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African American Lives
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Analyzing the Evidence
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Sharing Stories
One Families Story: Read a story matching the term you chose:
STORYTELLER: LOCATION: Eastern Massachusetts YEAR TOOK PLACE: 2005
TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN: Northern Ohio HOW HEARD: lineage

I come from a White-identified family, and I decided to have a genetic lineage test done, thinking that I might find out from which areas in Europe my ancestors may have come. On the one hand, I did find a number of matches with the British Isles and Germany, as I more or less expected. However, much to my surprise, some (3% or so) of my Y-chromosome markers showed close matches with markers from the Gambia with some overlap with markers from southwestern Mali. In other words, as far as I can tell by putting the data into cultural and historical context, I am guessing that I probably have Mandinka ancestry, which means that at least one line of my family tree came to America via the Middle Passage. After finding this out, I have really had to rethink my own family history in relation to European and African American history. Three percent may not seem like a lot of ancestry in the grand scheme of things, but it would be interesting to find out how my African-descended ancestors managed to evade the "One Drop Rule" and cross the color line.





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