USA

Disclaimers:

  • These charts are NOT meant to be taken as an absolute or definitive display of ethnic origins for modernday populations!
  • Ethnic labels given by Europeans do NOT per se reflect how the slaves would have self-identified themselves! (see this article for more discussion)
  • Take note of the sample size, time period, region and any other details given to familiarize yourself with the CONTEXT of the data!
  • Even if limited in scope, valuable information can still be obtained if you look for the patterns!
  • Sorry for all the exclamation marks 😉 It’s just that i’ve seen these kind of charts being misinterpreted so many times, not only online but also by trained historians. Which is a shame really because misleading conclusions can easily be avoided if you just take these charts for what they are: sample based data which might provide us with extra clues about the ethnic composition of Africans being taken to the USA during a given time period and for a given place/region. All depending on how representative the samples might have been.

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Regional Origins

Trans Atlantic Slave Voyages (Inter-Colonial & Domestic Slave Trade not included!)
For more details read  “African American AncestryDNA Results

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EltisUSA99_zps95858018

Source: Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (2010 Estimates) (http://www.slavevoyages.org)

 

 

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Source: “Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South”, (Michael Gomez, 1998).

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Trans Atlantic Slave Voyages & Inter-Colonial Slave Trade (via West Indies)
For more details read   “Benin/Togo region

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Intercolonial trade (O Malley 2009)

Source:”Beyond the Middle Passage: Slave Migration from the Caribbean to North America, 1619-1807″, : (G. O’Malley, 2009), The William and Mary Quarterly, 66, (1), 125-172.

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Gullah

Linguistic influences from Africa
For more details read “Comparing the Gullah language with other English-based Creoles

English Creole Lexicon

From “Out of Africa: African Influences in Atlantic Creoles” (Parkvall, 2000)

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Perosnal Names (Turner 1949) (p.142)

From “Out of Africa: African Influences in Atlantic Creoles” (Parkvall, 2000)

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Tabel 16 Words in Gullah language derived from Afrcan languages

From “The Gullah People and Their African Heritage” (Pollitzer, 1999)

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Tabel 17 African influence on Grammar, Sounds etc.

From “The Gullah People and Their African Heritage” (Pollitzer, 1999)

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Figure 2 , slave trade numbers versus ling. influence

From “The Gullah People and Their African Heritage” (Pollitzer, 1999)

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Louisiana

Louisiana Slave Database (1719-1820)
For more details read  “Louisiana: most African diversity within the United States?

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***New Orleans Baptism Database 1796-1803

KD Roberts 2003 - Ethnic breakdown Baptized Slaves St Louis Cathedral 1796-1803

Source: “Slaves and Slavery in Louisiana – The Evolution of Atlantic World Identities, 1791-1831” (Roberts, 2003)

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South Carolina

Runaway slaves 1730-1790
For more details read  “Ethnic Origins of South Carolina Runaway Slaves

African Origins of SC runaway slaves2

Pollitzer (1999, p.60)

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Virginia

Bight of Biafra ancestry
For more details read  “The Igbo Connection for Virginia & Virginia-Descendants

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TAST (VA, SC, percentages)

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (2010) (http://www.slavevoyages.org/)

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TAST (VA genderratio)

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database (2010) (http://www.slavevoyages.org/)

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Final Passages (Percentage West Indian imports VA,1701-1765)

Taken from “Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807″ (O’Malley, 2014)

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19 thoughts on “USA

  1. Hi,

    Didn’t you have a table from slavevoyages.com with the countries of slaves origin in the different states like Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and others

    Like

      • Can a Black American get a African Carribeans genetic communities instead of AFRICAN-American genetic communities ?

        One more question

        These Updates that ancestry give customers
        Is it supposed to be more accurate ?

        Like

        • Yes depending on their particular family history and matching strength with Caribbean customers in Ancestry’s database.

          Updates are intended to improve accuracy. But if they also manage to do so is a different question 😉 I will blog about this eventually. In case you have any further questions in the meanwhile Ancestry itself has a very heplful FAQ section:

          https://www.ancestry.com/cs/dna-help/ethnicity/faq

          Like

  2. G’day
    I have ancestors from England and Africa. They met & bred on St Kitts. (Slave/ planter.)
    My DNA says iberian peninsula, congo.
    How / where do I search for the likely source / departure point of my slave ancestor?
    We are talking arrival mid/ late 1700s to early 1800s.
    Ive been at this for a while but am going crazy with so much info, not applicable.
    Thanks
    Barb

    Like

      • I just found out that Alabama use to be part of Mississippi!😁

        Howcome there is no slave voyage for the slaves that were sent to Alabama ?

        I swear most African slaves that were in Alabama came directly from Africa.

        Like

        • Indeed only one recorded slavevoyage it seems within the TAST database. But it also happens to be one of the most famous ones in American history: the Clotilda! I suppose it is possible other illegal slave voyages landing in Alabama/Mobile in the 1800’s have not been documented. But either way Domestic Slave Trade would have been more important. Read these websites for more info:

          http://www.inmotionaame.org/home.cfm?site=html

          http://abolition.nypl.org

          Like

          • But Howcome it doesn’t Show anything on the African origins of the people in Alabama.

            Is Mississippi representing Alabama ?

            What is the history of the Black people in Alabama as far as African slaves being sent there

            I swear Alabama is also part of Louisiana cuz during the French colonizing Louisiana they divided it to Upper Louisiana & Lower Louisiana
            Alabama, Mississippi, & Arkansas was part of Lower Louisiana.

            Like

            • Haha time to hit the history books then 😉 I have not done any research into Alabama myself. I can only repeat what I already told you that Domestic Slave Trade will be a huge factor. And therefore the African origins of Virginia & South Carolina should also be taken into account. Because cotton cultivation only started to get large scale after the Louisiana Purchase. Before that I believe Alabama’s population might have been quite small, although quite likely some enslaved Africans were then indeed transferred via Louisiana/Mississipi.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Now you have me interested, too. Mobile would seem to have been a natural slave port since it was one of the best natural harbors on the Gulf Coast. But I can’t find any information on how many ships arrived directly from Africa to Mobile. I do see some maps showing the inter-county trade showing slaves being shipped down from the Carolinas and Virginia, but, again, not even a general figure of how many slaves passed into Mobile.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Again I have not read a great deal about this. But I suppose New Orleans would most likely have drawn in most of the seaborne trade. Because its hinterland was more populated and/or offered better access to plantations requiring slave labour. While Mobile might have been more of backwater (relatively speaking), at least in the 1700’s.

                  Overland routes would certainly have increased in significance during the 1800’s. A few months ago I read this book which described the transfer of African Americans from a plantation in Virginia into Alabama. Highly recommended reading! It also provides a useful comparison of slavery in Jamaica versus in the USA. It’s called “A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and Virginia” And it also has a very good website:

                  http://www.twoplantations.com/

                  Like

  3. Hey FonteFelipe. I was wondering if you could give me a little insight into my results. I’ve been reading your site for a while now and just wanted to have your opinion what I’ve found. I’m a AA which I can confirm that my family is from South Carolina, USA but I think I have at least partial Hausa/Fulani background. My highest results are Nigeria = 38% Senegal + Mali 19% and Ireland + Great Britain + Europe West = 16%.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi AJ,

      AncestryDNA’s socalled “Ethnicty Estimates” can provide very valuable insight but only within a (sketchy) regional framework. You will need additional context/info to pinpoint any specific ethnic details or also combine with other DNA results, especially any African matches you might have. Therefore I would advise you to systematically look into your matches first of all:

      https://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/how-to-find-those-elusive-african-dna-matches-on-ancestry-com/

      From having seen the African matches of more than 50 African Americans already and also based on my review of historically documented ethnic references of African captives in the US i would say that the odds of having any Fula and Nigerian Igbo lineage are much greater than having any Hausa lineage. But again you will need additional clues to confirm.

      The striking thing about your breakdown is of course the 38% “Nigeria” ! This gives your breakdown a more pronounced regional focus than the usually more fragmented standard. However i did observe similar high scores for the “Nigeria” region among my African American sample group (n=350). As it seems to be quite common even despite individual variation. For more details see:

      https://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/ancestrydna/african-american-results/

      Like

      • Okay I can list the entire list of results. I’ve traced one distant relative who is a Jalloh from Senegal. I’ve spoken with many Fula from Guinea who verified that Jalloh is a Fulani last name. That was the only semi-concrete evidence that I could find to support my findings.

        Nigeria – 38
        Senegal – 17
        Benin/Togo – 11
        Ireland – 9
        Cameroon – 7
        Europe West – 5
        Ivory Coast/Ghana – 3
        South Eastern Bantu – 2
        South Central Hunter Gatherers – 2
        Great Britain – 2
        Mali – 2
        North Africa – 1
        Less than 1 trace amounts of Native American and Asia Central

        GedMatch – EthioHelix + French (Proxy for European)
        West-Africa 46.32
        Eastern-Bantu 14.86
        French 13.41
        North-Africa 8.48
        Nilo-Saharan 3.98
        Mbuti-Pygmy 3.73
        Omotic 3.42
        Biaka-Pygmy 3.08
        Khoi-San 2.71

        Liked by 1 person

        • What part of South Carolina are you from? The planters in South Carolina had a distaste for “bight” slaves because they were a liability. There was also the issue of malaria, thus they targeted slaves who had a natural immunity to malaria which is very well known about Fulani. There was also a large Indigo plantation in the Barnwell/Aiken area. In that particular area, there were a few Tuareg slaves and could have been some Hausa because of their experience with indigo. There was no on the job training. They targeted slaves who had the knowledge.

          Like

          • Hey! Well I’m from North Carolina but some of my family is from Horry County & Beaufort, SC.
            My uploaded my results into Gedmatch ran almost every test (which was relative) to get a general picture of how my DNA is put together and 90 % of the time (excluding the AA result) it keeps showing Nigerian Hausa or Fula with a secondary population of either Libya or Morocco and sometimes Egypt. Can someone break this down for me?
            It sometimes feels like my background doesn’t quite fit the narrative for AA descended slaves.

            Like

            • Well again I would say that finding actual Hausa or Fula matches would be the best way to confirm. From what I’ve seen Gedmatch is no way reliable to pinpoint specific ethnic lineage for Afro-Diasporans whose ancestry is by default very intricate and therefore tricky to entangle.

              It is a very common misconception that Gedmatch’s socalled Oracle predictions may depict shared ancestry with the listed reference populations. This is however NOT the case! It merely measures genetic similarity with a given selection of samples and not actual genealogical descent. These reference population might seem impressively specific and exact. However the truth is that your DNA is being compared to only a small and inherently limited subset of Africa’s VAST diversity which literally includes thousands of ethnic groups! (see this section of my blog: https://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/maps/ethno-linguistic/ )

              In order for you establish a truly verifiable genetic connection with Africans it is best to search for autosomal African DNA matches. It will also help you put your regional breakdown into better perspective. See also this blogpost of mine:

              https://tracingafricanroots.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/how-to-find-those-elusive-african-dna-matches-on-ancestry-com/

              To be honest I have never taken much notice of Gedmatch and other third party websites because I found their ancestral categories not up to par with AncestryDNA (before the update). Going by other people’s reactions I also find Gedmatch to be highly confusing and potentially misleading because of the way their results are presented as seemingly very “precise” and “specific”. When in fact such a presumed accuracy cannot be attained with current DNA testing technology. AncestryDNA’s country name labeling may be misleading as well, but on a different scale I would say. Especially since they do mention the limitations of their “estimates” and also quite clearly illustrate the inevitable overlap through their regional maps.

              The labeling of ancestral categories is trickier than many people may realize. But I find it more reproachable when false hope is being generated of pinpointing a particular “tribe” based on the ethnic labeling of DNA scores which again are merely based on some measure of genetic similarity with a given selection of samples and not actual genealogical descent!

              The shakiness of these Oracle predictions is best revealed by simply experimenting with other calculators. You will quickly find that each time different results will appear. This variance being caused by the particular tweaking of algorithm and constellation with other reference populations! In other words nothing exact about it! And not really even indicative I would say going by the Gedmatch results of actual Africans I have seen which were usually off.

              Like

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