Jamaican 23andme results

Contents

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

Intro

This page features screenshots of Jamaican 23andme results. Results for other parts of the Anglo-Caribbean can be found on a separate page:

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 very slight for most people, when looking only at the %’s. 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:

Jamaican group averages

In order to attain greater insight for these Jamaican results I have performed a survey (based on the 2018/2019 version).1 Given that the sample size of my Jamaican survey (n=43) is already quite considerable 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 Jamaican will actually conform more or less with the results of fellow Jamaicans. And therefore in the greater scheme of things your own personal African roots will be greatly overlapping/similar when compared with the African roots of other Jamaicans. 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. Possibly also causing substructure on a parish/county level. Even when actually of course Jamaicans have also been migrating and intermingling with people from within Jamaica and also other islands across the generations. For more discussion see:  

Table 1 (click to enlarge) 

“Nigerian” was clearly the most significant region for practically all my Jamaican survey participants with only one exception (see ranked #1).  Representing around half of the total African breakdown for most people. “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” almost always appeared in second place. But still with substantial amounts, usually greater than 20%. Aside from the group averages do take notice also of the complete range (min-max) for greater insight! Also don’t take the country labeling too literally. As for example “Nigerian” will also cover DNA from Benin, Togo and even eastern Ghana. And in some cases even perhaps from Cameroon.

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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 Jamaicans are overwhelmingly West African (~90%). The Central African component is most likely underestimated in 23andme 2018/2019 version. But either way subdued. Which is in line with historical plausibility. Not shown in this table but also the additional 2.9% “Broadly African” is to be taken into account.

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Table 3 (click to enlarge) 

This overview shows my Anglo-Caribbean 23andme survey findings (2018-2019). Compare also with this overview, based on my previous AncestryDNA survey.  The sample size for most islands is of course minimal. Still already quite insightful for revealing the various  tendencies in African regional admixture across the wider English speaking Caribbean. Jamaica stands out as having the highest “Nigerian” group average. Even when actually for most other West Indians this region will also be primary. “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” certainly is substantial for Jamaicans but it reaches its highest level in Barbados and Guyana.

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

I have actually already discussed these findings in a previous blog post. For continued discussion see:

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Jamaican Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 Jamaican-born grandparents. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation among Jamaicans in the first place. Despite the limited sample size I suspect that these results might already be quite representative. The results have been arranged from highest degree of African admixture to lowest.

Actually regardless of the total amount of African ancestry the scaled African breakdown looks quite consistent for most Jamaicans. That is to say “Nigerian” firmly in first place with “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” also still substantial and often greater than 20% of the total African breakdown. However Central African DNA and “Senegambian & Guinean” are generally quite subdued and minimal.

Also take note of the recent ancestral locations which I have highlighted myself. Mostly confirming British lineage within the European breakdown. But after the 2019 update also indicating Jamaican parish origins! As well as specifying Asian lineage at times. And amazingly at times also appearing in the African breakdown! Regrettably not very often, but still I have seen this for 6 Jamaicans already. Each time confirming and at times 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. Which is afterall the most relevant time period when wanting to Trace African Roots for Jamaicans (see this chart). I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me!

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JAMAICA 

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2019 version. Practically 100% African result for this person. Such results were more frequent in my AncestryDNA survey (8/100, see this chart). To be kept in mind is that 23andme applies a more finetuned detection of trace admixture than on Ancestry. So even for native Africans being tested on 23andme it is not always “easy” to attain 100% African results 😉 Instead it is often appearing as 99.9%. See also my African survey of 23andme results.

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JAMAICA (Kingston)

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2019 version.  Highest “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” score in my survey. Still not bigger than “Nigerian”. However actually some (eastern) Ghanaian DNA might very well be described by “Nigerian” as well, due to genetic overlap. Also DNA from Benin and Togo (incl. Ewe) could be covered by “Nigerian”. This person was also in my survey for African DNA matches reported by Ancestry for 30 Jamaicans (JAM09). And indeed she has several DNA matches from Benin/Togo (6x) in addition to matches from Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann, St. Catherine, St. Mary, St. James, Hanover)

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2018 version.

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JAMAICA 

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2019 version.

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JAMAICA 

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2020 version.These are the most recently updated (2020) results of the same person whose 2019 results are shown directly above. Not that many drastic changes in fact. However you will notice that most of the “Broadly” scores have now disappeared due to homogenization. Also the recent ancestral locations have been updated. Incl. a new one for Nigeria, regrettably without further details.

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JAMAICA (St. Elizabeth, Manchester, St. Catherine, Clarendon, Westmoreland)

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2019 version. Amazingly high “Nigerian” result! Easily the highest in my survey, both scaled and unscaled. Another stand-out feature is the specification of  this Nigerian lineage by way of recent ancestral location zooming into Nigerian state level! Delta state being located in southern Nigeria. And actually quite multi-ethnic (mostly Urhobo though) so nothing conclusive yet. One does need to fully understand the methodology used by 23andme to arrive at this impressively detailed prediction. Also to be kept in mind that naturally it will not be in contradiction of any other additional origins being from other parts of Nigeria. Still a wonderful outcome! With further refinement this tool looks very promising for zooming into specific African lineage in future updates!

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JAMAICA 

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2020 version. These results have been updated in 2020. Notice the (near) lack of “broadly” scores. I am not sure if the mentioning of Barbados would be surprising for this person. It is however quite exceptional for Jamaican results I have seen. I am guessing that generally speaking the more impactful migrations between both islands go back further in time (1600’s/1700’s) than the implied timeframe of 23andme’s Recent Ancestral Location feature (1800’s/1900’s). In my survey I have only seen Nigeria being mentioned as recent ancestral location for Jamaicans. And not a single time Ghana. However I suspect again this is due to the restrictions of the time frame. Most Ghanaian ancestry to be traced back to the 1700’s actually.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann, St. Mary)

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2019 version.

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JAMAICA (St. James, St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover)

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2018 version.

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JAMAICA 

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2019 version.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann, St. Elizabeth)

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2019 version.

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JAMAICA (Clarendon, St. Elizabeth, Trelawney)

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2018 version. Pretty much in line with my other Jamaican survey participants. Except that this person’s “Congolese” is the highest within my survey. Only one other person scoring more than 10% for this indicator of Central African DNA (renamed  into “Angolan & Congolese” after the 2019 update). It is probably somewhat underestimated in 23andme’s 2018/2019 version. However still already greatly supportive of Jamaica’s Central African origins being secondary to Jamaica’s overwhelmingly West African origins. And more specifically the Lower Guinea area: Ghana- Nigeria. However for this person this particular result might provide a valuable basis for follow-up research!

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JAMAICA (atleast 3 grandparents)

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2019 version. This person is actually not included in my survey as I could only get confirmation of 3 Jamaican-born grandparents. However I still think this screenshot is very educational as it shows Nigeria as recent ancestral location! Very special because most likely indicative of relatively recent Nigerian ancestry from the early 1800’s. Or even mid-1800’s due to African contract labourers. Because most Jamaicans and in fact also other Afro-descendants usually trace back their African lineage to the 1700’s or even earlier they will usually not get such assignments. Still potentially this feature on 23andme (based on DNA matching strength) could be of immense importance!

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JAMAICA (St. Catherine)

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2018 version. One of the highest (scaled) “Nigerian” scores in my survey. Representing a share of 67% (=59/88) within the African breakdown. Actually relative proportions of greater than 50% “Nigerian” were quite common. Jamaicans showing one of the highest degree of “Nigerian” within my entire survey of 23andme results across the Afro-Diaspora. Practically half of their African breakdown (49.7%).

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JAMAICA (St. Ann)

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2019 version. Distinctive Native American score. Even though of course still minimal and heavily diluted. But for most Jamaicans it is actually either absent or smaller than 1%. The group average for Native American being 0.3% for 43 Jamaicans in my survey. 

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JAMAICA (Portland)

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2019 version. “Nigerian” and “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” are nearly at the same level.  Less than 5% difference. Quite unusual to see such balanced scores. Regrettably I did not get that many results in from eastern Jamaica (Surrey) but I have a hunch that relatively higher levels of “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” might more frequently appear for people with deep roots on all sides from that area. 

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JAMAICA (St. Elizabeth)

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2019 version.  The recent ancestral location within Jamaica has been correctly predicted by 23andme. The additional mentioning of Haiti is intriguing. But actually more likely to imply that some of this person’s ancestors (or close relatives of those ancestors) ended up in Haiti. Resulting in frequent currentday DNA matches from Haiti. As always multiple ancestral scenario’s are to be kept in mind due to migrations (incl. involuntary ones). In this case Intra-American Slave Trade from Jamaica into Haiti seems quite plausible.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann)

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2018 version. 

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JAMAICA (St. Catherine, St. Mary, Clarendon)

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2018 version.  Minor but still detectable Southeast Asian admixture. This is rather uncommon for most Jamaican results I have seen. However for African Americans it is much more frequent. Albeit almost always also with very small trace amounts of around 1%. Still in most cases I suspect such outcomes provide a clear indication of Malagasy lineage. Due to early Madagascar Slave Voyages which have been documented for both the West Indies and North America. Preferably to be corroborated with associated DNA matches from Madagascar. In this particular case actually also the minor South Asian admixture is to be taken into account. Possibly this Southeast Asian admixture merely being a misreading of actual South Asian admixture. The 2019 update will have clarified things I suppose.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann)

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2018 version.

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JAMAICA (St. Elizabeth, St. Catherine, St. Thomas)

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2019 version. Very useful pinpointing of recent ancestral locations in both the UK and Nigeria. In subsequent updates 23andme has also enabled zooming into state level for Nigeria. But that was not yet the case when this screenshot was made.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann)

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2018 version.

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JAMAICA (Westmoreland)

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2018 version. 

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JAMAICA (St. James, Hanover)

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2018 version. African breakdown is in line with other Jamaicans. However the 3.6% Native American is an exceptional score. I have received confirmation of this person’s fully Jamaican background (4gp). And I have also seen his Ancestry results which show no indication of recent non-Jamaican lineage. While actually his Native American score on Ancestry is also a remarkable 4%. Very rare though as most Jamaicans I have surveyed on both Ancestry (n=100) and 23andme (n=43) do not show any Native American admixture at all! Or only at a very diluted trace level of <1%.  See also: Traces of Amerindian admixture is proof of enduring Taino legacy? (scroll down to section 5)

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JAMAICA (St. Elizabeth)

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2019 version.

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JAMAICA (St. Ann)

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2018 version.

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JAMAICA (St. James)

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2018 version. Aside from the UK also Ireland being specified as Recent Ancestral Location. Not very common but should be useful to pinpoint such lineage.

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JAMAICA 

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2020 version.

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JAMAICA (1/4 Chinese/Hakka)

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2018 version. Despite the lower amount of African admixture still pretty much in line with previous results when it comes to regional ranking. Very useful to see how 23andme describes the Chinese lineage of this person. As he was already aware of one Chinese/Hakka grandparent. The subcategories seemingly pinpointing Southeast Asia are not to be taken too literally. Instead it is a reflection of genetic similarity with southern Chinese. The overall East Asian genetic inheritance of around 25% of course corresponds perfectly!

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JAMAICA (Portland, Manchester, St. Elizabeth)

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2018 version. More so European than African but still fully Jamaican! Interestingly also featuring Ireland as one of the Recent Ancestral Locations. While the almost 10% Southern European score also seems considerable. Looking into the African breakdown it is however most remarkable that this person is the only one to have “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” as biggest African region! Otherwise in my entire Jamaican survey “Nigerian” is consistently showing up as primary region. Actually “Nigerian” is still significant for this person as well. 

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JAMAICA 

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2018 version. Again quite low amount of African admixture. Actually the lowest in my survey. Still when scaled to 100% the relative proportions are very similar to my other Jamaican survey participants. The South Asian ancestry for this person is clearly predominant. In 2018 it was still being left unspecified. But after 23andme’s 2019 update the current resolution for South Asia has been greatly improved.

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JAMAICA (2020 version)

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2020 version.

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Great video made by a Jamaican with substantial South Asian admixture through his paternal grandmother. Correctly identified as 26% “Central & South Asian” by 23andme. But even more amazingly this person also had his Nigerian lineage specified by a recent ancestral location in Anambra state. Which is located in Igboland! Given historical plausibility therefore Igbo lineage is quite certain for this person. As well as for most other Jamaicans actually. To be corroborated by finding Igbo DNA matches. Something which I have done in a survey among 30 Jamaican Ancestry testers. Every single one of them receiving multiple Nigerian matches. Going by surname overwhelmingly with Igbo background. See also:

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Notes

1)  Many results included in my survey have been shared with me by the DNA testers themselves. Other results were also 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 Jamaican 23andme results is mostly consisting of 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. At first 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. However it actually turns out that this 2019 update (Ancestry Composition v5.2) produced only very slight and marginal changes for most of my survey participants. Nothing profoundly different at all. At least within the African breakdown.

Therefore in the interest of greater understanding and expansion of sample size I have decided to also include Jamaican 23andme results which reflect the 2019 update rather than the 2018 version. Actually in some cases I might not also have been completely aware of which version my survey participants were tested with. Again I do not think that this impacts my survey findings overall speaking. As the 2018 & 2019 versions were greatly similar or even nearly identical for most people (see for example this before and after screenshot). The 2020 update has been more impactful however. And such results have not been included at all in my surveys sofar. 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. Preffering 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 Igbo Nigerians then this solidifies and also potentially specifies any major “Nigerian” score you might have obtained. See also:

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 Jamaican 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 other parts of the Afro-Diaspora. 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).

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 usually not 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!