Updated: Feb 24
I'm so excited about this post because I've been wanting to do the ancestry DNA for a very long time and know more about my ancestral roots. For about five years or so I've been trying to put together the family tree, and of course, I could only get so far as two great grand parents. I know from digging into my history that the family tree is heavily mixed with African, European and Asian/Indian.
What I Know So Far
I consider myself multiracial. In my family tree there are many ethnicities but if you must take it there yes society says I am "black" and hence I'm forced to accept that term. I'm not saying anything is wrong with being "black" but I don't think its logical for me to say I'm "black" as for one I'm not 100% "black" and two if we must be technical with it my skin color is brown and three I'm sure I have at least two races and more than four ethnic groups in my ancestral history. Now for those who don't know, Jamaicans are typically known for being a mixed society. Our motto is "Out of Many One People" and if you are wondering, yes our society is predominantly "black" but I prefer to say of African descent, but we do have many who are multiracial, and we have varied ethnic groups that are woven into our society as well, such as Indian, German, Jewish, Chinese and many others.
So growing up I always knew that my parents were both multiracial. My father's parents were also multiracial and their parents before, as well as on my mother's maternal side. My maternal grandmother was able to trace her ancestry on her father's side to Jewish and Scottish decent and my paternal grandfather was mixed with Asian and European. So although I'm seen as a "black" person in society, I'm always greeted with the question "what are you mixed with?" Some people think I'm Cuban, some think I'm half white, and some say I have some Indian like facial features. For the record I don't see it 🤣 What do you think?
(In my natural state.... no makeup or false hair 🤣 ...100% Me!)
You must understand in Jamaica race isn't necessarily talked about and is not something asked on any formal forms or documentations, it's more implied based on your skin tone/color. So for someone like me, a "browning" if you will, with very thick long hair, I often get the comment "you must be mixed" or "which country are you from?" or "you think because you're uptown your better than black people" or "beg you some money, you look like you have it", yes people have said this to me before and I always get confused as to why they thought that, because I was not rich by any means and I certainly went through everyday struggles like everyone else.
For the record this stigma is not true at all, but alot of Jamaicans feel this way and you can't blame some of them for thinking like that because that is their experience and what they grow up believing. When you look at majority of the business owners especially successful business owners in Jamaica, alot of them are light skinned. However, in my experience growing up middle class I did not see the colorism factor. I saw alot of wealthy people of varied skin tones from the darkest to the lightest. To me what determined you to be successful in Jamaica was your level of education, how good you are at what you do, and the connections or people you knew. However, we can all agree no matter your skin color getting a job in Jamaica can be difficult, especially in certain fields.
So while I consider myself to be multiracial, I'm well aware that internationally I'm looked at as "black" which is fine but you must understand when I'm asked the question "what are you?" I automatically say multiracial because logically that's what I am. On paper I will write Jamaican (but that's not an ethnicity or race), so then I will write West Indian which is a term used to identify natives of the West Indies (which technically I'm not either because the true natives of the West Indies were the Tainos & the Arawaks) but hey this is as close as it gets when it comes to being properly "identified". None the less I'm still curious of the percentage of races or ethnic groups in my DNA.
My guess is I'm probably going to be like 80% African maybe like 10% Asian/Indian and maybe 10% European 🤷♀️. I honestly don't know, it could be anything as the DNA you inherit from your parents is unpredictable. So those are my guesses, so we'll see what the Ancestry DNA test revealed.
Ordering My DNA Kit
I ordered my kit online through ancestry.com's website and it took ten days for me to receive it. I got it at a good price too. Normally, the kit is $99 USD but I got it at a great discount of $69 USD when they were having a sale. The price you pay for the DNA kit is a lot but remember it includes free postage return of your saliva and of course the scientists have to run their tests to give you your results. Can't expect it to be dirt cheap but you can get a 10% discount off the price of your DNA kit by ordering it HERE.
My DNA Kit
I finally got my ancestry DNA kit. It's nicely packaged in this small box. In the box there is an instruction packet, collection bag, a package with a tube and solution, and a return postage box.
The one thing they stress when you get your kit is to activate the kit online. This is what enables you to get your results. You can't get your results if you don't activate your test. I had to go to Ancestry's website to activate the code. After that I had to fill the tube with my saliva to the line on the tube. Then I had to replace the funnel cap on the tube with the enclosed cap of the stabilizing solution, then tighten to release the stabilizing fluid into the tube. Next I had to shake the tube for about 5 seconds. This is very important as this will ensure my saliva sample mixes thoroughly with the solution so the lab can best process my sample. I then placed it in the collection bag, sealed it and mailed it back to Ancestry.com with the prepaid mailing box from the DNA kit. Here comes the long part...the wait. To my surprise it wasn't that long. My results were ready in as little as over 2 weeks.
What's my Ancestry DNA?
Finally I received my results! The results were sent to my email that's associated with my ancestry.com account. All I had to do was go into my email and click on the link to view my personalized results on their website.
I'm so excited and nervous to see my results! Here goes.... wait.... ok I'm ready!
So there you have it! I'm mixed with African, European and Middle Eastern and Ancestry.com categorizes me as Afro-Jamaican (more specifically Northern Afro-Jamaican) which I think is a more appropriate term to be "identified" as. I definitely want to have my parents do the ancestry DNA test as well which will hopefully unlock more links in the family tree.
Back to my results. I wasn't far off with the percentage for African. I definitely want to research these countries and hopefully visit them. I honestly don't know anything about Benin/Togo and Mali and I'm excited to read more about those two countries in particular. I had guessed 10% for European so I wasn't far off with that either. I basically have more research to do when it comes to my family tree and testing my DNA is just part of the puzzle.
Remember you don't have to use ancestry.com like I did but I would recommend them because in terms of finding distant relatives I think your chances are higher using ancestry.com There are many others out there such as 23andme, My Heritage DNA, Family Tree DNA, National Geographic and many others. But I chose ancestry.com because I'm able to build a family tree and do extensive research and connect with others who share my DNA.
So far I've found two cousins through ancestry.com and it turns out with one of them we went to the same high school! Go figure! But we were able to do the research and not solely depend on the DNA. Through research we were able to find a common ancester and other cousins we have in common. So a tip when going through matches, make sure to look at the strength of the match such as first to third cousins. Then see if you can find a common ancester and it helps to interview your relatives to find a common relative you both share. Lucky for me on my mother's side they know a good amount information of their relatives in their family tree. Through my research and interviews with elders in my family I've been able to trace back my family tree to my great great great grandparents on my fathers side and on my mother's side great great great great great grandparents.
Here are some other things to note about ancestry.com
You can create a family tree for free
ThruLines uses ancestry family tree to suggest how you are related to matches.
Personal Discoveries Project is just a survey ancestry does to improve features and to get to know you and for you to understand your DNA connections. The survey is pretty much suggestive you basically just pick from the suggestions. You're not obligated to fill it out.
Ancestry Hints - based on the information you input in your tree, Ancestry sometimes find hints of someone that fits the description. It could be death certificates, birth certificates, matches in other trees or pictures. Sometimes its a hit but there can be misses as well.
Search - In order to fully access the search section you have to pay for the search service either monthly or yearly. You can choose World Explorer $34.99 USD per month or 6 month membership for $149 USD which gives you unlimited access to information on ancestry.com The All Access package is $44.99 USD per month or 6 month membership for $199 USD. This package includes access to information on ancestry.com plus newspapers.com and fold3.com I normally just pay for the months I dedicate to doing research and the times I don't I just cancel the subscription and when I'm ready I just subscribe again.
Ancestry Academy - If you're not sure of where to start when it comes to investigating your family tree this is a great place to start. They have videos where you can learn the basics of research such as finding graves, location research, military records and so on.
Pro Geneologist - For a fee of course you can hire a professional geneologist to do the family tree research for you. There isn't a set price but you can request a quote. The price starts at $2500 USD. Thats a pretty steep fee but it includes genealogical and family history research. Factors that could influence the full cost of a project include: Immigration Research, DNA Analysis, Adoption and Biological Family, Research, Citizenship Research, Pre-1850s Research, and Onsite International Research.
Heritage Travel - Heritage tourism is the latest addition to the ancestry website. With heritate tourism it lets you explore your genealogy and uncover your family story on our one-of-a-kind European heritage tours. I'm assuming at a later date they will add more countries to be apart of the heritage tourism package. Along with guided tours they also offer geneology cruises! If something like this interests you, rates start at $3000 USD (let that sink in for a moment :D)
It's important to also note that over time Ancestry updates their database and the estimates of the DNA test can change as science is ever evolving. So remember these are just estimates at the end of the day.
Got any questions about my post? Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.