A while back, I received a DNA test by Living DNA to find out my ancestry. Finding out my heritage has been something I wanted to do since I was very young. Mostly because my family’s ties to countries seem to be very short, with our history of slavery and immigration.
An eye-opening experience
My results were so confronting, both in good and in bad ways. They made me think about my family tree, the journeys my ancestors had that led them to a certain place. It made me wonder how on earth my ancestry seems to cover almost all continents. But mostly, it made me realise that I don’t fit in a box. I don’t identify with one race, one ethnicity, one country or one culture. I am everything and nothing at the same time.
Therefore I decided to finally openly talk about what it’s like to be mixed race, in a recurring series called Diary of a Mixed Race Girl. The perfect way to start a series like this is with where it all begins: my ancestry!
Living DNA is DNA testing company that provides detailed and accurate insights to your ancestry. You will find out your family ancestry journey stretching back 10 generations. An in-depth breakdown of the countries and regions will be provided, these include 80 regions worldwide including 21 within the UK. Your can also find out your maternal ancestry and paternal ancestry going back 200,000 years, as well as your ancestors’ migration paths right from when humans first migrated out of Africa.
As you can imagine, receiving such extensive results gives you a completely new perspective on your heritage. Where I only thought of my family tree dating back about four generations, now I have access to my ancestry from day dot of human history!
My ancestry test results
Based on my direct family members I already had a rough idea of what my ancestry would be like. However, seeing the actual results was quite shocking as I always thought my African heritage would be the one that is still most present. I was wrong!
My overall results came back as:
- 43.9% Asia (South)
- 35% Africa
- 17.2% Europe
Now, let’s take that in for a minute. I was shocked to see that I am nearly half Asian! I know a lot of my family members are mixed with Asian, but neither of my parents are fully Asian so this result to me is so high! My nearly 20% European is another result I didn’t expect. I know that four generations back a (white) Dutch man met a woman of African heritage in Suriname, but that was the last fully Caucasian person in my direct family line.
Because of the unexpected high percentages, my African ancestry is lower than expected. In addition, I have 3.9% Asia (East) ancestry. These results appear in the Family Ancestry Map that gives you a regional and sub regional overview. The map also provides information about certain communities and it really made me wonder where my family met and how we ended up where we did.
My detailed regional results came back as:
- Asia (South)
- 31.6% Indian subcontinent – modern day borders of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, parts of eastern Pakistan and western Myanmar.
- 7.8% Pasthun – an ethnic group that can be found in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- 4.4% Sindh – a southwestern province of Pakistan that was one of the world’s first great civilisations.
- 30.4% Yorubaland – modern day regions of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Cameroon, Ghana, parts of Niger and Mali. Yoruba DNA can be found all over the world due to the transatlantic slave trade.
- 4.6% East Africa – Bantu people started expanding across Africa 3000 years ago and settled all over the continent.
- 17.2% Europe (North and West) – my ancestry is fully Germanic meaning it covers today’s areas of Germany, Denmark and southern parts of Sweden.
- Asia (East)
- 2.7% South China
- 1.2% Southeast Asia – modern day borders of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and eastern Myanmar.
*A technical note is given with this ancestry, as it is very similar to British ancestry. A second note given is that Dutch ancestry is less well represented in the panel.
So there we have it, I am a complicated cultural melting pot. What was funniest to me, is the fact that none of my family are from South America. The place where our modern family history started. My parents moved to The Netherlands, a country that is actually part of my ancestry, where I was born and raised. I then moved to the UK, another country that has nothing to do with me or my heritage. Although Suriname was briefly a British colony, so I might have some British ancestry in my Germanic percentage.
Looking at my family ancestry, it finally makes sense to me why I don’t feel attached to one country or culture. My ancestors have lived through horror and joy, and it makes me so happy to know that through it all they found love from all over the world. Love that made me black, white and Asian and I am so proud of it.
Lots of love,