West Indian 23andme results

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Summary of survey findings
  3. Screenshots of 23andme results
    • Leeward & Windward islands
    • Bahamas & Bermuda
    • Belize & Garifuna
    • Guyana
    • Suriname & Dutch Caribbean

Intro

This page features screenshots of 23andme results for people from various parts of the West Indies (excl. Jamaica). Mostly covering the so-called Anglo-Carribean. But also including Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean as well. Results for Jamaicans are to 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. 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:

West Indian group averages

In order to attain greater insight for these West Indian results I have performed a survey (based on the 2018/2019 version).1 Despite minimal sample size looking into their group averages and comparing with other parts of the Afro-Diaspora can be very useful! 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. Any meaningful deviations from the group averages hopefully serving as helpful clues. Naturally individual variation is a given and is not to be denied!

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. Even when actually many West Indians have also been migrating and intermingling with people from other islands across the generations.2 For more discussion see:  

Table 1 (click to enlarge) 

This overview shows my Anglo-Caribbean 23andme survey findings (2018-2019). The data has been sorted on highest to lowest score for “Nigerian”. 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. Compare also with this overview, based on my previous AncestryDNA survey. Group averages for “Hunter-Gatherer” and the various Northeast African categories have been left out because they were always near 0%, and therefore within the noise margin. 

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In the above chart I am using a 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 useful to see where each region is showing its highest level across my survey groups.

Generally speaking “Senegambian & Guinean” is quite subdued for the Anglo-Caribbean. However it shows up more pronounced for Guyana and the Bahamas. In line with the indirect Upper Guinean connection for the Bahamas (through South Carolina Loyalist settlers). While for Guyana actually several of my survey participants had distant Cape Verdean ancestry due to contract labourers from the late 1800’s. See also screenshots below.

“Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” shows a substantial level of greater than 20% for practically all my West Indian survey groups. The group average of “only” 13.6% for the Garifuna is clearly on the lower end. Providing a useful contrast also with my Belizean Krio survey group. However “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” is peaking among my Barbadian and Guyanese survey particpants. For the latter it is even usually their primary region.

“Nigerian” is most prominent among Jamaicans and Kittians. But really it is primary for most people. Only for Guyanese and Bahamians it is coming in second place. It remains essential to realize that despite the country labeling “Nigerian” is also covering DNA from Benin, Togo and even eastern Ghana! Also while for most people southeast Nigerian (Bight of Biafra) lineage will be indicated. For some people instead it will be mostly southwest Nigerian (Bight of Benin) lineage which is being suggested. This goes especially for the Garifuna and also Surinamese and Dutch Caribbeans.

Finally very intriguing to see how the Central African component is a highly distinctive feature for my Bahamian & Garifuna survey groups. Only for these two groups the group averages surpass 20%.  Most likely an underestimation even because of suboptimal prediction accuracy in the 2018/2019 version. Still already in line with historical plausibility for especially the Bahamas. While providing a very valuable clue into the more mysterious African roots of the Garifuna!

See links below for my online spreadsheets which feature all of the individual results:

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Leeward & Windward Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 grandparents from the same indicated background. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation among West Indians in the first place. Despite the limited sample size these results might still also be quite representative while some of them could even show distinct patterns for their nationality. I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me!

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BARBADOS 

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2019 version. Quite typical results for Barbadians. “Nigeria” firmly in first place. But secondary region “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” still also shows a substantial amount of nearly 30%. On the other hand “Senegambian & Guinean” + “Congolese” are minimal. Notice also how 23andme correctly points out Barbados as recent ancestral location! Due to Intra-American slave trade and also post- Slavery migrations  many other West Indians might also receive Barbados as recent ancestral location. Even if they were not aware of these connections. See this screenshot for this person’s previous 2018 results.

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BARBADOS & ST. KITTS

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2018 version. This time “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” is the primary region within the African breakdown. But “Nigerian” is also still strongly present. A stand-out feature of these results is the minor but still detectable Southeast Asian admixture. This is rather uncommon for most Anglo-Caribbean 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 Barbados and North America. In fact for this person I was able to confirm by finding 2 associated DNA matches from Madagascar on Ancestry (where he also has a 1% “Philippines” score).

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BARBADOS & ST. KITTS & VIRGIN ISLANDS

2018 version. Very convincing “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” score! One of the highest such scores I have seen for West Indians. On AncestryDNA (2013-2018 version) this person also received an even higher “Ivory Coast/Ghana” score of 48%. Notice also the Recent Ancestor Location of  United Kingdom.

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BARBADOS & VIRGIN ISLANDS

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2019 version.

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ST. KITTS

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2018 version. High overall degree of African admixture. Although such 90%+ scores are quite common for West Indians. Also otherwise quite typical breakdown.

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 VIRGIN ISLANDS?

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2019 version. I actually have no certainty about this person’s family origins. He may also just be a migrant living in the Virgin Islands or descended from recent migrants. It is therefore intriguing that both Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are pinpointed as recent ancestral locations. This feature, although often very useful,  is however not conclusive! The great extent of Inter-Caribbean migrations  across generations (incl. involuntary ones during slavery) all amount to various ancestral scenario’s which might be valid. Also to be taken into account is that currently the Virgin Islands are not included yet in 23andme’s Recent Ancestry  in the Americas feature! See also this overview, taken from the scientific details on the Ancestry Composition page.

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DOMINICA

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2019 version. Impressive specification of origins within Dominica. Although I am not sure if the actual parish is correct this person does indeed have 4 Dominica-born grandparents. Given the exceptionally enduring presence of Carib (Kalinago) in Dominica also very evocative to see the minor but still detectable Native American admixture. Although Dominica was originally colonized by the French their overall African origins might still be more in line with other parts of the Anglo-Caribbean. Britsh slave traders heavily making use of Dominica as an Intra-American entrepot. Reexporting African captives to neighbouring islands. Nigerian Igbo people are known to have been very frequent among them.

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DOMINICA, VIRGIN ISLANDS & ST. BARTHS

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2019 version. This person has recent origins from several Caribbean islands. Probably not that uncommon for many West Indians. Even more so when you trace back further than 3 generations. Only Dominica is being pinpointed by 23andme me though. Again Virgin Islands are not included within 23andme’s database. However St. Barths is. See also this overview. This person  has a great blog on which she also discusses her 23andme results in great detail. Follow this link for it.

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VIRGIN ISLANDS & ST. BARTHS

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2019 version. These results belong to the father of the person whose results are shown directly above. His St. Barths side is actually French, which is being picked up well enough by 23andme’s recent ancestral location (and also for his daughter!). His African breakdown may possibly therefore reflect mostly his Virgin Island side. Relatively speaking quite a  striking predominance of “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”. In line with historical plausibility (see this blog post). And to be specified hopefully by finding associated African DNA matches.

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TRINIDAD

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2018 version. Quite diverse breakdown across the continents. Something which Trinidad is known for. Although actually not all Trinidadians are per se thoroughly mixed to this degree. Within itself the African breakdown looks quite standard actually. The minimal 1.4%  “Southern East African” score does look somewhat distinctive. But only worthwhile with additional clues.

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TRINIDAD & GRENADA

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2019 version. Should be representative for many fully Trinidadian results as well because Grenadians have been migrating to Trinidad for several generations already. In fact also during Slavery there may have been  extensive connections between both islands due to the settling of Trinidad by French speaking slave owners and their enslaved labourers in the late 1700’s.

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Bahamian & Bermudian Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 grandparents from the same indicated background. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation in the first place. Despite the limited sample size these results might still also be quite representative while a few of them could even show distinct patterns for their nationality. I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me!

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

BAHAMAS

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2018 version.  Quite singular outcome to have “Congolese” show up as primary region. For other parts of the Anglo-Caribbean this would be very rare. And in fact also for African Americans (atleast in the 2018 version). However for the Bahamas this does correspond with historical expectations. Given a relatively greater share of slave trade with Central Africa. As well as the arrival of  African Recaptives  in the mid 1800’s who were often from the Congo.

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BAHAMAS

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2018 version.  Similar breakdown with yet again a notable “Congolese” score. However “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” is even higher. In fact for my Bahamian survey participants this region was also on average the most significant region in their African breakdown. Similar to South Carolina the Bahamas might have a major Rice Coast connection.

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BAHAMAS

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2020 version. These are the most recently updated results for this person. Notice for example the near absence of “broadly..” scores. Continued elevated level of Central Afrcan DNA. Compared with the 2019 results a slight increase of 2%. Also remarkable Native American score. Possibly to be related to the greatly inspiring history of the socalled Black Seminoles, who originated in South Carolina & Georgia, being direct kin of the Gullah. Because of their yearning for freedom they first ran away to Florida. Subsequently they also escaped to Texas, Mexico and Oklahoma, but intriguingly a small subgroup also fled to the Bahamas! 

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BAHAMAS & VIRGIN ISLANDS

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2018 version. Again a quite balanced breakdown. “Congolese” still in the double digits but a bit less prominent than for the earlier results who were fully Bahamian.

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BERMUDAS

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2019 version. Notice how the “Angolan & Congolese” score is quite elevated again. Also minor but intriguing Native American score of 2.5%. Not always well known but actually also enslaved Native Americans were frequently moved around all over the Caribbean. For Bermuda this has been documented rather well. See also this link.

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Belizean & Garifuna Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 grandparents from the same indicated background. Unless mentioned otherwise. But I do not have full certainty in all cases. In particular about any Garifuna or Krio self-identification. These samples are however all very close DNA matches for a person of verified Garfuna background. And also their either Anglo or Hispanic surnames and certainly their distinctive breakdowns also appear to add to plausibility.

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

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BELIZE (Krio?)

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2019 version. High level of “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” on display for this person. As will be seen further below this region is usually somewhat subdued for Garifuna people and therefore possibly to be used as a distinctive marker between Krio & Garifuna. Aside also from the much greater European genetic imprint for Krio people. Minor but still consistent Native American admixture is also a shared trait. However it being much more common for Garfina to score double digit scores (10-20%).

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BELIZE (Krio?)

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2019 version. Notice how the recent ancestral location of Belize is showing up consistently! Very useful feature. Also when contrasting with Garifuna resuts further below.

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BELIZE (Krio?)

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2020 version. Fascinating results: given the clear predominance of “Spanish & Portuguese” instead of “Northwest European” this person is perhaps not Belizean Krio on all sides. However an additional Hispanic origin does not correspond well with the rather subdued Native American admixture as well as the absence of any other recent ancestral locations, aside from Belize. Either way the African breakdown seems to be well in line with other fully Krio results I have seen. Somewhat increased “Angolan & Congolese” though but this could also be due to the 2020 update which generally speaking seems to have improved the detection of Central African DNA.

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BELIZE (Krio & Garifuna?)

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2019 version. This person is possibly of partial Garifuna descent. Perhaps to be noted esp. in a higher level of Native American admixture. But maybe also the increased level of “Nigerian”.

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BELIZE (Krio & Garifuna)

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2019 version. Interesting that the “Nigerian” score for this person is higher than his “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” score. Actually not uncommon for Krio Belizeans. But possibly still to be correlated with his Garifuna side? Or at least being reinforced from that side.

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BELIZE (Garifuna?)

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2019 version. The next 5 Garifuna results are strikingly similar in almost all aspects. A testament to the unique formation of this ethnic group and reflecting their distinctive origins in quite consistent proportions. First thing noticeable is minimal or even near lack of European admixture. Instead it is a combination of around 80-85% African with 15-20% Native American which is on display each time.

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BELIZE & HONDURAS (Garifuna?)

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2019 version. The near lack of variation in Garifuna results is also indicative of high endogamy. Which corresponds with their history of living in isolated communties up till recently. Whenever a deviation of expected patterns is to be seen you might often pinpoint it to something particular in your family tree I suppose. Especially a more noticeable European score of let’s say greater than 2%.

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HONDURAS (Garifuna?)

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2019 version. The “Nigerian” region is primary for all Garifuna results I have seen. But unlike most Anglo-Caribbeans this region will be more likely to represent southwestern Nigerian lineage (esp. Yoruba) rather than southeastern Nigerian. And in addition also Benin/Togo/Ewe DNA will be included.

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HONDURAS (Garifuna?)

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2019 version. Another very interesting aspect of Garifuna results is that almost always “Angolan & Congolese” is firmly in second place. With considerable amounts also, in the 10-20% range. Not rivalled by other West Indian results I have seen, except from the Bahamas. “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” on the other hand tends to be rather subdued when compared with other West Indians. In this case not even surpassing 10%.

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HONDURAS (Garifuna?)

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2019 version. A very evocative feature is the yet again consistent reporting of Saint Vincent, as recent ancestral location. This corresponds perfectly with Garifuna’s origins as “Black Carib” from St. Vincent. Before they were exciled by the British to live in Central America instead. From what I have seen this outcome is not obtained by Belizean Krio!

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Guyanese Results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 grandparents from the same indicated background. Unless mentioned otherwise. It is naturally only a limited selection. Guyanese with higher African admixture being underrepresented somewhat. Unlike in my Ancestry survey which featured several people who scored 100% African even (4/21). However a similar predominance of Ghanaian/Liberian DNA is being picked up in both my Ancestry and 23andme surveys. See link below for my online spreadsheet which features all of the individual results:

Actually several of these people are DNA cousins of mine. Because in fact many Cape Verdeans tend to receive Guyanese DNA matches. Which is also the reason Cape Verdeans often get a potentially misleading recent ancestral location of Guyana. However of course simply having many matches from a certain place does not always mean you are yourself decended from ancestors who lived in that location 😉 Migrations of shared ancestors can also be implied. And indeed it is actually the other way around. Cape Verdeans share either Portuguese ancestry or direct Cape Verdean ancestors with Guyanese through contract labourers who arrived in Guyana during the mid to late 1800’s. They are known to have generally come from Madeira. But actually also some Cape Verdeans came over to Guyana as contract labourers as well at that time! The connection is usually quite diluted and more than 2 generations away. But still fascinating to see an elevated level of “Senegambian & Guinean” being reported for some of these people. And even Cape Verde as recent ancestral location in a few cases!

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GUYANA (1/8 Cape Verde)

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2020 version. Very special  results for one of my Guyanese DNA matches. This person was already aware of a Cape Verdean-born great-grandparent. And this is also clearly confirmed by one of her recent ancestral location. Even specifying São Vicente which is the island my own mother was born! Otherwise the African breakdown is however predominantly consisting of “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”. Very convincingly even with 40%! Perhaps a bit exaggerated though due to 23andme’s new algorithm. In the previous 2018 version this category was also primary but with a lower amount of  25%, see also this screenshot.

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GUYANA (distant Cape Verde?)

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2018 version. Similar breakdown as the previous one. Including also the significant “Spanish & Portuguese” score as well as considerable South Asian admixture. This person is again one of my own Guyanese DNA matches. Either by way of a mutual Cape Verdean or Portuguese/Madeiran ancestor. But this time not confirmed by a recent ancestral location.

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GUYANA (distant Cape Verde)

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2020 version. Another one of my own Guyanese DNA matches.  A strikingly high score for “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean”. Almost 45%!  Notice also the near 15% “Angolan & Congolese” score. The prediction of Central African DNA most likely improved after the 2020 update. See this screenshot for this person’s previous results. Intriguingly at that time Cape Verde was still mentioned as recent ancestral location!

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GUYANA (distant Cape Verde?)

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2019 version. This person is matching one of my Cape Verdean cousins. Again not sure if it’s through a mutual Cape Verdean or Portuguese/Madeiran ancestor. Either way the primary score for “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” seems to be consistent also when higher levels of total African admixture are reached.

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GUYANA (distant Cape Verde?)

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2018 version.  Same comment as above. DNA match to one of my Cape Verdean cousins.

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GUYANA 

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2018 version. A highly mixed profile for a person with 4 grandparents born in Guyana.  Including also a significant Native American score of around 25%! But as can be seen from his recent ancestral location he does have distant ancestry from southern China as well. Not a DNA match of mine and also no apparent Cape Verdean connection as can be gauged from the almost absent “Senegambian & Guinean” score. However this person does have some Portuguese ancestry, as confirmed also by his considerable “Spanish & Portuguese”  & “Broadly Southern European” scores. His African breakdown is quite minor. And unlike most other Guyanese results I have seen featuring “Nigeria” in first place.

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GUYANA 

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2019 version. Very much a multi-racial profile, incl. again a recent ancestral location in southern China! The African breakdown might be minimal but is well in line with other Guyanese who also have “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” in first place.

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GUYANA 

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2019 version. Same comment as above applies for this person who in addition also has substantial  South Asian and Native American admixture.

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Surinamese & Dutch Caribbean results

As far as I know and was able to verify all of these screenshots below are from persons with 4 grandparents from the same indicated background. Unless mentioned otherwise. Meant to illustrate the individual variation in the first place. Despite the limited sample size these results might still also be quite representative while some of them could even show distinct patterns for their nationality. I like to thank again all the persons who kindly agreed to share their results with me! See link below for my online spreadsheet which features all of the individual results:

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SURINAME (Paramaribo, 4gp)

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2020 version. Notice the elevated level of “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” within the African breakdown. Although I have not yet seen that many Surinamese results it has been been quite common sofar. Similar to Guyanese results and also in line with historical plausibility. Otherwise quite diverse results which could be quite typical for especially multi-racial Surinamese.

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SURINAME (Nickerie/Coronie; distant Dutch & British)

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2019 version. All 4 grandparents for this person were born in Suriname. However distant Dutch ancestry is apparent also from the recent ancestral location! Atleast one parent being from the western area of Suriname (Nickerie & Coronie). Bordering Guyana and therefore also under greater British influence it seems.  Incl. actual English/Scottish plantation owners. As also indicated by the additional recent ancestral location for the UK. But in fact it might also have impacted this person’s African origins gravitating more so towards “Nigerian”. Possibly also including Igbo lineage which is more so typical for the Anglo-Caribbean than Suriname per se. Or atleast the eastern part of Suriname.

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SURINAME (Nickerie; 1/2 Dutch & German)

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2019 version. Notice the elevated level of “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” within the African breakdown. Although I have not yet seen that many Surinamese results it has been been quite common sofar. Similar to Guyanese results and also in line with historical plausibility. Also very interesting that Barbados should be mentioned as recent ancestral location.  Currently Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean are not included in this feature. However this person actually does know of Barbadian ancestry further down the line! Her family being from Nickerie district which is nearby the border with Guyana and therefore connections with Barbados are apparently not uncommon.

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SURINAME (distant Dutch & Portuguese?)

2018 version. Quite similar breakdown to the one shown directly above. Although I have no confirmation I suspect this person could have both Dutch and Portuguese ancestry. As also indicated by her recent ancestral locations. Prior to the 2020 update Dutch DNA was described as a combination of Northwest European categories. And not just “French & German”, as you might expect. Given the great deal of genetic similarity for this part of Europe this outcome still made sense though. Especially  from a macro-regional perspective and taking into account the ancient history of Germanic migrations.

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SURINAME (1/2 Dutch)

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2019 version. Quite convincing “French & German” score in the European breakdown. Not very usual in the previous 2018/2019 versions. But due to homogenization much more common now after the 2020 update. The African breakdown is showing a balance between “Nigerian & “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean'”. Of course it is to be kept in mind that  for many (eastern) Surinamese”Nigerian” might often indicate lineage from Benin, Togo, incl. Ewe from even eastern Ghana.

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ARUBA & CURACAO 

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2018 version. Very interesting results. And also useful to compare with the previous Surinamese results. Even when the sample size is minimal of course. Still striking how results from the Dutch Caribbean sofar seem to have less “Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean” than Surinamese. When looking into ranking and African breakdown being scaled to 100%. Instead so-called “Nigerian” is in first place. However actually for Dutch Caribbeans this region could very well mostly be picking up on Gbe-speaking origins from Benin. Togo and even eastern Ghana (Ewe). This person  has a very educational blog about the Dutch Caribbean: Genealogy & Genetic History Of The Dutch Caribbean

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CURACAO (1 Dutch grandparent)

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2019 version. This person’s family has been living in Curacao for many generations on most sides. But she also has additional Dutch ancestry which is well indicated by 23andme’s recent ancestral location feature. In fact she has several other recent ancestral locations within the wider Caribbean, most likely indicating shared Hispanic or also Sephardi Jewish origins. Her strictly African breakdown is mostly West African. But also showing a minor but still substantial Central African component of around 25% (=5.4/20.9). This should also be the case for many other Dutch Caribbeans. But probaby more apparent in 23andme’s updated 2020 version. 

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CURACAO (1/2 Dutch?)

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2019 version. Again good job by 23andme in detecting this person’s partial Dutch lineage. The additional recent ancestral location for Haiti is also interesting though. Because *possibly* it might be indicative of shared African origins, either from Bight of Benin or Central Africa, both areas being predominant in slave trade to both Haiti and the Dutch Caribbean.

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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 West Indian 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 include a small number of West Indian 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. 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 might 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.

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 Bahamian it is vital to not only know about the major inflow of Central Africans by way of direct Trans-Atlantic slave trade. But also by way of so-called Recaptives, often Congolese, in the mid-1800’s. And indirectly by way of the strong South Carolina connections due to the settlement of Loyalists in the late 1700’s!  Enslaved labourers from South Carolina would already incorporate a great deal of Central African lineage due to previous slave trade between northen Angola/Congo and South Carolina.

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. Safe 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 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!

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