|Frequently Asked Questions|
- How are African Ancestry’s tests different from other ancestry tests?
- If I have results from another company’s test, can I send them to you for analysis?
- Can these tests determine "admixture" or percent ancestry?
- How reliable are the tests?
- What are you going to do with my DNA?
About Our Tests
- I'm part Native American. Can you tell me what tribe I come from?
- Is this a blood test?
- What are the limitations of these tests?
- How accurate are the tests?
- Can a DNA analysis identify my racial or ethnic identity?
- Will my DNA results be kept confidential?
- How can I determine my paternal ancestry if I am a woman?
- Do I have to be Black to use this service? Can I order this test if my parents are white?
- How do I use the test kit?
About Our Results
- How long does it take to get my results?
- Can you tell what tribe I am from?
- What does the results package look like?
- What if you do not find an African match for my ancestry?
- I have several different ancestries. Can your test tell me about my European and/or Native American ancestries?
- Can the PatriClan Test determine paternity?
- Can you estimate how far back in time my lineage goes back?
- I found out that my PatriClan result revealed a match with a group of Pygmies in Cameroon. How can that be? My father and grandfather were quite tall?
- If my mtDNA matched with the Hausa in Northern Nigeria, does that mean that a maternal ancestor from that region was enslaved hundreds of years ago and brought to the Americas forcibly?
- Doesn't everyone descend from Mitochondria Eve in Africa?
The science behind our single lineage tests is the same as what most other companies offer. What makes African Ancestry different is:
- We are the only company whose tests will place your African ancestry in a present-day country/region in Africa. Other companies will tell you that your lineage is from Africa but do not tell you where in Africa. Learn why African Ancestry is better than the competition in our Benefits section.
- Our results package includes a Certificate of Ancestry, map of Africa, the African Ancestry country guide and more. See The Results for more information.
- We are an African American-owned company and do not rely on any universities or foundations for financial support.
- We do not provide an admixture analysis.
- We do not maintain a database of customer genetic information. Find out more about The Process and The Test.
Yes. If your mtDNA sequence or your Y-chromosome markers have African ancestry, we can tell you what present-day country(ies) in Africa that they share ancestry with. Please click here for data requirements.
No, our tests do not determine overall admixture. Our tests are lineage-based tests that trace the ancestry of maternal and paternal lineages only. These lineages may or may not be of recent African origin and should not be confused with percent ancestry. Our tests are different from the admixture tests that provide an estimate of overall continental genetic ancestry (European, Native American and West African) in that we can determine where shared lineages are in particular regions within Africa.
For lineage-based tests, reliability depends on several things such as the size of the database, the sampling of the lineages and the accuracy of lineage matches. Our database is the most comprehensive resource of African lineages available. We have worked with historians, archeologists, anthropologists and other geneticists to build the largest collection of African lineages in the world. We use a sequence similarity score measure to determine matches. The measure is a likelihood estimate based on the frequency of identical and closely related (>99%) haplotypes.
We destroy all genetic material once a result is determined. We do not share or sell your sequence or markers with any third party. Please click here to review our Terms and Conditions.
Our tests determine ancestry. If you trace the lineage that you believe to be Native American, we will tell you the ancestry of that lineage. If the ancestry is Native American, we will tell you that. We do not have a database of Native American lineages or “tribes”. If you trace a lineage and it does not come back as Native American, that doesn't mean that you don't have ANY Native American ancestry. It may be found on a different lineage of your family tree.
No, this test does not use blood cells. We use DNA from your cheek cells, which are collected by a swab similar to a Q-Tip.
Our tests are not designed to tell you the ancestry of all of the many lineages that make up who you are. They are designed to determine the ancestry of a direct maternal lineage or a direct paternal lineage. If you want to find out the ancestry of other branches of your family tree, you must enlist other family members to take a test. You have hundreds of other ancestors that could have come from very different places in Africa (or elsewhere in the world). We provide you insight on one of them at a time.
Our results are quite accurate. For about 85% of the people we test we find identical matches in our database. For the remaining people, we find closely related lineages with greater than 95% confidence. Our database is the most comprehensive resource of African lineages available.
There is no test for racial identification. Race is a social construct, not genetically determined. Similarly, ethnicity is more cultural than biological.
Absolutely. When your cheek swab is sent to our lab for analysis, there is no personal identification information assigned to your sample. It only has a bar code number attached to it. We also enter into a contract with you to handle your information confidentially. Please review our Terms and Conditions.
In order for a woman to determine her paternal ancestry, she must use the Y-chromosome of a male on her father's side—her brother, father, father's brother, grandfather, etc. Click here for help with reviewing your lineages.
If you believe there is some African ancestry in your family tree, you can use our service.
The test kit is very easy to use. You simply rub the inside of your cheek with the swabs contained in the test kit. Then mail the swabs back to us via the postage-paid envelope. International customers must provide the return postage. See The Process for more information.
Your test results will be available in approximately 6 weeks.
We cannot necessarily tell you the particular "tribe" with which you share genetic ancestry. However, we can tell you the present-day country of Africa with which your lineage shares genetic ancestry. In most cases we will determine the ethnic group.
The results package includes:
- Results letter with your ancestry revealed
- Printout of your DNA sequence
- Certificate of Ancestry
- Color Map
- African Country Reference Guide (when results are West or Central African)
- Membership to the African Ancestry Online Community
See The Results for more information.
If we do not find a match for your ancestry, we will notify you by mail. We will keep your sequence on file and re-run it against future updates to our database.
Our single lineage tests will only tell you about the lineage for which you submit DNA. We do not analyze your entire genome and provide a percentage breakdown of different ancestries. If we find European or Native American ancestry for the lineage that you trace, we will provide the haplogroup to which you belong.
No. The PatriClan Test is not a paternity test.
We do not estimate dates for the lineages since there is a large standard error involved in those estimates.
First, you should be aware that the PatriClan analysis only examines your paternal lineage (Y-chromosome). In fact, we explore a segment of your genome that was inherited directly from father to son for many generations back. This is only one small part of your total genome (or genetic makeup). There are many other parts of your genome that are impossible to determine origins for since they are mixed every generation. Your Y-chromosome does not determine your height. There are genes on other chromosomes that are responsible for height. If we find your Y-chromosome match in a short-statured ethnic group it does not mean that you received all of your genes from that group. It means that you have shared a paternal ancestor with individuals in that group many generations ago. But you have hundreds of other ancestors that could have come from very different places in Africa and looked very differently. We have provided you insight on one of them.
Not necessarily, our databases reflect present-day locations of Africans. Some ethnic groups have been where they are today for hundreds or even thousands of years. However, there are other groups who have migrated from other areas due to their lifestyle (culture) or political disruptions during and since the period of slavery.
Yes. However, our database was constructed to determine the ethno-geographic ancestry of African lineages within the last 500 – 2,000 years (prior to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade), not the beginning of modern humans.