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“As African-Americans, we have a distinct challenge in terms of tracing our ancestry, because slavery is a research brick wall.But we’ve got our family history essentially etched into our DNA,” said Andre Kearns, a genealogist and marketing executive in Washington, D. His wife is from Haiti, but genealogy DNA tests helped him uncover her family connection to Lisa Fanning, an African-American genealogist with ancestry from Wilkes County, Georgia.An African-American might find only genetic traces showing their ancestors had originally been from the part of Africa that is now Ghana.Andre Kearns great-great grandfather Edward Biggs was born to a formerly enslaved woman in Bertie County, North Carolina around 1867.The documentation came later,” he said from Los Angeles where he works as a tax consultant. The more samples available, the better the tests can pinpoint where your ancestors came from.Most of the companies initially used European-centric samples because those were the easiest to get and because that’s where many of their customers’ ancestors came from. And the proportion of people with non-European ancestry buying the tests is increasing every year.
According to family history his father was a white plantation owner named Kerns.
That in turn is causing the heavily Euro-centric companies to scramble to add people from Africa, Asia and the Americas to their reference panels, the groups of people whose DNA is used to establish baseline ethnicities.
They're all looking for people who have four grandparents from an underrepresented area of the world, genetically speaking, so they can include their DNA in those reference panels and deepen their pool of connections.
While one might be better for Asian-Americans one year, another could increase the number of people on its reference panels for Latin America and come out ahead the next.
The good news is that once you’ve taken a test, the companies continue to compare your DNA data to their newly-enlarged reference panels, sending along updated reports every couple of years.
This photo is from the Honolulu Advertiser from April 2, 1908. SAN FRANCISCO – Family history DNA tests are pegged to be hugely popular gifts this Christmas – but are they worth it if you're one of the 30 percent or so of Americans with ancestors who didn't come from Europe? People of color generally aren't going to get the same specificity of ethnicity estimates as white Americans, though the results are slowly getting more precise for those with ancestors from Africa, Asia and the Americas.