AncestryDNA Results Across the Diaspora

In 2013 AncestryDNA updated their Ethnicity Estimates to include a very detailed breakdown of West African ancestry (see this article). Soon afterwards I started collecting AncestryDNA results in an online spreadsheet in order to conduct a survey of the African regions being reported by AncestryDNA, among both African Americans as well as other Afro-descended nationalities. Attempting to establish how much the AncestryDNA results on an aggregated group level can already (despite limitations of sample size) be correlated with whatever is known about the documented regional African roots for each nationality.

Rumour has it that AncestryDNA will shortly start rolling out a new update of their Ethnicity Estimates. So it seems the time is right to finalize my survey. The sample size for most groups appears to be suffciently robust now to allow a meaningful intercomparison. In the AncestryDNA section of my blog (see the menubar) you can find a detailed summary of my survey findings based on 707 results for 7 nationalities:

Gathering all the results was a great learning experience. It has been a very satisfactory project! My survey report merely represents my personal attempt at identifying generalized, preliminary and indicative patterns on a group level inspite of individual variation. Everyone has a unique family tree of course first of all.

I would like to thank again all my survey participants for sharing their results with me. I am truly grateful for it!

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This frequency of regions being ranked #1 (regions with the highest amount in the African breakdown) is perhaps the best indicator of which distinct African lineages may have been preserved the most among my sample groups.”

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FREQ #1 regions

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Louisiana: most African diversity within the United States?

Louisiana Slave Database 1719-1820

SUMMARY

Number of slaves with origin specified 29,769
American born (“Creole”) 13,618 (45% of total)
African born 16,099 (54% of total)
African specified ethnically 8,994 (30% of total)

TOP 3 BREAKDOWN OF AFRICAN BORN SLAVES

Congo (Central Africa) 2,988 – 33% of African specified
Mandinga (Upper Guinea) 922 – 10% of African specified
Mina (Ghana, Togo, Benin) 628 – 7% of African specified
Source: Slavery and African Ethnicities in the Americas: Restoring the Links (Hall, 2005).

Congo Square

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Gwendolyn Midlo Hall’s remarkable relational database of Louisiana slaves and freedmen (1719-1820), which contains records of over 100,000 enslaved people, includes nearly 9,000 individual Africans by specific ethnicity. The database was first published in 2000 as a CD-ROM, and it is now available free on the Internet. The database is derived largely from notarial and ‘‘succession’’ (probate) records, mostly in French, in which slaves often self-identified their ‘‘nations’’ or ‘‘countries’’. There are 217 different ethnicities recorded, of which 96 have been identified, and a further 121 (comprising 152 individuals) which have not been identified. Of those identified, just 18 ethnicities account for over 96% of the Africans in the Louisiana records. In addition, within that set of 18 principal ‘‘nations,’’ the seven most common (in order, Kongo, Mandingo, Mina, Senegal/Wolof, Igbo, Bamana, Chamba), comprise over three-quarters of the sample. The single most numerous ‘‘nation’’ in the dataset was Africans from Kongo (nearly 3,000 individuals), the vast majority of whom arrived in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries” (Chambers, 2008, pp.335-336).

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For a direct link to this extremely fascinating and online searchable database created by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall see below:

Louisiana Slave Database 1719-1820

A full overview of the 18 most frequently named African origins can be seen in the remaining part of this blogpost in which i will attempt to provide more details and context about Louisiana’s African diversity. Lees verder

The Igbo Connection for Virginia & Virginia-Descendants

Igbo Farm Village Compile3

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TAST (VA, SC, percentages)

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (2010) (http://www.slavevoyages.org/)

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Chambers (2002) - Table1, Estimated Percentage of Igbo captives

Source: “Rejoinder – The Significance of Igbo in the Bight of Biafra Slave-Trade- A Rejoinder to Northrup’s Myth Igbo ” (D.B. Chambers, 2002)

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Domestic Slave Trade routes from Virginia to the Deep South

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at least 60% of Black Americans have at least 1 Igbo ancestor” (Dr. Douglas B. Chambers during Radio Interview (recommended listening)

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Jamaican maternal lineages trace back mostly to Ghana?

nanny2

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“In line with previous findings, the matriline of Jamaica is almost entirely of West African descent. Results from the admixture analyses suggest modern Jamaicans share a closer affinity with groups from the Gold Coast and Bight of Benin despite high mortality, low fecundity, and waning regional importation. The slaves from the Bight of Biafra and West-central Africa were imported in great numbers; however, the results suggest a deficit in expected maternal contribution from those regions.” (Deason et al., 2012)

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Antigua’s African Origins According To Moravian Church Records

Antiguans in Moravian Church Records 1757-1833 

Rebecca Protten (1718-1780), Moravian born in Antigua, she travelled back to Africa (Ghana) for missionary work.

SUMMARY

Number of (ex)slaves 11,180
Creole (i.e. locally born ) 7,925 (71% of total)
African 3,255 (29% of total)
African specified 2,914 (26% of total)

BREAKDOWN OF AFRICAN BORN (EX)SLAVES

Igbo (Nigeria) 894 – 31% of African specified
Kongo (Congo) 427 – 15% of African specified
Coromantee (Ghana) 390 – 13% of African specified
Source

The biggest documented source of African ethnicity among Antiguans doesn’t come from the official slave registers kept in between 1817-1832 because regrettably no records of country of birth were made then unlike the ones discussed already for Trinidad, Berbice, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts & Anguilla (see this overview). Rather it’s the Moravian Church records which Lees verder