The African Kinship Reunion

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How Does It Work?

African and African diaspora families that were torn apart through the Transatlantic Slave Trade are reuniting at the 4th to 8th cousin level!!

Okay, so here is how reunions are possible!!

When first generation Africans, such as Ghanaian immigrants or Nigerian nationals, do autosomal (atDNA) testing with a company such as AncestryDNA, the vast majority of the DNA relatives provided the company are African Americans. This is the case because AncestryDNA is based in the U.S. and most people of African descent in the U.S. are African Americans. Through the AncestryDNA features, DNA matched relatives are able to contact one another! So…when the African first generation tester contacts his or her African American distant cousin, for instance, the African American cousin would not only know the ethnic group that one or more ancestor(s) came from, but the African American would know the specific family group as well!!

How is this for a family reunion?!

Rhoda of Ghana found at least 20 cousins.
Ucheoma of Nigeria found at least 20 cousins.
Felicia of Ghana found at least 9 cousins.
Zed of the Congo found at least 25 cousins.
Yaa of Ghana found at least 7 cousins.

African Ancestry, a leading genetic genealogy company among African Americans, use a tester’s mtDNA or YDNA and compare it to reference DNA and other research to estimate the tester’s ethnic group for one ancestral lineage. For example, according to two tests through African Ancestry, my paternal lineage stems from the Akele people of Gabon and my mother’s paternal grandmother’s lineage stems from ethnic groups in Cameroon. However, with ethnic groups consisting of thousands to millions of individuals, I still would not know whom among these are members of my African family group.

Through product offerings from companies such as 23andme and AncestryDNA, testers use autosomal DNA (aDNA) testing to receive a list of certain and possible relatives among others who have tested within each company. The DNA matched relatives are listed according to how much DNA two people have in common. For example, if two people have 50% of their DNA in common, they would be listed as parent and child in the results; 12.5% of DNA in common would be listed as a first cousin, 3.125% as second cousins, and so on.

Happy Family Reunion!!

Once testers identify DNA matched relatives, they are able to contact each other using the message features on the companies’ websites. African and African diaspora families that were torn apart through the Transatlantic Slave Trade are reuniting at the 4th to 8th cousin level!! Some have begun to slowly connect through facebook or personal email. Some have met each other in person!

Over time, I will continue to add personal stories of these monumental family reunions and much more. I will also add personal op-eds based on research about forging kinship and forging transnational communities. I will also include research on participatory action research so that you can get involved.

Won’t you join us!

Please email TAKiR for more details on how to get involved!

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