Tuesday, June 2, 2009

MtDNA Test Results. . .

Back in April, I sent my DNA to be tested by African Ancestry for analysis to determine my Mitochondrial DNA (MtDNA). After what seemed to be one of the longest waits of my life, the results were returned to me yesterday. The maternal ancestry of the Rounds Family originates from the Balanta people mainly of Guinea-Bissau. These results confirm the oral family history of the Rounds family's origins in Guinea.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to wrap my head around the notion of actually knowing what ethnic group I belong to. Its an amazing and indescribable feeling. These results excited me so much and I began to search out information on the internet about. What I found out was so incredible to me because it made me so proud! It also created an entirely new set of questions about the connection between how my ancestors came here and if there were others who shared the same connection between Guinea-Bissau, Virginia and Adams County, Mississippi.

This is what I found on WikiPedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanta):

The Balanta (same spelling in Guinea-Bissau Creole and Portuguese, balante in French transliteration), meaning literally "those who resist", are an ethnic group found in Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, and Gambia. They are the largest ethnic group of Guinea-Bissau, representing more than one-quarter of the population. But despite their numbers, they have remained outside the colonial and postcolonial state because of their social organization. The Balanta can be divided into four subgroups, (three of which are Balanta Kentohe, Balanta Ganja, and Balanta Brassa) the largest of which are the Balanta Brassa.

Archaeologists believe that the people who became the Balanta migrated to present-day Guinea-Bissau in small groups between the tenth and fourteenth century C.E. During the nineteenth century they spread throughout the area that is presently Guinea-Bissau and southern Senegal in order to resist the expansion of the Kaabu kingdom. Oral tradition amongst the Balanta has it that they migrated westward from the area that is now Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia to escape drought and wars. Today, the Balanta are mostly found in the south and central regions of Guinea-Bissau.

Video introducing Balanta language:

Video of Balantas Dancing

Balanta Dance


Frederic from Lake City said...

That is an amazing find you have shared with us. Like you, I am also interested in utilizing DNA to help me trace various lineages of my family tree. I have yet to order a kit, but when I do order it, I know I will hardly get any sleep until I learn whatever it is to learn about a part of my history ;-)

The Family Griot said...

Frederic, thank you so much for your support in following my blog & all of the interesting conversations we've had on Afrigeneas. Maybe your lineage will come out Balanta as well and we'll be cousins! :)

Dr. Maas Thomas said...

This is a fabulous undertaking and I congratulate you on your hard work, thus far. I have a question, though. The patriarch of the Rounds Family, Charles Rounds - from where did his name originate? Since he was owned, just prior to his emancipation, by a family whose name was NOT Rounds. So, where did the name Rounds originate, in terms of the African-descended people who ended up with that name (i.e. my family)? Any clues?

The Family Griot said...

Welcome Dr. Thomas! I'm trying to find out exactly that. From what I have been able to learn, most enslaved Africans did not take the surname of their last owner. I've been scouring the internet for information on this. Rounds/Rouns/Rowns is English in origins. Being that Charles Rounds was born in Virginia, there is a possible connection there. Since this is a work in progress, I'll be sure to post when I get additional information.

Richard said...

also share 100% Balanta ancestry from my paternal side. My family migrated with other black families from plantations in the Carolina's to Michigan around 1837