If you follow me on insta G, you will have seen me post a picture of this brunch. Now this may look like any old french toast with tropical fruits. But actually, it represents my ancestry. Yep, you read that right.
If somebody asks me where I’m from – after feeling slightly annoyed, probably rolling my eyes etc – my reply would always be my mum’s English and my dad’s Jamaican. Therefore I’m both. I’ve never really questioned this despite knowing very little about my ancestry past my grandparents. I knew my mum had Irish grandparents. And as far as I knew my dad’s family always lived in Jamaica until they moved to England when he was young. My parents then met, were forced to break up (think biracial relationship and a racist parent…) and reunited once more. Enter my sister’s birth followed swiftly by mine. Not forgetting my brother who was born during the years apart lol. This was our family. This is what I knew. But of course divorces are a thing and sadly so is death.
So there’s a lil dramatic backdrop for you…
Recently I had the opportunity to discover more about my ancestry with AncestryDNA*. I had heard about these DNA tests before, mainly through buzzfeed videos and friends who wanted to do it. And in all honesty, I wasn’t that interested. I’ve tried to make family trees before which proved pointless. And if my sister decided to take the test, I knew my results would be the same. But when opportunity knocks!
So, if you don’t know what the AncestryDNA test is, you basically send off a spit sample and after a few weeks of your DNA being tested, you’re told where your ancestors came from hundreds to thousands of years ago. Pretty cool! It can also help you reconnect with any long lost relatives if they’ve also taken the test. But typically I didn’t find anything like that.
So what is my ancestry then?
As you can see, I’m almost a perfect 50/50 split between Africa and Europe. Obvs coming from my Dad and my Mum respectively.
But most surprisingly to me, there is no Jamaican ancestry within my DNA.
According to some brief research I’ve done since. A lot of Jamaica’s black population are of African decent with origins in West Africa such as Ghana – like me! These people were known as Koromantis, and were thought to be the most stubborn, proud and disciplined, but also most respected. Because of these characteristics, the British thought they’d make better workers and therefore ‘good slaves’. So they were brought to Jamaica. I had no idea this happened.
As you can tell, I’m very ignorant to black history – I know very little. I wasn’t taught anything about it in school, despite going to one of the best ones in Gloucestershire lol. My grandad died before I was born, my grandma when I was a child and my dad last year. I wasn’t really told much and I didn’t go out of my way to find out. I still remember the pain I felt the first time I watched 12 Years a Slave following a racial situation at school – but that’s a different story entirely!
And on my mum’s side
I was also surprised by how much Irish ancestry I have. Like I said, I knew my mum had Irish grandparents, but I didn’t know a whopping 29% of me would be Irish! Also Finland, Scandinavia, European Jewish etc seem very random and I’m not quite sure where that came from.
And not only this but 1% of me from my dad’s side must have come from Europe…
So yeah, that is me! And although very interesting to know, it has opened up yet more questions within me about who I am. And has really highlighted my lack of education, which I want to work on asap. But for now let’s leave it here.
Thank you for reading my mishmash of thoughts haha!
Till next time