Are you unsure what to get it a friend, family member or employee? Consider getting this to help them find out where their ancestors really came from. Melissa Rorech, Reviewed.com
In this file shot on October 17, 2018, a journalist looks at a website offering DNA testing in Washington, DC. These days, millions of Americans use DNA test packages sold online to investigate their ancestors, either by simple curiosity or for finding answers about their identity. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP) ERIC BARADAT / AFP / Getty Images ORIGINAL ID: AFP_1A59KG(Photo: ERIC BARADAT, AFP / Getty Images)
Today the answer is a qualified maybe. People of color usually do not get the same specificity of ethnicity estimates as white Americans, but the results are slowly becoming more precise for those with ancestors from Africa, Asia and America. Nevertheless, experts suggest that you collect DNA from your oldest relatives now, from where they come from, for one day it will be a genealogical gold mine.
Kalani Mondoy, whose family is a natural Dutchman, ran straight into the specific brick wall as he tried to track his mother’s side of the family. Paper records did not get him far.
“As far as Hawaiians are concerned, it’s a lot of oral history. The documentation came later,” he said from Los Angeles, where he works as a tax consultant.
He then turned to a genealogical DNA test, which was less useful than he had hoped.
By the time his family tested the Ancestry.com 2015, the company only had 18 Polynesian people in its genetic reference panel. Compare that to France, which today has 1,407.
The size of this reference database is important. The more samples available, the better the test can determine where your ancestors came from. Most of the companies originally used European centric samples because they were the easiest to get and because that was where many of their customers’ ancestors came from.
But not all.
And the proportion of people with non-European ancestors Buying the test increases every year. This in turn causes the strong Eurocentric companies to scramble to add people from Africa, Asia and America to their reference panels, the groups of people whose DNA is used to establish baseline ethnicities.
They seek all people who have four grandparents from a underrepresented area in the world, genetically, so that they can include their DNA in these reference panels and deepen their connection pool.
Yet, any company directed at a public audience has a way to go. Ancestry.com is the only one that publishes a list of how many people it has in its reference panels for each region. In November, its German-speaking European panel included 2 722 people, while only 65 from western and central indian and 41 from northern Africa.
In the end, it took DNA and hard research for Mondoy to eradicate the mystery of who his biological grandfather was after his mother told the family she was adopted.
It contained more than 50 hours in the library through dozens of microfilm rolls for days at the end, and the discovery of a second cousin through DNA matching.
“His mother and my mother were first cousins. When I found my mother’s potential mother she looked like my mom,” he said.
Mondoys family has taken several DNA tests, including AncestryDNA, 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA. Nobody gives yet the depth he would like. Early he was told that 11 percent of Ancestry’s Polynesian samples showed some Scandinavian background, but it was from a single person for generations ago who ended up being in the family of all 18 people whose trial included.
Two ethnicity estimates for Kalani Mondoy, one made in 2015 and one made in 2018. The first could not identify his Philippine legacy except to label it as “East Asian”. By 2018 it had become clearer. However, his Hawaiian heritage is still classified under generic polynesia in both estimates, including Hawaii, Tonga and Samoa. (Photo: Kalani Mondoy)
“Their databases have more people of European descent because it’s who has been tested,” he said, but allowed things to improve. “The polynesians are now up to 28 in the forefather database!”
His story illustrates a summary for those who want to track their non-European roots. Genealogical DNA tests compare hundreds of thousands of sites on a person’s genome with databases of known DNA samples, giving customers information about which populations their ancestors probably came from.
The results can be very powerful. Today, professional genealogists almost always contain DNA analysis in their work because it can not only give a deep look at where ancestors came from, but potential matches with others, but often remote, family members who can help track lines.
“While court cottages can burn down and registry can get lost, DNA remains and keeps track of your history,” said Phillip Goff, a genetic genealogical consultant in Davidson, North Carolina.
Discovering the Past
Of course, for many Americans, there were never any entries to begin with.
“As African Americans, we have a distinct challenge in tracing our anore, because slavery is a wall of research. But we have our family history essentially etched in our DNA . These stories are there to be revealed said Andre Kearns, a genealogist and marketing director in Washington, DC
His wife is from Haiti, but DNA tests in genealogy helped him reveal his family image to Lisa Fanning, an African-American genealogist with ancestors from Wilkes County, Georgia.
Fan’s historical research revealed French slave trader Louis Prudhomme, who fled the Haitian Revolution for Wilkes County where he began importing shattered haitians. DNA helped reveal their family connection, which would otherwise have been invisible in the history of history.
Kearns also found a very distant genetic match that his father shares with a woman living in Cameroon.
“What tells me is that we probably share an ancestor from the beginning of the 18th century and her ancestors stayed in Cameroon and my ancestors were sold to the slave trade,” he said.  Someone with German roots may have found a crowd of second and third cousins - of which at least one was sure to have investigated detailed family trees dating back to the 16th and 18th centuries. An African American can only find genetic traces that show that their ancestors were originally from the part of Africa that is now Ghana.
Choosing a DNA Test
It is impossible to name a test that is best for all with non-European ancestors, as everyone is constantly updating their panels and their algorithms. While one may be better for Asian Americans a year, another may increase the number of people on their reference panels for Latin America and move forward next.
The good news is that once you’ve tested, companies continue to compare your DNA data to their newly deployed reference panels and send updated reports every couple of years. More: Why Ancestry.com changed many ethnicity reports this spring
It has long been the experience of those with European heritage. 19659008] “My husband is southern europe, and when he first did the test, the data was quite wrong for him, but now it’s happening,” says Sara Katsanis, a genetics research scientist at Duke University’s Initiative for Science and Society in North Carolina.
AncestryDNA, an offshoot of Ancestry.com, is probably the most popular because it offers the chance to connect to potential genetic matches and also see how these connections fit into not only your family tree but also others. While initially more focused on health, 23andMe is also very popular.
A smaller website has taken another approach. AfricanAncestry.com sees exclusively on African heritage and has since 2003 . It has over 33,000 African samples, representing 40 African countries, “said Gina Paige, president of the company. Mediated by African-American genetician Rick Kittles, it is 100 percent black-owned.
“Our mission is very different from other companies. We were formed to help people connect with their ancestors before slave trade,” said Gina Paige, president of the company.
The company does not track African cousins at all. It offers two tests that look at either modern or paternal decent lines, but it is recommended that people begin with the mother. Given the long history of slavery women raped by white owners, it finds African descent in 92 percent of the maternal lines that test, but only 65 percent of the paternal lines, Paige said.
While most genealogical DNA companies see their biggest sales spikes around the holiday, for AfricanAncestry, it comes during the Black History month.
“February is an even bigger month forus,when there is focus on our history and people want to better understand their place on this continuum that began on the beach of Africa, “she said.
Indian Heritage Testing
Many Latin American people face another set of problems when they seem to track their families. Most have ancestors from both Europe and from the native peoples of Mexico, Central and South America.
Moises Garza of Mission, Texas, has followed his family’s genealogy since 1998 and recently began to do it professionally. He calls his ancestors “a rainbow of ethnicities. My father has some British, some Italians and 10 percent Indians,” he said.
Pedro Marroquin Perez and Maria Amalia Gonzalez Guerra, father’s grandparents to Moises Garza. He has researched his family history since 1998. [Foto: Ricardo Reyna]
He helped to find WeAreCousins, a site for southern Texas and northeastern Mexico genealogy and has been able to trace his wife’s family back to the 1690s in Monterrey, Mexico, based on church records. But it’s only an option for the ancestors who came from Europe. an ancestor who was native american, it is usually only because the Spaniards registered them to renounce or marry.
“Otherwise, you can not go any further than that because our native American ancestors did not leave us a protocol, “he said.
] The issue of genealogical DNA is that if you go back far enough, everyone is related, “said Carlos Bustamante, Professor of Population Genetics at Stanford University in California and the MacArthur Genius Award winner.
“My general view is that within the next decade we have pretty well worked out the genetic tree of all living and all who have ever lived. I do not think it is beyond our reach – it’s just like math goes out . “he said.
Doug Joe from Modesto, California, a physician who used traditional genealogy to track his family in China is back to 1000 AD and is active in the Chinese genealogical group in southern California .
For the Asian Americans, the historical data available depends partly on where they come from. Because of the deep reverence of ancestors in Chinese and Japanese culture, many families have written ancestral records that go back for dozens of generations – but just for the manline. And in China, many of thesezupu as they are known were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
To track women or families who do not have access to such registries, DNA testing would be helpful, except that most US companies so far have a relatively small number of samples from people in that part of The world, Joe says.
It is still worth doing, says Joe, although he has found that the tests are not so specific to their family, which is almost entirely from the Pearl River Delta in southern China. “The sample size is not so good and I did not find anything new,” he said about the test he did on 23andMe.
Still, he has received all older relatives that he can test and save the information for the future.
Joe’s passion illustrates a truism expressed by many genealogists whose families come from parts of the world where little genetic data has been gathered so far: there’s a time when the databases get much better, but older generations pass so they think it’s is important to test and archive now.
“You can not dig an ancestor digging and test their DNA,” Joe said. “In this way, when my grandchildren ask, they get the information.”
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