Great Scott! DNA cousin in Scotland

Playing BagpipeI recently received a very unexpected DNA match to a “predicted” 4th cousin that lives in Scotland. He is unaware of any ancestors leaving his native country after 1800. We are starting to collaborate to see how we are related but despite the fact that this mystery will not be solved anytime soon, it is exciting to find a piece of my family tree puzzle.

Last year I took FamilyTreeDNA’s Family Finder test and was very pleased with the results. Unlike tests that only check direct maternal or paternal lineage, this test examines DNA from all 16 of your great grandparents. Results provides matches to living relatives from 5 generations of your family. Family Finder also provides a percentage breakdown of your ancestral population from 7 possible groups: Africa, America, East Asia, Europe, Middle Eastern, Oceania, and South Asia.

Along with my African – Yoruba ancestry, The Population Finder revealed that I had European ancestry, of which I was already aware. However, the test did not stop at that broad category but pinpointed Orcadian, Orkney Islands, as well as several other European populations: French, Finnish, and Russian. The Orkney islands are a part of northern Scotland.

I know of several great grandparents who had mixed heritage, one of them being Isaac Miller of Hahira (Lowndes County, Georgia). He may be the grandson of an early pioneer, Hamilton Wynn Sharpe, who has a HAMILTON lineage with deep roots in Scotland. So far, discussions with my Scottish cousin does not make this connection.

For an African American genealogy enthusiast, going further back than the 1800′s is challenging because of the tragic effects of slavery. Several years ago, CNN highlighted this struggle in a Black in America iReport that I submitted. Genetic Genealogy is beginning to break down this wall. DNA testing is much more affordable and genealogy is more popular than ever before. I look forward to many more DNA discoveries and encourage others to get tested.


  1. Cassie says

    How neat! I think it’s important that we know where we have come from, to know our own history. We wouldn’t be who we are and where we are without our ancestors to get us here.
    Although having African American ancestry may hinder an exact search, knowing where and by whom your ancestors were slaves shares so much of your genealogy!
    Good luck on your search! I know it never really ends…

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