Now I Know My Roots

7 November 2017
by Ancestry

Jason Atwater wanted to learn more about where in Western Africa his slave ancestors came from.

What could his DNA tell him about his African roots?

    What Jason’s DNA Revealed

    Jason* was, like many Americans, aware of the history of slavery. He knew, for example, that many of the African people brought to America as part of the Atlantic slave trade were from central and western Africa.

    He had taken an ethnicity DNA test that confirmed his ancestry was from the western coast of Africa, but that was not very surprising.

    Wanting to know more, Jason then decided to take an AncestryDNA test – and it was very specific.


    An AncestryDNA test reveals which of 9 different regions in Africa your ancestors come from.

    In Jason’s case, he had ethnicity from 4 main regions and traces from 3 additional regions.

    Roots in the American South

    Jason took the AncestryDNA test expecting to learn more about his African ancestors. And he was able to learn in surprising detail where in Africa his roots stemmed.

    But what Jason didn’t realize he’d discover was more genetic insights related to his American relatives.

    In addition to his ethnicity estimate, Jason’s AncestryDNA test results showed him he was part of a group of AncestryDNA members called African Americans of the Deep South and Virginia.

    Jason’s family has now lived in Pennsylvania for a couple of generations, but it’s interesting to see that his DNA still ties him to the area where his ancestors once lived.

    And in Jason’s case, where his search for his slave ancestors’ names led him to a plantation in Virginia, it provided him with additional evidence that the records he found were accurate.

    What Will You Discover?

    Where in the world are your ancestors from?

    An AncestryDNA test could give you not only insights to where your ancestors lived before coming to the US but where they ended up once they got here.

    Find out how your past can inspire your future with Ancestry. 


    *Jason is an Ancestry employee. This is his actual family story.