Nigerian Man Connects with African American and Caribbean Cousins Through AncestryDNA

“My maternal grandmother told me…that way back in time, we had family members who went to the stream to fetch water and never returned. This stuck in my psyche for all those years.” – Ade

As a young boy of 6 or 7, Ade and his older brother normally visited with their grandmother Alice after school until their parents returned from work. On one particular day, they decided to play instead of going straight to their grandmother’s home. Their grandmother searched their community in Ijeshaland, Nigeria, but could not find them. When Ade and his brother finally ended their play and went to their grandmother’s home, she “sternly scolded” them, Ade said. His grandmother firmly warned them about their missing ancestors.

“I am 54 years old now, but I remember it like yesterday. I remember wondering that okay, if they did not return, where are they,” said Ade.

Ade later realized that this is the story of his ancestors who were captured in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. He wondered where their descendants might be. They were family, after all.

After some time, he was reminded of the missing stories in his family history when he began to ponder on why family members on his mother’s side had foreign surnames such as Da Rocha, Haastrup, and Doherty.

“I remember asking my mother why they had such names. Much later, though, I found out that Ilesha [the capital city of my home region in Nigeria] was significantly impacted by the slave trade especially in the late 1700s and early 1800s. I remember her saying that they were Saro and that we had Saro families. I didn’t know much about what that meant until much later. Saro is Yoruba for Sierra Leone. They must have been returning family members who were captives released by the British via Sierra Leone,” said Ade

When a friend in Madrid, Spain told him about the direct-to-consumer DNA testing company 23andMe a few years ago, he decided to test.

“I became really conscious about the diaspora around 1977. There was an African festival for peoples of African origin called FESTAC. It was held in Lagos Nigeria. I had always had my grandmother’s story in my psyche, but I didn’t make a conscious connection that the relatives might have been taken to the Americas. But I have the expression on her face etched in my brain. I only thought it might be true that the stories could be linked to the diaspora, and that was really the reason for testing.” – Ade

“I tested [with 23andMe] mainly because I wanted to confirm the story that my maternal grandmother told me when I was little kid…So I have been on a mission really, for my grandmother Alice. She passed away in 1983, but she sowed the seed for me to search” – Ade

Ade has since tested with 23andMe and AncestryDNA. Through the website features that allowed members to send messages to DNA matched relatives, Ade has made contact with several African American and Caribbean distant cousins. Finding these relatives has been a source of great relief for Ade. “It was a huge relief!!!,” said Ade, “and I cried and wished that Grandma Alice was still alive!”

As Ade reconnects with family members, he gives them a warm welcome and introduction on Facebook. Facebook has been a helpful tool in keeping him connected to reunited family members.

Ade Omole. Facebook. October 18, 2014:

“To my aunties, uncles, sisters, brothers, cousins, nephews, nieces, and more: Please watch this, as it shows what our taken ancestors (the ancestors of our newly re-connected cousins from the other side of the Atlantic – by the way there is no doubt as we are DNA/ genes connected) typically went through…Now more importantly, please make a special effort and go out of your way if you need to, to welcome our newly re-connected cousins back home and into the family. They were taken from us, but they were never far from our hearts. Most of our newly re-connected cousins are now my Facebook friends. So keep an eye out for posts and threads on my page. You will have plenty of chances to say heartfelt welcomes. Ijesha ni a re!”

This post was accompanied by a link to article “CNN’s Don Lemon Discovers His Roots in Emotional Journey with His Mother.”

Several distant cousins discovered through AncestryDNA responded to his post.

An African American cousin, Jennifer Chambers Purefoy, responded, “Hello my new found


Jennifer Purefoy

cousin and family! I was so happy to hear from you and hope I can learn more about my family overseas. I am still trying to find out which side we are related. My mother or father’s side. I look forward to meeting you all either in person or on Facebook.”

A Caribbean cousin, José Muñoz, also responded, “Thanks cousin Ade for the post. You were the first to contact me after finding out we were cousins through DNA. It felt good to connect to a part of my African roots. I could only trace my family back to Trinidad and Puerto Rico, but through DNA I now know I have ancestors from six regions in Africa.”

Jennifer only recently engaged in her family’s African American genealogy search before being contacted by Ade saying that they were related. “Needless to say, I was very excited,” said Jennifer. After some search, she discovered that she was related to Ade through her maternal great great grandmother, Lydia Doyd Asberry. Ade and Jennifer maintain communication through phone and Facebook.

“Finding one’s roots is great but also knowing where you come from is exciting. I can now tell my friends that I come from Africa where [the specific country] I am from, and they can tell me what their country is like.” – Jennifer

José Muñoz

Jose Munoz

Ade’s cousin, José, grew up with a black family in a predominately black neighborhood in New York City. Although José knew about his Trinidadian and Puerto Rican ancestry, he did not consider how the Transatlantic Slave Trade influenced his family’s historical experiences. He used AncestryDNA to go beyond his Caribbean ancestry and discovered that approximately half of his ancestry was from Africa. “I never realized how much slavery and colonization impacted my ancestry,” said José. Shortly after receiving his results, he received an email from Ade. “I received a message from Ade welcoming his cousin and sharing that we have an African King and Prince in our bloodline,” said José.

“Ade said that even though we may never trace our common ancestors, we will always be cousins. Ade welcomed me to his family.” – José

When I asked Ade how has this experience changed him, Ade responded, “My life before and after are not even close! I have a huge sense of relief and almost completeness. I am a big fan of DNA testing! If you notice, most of my cousins are people who are not looking for much really but the sense of belonging and completeness. To be a part of this is priceless really and the sense of family that I have with my cousins is as strong as I have for my brother.”

I asked, “You’re saying that this has given you a sense of completeness, too?”

Ade replied, “Yes indeed! I always wondered why did they not return.”

“This has been a fulfilling, soul-refreshing and rewarding experience for me. For Africans, I will encourage them to get tested. If you have a family member, and they want something that you can give and share at almost no cost, the authentic African spirit says that one should give it.” – Ade

Ade’s Genetic Genealogy Information

Ade’s GEDmatch kit # M669758, A761220, and FB14213

Ade’s daughter’s GEDmatch kit # M729237; A915475 and FB37267


  • Hi, is the DNA testing kit available in Nigeria. I would love to try the DNA matching test after seeing Ade Omole’s story.

    • Hi, Tracy. Unfortunately, this particular kit is not available in Nigeria. Some have worked around this issue by having someone purchase the kit in the U.S. and taking it in their luggage when they visit someone in Africa. Perhaps this workaround is an option for you.

  • Wow! I match you on 42 Chromosomes at the threshold of 100 on GEDMATCH..

  • I just stumbled across this story when I saw the picture of Ade. Ade was my very first connection with an African ancestor. I remember getting very emotional the first time I spoke with him on the phone. Very nice article.

    • Thanks Cousin Dedra! I remember that day very clearly as well! I am only too glad that we are fortunate through DNA testing, to reconnect our link back to our common ancestor/root. Have a great summer!

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  • I just found out that I’m mostly Nigerian with some Ghanaian thrown in. Now what do I do with this information?

  • Bukie Kitifolo Carmichael

    Hello cousin. Nice to see the article as well as our common story of my 3rd great grand father Petu. Love you cuz. Bukie

  • Obinna John ibegbulem


    • Jennifer Chambers Purefoy

      Obinna have you taken a DNATest yet? If so make sure you download your kit into Gedmatch and if not get a DNA test and then get some of your questions answered. I also have Nigerian blood in my veins.

  • My name is Thurlani Omole though I know I am a Nigeria in Ghana from Ilesha but I don’t know any of my extended families apart from 3 of my uncles from my grandmother in lagos State and Ogun states and I hope I get to know more of them….

    • Thurla Omole: I think that you have a couple of good starting points – your uncles who still live in Nigeria and your knowing that your family originated from Ilesha, Nigeria. I think you should start by finding out as much as possible from your uncles.

      You may also want to consider getting DNA tested. You might be surprised to discover cousins from West Africa that were previously unknown to you. For example, my closest match outside of my immediate family on 23andMe is a previously unknown 3rd cousin! I have also discovered Igbo cousins although all four of my grandparents were Yoruba from Ijeshaland in Nigeria.

      • I would be glad to know more about the DNA.. Well, I have asked only one of my uncle which I know he was conversant with ilesha town but I sense he doesn’t know much due to is lack of education though I had traveled to ilesha many times with the aid of my mother which I got to know my great grand father’s house I met one old man then but he was not ready to discussed with me and by the time I went there again the old is late.

  • Thank you LaKisha for this great write-up and for giving me and my cousins this forum, to share our story!

  • This is such a beautiful story. The search continues for me, but stories like this give me hope.

  • Great news Ade!

  • My name is Frances Angela Barnett, I have been interested in finding were I come from, and I have not got to start from please help me to find who I am.

    • Hi Frances Angela Barnett, my name is La’Teshia Owens and about a month ago I took the Ancestry DNA test. I think that would be a good place to start. I believe they are the cheapest DNA testing website too. Once I took the test, a couple people in the USA, where I am from as well, has reached out to me. It is a slow process but surely you will meet more family members that way. Good Luck on your journey!

    • Jennifer Chambers Purefoy

      Hi Frances, I agree with Lakisha. I used the AncestryDNA kit and from there downloaded my kit information into AncestryDNA starts the process and Gedmatch seals the deal. It is exciting finding out who your family is and reaching out to them. Currently I have been in touch with others that live in my area too. Good to get to know family.

      • Hello Jennifer – I have Chambers ancestors who were slave owners on the north shore of Jamaica. (This part of my family history is not something I am proud of, but has been proven by genealogy research.) If the Chambers branch of your family tree has any Jamaican roots, I can share our Chambers information with you. Are you aware of the Jamaican Chambers family Facebook page? Most of the people who post on the timeline seem to be descendants of African slaves.

    • Hello Angela – A DNA test might help you, especially if you learn that you have DNA cousins with Jamaican roots. The English Barnett family had MANY sugar plantations in Trelawny and in the Montego Bay area. After emancipation, it was common for slaves to take the surname of their former owners. If the Barnett branch of your family tree has any connections with Jamaica, some of your ancestors might have been enslaved on a one of the Barnett plantations. I got my DNA test through Family Tree DNA – That company’s autosomal Family Finder test is on sale for $59 US – the cheapest price ever! The FTDNA Family Finder results include a very useful chromosome browser, which is not included on the Ancestry or 23and Me results.

      • I got my DNA test through Family Tree DNA – That company’s autosomal Family Finder test is on sale for $59 US – the cheapest price ever! The FTDNA Family Finder results include a very useful chromosome browser, which is not included on the Ancestry or 23and Me results.

      • I didn’t mean for my response to Angela Barnett to be anonymous. I am Sharon Clayton in British Columbia, Canada. You can’t tell by looking at me, but about 5% of my genes are African. Because of genealogy research, I know the names of several of my Jamaican mulatto and quadroon ancestors who were born into slavery. My mitochondrial DNA test result indicates that my African ancestor who arrived in Jamaica on a slave ship was a female. Now I truly understand why I get so passionately enraged by the abuse of power!

    • Hello, Angela. I hope all of the tips provided by other seekers have helped you. How has the search been since January?

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