Hey guys! So I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated my blog, but your girl has been busy living life! I need to fill you in on what I’ve been up to these past couple months, but that will be for a later post. This entry is solely dedicated to my journey of self discovery and my earnest quest to trace my ancestral lineage.
I have been working on building my family tree since 2010, and I hit a road block once I got to my maternal great-great-great grandmother, Eliza Daniel Hearst. I knew from census records she was born in 1862 in Belton, South Carolina. She married my great-great-great grandfather, Richard Hearst, and they had seven children in a span of 13 years which included my great-great grandmother, Della Georgia Hearst Legan, born on February 22, 1885.
For complete context, Della begat Agnes Elizabeth Legan Ellison in 1908. Agnes begat my grandmother, Clarice Velma Sherman, in 1924. Clarice begat my beautiful mother, Linda Joyce Smith Laws (and her twin brother, John - RIP&L), in 1951, and Linda begat yours truly on a hot Monday in August of 1984.
Even with the 122 year timeline from my 3rd great grandmother to my own birth, I wanted to dive deeper into my lineage. So in December 2014, I purchased an AncestryDNA kit from Ancestry.com, and this past Christmas I purchased kits for my mom and sister, Jocelyn. Our results are below.
It wasn’t until this past February during the press run build up to the premiere of the epic, record breaking, blockbuster hit “Black Panther” that I finally decided to purchase the African Ancestry matriclan test after seeing Chadwick Boseman’s interview on “The Breakfast Club” where he talks to Charlamagne tha God about taking the “right” test to trace your roots and find your tribe. I was sold! Yes, even at the price point of $299. Thankfully, I got a $30 Black History Month discount, but it didn’t matter to me though because you can’t put a price on finding your roots! I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA!
Fast forward to last night/this morning... I get home from the Rick Ross concert at B.B. King in Times Square to find that my results arrived! My reaction is below:
Temet Nosce. (Know Thyself.)
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
I sat in silence for 20 minutes after I read over my results. I thought about what it might have been like the moment my ancestors were forced on a boat and brought to America to endure slavery, the degradation my people suffered through for 246 years, 85 years of Jim Crow Laws and segregation, and the continued institutionalized systemic racism that still permeates the blood stained fabric of America today. Then, at 3am this morning, I immediately went to Google and searched Yoruba and Fulani people and their cultures. I’m completely obsessed now with learning more about my heritage, and I will definitely be doing more research in the coming days and weeks. As an African American woman, it is truly profound to finally know where I come from, and be able to pinpoint my DNA to specific tribes. So much of our history, our culture, our identity was stolen from us. Knowledge of self was lost due to the ramifications of the Atlantic slave trade. Thanks to the advancement of technology and DNA analysis, I’m found, and I can’t wait to visit the Motherland! I’m already making preparations!
My beautiful Black people, I wholeheartedly encourage you to take the African Ancestry matriclan/patrician test, and if you want a full breakdown of your ethnicity estimate, then I also recommend taking the AncestryDNA test. They are both worthwhile investments, and your whole family benefits from the information!