely to be genuine still. And after the 2020 update you will probably receive a more accurate estimate even. Naturally all of this is to be combined with any other clues you might have. Also it goes without saying that extra scrutiny is always required in order to avoid jumping to conclusions!

8 thoughts on “Brazilian 23andme results

    • Hi Jack, as mentioned on this page I did not yet see any African Recent Ancestor Locations (RAL) being reported by 23andme for Brazilians. But that’s probably just due to the restrictive settings for these RAL’s and African customers being underrepresented within 23andme’s database.

      However last year I have also conducted a separate research into the African DNA matches being reported on Ancestry for Brazilians. (before they deleted the smaller matches < 8cM, see this blog post). And such highly insightful African matches are indeed appearing for Brazilians.! In an upcoming blogpost I will discuss these DNA matching patterns in greater detail. So keep an eye out for that:

      African DNA matches reported by Ancestry for 20 Brazilians (under preparation)

      Liked by 1 person

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