Puerto Rican 23andme results

Contents

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

Intro

This page features screenshots of Puerto Rican 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:

Puerto Rican group averages

In order to attain greater insight for these Puerto Rican 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 Puerto Rico. Even when of course across the generations Puerto Ricans have also been migrating and intermingling with people from other parts of the island. In particular I imagine in the capital San Juan as well as in the USA. For more discussion see:

Table 1 (click to enlarge) 

“Senegambian & Guinean” comes in first place for the most numerous subgroup of my Puerto Rican survey (63/100).  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.

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Table 2 (click to enlarge) 

This chart is showing the full extent of African ancestry among my Puerto Rican survey participants. In line with my previous survey based on Ancestry results (n=156, see this chart) as well as racial census the greater part only has minor African ancestry.  The most frequent African admixture interval is 10-20%.  This was also the case in my Ancestry survey.

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Naturally this chart is not intended to be an exact reflection of Puerto Rico’s racial demographics! I suspect that self-identified Black Puerto Ricans might be underrepresented as DNA testers on 23andme which is why it has been rather difficult to come across their results. On the other hand I do believe that a greater majority of Puerto Ricans might indeed be only of minor African descent. As this is in line with racial census and other published studies on Puerto Rican genetics. Within my own survey the share of people with African DNA smaller than 30% is 75% (24+33+18). While the most frequent African admixture interval was 10-20%. Also as can be seen in Table 1 the group average for African admixture was 20.1% while the median (50% cut-off) was 16%. To be kept in mind and to be respected is that Puerto Ricans tend to have their own perspective on racial classification and mestizaje, see also this news paper article. 

The subgroup of people with more noticeable African ancestry (>30%) in my survey might be small but still could have distinctive regional African lineage when compared with the majority of Puerto Ricans. Due to their African ancestors, on average, being traced moreso to the 1700’s/1800’s rather than the 1500’s/1600’s. As appears to be the case for the majority of Puerto Ricans with only minor African DNA. Compare also with my previous survey results based on 156 AncestryDNA results. Do keep in mind that on AncestryDNA “North African” %’s are included in the total African amounts. While on 23andme this category is excluded from “Sub-Saharan African”.

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Table 3 (click to enlarge) 

This overview shows my Puerto Rican 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=90) from 2015. My earlier findings of a Upper Guinean founding effect among Puerto Ricans with minor African DNA (<25%) are yet again corroborated.

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The overview above contrasts two subgroups among my survey participants. These subgroups have been distinguished based on degree of African admixture. I did the exact same comparison five years ago, based on my AncestryDNA survey findings. Notice how the group average for “Senegambian & Guinean” is twice as high for subgroup “African<25%” when compared with group “African>35%” (41.4% vs. 17.8%). While categories indicating Lower Guinean lineage are much more prevalent among Puerto Ricans with above average African ancestry. See group averages for “Ghanaian, Liberian, Sierra Leonean” (22.1% vs. 6.9%) and “Nigerian” (20.2% vs. 12.8%). Hardly any distinction though when it comes to Central African DNA. Native American admixture (14.3%) was somewhat greater, on average, than African admixture (12.1%) for my most numerous Puerto Rican survey subgroup. See also:

Table 4 (click to enlarge) 

This overview is exploring any regional substructure within Puerto Rico. The sample size for the 5 main regions within Puerto Rico is of course minimal. Still already quite insightful for revealing the various  tendencies in African regional admixture across Puerto Rico. Western and Central Puerto Rico stand out for having the highest group average for “Senegambian & Guinean”. More than half of the African breakdown for people from the West even (52.9%)! 

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In the overview above I am exploring if there is any differentiation based on regional origins within Puerto Rico. The results are more preliminary than shown in Table 3. Because the sample size for the 5 main regions within Puerto Rico is of course minimal. And 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. Merely meant as an exploratory excercise therefore. But still already quite insightful for indicating the various  tendencies in African regional admixture across Puerto Rico. See this page for regional definitions; Metro (incl. San Juan) is not included in this regional survey.

As can be seen in table 4 my survey participants from the West stand out for having the highest group average for “Senegambian & Guinean”. Take notice that their total African admixture is rather minimal (10%) though. Which is in line with the Upper Guinean Founding Effect shown already in Table 3. On the other hand a higher incidence of “Nigerian” is to be found in other parts of Puerto Rico and at times also Central African DNA. Most likely not by coincidence these areas also having a somewhat higher amount of total African admixture. With a greater sample size for especially the East I suspect these trends will show up more clearly (incl. also for “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”). Compare also with this chart taken from Via et al. (2011):

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” A major finding of this survey might be the differentiation of regional origins within Africa according to total African admixture level[…] With “Senegal” being the most significant region for the subgroup with minor African ancestry (Africa<25%)” (Fonte Felipe, 2015)

“This outcome seems to be correlated with the timing of African arrivals and consequent absorption of African genes in the general population through admixture. […] relative endogamy along social class & colour lines as well as relative regional isolation were apparently the standard for many Puerto Rican families. Across the generations this might have ensured that on average older African lineages dating from the 1500’s/1600’s remained concentrated in people with relatively minor total African ancestry as they didn’t experience African geneflow in later timeperiods”. (Fonte Felipe, 2015)

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The above quotations are taken from a previous blog post discussing my Puerto Rican AncestryDNA survey findings from five years ago. With these new 23andme survey findings I am very pleased to have replicated my main research outcomes. Something I have been speculating about for many years already! See also this link for an even earlier version of my thoughts on this topic from 2014. Obviously several shortcomings and limitations in sample size will apply. Regrettably I have not been able to collect more samples of Puerto Ricans with above average African ancestry or even of predominant African ancestry. Still I find it very intriguing to see that table 3 & 4 indeed seem to be indicative of meaningful substructure within the Puerto Rican 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 many Puerto Ricans (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 Puerto Ricans! 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 (1600’s-1800’s). In fact Upper Guinean captives have also been documented in Puerto Rico 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 In upcoming blog posts I will discuss this remarkable outcome in more detail. Summarizing:

  • Puerto Ricans with African admixture < 25%, appear to have the highest degree of Upper Guinean origins. As measured especially by a group average of 41.4% “Senegambian & Guinean“ on 23andme (see table 3). More tentatively this also goes generally speaking for people from the western and central part of Puerto Rico (see table 4).
  • Puerto Ricans with African admixture >35% appear to have the greatest degree of Lower Guinean origins. As measured especially by a group average of 22.1% “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean“ as well as 20.2% “Nigerian” on 23andme (see table 3). More tentatively this also goes generally speaking for people from the eastern part of Puerto Rico (see table 4).

Trans-Atlantic slave trade patterns (see this overview) but also Intra-American Slave Trade involving Puerto Rico 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 Puerto Rico. Looking into your family history it should be very helpful to find any “Black” Puerto Rican 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 Boricua 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. 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! Especially among Puerto Ricans of minor African descent otherwise. It seems to be a testimony to their survival skills and also their early integration in colonial populations. I will return to this topic in more detail eventually. For more background see also:

For some inspiring blog posts by Boricua bloggers see:

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Puerto Rican Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 Puertro Rican-born grandparents. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation among Puerto Ricans in the first place. But given that my sample size (n=100) is already quite robust I suppose these results might still 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 grouping based on geographic origins within Puerto Rico. I mention such regional origins within Puerto Rico, 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 Puerto Rico’s geography 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 implied ancestry might actually be due to unexpected ancestral migrations, dating back to colonial times even. Hispanic people often being greatly interrelated, even across borders generally speaking. Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, and even Brazil are therefore often appearing in addition for Puerto Ricans (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 often specifying Iberian/Spanish ancestry!

Regrettably I have not yet seen such recent ancestral locations appearing in the African breakdown for Puerto Ricans 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 might also be a relevant time period when wanting to Trace African Roots for many Puerto Ricans (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 Teresa Vega! Her kind assistance was essential for my efforts to collect a robust sample group of 100 Puerto Rican 23andme results! Muchas gracias 😉 Be sure to check out her highly inspiring and very educational blog:

PUERTO RICO (West: Rincon)

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2018 version. Overall speaking quite typical results except that the total African amount is below average within my  overall survey (20.1%). However as shown in table 2 actually a majority of my Puerto Rican survey participants had African admixture smaller than 20%.  Either way the primary “Senegambian & Guinean” score is a common theme for many Puerto Ricans. Especially when their total African admixture is lower than 25% and when they happen to be from the West as is this person.

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PUERTO RICO (West: San Sebastian)

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2018 version. One of the highest scaled “Senegambian & Guinean” scores in my survey. Despite the low overall African admixture this indicator of Upper Guinean lineage represents 67% (=5.3/7.9) of the African breakdown.

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PUERTO RICO (North: Camuy)

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2018 version. Puerto Ricans with above average African admixture tend to have other primary regions in their African breakdown. “Nigerian” was reported as biggest African region for 10 persons in my survey. Nine of them having total African admixture greater than 25%! Such as in this case.

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PUERTO RICO (North: Hatillo, Arecibo)

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2018 version. Many Puerto Ricans will receive Canary Islands as Recent Ancestral Location, but not always. At times also other parts of Spain will show up. Always to be corroborated by your own family tree research of course. But potentially still useful in many cases.

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PUERTO RICO (Central: Corozal)

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2018 version. Many Puerto Ricans might also receive Azores as recent ancestral location within Portugal. This could be true in some cases . However not per se so as Azorean-Americans are heavily overrepresented within 23andme’s reference database. Such outcomes therefore do not rule out a Portuguese connection hailing from other places. And sometimes 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)

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PUERTO RICO (Central: Adjuntas)

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2018 version. Lowest African amount within my survey. Actually many Puerto Ricans might have minimal African admixture within the range of 1-10%. Still amazing that the African breakdown remains consistent with my other findings. And also is in line with historical plausibility: the Upper Guinean Founding Effect from the 1500’s. And possibly to a lesser degree also a secondary Central African (Angolan) founding effect from the 1600’s A testament of how 23andme is often quite impressive even when describing trace amounts (<1%) of distinctive admixture.

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PUERTO RICO (South: Juana Diaz / Caonilla Villalba)

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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 Puerto Ricans. Because both Angolan and Congolese lineage is historically speaking very likely. Although actually still also other neighbouring Central African countries might be implicated. Eleven persons in my survey (n=100) had this region show up with the highest African amount.

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PUERTO RICO (South: Ponce)

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2018 version. Pretty much all Puerto Ricans in my survey received recent ancestral locations in Spain and/or Portugal. But a few times also Italy appears and is specified, despite a subdued admixture amount of only 1.3% “Italian”. Keep in mind this potentially useful feature (based on DNA matching strength)  can be quite informational but also has some shortcomings due to how 23andme applies it.

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PUERTO RICO (East: Ceiba, Fajardo)

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2018 version. Although regrettably I was not able to include a greater number of eastern samples in my survey I have a strong hunch this result could be quite typical for other Puerto Ricans with a similar degree of African admixture (>35%). In particular the elevated level of  “Nigerian”. Although for other people I imagine it will also often be “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” .

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PUERTO RICO (East: Maunabo)

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2018 version.  More typical for results to be found in other parts of Puerto Rico perhaps. This breakdown could very well also be from a person from western Puerto Rico. “Senegambian & Guinean” represents more than half of the African breakdown (6.2/11.6=53.4%). So obviously there is still a great deal of overlap & similarity across the island. Either way the main distinguishing feature might be rather the low degree of total African admixture rather than geography.

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PUERTO RICO (North & West)

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2018 version. This person had the highest African as well as highest “Nigerian” amount in my survey. Quite rare to see such results, also in my previous Ancestry survey. Out of precaution I have made an extra effort to verify the family origins of my survey participants with 50%+ African admixture. This person has in fact stated that she has 4 Puerto Rican-born grandparents. But often it might be the case that self-identified Puerto Ricans with such predominant African admixture may partially have recent family origins from elsewhere. Either the neighbouring West Indies (esp. Virgin Islands) or also African American. Which is not to say that such profiles would be entirely unheard of for multi-generational Puerto Ricans! In fact 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 Puerto Ricans as well.

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PUERTO RICO (North: Vega Baja)

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2018 version. This person was born in the North but I did not include her results in my regional substructure survey (table 4) because her breakdown appears to be a statistical outlier. And especially given the very minimal sample size for the North it would have a disproportionate impact. But nonetheless still very fascinating of course!  Especially the primary score for “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”. This category could suggest lineage from all those 3 countries actually. Both Ghanaian (by way of Intra-American Slave Trade) and Liberian/Sierra Leonean (Canga!) persons being historically attested for Puerto Rico. Do notice also how the “Senegambian & Guinean” score might be secondary but is still showing up quite strongly!

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PUERTO RICO (?)

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2018 version. Because I was not able to completely verify this persons’ Puerto Rican family origins I actually decided not to include these results in my survey. Still I greatly suspect that this person is indeed fully Puerto Rican as indicated by the recent ancestry feature. Notice also the predominance of Southern European scores as well as the elevated Native American amount. Something which was common for nearly all my Puerto Rican survey participants with above average African admixture.

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PUERTO RICO (West & San Juan)

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2020 version. Recently updated results for a person with 4 confirmed Puerto Rican-born grandparents. The 2020 update brought about a greater homogenization of especially the European breakdown. Notice how it is now almost exclusively “Spanish & Portuguese”. The African breakdown usually is still quite diverse. Primary regions often being retained, but not always. Compare also with this screenshot for the 2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. Highest “Southern East African” score in my survey. Possibly indicative of Mozambican lineage. With the 2020 update it increased to 4.7% even! This could provide a very valuable clue for follow-up research. Especially when combined with finding associated Southeast African DNA matches.

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PUERTO RICO (Metro: Bayamon)

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2018 version. This person shows a primary score for “Congolese”  renamed into “Angolan & Congolese” in 2019.  Something which happened actually for both Puerto Ricans with relatively minor as well as above average African admixture. Historically speaking Central African lineage might be traced back back indeed to both the earlier foundational period (esp. 1600’s) as well as the later period of 1700’s/1800’s. The 2020 update is bound to increase the “Angolan & Congolese” scores for many Puerto Ricans, as it seems its predictive accuracy has been improved. Also a distinctive “Southern East African” score for this person btw.

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PUERTO RICO (East & Metro)

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2018 version.  This person’s primary African region is “Congolese’. However notice how “Senegambian & Guinean” is still showing up strongly as well. One of the highest such scores (unscaled) in my survey in fact. A reminder that the Upper Guinean founding effect is not  restricted to people with below 25% African admixture. Although actually in some cases Upper Guinean lineage might very well be traced back to the late 1700’s or 1800’s as well I imagine. Also quite high Native American admixture, which is pretty much omnipresent for practically all Puerto Ricans from what I have seen. Albeit to variable degree. Somewhat higher for people with minor African admixture but still often above 10% also for people with above average African ancestry. See also table 3.

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PUERTO RICO (Metro, South & West)

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2018 version. Within my survey “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” was the most frequent primary African region for Puerto Ricans with African > 35%. For 5 out of 11 persons this region was biggest within the African breakdown. For 3 persons it was “Nigerian”. Twice “Congolese” reached first place and only once “Senegambian & Guinean”.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. Highest  (unscaled) “Senegambian & Guinean” score in my entire survey! Very interesting also that it should be for a person with above average African ancestry. Compared with Dominicans the frequency of primary or double-digit scores for “Senegambian & Guinean” is (much) smaller though among Puerto Ricans with 35%+ African admixture. Probably suggestive of greater retention of Upper Guinean lineage among Dominicans across the whole range. Puerto Rican mulatto’s probably absorbing additional regional African lineage (mostly from Lower Guinea) to a greater degree than their Dominican counterparts.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO (West, South, East)

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2020 version. Recently updated results. Compare also with this screenshot of the 2018 version. Homogenization of the European breakdown is a common theme. But also the decrease of “Unassigned” and an increase in “North African” scores. The latter were certainly underestimated in 23andme’s 2018 version. Already somewhat corrected though after the 2019 update when 23andme added many more North African reference samples. The upgraded algorithm in 2020 serving to even greater detection.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO (North & West)

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2018 version. Exceptionally high “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” score! Both scaled and unscaled. It represents an astonishing share of 72% (20.4/28.3) of this person’s African breakdown. After the 2020 update this region’s amount has even more increased to 25.8%! Looking into associated African DNA matches should be very useful for further clarification. Because technically speaking this category could pinpoint lineage from all three countries all at the same time (as well as neighbouring ones such as Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso and even Mali). Still outstanding degree of (relative) homogeneity within the African breakdown.

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PUERTO RICO (North & Central)

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2018 version. Highest “Angolan & Congolese” score in my survey (unscaled). With the 2020 update most likely on the increase as I have observed this for many people already. Central African DNA proved to be quite consistent, on average, across my survey group. Regardless of degree of total African admixture. Both early Angolan arrivals from the 1600’s as well as later Congolese arrivals in the 1700’s/1800’s are well documented for Puerto Rico.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO (Central & North)

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.  Almost 20% Native American admixture. Most Puerto Ricans in my survey scoring somewhere in between 10-15%, see also column U in my spreadsheet. The minimum score being 4.5% and the maximum score 20.6%. While the average was 13.3%.

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PUERTO RICO (East, Center & North)

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2018 version. Highest scaled “Angolan & Congolese” score in my survey. Representing a share of 43.7% (9.7/22.2) of this persons African breakdown. After the 2020 update this person’s score for this region has been increased to 10.7%.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. A greater majority of people with African<25% will have “Senegambian & Guinean” in first place within their African breakdown. Within my survey this frequency was almost 90% (57/65). But not always. As will be shown further below.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” becomes uncommon as primary region for Puerto Ricans with only minor African admixture (<25%). But it does happen at times. Within my survey two people out of 65 within this subgroup received “”Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” as biggest region.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. “Angolan & Congolese” still shows up as primary region for Puerto Ricans with only minor African admixture (<25%). Within my survey 5 people out of 65 within this subgroup received “Congolese” as biggest region. Within my overall survey it was 11 people. So quite evenly spread out across the African admixture range.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. Distinctive “Southern East African” score. The second-highest within my entire survey. Even more impressive when looking at the relative share it represents (2.7/15.8=17.1%). Finding associated DNA matches will provide more clarity. But probably a Mozambican connection is being implied.

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PUERTO RICO (South: Ponce)

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2018 version. Near 20% Native American score. This happened 3 times in my survey (n=100).

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. Elevated “North African” score. This  genetic component will often be associated with Canarian (Guanche) ancestry for Puerto Ricans.  Also otherwise it will usually be derived from Iberian ancestry. Although technially speaking in some cases also a (partial) Sahelian/Fula ancestral scenario might be valid. After the 2019 update and even more so after the 2020 upgrade the detection of this type of DNA seems to have been improved.

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PUERTO RICO (West & East)

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2018 version. Interesting to see Sicily being mentioned as recent ancestral location. Despite the otherwise minimal “Italian” score of only 1.4%.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO (South: Peñuelas)

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2018 version. Highest Native American score in my survey. Only one to surpass the 20% level. This person happens to be from the South. And within my regional substructure survey my 9 survey participants from the South also had a slightly higher group average for Native American than the other regions (15.5% vs. 13.3% for n=100). But obviously that kind of research requires a bigger sample size. Compare also with this chart taken from Via et al. (2011).

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PUERTO RICO (West & Central)

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2018 version. Intriguing mentioning of Morocco as recent ancestral location. Exceptional within my survey. It was not maintained after the 2020 update though. On the other hand this person’s North African admture did increase to 5.4%.

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PUERTO RICO (West & North)

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. Mentioning of Italy as recent ancestral location seems to be more frequent for Puerto Ricans with the lowest amounts of African admixture. But the “Italian” admixture is never reported to be higher than 5% from what I have observed in my survey.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO (West & Central)

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version.

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PUERTO RICO (West & North)

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2018 version. Highest scaled “Senegambian & Guinean” scoreRepresenting a proportion of no less than 77.3% of this person’s African breakdown (5.1/6.6). Also noteworthy to see Madeira being mentioned as specification for Portugal. Usually it is Azores. Again theoretically it could be true but it might as well just be a database issue whereby samples from Madeiran-Americans happen to be overrepresented within 23andme’s customer database.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. In most screenshots I have left out the full details of “Recent Ancestry in the Americas”. In many cases it would look similar to this display. Not only mentioning Puerto Rico but also additional Hispanic countries and even sometimes Brazil! I know for a fact this person has 4 Puerto Rican-born grandparents. And most likely also beyond that this  person is fully Puerto Rican for many generations. These outcomes rather to be explained by genetic similarity and shared colonial Iberian roots across Latin America. Looking into the scientific  details tab you do also get to see the confidence attached to these places. “Highly likely” usually reserved for Puerto Rico only.

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PUERTO RICO (West & Metro)

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2018 version. Relatively high “Italian” admixture. Possibly the highest amount in my survey, specified by Calabria in southern Italy.

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PUERTO RICO 

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2018 version. Lowest African amount within my survey. Compare also with the results posted previously from Central/Adjuntas which feature the same amount of 2.3%. Again striking that the African breakdown remains consistent with historical plausibility. Quite likely indicative of the Upper Guinean Founding Effect from the 1500’s.  And also a slightly more noticeable Central African (Angolan) founding effect from the 1600’s. A testament of how 23andme is often quite impressive even when describing trace amounts (<1%) of distinctive admixture.

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PUERTO RICO (2019 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.

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 Teresa Vega! Her kind assistance was essential for my efforts to collect a robust sample group of 100 Puerto Rican 23andme results! Muchas gracias 😉 Be sure to check out her highly inspiring and very educational blog:

My survey of Puerto Rican 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. Puerto Ricans 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. 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 Puerto Ricans 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 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). 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). For Puerto Ricans in particular I imagine the odds might still be reasonable for tracing back African-born ancestors from the 1800’s but much less so from earlier periods. 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 2 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 many 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. 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 in 2016 I myself already blogged the following:

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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

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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!

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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!

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