Have You Ever Wondered Where in Africa You are From?

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March 09, 2017 By Laura Johnson


The soul of one’s ancestry has no bounds, as ones DNA travels through the living and the dead while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  What a gift it is, to have the opportunity to trace your roots back through centuries, crossing rivers and niles while tracing the soul and blood line of one’s existence.  

Forward thinkers Dr. Rick Kittles, an American biologist specializing in human genetics and Gina Paige, a graduate of Stanford and a serial entrepreneur, saw the importance and the sense of urgency for African Americans to be able to trace their African roots and to connect the missing dots to their family tree.  Their hard work and unwavering diligence paid off, and in 2003, Dr. Kittles and Gina Paige birthed AfricanAncestry.com.  

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According to National Park Service, from the 1690s until 1794, both free and enslaved Africans were buried in a 6.6-acre burial ground in Lower Manhattan, outside the boundaries of the settlement of New Amsterdam, later known as New York. Lost to history due to landfill and development, the grounds were rediscovered in 1991 as a consequence of the planned construction of a Federal office building.  Dr. Kittles was a part of the Howard University team that was brought on to identify the ancestry of the bones that were recovered from the African burial ground.

"AfricanAncestry.com is the brain child of Dr. Kittles.  It grew out of a personal desire of his to answer the question 'where in Africa he came from?'  Over the course of his training in becoming a geneticist, he began to realize that he could answer that question by looking at DNA," noted Gina Paige.  "That was the impetus for starting AfricanAncestry.com.  His job was to identify the ancestry of the bones that was exhumed from the burial grounds.  When the public found out that he was doing that work, they believed that if he could perform this identification on the bones, he should be able to do it for people even easier.  That was a clear example for the demand.  Therefore, he and I partnered to commercialize this research to make genetic ancestry tracing available to Black people everywhere."

AfricanAncestry.com is a one stop shop to trace ones roots from either their mother or father’s blood line.  With the stroke of one’s DNA, AfricanAncestry.com has the capabilities to travel 500 years through uncharted territories, land or continents.  AfricanAncestry.com is the world leader in tracing maternal and paternal lineages of African descent having helped more than 500,000 people re-connect with the roots of their family tree. 

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"AfricanAncestry.com has the largest database of indigenous African lineage in the world.  We have over 33,000 DNA lineages from 40 countries and over 400 ethnic groups.  The data collected in our database is heavily skewed towards populations that contributed to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade," says Paige.  "What we find is the majority of our results come from the present day country of Senegal down to Angola.  Because of the size of our database, we are the only company in the world that can tell a person of African descent the present day country and ethnic group in which they share ancestry.  That is vitally important information.  We're [People of African Descent] the only group that doesn't know where in the world we come from.  By taking our test and reconnecting with a specific group of people on the continent, we get to redefine ourselves for who we really are.  We get to reject all of the stereotypes, and negative information that has been fed to us as people of African descent.  We get to celebrate Africa for ourselves, using what's within us.  That's extremely empowering.  We get to do it using our own DNA through scientists that look like us and a company that reflects who we are.  We don't have to go outside of who we are to get these answers!" 

This year marks AfricanAncestry.com's fourteenth year of service to African Americans on a national level.  AfricanAncestry.com has provided ancestral test results for celebrities such as; Isaiah Washington, Oprah Winfrey, The King Family, Representative John Lewis, The Honorable Ambassador Andy Young, Erykah Badu, Quest Love and Black Thought from the Roots, India Arie, Anthony Anderson, Blair Underwood, Kimberly Elise, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Louis Gossett, Jr, Regina King, Spike Lee, Lavar Burton (Kunta Kente - First celebrity to take test), Roland Martin, Taraji P. Henson, Quincy Jones, Former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, Dr. Dorothy Height, Comedian George Wallace, Dwele and many many more . . .

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Looking ahead, AfricanAncestry.com plans to use DNA to better position black people to maintain and gain optimum health.  Unanswered questions are locked in the DNA of many African souls.  Allow AfricanAncestry.com to unlock your DNA, releasing doubt, acceptance, validation, and a true sense of self!   Log on immediately to Africanancestry.com to answer the basic questions of 'Who are YOU and where are you truly from?'

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Written by

Laura Johnson