Nigeria / Africa : DNA, Ancestry, Ethnicity (2024) | Genetics Ancestry


Yesterday, I was looking through my old medical reports and I ended up finding my old ancestry reports. I found some thin green segments on a few  chromosome segments that raised my curiosity. I wanted to know more about my ancestors and  family history. I started searching for my birth records, old newspaper clippings, and state archives to know more about this. I asked my mom questions regarding her and my father’s parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.

A Glance At Nigeria 

The history, ethnic in Nigeria states that it is a country with rich diversity, with more than 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria, each having unique culture, language, traditions and so on. The more I understand Nigerian ethnicity, ancestry, and DNA, the more it unfolds the rich tapestry of this nation. My interest is bending towards the complicated relations that bind people of all generations across the world. In this blog, we can enter into the world of Nigerian ancestry and DNA, knowing its importance, diversity, and more.

africa ethnicity

Exploring African Genetic Heritage Across Time

Venturing into the depths of my family history archives led me across the vast plains of Nebraska and Iowa, before winding through the hills of West Virginia. Intrigued by the segments within my chromosome segments, I sought to understand the individuals they represented rather than merely the genetic markers they portrayed. Identifying as Caucasian, with blond hair reminiscent of my youth, my familial roots trace back predominantly to English, Irish, and German origins. I even honored these ethnic groups in Nigeria by naming me after a prominent Gaelic folk hero. Yet, amidst the sea of ancestral narratives, those slender green segments hinted at a lineage intertwined with Nigerian heritage. It dawned on me that somewhere in the lineage, one of my grandmother’s great-grandmothers or great-grandfathers bore the mark of Nigerian descent.

Unveiling Untold Histories of Nigeria

It’s widely acknowledged, or it should be, that a significant portion of African Americans carry traces of European ancestry, averaging between 20 and 25 percent. This genetic admixture is a poignant reminder of America’s tumultuous history of slavery. As noted by Harvard Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. in an insightful piece discussing Michelle Obama’s ancestry, this reality dispels the myth of racial purity and underscores the permeable nature of social categories such as ‘white’ and ‘black’ in ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Understanding the Significance of 1% African Ancestry

While extensive discussions have revolved around European lineage within the ethnic groups in Nigeria, there’s a lesser-known aspect concerning individuals, like myself, who identify as white but possess Nigerian ancestry.

A comprehensive study conducted by researchers analyzed the genetic heritage of approximately 78,000 people who predominantly identified as having European ancestry. Surprisingly, they discovered that around 3 to 4 percent of these individuals carry “hidden” Nigerian genetic markers.

The proportion of Nigerian ancestry tends to be relatively minimal, typically ranging between 0.5 percent and 0.75 percent. This suggests that these individuals likely had an Nigerian ancestor approximately six generations, or roughly 200 years, ago.

Understanding African Genetic Heritage Across Five Generations or 200 Years

It’s important to note that the data presented in research does not aim to portray the exact percentage of Nigerian ancestry within the broader population of individuals identifying as of European descent in America. It is not a comprehensive overview but rather a snapshot based on individuals in our Nigerian Ancestry DNA Results at this point in time. The left out individuals with over 5 percent Nigerian ancestry as we assume their ethnic groups in Nigeria are likely already known; however, this does not rule out the possibility that those with less than 5 percent Nigerian ancestry may still be unaware of this aspect of their genetic background.

Moreover, it should be noted that the database includes people from different backgrounds, including people of European culture from different regions. Hence the percentage of Euro-Americans with African lineage in our database might actually be higher. Still, this work marks a novel investigation into Nigerian ancestry among those who identify themselves as white and raises several questions which could be explored in future research initiatives.

Returning to History

Upon closer inspection of the ethnic groups in Nigeria represented by these percentages, it is clear that a large proportion of genetic blending took place over two centuries ago— or even further back in time. The brutal atrocity of slavery saw heinous acts of rape and sexual coercion which wove this complex tapestry of heritage together, further obfuscating any clarity on race relations during that period. There were also cases where individuals living in relative isolation led to more unrestrictive societal views on racial intermingling, adding another layer of intricacy to an already convoluted narrative.

The unveiling of our own genetic story has drastically altered how we view our forebears: my sisters and I were shocked upon discovering we have 1% Nigerian ancestry but our mother— one generation closer to this lineage source— has even more within her. The exposure of this information has made us think differently about the origin of our family and destroyed the idea of a purely Irish, German or French heritage. It shows a link between people who were slaves and people who enslaved them, thus showing part of the dark side of America’s history.

This new discovery makes us feel more closely related to these dark events that took place in American history many years ago— it reminds us how important it is not just to know but also come to terms with such complexities from which we all draw our past.

nigerian ethnicity

Inter-Generational Perspectives

The surprising revelation induced us to embark on a quest to uncover our Nigerian ancestry.

 records. The discoveries reshape the narrative of American social history and race dynamics, this revelation supplied a clean attitude on our origins. Somewhere in our own family’s past, a black ancestor became assimilated into white society—an untold tale till our DNA unveiled it. This ancestor lived throughout the generation of slavery when the “Rule of Hypodescent” dictated that even a hint of African ancestry classified a person as “black,” commonly referred to as the “one-drop rule.

“Beyond its implications for American history, this discovery emerges at a time when society appears to accept an increasing number of accepting of blended ancestry. As a consequence, what significance does this preserve for different households nowadays? On a personal level, every technology within our own family responded in a different way to the news of our Nigerian ancestors. It’s also fascinating to hear that the evidence of our Nigerian ancestry can’t be located within the subsequent generation. No matter this, the technology comprising my kids and my sisters’ youngsters displayed the most enthusiasm upon mastering our lineage. But, additionally they expressed disappointment at not owning measurable Nigerian ancestry themselves.

Discovering Hidden Ancestry

Our family’s exploration of facts has yet to yield an in depth discovery, however it has provided interesting pointers linking us to individuals sharing the same surname as my mom’s great-grandmother in a small West Virginia city. Through the usage of  tools, I’ve sought out people with the same surname or a family record rooted in that location, hoping to discover new clues. While the journey through this concealed family history has now not been exhaustive, it has already imparted treasured lessons about ourselves and America’s obscured past.

So, what about you? You can embark on an adventure to uncover your personal ancestry. At the same time as there might not continually be groundbreaking surprises, our histories are frequently more complicated than to begin with.

Similarly exploration may be undertaken via the Ancestry Timeline, supplying insights into while unique ethnicities were added into your own family DNA. As an instance, our own family’s Nigeria East Central Ancestry are estimated to have lived between 1750 and 1810 in keeping with this tool. Additionally, if one or each of your parents have been examined, you could discern which ancestry originated from the paternal versus maternal facet of the family.

Some Researched Data


Ethnic groups  Percentage 
Hausa  25%
Yoruba  21%
Igbo 18%
Fulani 6%
Ibibio 3.5%
Tiv 2.4%
Kanuri 2.4%
Ijaw 1.8%
Others 19.9%

africa ancestry


As this blog comes to end, Nigerian ethnicity  represents a kaleidoscope of cultural identities, histories, and ancestral roots. Through exploration these things, we can get deep insights into Nigeria’s rich history and the link of its people. Whether through conventional practices or present day genetic testing, the journey to uncovering Nigerian ancestry is a testament to the resilience and variety of Africa’s most populous nation.

Embracing this diversity not only enriches person lives however also strengthens the core of Nigerian society as an entire. I hope my personal experience on my Nigerian ancestry and ethnicity will help you and motivate you to find your ethnic composition. Find your ancestral roots and history related to it, using ancestry finding tools.

Read More At:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top