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Old 01-19-2010, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
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Hello,
I would like to help my sister-in-law trace her African ancestry. Her mother is no longer alive, but she has a brother and father and a number of living relatives.

There have been so many advances in DNA genealogy as of late.

If you wished to spend $500-$700 or so to give her the best way to trace her roots through DNA on both the father and mother;s side, what tests/firms would you consider?

I know there are a couple of big names in this, although I have heard mixed things. I am not interested in the glam or contributing to the health of a given firm. I simply want to help by sister-in-law and therefore her kids to understand their roots.

Thanks, S.
P.S. This follows another thread on African American genealogy. My apologies but I did want to hijack that thread since it seemed to ask a very specific question.
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:05 AM
 
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I don't think DNA can actually trace your individual family line. I think it can only tell you what type of blood lines you have.. ie: Asian,Slav, etc.
And I would do alot of investigating before I spent $$..some of those tests are very expensive and the results not at all what you are looking for.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
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Thanks Trudy,
You do not think it can pin point which parts of Africa? Or likely tribe affiliation?

S.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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No. It does not get that specific. Many people think that the DNA test can tell who they are related to and that's not what happens. However, I think I heard of a site where DNA of specific people are in a data base.. so theorerecally (sp) if you were related to a famous person and their DNA was in the db it would come up as a match. But what are the chances of that Anyway, I am going to try to look for more info on the subject and see waht I can come up with...For now I'd say don't waste your money on a test that won't give you the info you're looking for
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:19 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
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Spending 500-700$ on something like that is beyond me. If she did not immigrate from Africa directly (in which case I suppose she would remember where from), she is simply American. What does it help to know that one's genes are partially from here or there? She probably grew up in the States and is thus un-African, except for her pigments.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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That's true, however the point and fun of genealogy is finding out who your ancestors are and where they came from. And I think it would be especially of interest to an African/American to try to learn something about their past. After all.. their people did not come to the US by choice...no Mayflower or Ellis Island to look up names on a list. I can imagine how frustrating it must be.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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Here is an interesting link that asks some of the same questions:The DNA Debate: Can it help black Chicagoans find African relatives?
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:46 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trudy Rose View Post
That's true, however the point and fun of genealogy is finding out who your ancestors are and where they came from. And I think it would be especially of interest to an African/American to try to learn something about their past. After all.. their people did not come to the US by choice...no Mayflower or Ellis Island to look up names on a list. I can imagine how frustrating it must be.
OK, but what exactly does it help? Say, she finds out some of her genes are from Southern Ghana. Wouldn't it mean just as much, or little for that matter, about her as if they were from Nigeria or Cameroon? Nobody in Africa knows or remembers her. If she goes there she will be as alien to the local culture as an Eskimo.
Apart from that I doubt there is much information on African genes in databases.
Black Africa is an extremely diverse region in terms of genes, the most diverse on the planet. You would literally have to test locals every couple of miles to get a reliable database. Not to mention all the migrations and mixing...

I guess this whole genealogy thingy is just big business. Why not donate those 500 or 700$ to buy vaccination for African babies? One could save hundreds of lives with that amount.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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Go to your local library, and visit their history department. If you have the birth and death dates of parents and possibly grandparents and the last place they lived, this is ample information to get you started on the hunt. US census data is your friend! This is what most of the $$$ databases use to create family trees.

For African American ancestry research, look at these resources:

BOOKS
African American Genealogical Sourcebook
Burroughs, Tony. Black Roots: A Beginner’s Guide to Tracing the African American
Witcher, Curt B. African American Genealogy: A Bibliography and Guide to Sources
Smith, Franklin. A Genealogists Guide to Discovering your African-American Ancestors
Fears, Mary L. Jackson. Slave Ancestral Research: It’s Something Else
Potts, Howard E. A Comprehensive Name Index for the American Slave

WEBSITES
Christine’s Genealogy Website (Christine's African American Genealogy Website | Who are your people?)
Cyndi’s List-African American Sites (Cyndi's List - African-American)
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (web.nypl.org/research/sc/sc.html)

Have fun
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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Geez...you sound like my husband You are right that genealogy can be a big business...there are excellent sites that are not just in it for the $$.
Sandpointian never said he/she was planning to go to Africa...just to find info on ancestors. I am fortunate to know exactly what village in England my family came from. And it is important to know that.. much better than just saying they were from East Anglia. Genealogy is something you either get or don't get .
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