Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions about the African Ancestry Experience:

About The Tests

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 place your African ancestry in a present-day country/region in Africa. Other companies will only tell you that your lineage is from Africa but cannot tell you specifically where in Africa.
  • We are an African American-owned company and do not rely on any universities or foundations for financial support.
  • We have partnerships with African embassies to help further your connection.
  • We do not maintain a database of customer genetic information.
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.  We cannot use data from admixture analyses.
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 (SSS) measure to determine matches. The SSS measure is a likelihood estimate based on the frequency of identical and closely related (>99%) haplotypes. It is our degree of confidence in your results.
Our results are highly 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.
Our MatriClan and PatriClan tests are not designed to provide you with 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.
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.
The easiest way to trace the ancestry of a deceased family member is to identify a living relative with the same lineage.
Click here for help with reviewing your lineages. If there is no one available, our lab may be able to extract forensic DNA for an additional fee. Give us a call to discuss your options.
Your DNA is handled confidentially through all steps of the process. We do not share or sell your sequence or markers with any third party. Please click here to review our Terms and Conditions.
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.
There is no test for racial identification. Race is a social construct, not genetically determined. Similarly, ethnicity is more cultural than biological.

About The Results

The MatriClan and PatriClan results packages include:

  • Results letter with your ancestry revealed
  • Printout of your DNA sequence
  • Certificate of Ancestry
  • Color brochure with map and explanation of the science
  • Digital copy of the African Ancestry Guide to African History and Cultures
  • Exclusive membership to the African Ancestry Online Community

The estimated timeframe for results is 8-10 weeks after receipt of your swabs. This is not a guarantee.
We cannot always tell you the particular ethnic group with which you share genetic ancestry. However, in almost all cases where there is African ancestry, we can tell you the present-day country in Africa with which your lineage shares genetic ancestry.
We do not estimate dates for the lineages since there is a large standard error involved in those estimates. The timeframe of our analysis is 500 – 2,000 years.
Our MatriClan and/or PatriClan 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.
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. Or you can choose to receive a refund.
No. The PatriClan Test is not a paternity test.