#BlackHistoryMonth: ESSENCE Editors Trace Their Ancestry

To celebrate Black History Month, a group of ESSENCE staffers decided to trace our roots using Ancestry.com kits.

Lauren Porter Feb, 23, 2017

1 of 10

Africa

Nigeria 24% 
Mali 17% 
Africa Southeastern Bantu 11% 
Ivory Coast/Ghana 3% 
Cameroon/Congo 2%
Senegal <1%
Benin/Togo <1%

America

Native American 2%

Europe

Great Britain 18%
Europe West 7%
Ireland 6%
Scandinavia 4%
Iberian Peninsula 2%
Italy/Greece 1%
Europe East <1%

2 of 10

Africa
Cameroon/Congo 35%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 27%

Europe
Ireland 10%
Europe West 9%

3 of 10

Africa

Cameroon/Congo 22%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 21%
Benin/Togo 19%
Senegal 12%
Africa Southeastern Bantu 6%
Mali 5%
 

4 of 10

Africa

Nigeria 29%
Mali 17%
Cameroon/Congo 16%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 9%
Benin/Togo 6%

Europe

Ireland 8%

5 of 10 Essence

"I was excited to learn that I had such deep African roots but it brought up questions about my moms family who are American & have very light skin. It kind of broke down some assumptions Black Americans have about skin color for me. I also want to say that although I’m mostly Nigerian, I grew up with Ghanaian jollof rice and that’s where my allegiance will always be.”

Africa

Nigeria 35%
Mali 21%
Cameroon/Congo 19%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 6%
Benin/Togo 3%
African Southeastern Bantu 3%
Africa South-Central Hunter-Gatherers 2%
Senegal 2%

Native American

Native American 1%

Europe

Scandinavia 3%
Ireland 2%
Finland/Northwest Russia 1%
Europe West 1%
Iberian Peninsula 1%

6 of 10

Africa

Benin/Togo 13%
Nigeria 11%

Europe

Great Britain 27%

7 of 10

Africa
Nigeria 26%
Benin/Togo 19%
Senegal 12%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 9%
Cameroon/Congo 7%

Europe
Great Britain 14%

8 of 10

"My mother always believed her non-African roots were Italian and Indigenous, while my father fantasized that he was Kenyan. Turns out, my ancestry aligns with one of the most common narratives of the Transatlantic Slave trade.  I immediately felt affirmed in my connections to the West African homies who previously 'allowed' me to partake in their culture.  I then felt conflicted upon realizing the great-great grandmother believed to be Indigenous was now likely half-White and my British surname, is now likely a birthright as much a mark of ownership.  Discomfort aside, I'm looking forward to a new sense of purpose and awareness."

Africa

Nigeria 20%
Benin/Togo 17%
Mali 13%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 10%
Cameroon/Congo 5%

Europe

Great Britain 20%

9 of 10

Africa

Nigeria 21%
Mali 12%
Africa Southeastern Bantu 10%
Cameroon/Congo 10%
Benin/Togo 9%

Europe

European Jewish 22%

10 of 10

Africa

Nigeria 20%
Senegal 9%
Benin/Togo 8%
Cameroon/ Congo 6%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 5%
African Southeastern Bantu 1%

America

Native America 4%

Europe

Italy/ Greece 22%
Iberian Peninsula 15%
Ireland 2%
Great Britain 2%
Scandinavia 1%