I grew up surrounded by family. My aunts and uncles were so close that my cousins were more like siblings than anything else. I have memories of the house being filled with kids and laughter; so many fun times. But as we grew older, some older family began to pass away and the family started drifting apart.
In the process of growing up, I felt different; like an outsider. I felt like part of my identity was missing. I knew who I was, I knew a lot of my family but there were just so many holes in our family tree. My parents, aunts and uncles would sit around some times and talk about the days gone by. I loved hearing stories about my grandparents, whom I’ve never met. Though I enjoyed hearing these stories, the stories left questions etched in my soul. Who were my ancestors? where did we originate? Do I have other family out there?
I envied those who knew their family tree. I wanted to know who my ancestors were and what they may or may not have done in their time. Those questions followed me through college and when I graduated from college, I learned about The National Geographic Genographic Project. It was the study of DnA migration based on maternal DnA markers–helped discover which haplogroup in which I originate. I jumped on this opportunity to learn more about my origins. I paid for the test and my results indicated that I was from Africa. Which for me was not a shocker. I knew that much but I wanted…. NEEDED to know an exact location. I realized then that technology wasn’t advanced enough and I would need to try and find out on my own.
I joined Ancestry.com and began a search. It soon ended because as it turned out, because I was a descendant from former slaves, I could not simply put in a name and have this glorious result bank. I stopped but my heart still felt the missing pieces.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. I saw that Ancestry.com now has a DnA test to find out the ethnicities within my DnA. So, of course I jumped on it. When I received my results back, I was so over joyed! I felt like I finally had answers. Although it doesn’t get it down to the town that my ancestors hail from, It gave me the mix of countries that gives me an idea of where my ancestors traveled to and the people who are my ancestors. I found comfort in knowing where I come from.
The small step I took has opened the door for my family and brought us even closer. I have even found a cousin I didn’t know and now we are in the business of building our tree together. My heart feels so full and I am finding out about where I came from, which makes me feel secure in the future that I will be leaving for my children.
No matter what you go through or the direction you are heading, when you know where you have been, you can accomplish ANYTHING!