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.

 

 

22 Comments

  1. Me

    I am still trying to get someone’s attention to remove a record from your “search” site. It is a tourist visa which mentions my name, my birth date, my birth place, has a picture of me, has the names of both my parents and the address where I lived when I obtained that tourist visa for a South American country. How and where that record surfaced I do not know. I most certainly never provided it. What more would any identity thief need to bleed me dry? I am still very much alive and do not like the idea that this data can be obtained on ancestry.com. There was a time where ancestry.com protected the living. It is nobody’s business to have all this information about me. Police officers have told me that ancestry.com is a place where identity thieves do research. You should not aid and abet. Do not force my hand, you will regret it! …..And try answering the phones some time!!

      • Me

        Thank you so much Freddie! You are the first one to hear me. I have had this message on various blogs for weeks now. The way Ancestry has handled it is by removing all the blogs (recipee blogs) where I had appealed for help, thereby making my previous requests disappear. Something has changed for the worse at ancestry.com. It felt like I was with a reputable company 15 years ago! Not anymore!

    • Tom Sander

      2 things that might help you. I think ancestry depends on people saying whether someone is dead or alive as I have found many document of living people open to the public and have always found the person who posted the documents to say the person is dead in their tree. In most cases, once I point it out to the person, they correct it. It may take up to 20 days to clear up in Ancestry. The document does not disappear. It is hidden from public view and only available to those who the person who posted the item allow living people to be seen.
      Secondly, any document posted by an ancestry member is well documented as to who posts it. In fact, in one case, I inadvertently cut and pasted a photo to my tree and was called out on it. Ancestry allows you to link the photo or item to your tree and keep the originators information attached to it for all to see. You should be able to see who posted this item and contact them directly.
      I hope this helps. As with any social media site, the user can abuse the information.

      • Me

        Thank you for your interest, Tom! I understand where you are coming from. but none of these concerns apply to me! For one thing, I VERY clearly identify myself as living. For another thing, I am not even a member right now and am visiting the site as a guest because I have been invited to so many trees. Yet I can see my picture and the data as a leaf on trees that identify me as living. That same leaf also shows up on my parents trees (who are still identified as living) because their names is on this tourist visa as well. DO NOT ask me how that tourist visa ended up on ancestry.com, since very few people even know that I ever went to South America (other than my immediate family who do not have trees on ancestry.com and who have very little interest in genealogy. So it is a true mystery to me how come this visa shows up on ancestry.com. I do not fit the stereotype (even though I am blond). I have graduate degrees and am excellent at doing research, which is why I am invited onto so many trees. The reason why we do not yet have the 1950 Census records available on ancestry.com is to protect the privacy of people. THIS copy of a visa should NOT be available on ancestry.com. But thank you so much for getting involved! I really appreciate it!

  2. RR

    This announcement mentions Jamaica has its own genetic community, but there isn’t one. Was this a mistake? Several people have checked, and Jamaica is absent.

  3. After nearly two years of no updates to the genetic communities,- which I believe is one of AncestryDNA’s best and most unique features compared to the competition- I am glad that updates are being made at last. Furthermore, I commend Ancestry for focusing on areas where traditional genealogy is often quite difficult: Ireland and African-Americans.

    However on a personal level I am still disappointed with the GCs as I am yet to receive one. I am Dutch and do not have the Netherlands GC, Irish and do not have any one of the 99 Irish GCs, and am also British and German but have none of the GCs in these areas.

    Are you able to say whether and when you will be releasing more GCs in other regions of the world, in particular Britain and northwest Europe?

  4. Angela M Doughty

    I have no clue why this is coming up because it’s not correct.Some of my family members have done this. And I’m trying to figure out more information thank you..

  5. Jackie

    I thought this was a area to comment on the article it is under. However, I DO know how hard it is to find a place to make comments to Ancestry.com.

    So, about this article.

    I have 1% Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples ancestry, which I already knew, and which matches my family tree quite nicely. However, the article on DNA origins for this group really needed to be fleshed out. Here it is in a nutshell: Bantu-speaking people cover a lot of south & southeast sub-Saharan Africa. There are 11 lines of text on eastern Bantu-speaking kingdoms. There are three lines on the Slave Trade. There are 5 lines on European colonialism in the 1800s, and then more contemporary history that does not pertain to virtually all Americans (referring to the continents, not the country) who have ancestry related to the slave trade and before. And, as the article itself says, the American slave trade had little effect on southeast Africa and vice versa.

    How the kingdoms of WEST sub-Saharan Africa initially handled exposure to Europeans (Portuguese) and then were destabilized by the Spanish leading to that slave trade is a fascinating and important story. It is a lot more complicated than the cardboard-cutout story of most U.S. history classes and of American entertainment productions like “Mandingo” and even “Roots.”

    It needs more than three lines of text.

  6. Michelle Wilson

    Ancestry.Com really dropped the ball when it comes to African DNA. Ancestry.Com focuses primarily on European and Asian DNA. As for African DNA they clump everyone into Benin and the Bantu people. I used to look at YouTube videos on Ancestry.Com for African DNA results but I no longer do because I already know what the result is going to be…..Benin and Bantu people. I visited Benin in August of 2018, I have a good friend there and I wanted him to take the test to see what his results would be but after receiving the kit I found out that it would be too expensive to ship the kit to him in Benin and have him ship it back to the states to be tested. Ancestry.Com doesn’t even ship kits to Benin or those other African countries to have the locals contribute their DNA to the African database. Ancestry.Com has a very limited African DNA database because their focus is Europe and Asia. This is why they dump all people of African descent into Benin and Bantu people. I gave the kit that I ordered to a black person here in the states and we are still waiting for the results, but we already know what they will be, Benin and Bantu people as the majority. I think black people need to stop utilizing this company because we are paying for a service that we aren’t getting.

    • Loretta Moore

      Bravo, Jackie!!
      Thank you for your comment and being forthright in expressing your displeasure with the manner in which, African DNA is processed and presented on Ancestry.com.

      The land area on the map of Africa designated to Cameroom/Congo/Bantu people represents almost 1/3 of the continent. Therefore, when Ancestry.com changed my DNA profile by taking away 27% Nigerian DNA lineage, and lumped it in with the above mentioned area suddenly I became 54% Cameroon/Congo/ Bantu, which covers a large area from Central Africa into South Africa. Roughly, thats about 1/3 of the continent or about 333,000 square miles! Like you, I already knew that I was predominantly of African descent. Therefore, I learned nothing with this additional information having “dumped” 54% of my DNA into this one area.

      In addition, maybe one day they will explain to me why my tests results, which once said that I had 1% lineage linked to an island in the Pacific suddenly changed to reflect 1% Spain.

      For the past decade, I use to rave and encourage African Americans to use this service now I am becoming more and more disappointed. If I quantified the money spent by me and other family members for monthly memberships and DNA test kits it would easily exceed $10k.

      I am seriously considering putting my research on PAUSE, and perhaps returning only when I feel there is something more for me to gain here.

      **THIS IS BOTH FUNNY AND ANNOYING . . . . . . .
      Now, seemingly in response to my complaints and those of other African Americans, Ancestry.com has ramped up their marketing to the black community by touting that they have my connections, more resources, more communities, etc. Suddenly, you find dozens of new people connected to you, who like me have a keen expection, which will likely go unsatisfied.

  7. Jeri Hodge

    Why did some of my ethnicity go away when I updated it? If that is part of me even in the smallest amount it should still show me as well as anything new. Can you explain, I have family on here that would like too know also.

    • Loretta Moore

      I believe that Ancestry. com has a lot of explaining to do:

      EXAMPLE: How can the DNA correctly identify my immediaite family members (son, sister, and nieces), yet in several instances when I compare my DNA to likely 4th cousins – only one, two or many time none of the above relatives will show up as shared connections.

  8. TERI D MARSHALL

    The new release of regional migration info completed deleted my Louisana history and dumped everyone in Virginia. My mother’s people migrated from Lousiana into Texas. what did you do with that information, I can no longer find it. It appears Ancestry’s rush to keep up with other companies regarding Regional Information on African Americans is sloppy and frustrating, to say the least. Or you’ve got some people on your research team intent on putting you out of business with African American people. I no longer trust your research. Your “new” information is suspect of creating confusion and anger among Americans wishing to discover their roots and connection to each other.

  9. Monique

    I have Louisiana creole roots, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virgina. When will my genetic communities reflect that? I have not seen an update yet except for the addition of Puerto Rico.

  10. Tyrone

    I’m glad you did this new update and detail for the African American communities. I have only one question, some African Americans did not have ancestry in the south or the Caribbean. I don’t know if you can find a DNA community for those of us who had slavery had a African American community in the northern areas of the U.S. The reason why I’m asking is because I have relatives on my mother’s side(i.e. cousins) that do not share any connection with African American communities from the south and the Caribbean. I’m not sure why but I do have family who told me that we come from the NYC area. I did read that they did have a black community and slavery in the NYC area prior to the mass exodus from the south. I hope that this isn’t too much to ask. Thank you

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