While researching my family tree, I decided to look into genealogical DNA testing. There are different types of testing available. Males are able to have yDNA testing which tests a particular part of the DNA that is passed down from father to son. Females and males can have mTDNA which tests mitochondrial DNA that is passed down from mother to sons and daughters. These two tests will tell you where your genetic line started.
My testing showed that my maternal line goes back 80,000 years to North and West Africa. People who have come up as matches for me are primarily in the Middle East and northern Africa with some in West Africa. The third type, autosomal testing, can tell you your genetic/heritage make-up going back 5 to 6 generations. It can’t tell you whether you inherited any genes from your maternal or paternal side but rather gives overall composition of your background.
Since both of my parents were born in Cape Verde, I of course, assumed that my tests would come back a mix between Portuguese and African. I also assumed that given my and my parent’s skin tone that it would show majority African. I knew that, historically, there were English, French, and Italian people who lived in Brava but never did I ever imagine that my testing would come up as me being almost 70% TUSCAN ITALIAN?!?!? As in no Portuguese genes at all! Lol!
|This shows where my genetic background is from.|
I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about their heritage to visit familytreedna.com.
***Since I first posted this entry, I have had the opportunity to connect with many “DNA cousins” through the Family Finder test through FamilytreeDNA.com, which is their version of autosomal testing. Other people who have taken the same test are listed as matches for me and we can contact one another to figure out our connection. I have connected with many Cape Verdeans as well as people of other ethnicities who are up to fifth cousins (we share the same great-great-great-great grandparents). I also submitted my results to gedmatch.com where I am matched with other DNA cousins who took tests with 23andMe and Ancestry. Compared to some others, I don’t have nearly as many matches. I have 24 matches on Family Finder and 135 through gedmatch.com. Others who have tested have thousands!!!
|View of Chao de Souza and Thome Barraz, Brava.
This picture was taken during one of the many
droughts in Cape Verde.
I have been interested in my family history since as long as I can remember. I was that pesky kid constantly asking questions of anyone who would answer me. Countless hours were spent listening to my grandmother and great grandmother talking about the “old country”. I heard about the festas in Cova Rodella, family from Pabason, neighbors in Pedra Mollar and Tome Barraz and about trips to Feijão d’Agua.
I had a picture in my mind of what these places looked like but nothing could prepare me for the real thing. My first trip to CV was in November 2009 with my mother and two children. It was so surreal to actually walk on the same ground that my ancestors walked. I felt like I was truly home.
Of course, I visited the “Registo Civil” or civil registry where most of the baptismal, marriage and obituary records are kept. I started with my grandparent’s baptismal records and went from there. I also visited the national archives in the capital of Cape Verde, Praia. Records prior to 1914 are kept there from each of the islands. For me, it was like being a kid in a candy store!
After independence in 1975, the CV government started archiving as many of the records they could after the Portuguese left. A lot of records were taken to Portugal, as well as, Brazil. What was left is currently in the Archivo Nacional de Cabo Verde. There are slave records as well as records of people and ships that left CV for the States as well as England, Australia and New Zealand, to name a few of the places where you can find CV’s of the diaspora.
This blog is my attempt to chronicle my research. My hope is to help as many people as I can find their roots while exploring my own.
|My Great-Grandmother’s house in Chao de Souza, Brava|