Dominican 23andme results

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary of survey findings
  3. Screenshots of 23andme results

Intro

This page features screenshots of Dominican 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:

Dominican group averages

In order to attain greater insight for these Dominican results I have performed a survey (based solely on the 2018 version).1 Given that the sample size of my survey (n=100) 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 baseline 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 useful clues.See links below for my online spreadsheet which features all of the individual results:

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 will actually conform more or less with the results of other people with similar backgrounds. And therefore in the greater scheme of things your own personal African roots will be pretty much the same as for other people with your particular background. Afterall most of our more distant African lineage will be shared with fellow countrymen with whom we share more recent ancestral ties. Reinforced at times by relative endogamy and localized genepools. Probably also causing substructure within the Dominican Republic. Even when of course across the generations Dominicans have been migrating and intermingling with people from other parts of the island as well. In particular I imagine in the capital Santo Domingo. For more discussion see:

Table 1 (click to enlarge) 

Generally speaking most Dominicans are racially mixed. Due to lack of space and the overall focus of this blog I will not discuss the non-African admixture scores of my Dominican survey group in more detail. But of course these ancestral components are very interesting in their own right as well! MENA is short for Middle Eastern & North African. The 13% outlier being reported for someone of partial (1/8?) Lebanese descent. See also this screenshot for an overview of my previous Ancestry survey findings (n=161).

***

Table 2 (click to enlarge)

This chart is showing the full extent of African ancestry among my Dominican survey participants. In line with my previous survey based on Ancestry results (n=161, see this chart) as well as racial census the greater part does not show predominant (50%+) African ancestry.  The most frequent African admixture interval is 30-40%.  This was also the case in my Ancestry survey.

***

Naturally these charts are not intended to be an exact reflection of Dominican racial demographics! I suspect that self-identified Black Dominicans from especially the South and the East might be underrepresented as DNA testers on 23andme. And probably the same goes also for self-identified White Dominicans. Which is why it has been somewhat difficult to come across their results. On the other hand I do believe that a greater majority of Dominicans is indeed racially mixed. Often in balanced proportions between African & European. But also often tending more so toward either one of these two main ancestral components for Dominicans. Aside from minor but still significant and consistent Native American admixture of usually around 5-10% being reported for all of my survey participants.

Even when naturally my 23andme survey may have several limitations I believe the sample size of n=100 is quite robust already. Because my findings are in line with racial census and other published studies on Dominican genetics (see for example: National Geographic Society 2016). Within my own survey the share of people with African DNA smaller than 50% is 71% (7+20+25+19). While the most frequent African admixture interval was 30-40%. Also as can be seen in Table 1 the group average for African admixture was 40.7% while the median (50% cut-off) was 38%. To be kept in mind and to be respected is that Dominicans tend to have their own perspective on racial classification and mestizaje, see also these insightful articles:

Compare also with my previous survey results based on 161 AncestryDNA results. Which are greatly similar. Including a most frequent African admixture interval of 30-40% and a group average of 39% African. Do keep in mind that on AncestryDNA “North African” scores are included in the total African amounts. While on 23andme this category is separate from “Sub-Saharan African”. Also the “Unassigned” scores on 23andme are to be taken into account. These could get as high as 5% for Dominicans during the 2018 version.

***

Table 3 (click to enlarge)

“Senegambian & Guinean” comes in first place for most Dominicans (60/100), in my survey.  However for many people, usually with higher African admixture, also other categories turned up as primary regions (see Ranked #1).  Also going by group averages “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” , “Nigerian”, and “Angolan & Congolese” were still quite substantial. Reflecting the genetic impact of various waves of Africans across time which actually may show significant substructure according to which approximate time period (1500’s/1600’s vs. 1700’s/1800’s) this geneflow was occurring.

***

Table 4 (click to enlarge) 

This overview shows my Dominican 23andme survey findings in greater detail. Also accounting for any substructure according to degree of African admixture. Compare also with this overview, based on my previous AncestryDNA survey (n=161) from 2018. My earlier findings of a Upper Guinean Founding Effect being most apparent among Dominicans with minor African DNA (<25%) are again surfacing. Despite also being very relevant for Dominicans of predominant African descent (>50%). For them often other regions than “Senegambian & Guinean” tend to be most significant.

***

The overview above is contrasting two subgroups among my Dominican survey participants. These subgroups have been distinguished based on degree of African admixture. I did the exact same comparison in 2018, based on my AncestryDNA survey findings (2013-2018). Notice how the group average for “Senegambian & Guinean” is nearly twice as high for subgroup “African<25%” when compared with group “African>50%” (34.8% vs. 18%). While categories indicating Lower Guinean lineage are much more prevalent among Dominicans with above average African ancestry. See group averages for “Ghanaian, Liberian, Sierra Leonean” (21.2% vs. 12.4%) and “Nigerian” (21.8% vs. 13.4%). Also an intriguing difference in “Angolan & Congolese” (12% vs. 6.2%). But this Central African category was most likely underestimated by 23andme’s 2018 version. Not much difference when it comes to Native American admixture (7.7% vs. 5.1%). Although somewhat higher for Dominicans with lower amounts of African admixture. See also:

Table 5 (click to enlarge) 

This overview is exploring any regional substructure within the Dominican Republic.  Actually not that much differentiation on display for now. Except that the South is showing up with a somewhat increased level of “Nigerian”. While their “Senegambian & Guinean” is substantial but still somewhat less than for Dominicans from other parts of the country. Possibly also related to their higher group average for African admixture: 53.5%.

***

In the overview above I am exploring if there is any differentiation based on regional origins within the Dominican Republic. See this page for regional definitions. I left out Santo Domingo because continuous migration into the capital and subsequent intermingling make it less likely people would have multi-generational family origins from the same place. Obviously these regional divisions are only meant to be approximate. Also naturally I did not have complete knowledge about the family origins of my survey participants. The sample size for the southern and eastern parts of the Dominican Republic is rather minimal. Although my survey is probably already quite representative for the Cibao in the north of the Dominican Republic. For this region I managed to collect the greatest sample size (n=30). Similar to my previous Ancestry survey there might be a sampling bias towards results from this area. Possibly due to chain migration among Dominican-Americans. Many of my survey participants also being partially from the Cibao. While I suspect that also many people whose family origins were unknown to me could have been from the Cibao.

Merely meant as an exploratory excercise therefore. The results are actually less distinctive than shown in table 4. Safe for some minor variation many aspects seem to be consistent across the country. However as can be seen in table 5 my survey participants from the South (“Sur”) stand out for having the highest group average for “Nigerian”. Also take notice that the highest group average for African admixture is to be found in the South (53.5%). Most likely reinforcing their somewhat lower degree of “Senegambian & Guinean” (19.2% vs. 25% for all Dominicans). In line with the Upper Guinean Founding Effect generaly being most pronounced for people with lower than average African admixture. With a greater sample size for these 3 main areas within the Dominican Republic hopefully also other useful regional trends might be uncovered.

____________________

“[…] convincing confirmation of the Upper Guinean founder effect for Dominicans. Basically a disproportionate genetic legacy of the first Africans to arrive in Hispaniola, whose regional origins are known to have been overwhelmingly from Senegambia, Guinea Bissau/Conakry and Sierra Leone.” (Fonte Felipe, 2015)

“For Dominicans the main underlying cause might be relative endogamy after initial admixture. Taking place mostly in the early colonial period (1500’s/1600’s) when the nucleus of a (tri-racially) mixed Dominican population was being formed. Ensuring that certain regional African origins show up more pronounced. Because additional African admixture was not occurring afterwards (or to a much lesser degree) for certain socially/racially defined population segments. For Dominicans with Africa <25% an Upper Guinean founding effect […] seems to be apparent especially.” (Fonte Felipe, 2018)

“While for Dominicans with Africa >50% it seems reasonable to assume that they may have more diverse but also more recent African origins, on average. Mostly reflecting regions of provenance from the 1700’s […] rather than the 1500’s/1600’s.” (Fonte Felipe, 2018)

____________________

The above quotations are taken from previous blog posts of mine, published in 2015 & 2018. With these new 23andme survey findings I am very pleased to have replicated my main research outcomes based on my Ancestry surveys. Something I have been speculating about for many years already! Obviously several shortcomings and limitations in sample size will apply. Still I find it very intriguing to see that table 4 & 5 indeed seem to be indicative of meaningful substructure within the Dominican population. Most clearly according to African admixture level. But additionally also by geography. Mutually reinforcing most likely.

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. With proper interpretation this can be very helpful in your quest to Trace African Roots!

Generally speaking it seems very likely that “Senegambian & Guinean” is reflecting early Upper Guinean founding effects for Dominicans (as well as many other Hispanic Americans), dating from mostly the 1500’s. This Upper Guinean Founding Effect is of course not the sole determinant of African lineage for Dominicans! Their overall African roots being much more diverse and complex due to socially variable and perhaps also geographically variable absorption of other types of African regional ancestry to be traced back to later time periods (1700’s-1800’s). In fact Upper Guinean captives have also been documented in the Dominican Republic for this later period. However relatively speaking their presence then was much more subdued than in the 1500’s. Either way this Upper Guinean Founding Effect certainly does seem to have been very impactful and enduring!3

  • Dominicans with African admixture <25%, appear to have the highest degree of Upper Guinean origins. As measured especially by a group average of 34.8 % “Senegambian & Guinean“ on 23andme (see table 4). But also their frequency of  primary scores for “Senegambian & Guinean” being 87% (13/15) instead of 60% for the entire group (60/100).
  • Dominicans with African admixture >50% appear to have the greatest degree of Lower Guinean origins. As measured especially by a group average of 21.2% “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean“ as well as 21.8% “Nigerian” on 23andme (see table 4). Their frequency of  primary scores for “Senegambian & Guinean” being 20% (6/29) instead of 60% for the entire group (60/100). More tentatively this also goes generally speaking for people from the southern part of the Dominican Republic (see table 5).

Trans-Atlantic slave trade patterns (see this overview) but also Intra-American Slave Trade as well as post-colonial migrations should be helpful for making sense of my main survey findings. But either way for greater understanding it will be essential to study the relevant time framing or “waves” of Africans arriving from different regions into the Dominican Republic. Looking into your family history it should be very helpful to find any “Black” Dominican ancestor listed in the records. This might (generally speaking) increase the odds of this particular African lineage being relatively recent and to be traced back to the 1700’s/1800’s.

However keep in mind that in many cases African admixture took place already during the 1500’s/1600’s: the foundational period of currentday Dominican society! And naturally it will be much more difficult to find any documentary evidence of such distant intermingling. Given that miscegenation was widespread and usually undocumented at that time and also involving Tainos and other Native Americans. Pretty much the same historical context (for the 1500’s!) as well as similar tendencies for 23andme results also apply for my Puerto Rican survey group (see this page) and other Hispanic survey groups (see this page). Reinforcing the Upper Guinean Founding Effect among Hispanics I have been blogging about since 2014 already.

However for Dominicans “Senegambian & Guinean” is also often still prominent among people of predominant African descent. Frequently reported with high amounts (>10%) and even at times showing up with primary ranking within the African breakdown. Something which is quite exceptional from my wider survey findings across the Trans-Atlantic Afro-Diaspora. Otherwise only occurring among Cape Verdeans. Either way I find it astonishing that the genetic legacy of these Upper Guinean pioneering co-builders of Hispanic colonial societies is still highly detectable and persistent! It seems to be a testimony to their survival skills and also their early integration in colonial populations. In upcoming blog posts I will discuss this remarkable outcome in more detail. For more background see also:

For some very useful blog posts by Dominican bloggers see:

______________________________________________________________________________

Dominican Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 grandparents born in the Dominican Republic. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation among Dominicans in the first place. But given that my sample size (n=100) is already rather robust these results will usually also be quite representative while some of them could even show distinct patterns for their particular sub-group.

I will not post all 100 results as that might be too much to scroll through 😉 Instead I have picked a selection which I believe is most illustrative of the main patterns as well as showcasing some of the outliers. Consult my spreadsheet for a complete overview. The results have been arranged from highest degree of African admixture to lowest. But I am starting first with a small grouping based on geographic origins within the Dominican Republic. I mention such regional origins within the Dominican Republic, whenever such details were available to me. But 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 family origins! In case you are not familar with the geography of the Dominican Republic follow this link:

The recent ancestral locations have been highlighted by myself. Potentially a very useful feature (based on DNA matching strength) but only to be taken as indicative. Due to a skewed reference database its predictions will sometimes not be perfectly in line with known family origins. Also the implied origins might actually be the other way around due to unexpected ancestral migrations. Dating back to colonial times even. Hispanic people often being greatly interrelated, even across borders generally speaking. Especially Cuba is therefore often appearing in addition for Dominicans as well as sometimes Puerto Rico or Haiti (generally with lower confidence though). Keeping this in mind this feature will usually still be quite informational and accurate. Not only for pinpointing recent ancestry within the Americas but actually also at times specifying Iberian/Spanish ancestry!

Regrettably I have not yet seen such recent ancestral locations appearing in the African breakdown for Dominicans or other Hispanic Americans. Although I have seen this a few times in my Haitian and Jamaican surveys. Each time confirming and even at times 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 and preferably even beyond. As afterall the 1500’s-1600’s will also be a relevant time period when wanting to Trace African Roots for many Dominicans (see this page).

I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me. In particular I want to give a shout-out to Lemba! His tremendous help has been essential for my efforts to collect a robust sample group of 100 Dominican 23andme results! Muchas gracias! Be sure to check out his highly inspiring and very educational blog:

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version. Quite typical results and especially in line with the group averages of my survey. The primary “Senegambian & Guinean” score is a common theme for many Dominicans. Especially when their total African admixture is lower than 50%. But in fact also for Dominicans of predominant African descent double digit scores (>10%) are frequent for this proxy of Upper Guinean DNA.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: La Vega)

***

2018 version. For Dominicans with lower amounts of African admixture “Senegambian & Guinean” will often be even more so prominent, relatively speaking. In this case representing a share of  nearly 35% of the African breakdown (6.6/19) . Notice also how recent ancestral locations are being shown for both Portugal & Spain! After the 2019/2020 updates these predictions have generally become more precise.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Barahona)

***

2018 version. Dominicans with above average African admixture tend to have other primary regions in their African breakdown. “Nigerian” was reported as biggest African region for 21 persons in my survey. Most of them (14/21) having total African admixture greater than 50%! Such as in this case.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: San Cristobal)

***

2018 version. This particular breakdown looks quite typical overall speaking. And could easily also be for someone from the Cibao. I have sofar not seen that many results from the South. It will be interesting to see if with greater sample size the results with lower than average African admixture will conform with such results from other parts of the country.

***

DOMINICAN (Este: San Pedro de Macorís)

***

2018 version.  Again “Nigerian” in first place for a result showing above average African admixture. Such scores might be more typical for both the South and the East. Although the number of results I have collected from these areas is admittedly still quite limited. Do notice that actually the “Senegambian & Guinean” score is practically on the same high level of around 13% !

***

DOMINICAN (Este: Monte Plata)

***

2018 version. Despite generalized trends it should not be overlooked how the Upper Guinean Founding Effect is usually also very much relevant for Dominicans of  predominant African descent! In fact when compared with other parts of the Afro-Diaspora it is quite exceptional to see a primary “Senegambian & Guinean” score for someone with 50%+ African admixture. This is otherwise only seen for Cape Verdeans from my observations.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Barahona)

***

2018 version. This person had the secondhighest African score in my survey. As well as the second-highest “Nigerian” amount. Probably no coincidence that this person is hailing from the south. As I have a strong hunch that a breakdown like this,  featuring elevated “Nigerian” and “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” scores, will be quite typical for other self-identified Black Dominicans as well. Possibly most numerous in the southern and eastern parts of the Dominican Republic. Notice also the rather subdued level of “Senegambian & Guinean”.  Also minor but still distinctive the 2.4% “Southern East African” score. Possibly indicative of Mozambican lineage.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Barahona & Azua)

***

2018 version.  “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” was reported as biggest African region for 15 persons in my survey. Most of them (8/15) having total African admixture greater than 50%! Such as in this case. Despite the country name labeling such scores could actually also (partially) refer to DNA to be found in either Benin or Togo and even Mali. Because unlike Ancestry  23andme currently does not have separate categories for these countries.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Santiago)

***

2018 version.  One of the highest African scores for a person from the Cibao in my survey.  Interestingly Haiti is mentioned as one of the recent ancestral locations. However this could reflect several ancestral scenarios. Due to migrations between both neighbouring countries going in both directions across the generations. Notice also how Native American admixture remains clearly detectable for all of my Dominican survey participants with higher than average African ancestry!

***

DOMINICAN (Este: San Pedro de Macorís)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao & Sur)

***

2018 version. For each and everyone of my survey participants with African admixture greater than 60% it was either “Nigerian” or “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” which showed up in first place. However do take notice that in most cases “Senegambian & Guinean” is still prominent and even around 10% level! Central African DNA was underestimated in 23andme’s 2018 version. But updated results for Dominicans also show elevated levels of “Angolan & Congolese”.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: San Cristobal & San Juan)

***

2018 version. 

***

DOMINICAN (Sur & Santo Domigo?)

***

2018 version. Although quite close with “Senegambian & Guinean” it is “Congolese” which shows the highest amount within this African breakdown. In my survey “Congolese” was reported as primary region for only 4 persons.  However most likely Central African DNA was being underestimated in 23andme’s 2018 version. Something which has been corrected after the 2020 update.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Bani & San Cristobal)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao & Santo Domingo)

***

2018 version. Highest “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” score in my survey. In fact also scaled, as it represents a relative share of almost 40% of this person’s African breakdown (22.6/57.6)! Although not shown as primary region these results are also showing a very high “Congolese” score. The second highest “Congolese” score (unscaled) in my survey actually. Shown here as “Angolan & Congolese” because it was renamed already before the 2019 update.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Barahona)

***

2018 version. Highest “Senegambian & Guinean” score in my survey (based on the 2018 version). Even more striking because this person is of predominant (>50%) African descent. Quite exceptional also when compared with other parts of the Trans-Atlantic Afro-Diaspora. As I have not seen similar scores (>15%) for other parts of the Afro-Diaspora (except for Cape Verdeans and African Americans).

***

DOMINICAN (Este: Monte Plata)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Este: Monte Plata)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Cotui & Pimentel)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: San Juan)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Este: Hato Mayor)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Bonao, Mao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Santiago)

***

2018 version. The recent ancestral location is specifying Dominican lineage from Santiago province. Something which happens quite frequently. And in this particular case it is actually true! However generally speaking such predictions on sub-national level tend to be a bit over-ambitious. Often reflecting rather the self-reported origins of 23andme customers who tend to hail  from certain overrepresented areas within a country. Still with proper interpretation this feature is still useful in many cases.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Bonao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao & Este)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: San Juan)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2018 version. This person seems to have some minor Chinese lineage. Combining all associated subcategories it could be around 6%! Incl. also the so-called Southeast Asian scores as these are typically also appearing for southern Chinese (due to ancient shared origins). Quite likely suggestive therefore of 1 Chinese great-great grandparent (1/16). Which could be historically plausible given Chinese migration into the Caribbean already in the late 1800’s, incl. also Cuba. Still quite exceptional within my Dominican survey.

***

DOMINICAN (Sur & Santo Domingo)

***

2018 version. Notice how Spain is being mentioned as Recent ancestral location. Generally speaking this happens more frequently for people with a higher degree of European descent. This potentially very useful feature is based on DNA matching strength.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2018 version. Notice how this time Portugal is being mentioned as Recent ancestral location. This could be genuine as Portuguese settlers have been documented for the Dominican Republic, already in the 1500’s. However it might also simply be due to very close genetic similarity between Portuguese and Spanish people. In particular northern Portugal which borders Galicia. While Andalusia might also have great genetic overlap with in particular southern Portugal. See also this study: Patterns of genetic differentiation and the footprints of historical migrations in the Iberian Peninsula (2018)

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao & Este)

***

2018 version. “Congolese” was renamed into “Angolan & Congolese”  in 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 quite appropriate for Dominicans. Because both Angolan and Congolese lineage is historically speaking very likely. Although actually still also other neighbouring Central African countries might be implicated.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Duarte)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Jarabacoa)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Cotui, Pimentel)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Cabrera)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version. One of the few times  (4/100) “Congolese” is showing up in first place within the African breakdown of my 100 Dominican survey participants. After the 2020 update this will most likely change. As the renamed category “Angolan & Congolese” seems to have become more predictive of Central African DNA. This person’s newly updated score for “Angolan & Congolese” is now 12.9%! See also this screenshot.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2018 version

***

DOMINICAN (Sur/Santo Domingo)

***

2018 version. Relatively high level of Native American admixture! In my survey (n=100) only 8 people showed Native American admixture greater than 10%. If hypothetically this were to trace back to one single fully Native American ancestor it would most likely be either a great grandparent (1/8) or a great-great grandparent (1/16). However of course Dominicans have inherited their Native American admixture from all sides. Across the generations and usually going back all the way to the 1500’s.  Comparable in this way to Puerto Ricans. Although a somewhat greater degree of dilution seems to have occurred for Dominicans.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Santiago & Puerto Plata)

***

2018 version.  Highest amount of Native American admixture in my survey. The group average being around 7%. The lowest score in my survey being 2.6%.  Although representing a minor share for various reasons this ancestral component is still obviously a very meaningful and consistent part of the Dominican genepool.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2018 version. Again an elevated Native American score of greater than 10%. Such scores being most prevalent for my survey participants with African admixture of in between 20-40%. Nearly always showing “Senegambian & Guinean” in first place within the African breakdown. Both ancestral components most likely to be traced back to the 1500’s.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version. Relatively high amount of “Unassigned”. These scores would generally speaking even increase after the 2019 update. Which is one of the main reasons I discontinued my survey. However fortunately with the 2020 update this issue seems to have been resolved for the most part.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: La Vega, Bonao)

***

2018 version. Primary ranking for “Nigerian” still also happens for Dominicans with relatively lower amounts of African admixture. However clearly with less frequency than for Domincans with predominant African ancestry. For 25 Dominicans in my survey with African admixture in between 40% -30% only 2 people had “Nigerian” as biggest African region. Instead “Senegambian & Guinean” was showing up in first place for 21 people out of 25.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao & Sur)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Santiago)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao: Santiago)

***

2018 version. Relatively high North African score. Possibly indicative of Canarian lineage. Probably underestimated though. After the 2019 update the detection of such admixture has greatly improved.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version.

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2018 version. Notice the mentioning of Canary Islands as recent ancestral location. Also noteworthy that this person has the second-highest scaled score of “Senegambian & Guinean”  in my survey: 10.7/23.2=46%!

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Bani)

***

2018 version. “Nigerian” showing up in first place for people with African admixture < 25% was quite exceptional in my survey. This person being the only one out of 15 samples. The overwhelming majority (13/15) instead showing “Senegambian & Guinean” as primary African region. Perhaps not a coincidence that the Native American score for this person is also quite low. Among the 5 lowest scores in my survey actually. Although possibly for southern Dominicans this might be less atypical.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2019 version. These results are not included in my survey because they are based on the 2019 update. In fact the African breakdown of Dominicans of predominant African descent usually remained pretty much the same. In this case quite striking to see a primary “Senegambian & Guinean” score for someone with almost 65% African! The highest such combination I have seen sofar. The “Angolan & Congolese” score is also noteworthy btw.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2019 version. These results are not included in my survey because they are based on the 2019 update. Especially for Dominicans with lower African ancestry this usually led to high scores of “Unassigned”. In this case almost 8%! However this update did also result in greater detection of North African DNA. The North African scores in the 2018 version were almost certainly underestimated, generally speaking.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2019 version. These results are not included in my survey because they are based on the 2019 update. Especially for Dominicans with lower African ancestry this usually led to high scores of “Unassigned”. In this case over 9% even! However this update did also result in greater detection of Middle Eastern DNA. Even specifying Lebanese lineage for a person who seems to have 1 Lebanese great grandparent (1/8).

***

DOMINICAN (Cibao)

***

2019 version. These results are not included in my survey because they are based on the 2019 update. Especially for Dominicans with lower African ancestry this usually led to high scores of “Unassigned”. In this case almost 9% even! Very special results however because this person has the lowest African amount I have seen for a Dominican! And quite tellingly almost all of it is “Senegambian & Guinean” (4.1/5.4=76%). Therefore a perfect illustration of the Upper Guinean Founding Effect.

***

DOMINICAN 

***

2020 version. Recently updated results, not included in my 2018 survey. Easily spotted by looking into the European breakdown which appears much more homogenized now. “Unassigned” and “Broadly..” scores have been greatly diminished for the most part. A stand-out feature of this breakdown being the highest “Senegambian & Guinean” score I have seen sofar for Dominicans. Almost 20%!

***

DOMINICAN (Sur: Barahona)

***

2019 & 2020 version. In line with other Dominican results with predominant African ancestry shown earlier. This comparison is showing some of the main changes after the most recent 2020 update. Most likely also relevant for other Dominicans. Minor variation for the most part. But a notable rise in “Angolan & Congolese” can be seen of around 6%. It might represent a general trend of improved detection of Central African DNA. Mostly at the expense of “Broadly Sub-Saharan African” it seems. But “Broadly West African” is actually increasing! So still some ground to cover by 23andme. Hopefully in a next update they will add a new category for the interior of West Africa (Mali/Burkina Faso/Niger). But I am glad that 23andme’s homogenizing algorithm is not bystepping the general rule of  “don’t be more specific than your underlying data allows for”.

***

___________________________________________________________________________

Notes

1)  Some 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.

I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me. In particular I want to give a shout-out to Lemba! His great help has been essential for my efforts to collect a robust sample group of 100 Dominican 23andme results! Muchas gracias! Be sure to check out his highly inspiring and very educational blog:

My survey of Dominican 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. The differences between the 2018 & 2019 version were actually not that drastic afterall. However for Latin Americans, incl. Dominicans it did have one 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 researchAnd 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 manage to find any  African matches and 1 of them appears to be Senegalese then this solidifies and also potentially specifies any major “Senegambian & Guinean” score you might have obtained. Same thing goes for any Central African matches corroborating “Angolan & Congolese” scores. See also:

  • African DNA matches reported by Ancestry for 30 Latin Americans (incl. the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Cuba) (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 for Dominicans it is vital to be aware of both Trans-Atlantic and Intra-American Slave Trade. The latter flow of people quite likely resulting in a great deal of shared African lineage with neighbouring Haiti, the Anglo-Caribbean as well as other surrounding parts of the non-Hispanic West Indies. In particular from the so-called Lower Guinea area (mostly Ghana & Nigeria) and Central Africa. Also getting acquainted with the relative time framing or “waves” of various groups of Africans arriving from different regions will be very useful (see this chart and also this one).

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). Not saying it is impossible. But for Dominicans in particular I imagine the odds might be quite small already for tracing back African-born ancestors from the late 1700’s. Let alone the 1500’s! 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 Upper Guinean lineage the presence of any “Senegambian & Guinean” admixture should be very useful. Even when somewhat subdued such scores are likely to be genuine still. And after the 2020 update you might 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! For two very insprirational blog posts read:

3) For a greater understanding of this Upper Guinean founding effect read the following blog posts:

An overly USA-centric perspective may have prevented a full realization of how significant Upper Guinean ancestry turns out to be for Dominicans as well as many other Hispanic Americans. Especially in comparison with African Americans. The recent inclusion of early Iberian (Portuguese/Spanish) Slave Voyages into the standard reference Slave Voyages database has been incredibly useful therefore for greater understanding. However it should be pointed out that Latin American (e.g. Carlos Esteban Deive ,Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán), Iberian and Cape Verdean historians (such as António Carreira) have always been aware of the significance of this early slave trade by way of Cape Verde. Their research findings may not have been so widely known in the USA merely because their work has mostly not been published in English.

Either way I myself already blogged the following a few years ago:

____________________

“Combining the average scores for “Senegal” with “Mali” this AncestryDNA analysis seems to provide convincing confirmation of the Upper Guinean founder effect for Dominicans. Basically a disproportionate genetic legacy of the first Africans to arrive in Hispaniola, whose regional origins are known to have been overwhelmingly from Senegambia, Guinea Bissau/Conakry and Sierra Leone. ” (Fonte Felipe, 2015)

The exact degree of Senegambian origins and any possible reasons for its relative greater dilution among African Americans are yet to be determined. But at any rate the often made assertion that African Americans would have the greatest proportional share of Upper Guinean ancestry within the Americas may no longer be tenable. It might very well have to be rephrased into African Americans have a greater share of Senegambian ancestry only when compared to the English speaking West Indies and Haiti but not so when compared with the Hispanic Caribbean and Mexico/Central America. The persistent Upper Guinean genetic imprint among many Hispanics […] can no longer be ignored(Fonte Felipe, 2016)

____________________

Overview below is featuring my final research findings based on AncestryDNA results (2013-2018 version). It can be established that the predictive accuracy of “Senegal” was not 100% accurate but still quite solid. And it was being reinforced by a somewhat weaker defined “Mali” to describe a genetic Upper Guinean component. It can be seen that “Senegal” + “Mali” is clearly culminating for Senegambians, Guineans, Malians and Cape Verdeans, as it should! But also otherwise the ranking is in line with expectations. At least when going by the latest insights and not relying on a USA-centric perspective. In regards to the (Trans-Atlantic) Afro-Diaspora we can observe how “Senegal” + “Mali” is most prevalent among Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. Seemingly reflecting a major Upper Guinean founding effect among Hispanic Americans. I have blogged about this topic many times already (starting in 2014). And I intend to do so again eventually as my 23andme surveyfindings are also in support of this remarkable phenomenon!

*** (click to enlarge)

Stats Upper Guinea (diasp)

This table features an approximation of an Upper Guinean component by combining “Senegal” and “Mali” group averages. The ranking among Afro-Diasporans is more or less in line with historical sources. Illustrating how a Upper Guinean founding effect among Hispanic Americans may have been very significant!

***%

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s