Ancestry® Announces 94 New and Updated Communities For People of African American and Afro-Caribbean Descent, Delivering More Historical Context Than Ever Before

Posted by Ancestry Team on February 19, 2019 in AncestryDNA, News

With family history research there is always more to discover, and at Ancestry® we are relentless in our commitment to bring new products, insights and updates to you, our members, to empower your journey.

Aiding in the uniquely challenging journey of discovery for people of African heritage, today we released 94 new and updated AncestryDNA® communities for customers of African American and Afro-Caribbean descent. With just the results of your AncestryDNA test, we can help unlock stories of the people and places that make up your recent family histories. These new insights, provided using our unique Genetic Communitiestechnology, can reveal the roles and unique impact your ancestors played in history. Ancestry’s unmatched combination of the world’s largest consumer DNA network and millions of family trees  allows our customers to see this level of precision and trace how their ancestors may have moved over time.

Overview of all AncestryDNA African American communities from 1925-1950. This image shows the exodus of many African Americans from the South to areas in the North and West. This event is commonly known as the Great Migration.


Here are three examples of the rich historical information our members can uncover in these new communities.

One of the communities in this new release is Alabama, Georgia & South Carolina African Americans. Members with this community may have ancestors that were enslaved and working on rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. When cotton fields came to the area in the late 1700s, many enslaved African Americans were brought to work those fields. Following the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II, many South Carolinians followed rail lines up North to New York and Philadelphia. This group was one of many communities that were part of the Great Migration–which was the movement of millions of African Americans during the 1900s from the South to cities in the North and West.

Another new AncestryDNA® Community is the Louisiana Creoles & African Americans. Members who receive this community in their results will learn that before the Civil War, a large portion of Louisiana’s black residents were enslaved and working on sugar and cotton plantations. By the 1900’s, their ancestors were headed to big cities in the Midwest and West Coast. In fact, by 1940 more than 18% of African Americans in the Bay Area were from Louisiana.

Louisiana Creoles & African Americans during the Great Migration, Apx. 1925-1950.

We’ve also expanded our Caribbean communities, with stories from Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas and more. Afro-Caribbean communities played a significant role in black history as nearly half—about 5 million—of all African people transported to the Americas, landed in the Caribbean first. Most enslaved African Caribbeans worked on sugar plantations, and in 1903, soon after the decline of the sugar industry, the United States established a recruiting headquarters in Barbados to supply the labor force needed to construct the Panama Canal. Some Barbadians moved to the United States and settled primarily in Manhattan and Harlem in New York City. Afro-Caribbeans who moved to New York sometimes had difficulty adjusting to their new homes but by 1930 about one-third of New York’s black professionals, such as lawyers and doctors, were African Caribbeans.

African Caribbean communities, Apx. 1925-1950.

Insights gleaned from DNA and family trees from 1700 all the way to 1950 can help you narrow down clues to specific counties—or even find cousins who have ties to the same area who might know stories or details that you don’t.

These new communities will offer our members with African ancestors new windows into their past, new levels of specificity, and new insights into how the lives of those ancestors intersected with or even helped shape history.



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