Following Your DNA Trail – The New York Times

CreditFranziska Barczyk

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Last week’s exploration of people’s reactions to their DNA makeup prompted readers to share
what they learned when their test results came in. Adoptees wrote in about the relief they felt in making a discovery about their roots. Others expressed delight when the outcome confirmed their beliefs. Some questioned the tests’ accuracy. A few unearthed family
secrets – that a parent was not theirs, or that brothers and sisters were actually half-siblings. The hunger to learn more about ethnic origins is pushing many to delve deeper.

So will we. We’re planning more coverage on ancestry and origins, but this issue is devoted to your stories. We selected a few from hundreds, and edited them for clarity and space. 

Sara Norvell

I had my DNA tested about five years ago to determine my ethnic genetic background. Earlier, I had found evidence from the National Archives that my great-grandfather was a member of the United States Colored Troops, and on that record it listed his prior slave owner. After the test results came in, I matched as fourth cousins with a woman in Charleston, S.C., who was a direct descendant of the slave owner. Thus, my great-great grandfather was a slave owner who owned my great-grandfather but was also his father.

Holly Hafer

My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Mozingo. She was from North Carolina.   My maternal grandfather’s family was Irish with the last name Lee. My father’s side of the family was English. I saw an article by a man named Joe Mozingo who said all Mozingos in the United States were descendants of Edward Mozingo, who came to Virginia from Africa in the 1600s. He came as an indentured servant and was, supposedly, only 10 to 15 years old.

My daughter and I learned that I am .6 percent sub-Saharan African and she is .3 percent. My mother learned that she is 1 percent Sub-Saharan African. I traced our ancestry back ten generations and it clearly shows that Edward Mozingo is our ancestor, and that he was an African who married an English woman while it was still legal for him to do so.

I am proud of my ancestor and can only imagine the life he had to live. There are “white” and “black” branches of the family. I would have been forced to attend another high school if this were common knowledge in the 1950s and 60s because schools were segregated then. It is funny to me that as a blond, blue-eyed girl, I was a cheerleader and homecoming queen. This would have never happened if the truth had been known.

Kezia-Alean Osunsade

There were few parts of my ancestry that I was rather sure of, but others were completely a mystery. My father was born and raised in Nigeria, with both of his parents coming from the Yoruba tribe. My mother is African-American and knows very little…

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