Feb. 24, 2005, 6:29AM
DNA helps African-Americans trace ancestry
By BARBARA KARKABI
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
It took six weeks for James Jacobs to find out about his long, lost ancestors ? a life-changing event capping years of research.
He had traced his paternal family back to his great-great-grandfather Francois Jacob, born into slavery in 1820. Like other African-Americans documenting family history, Jacobs then hit a wall.
Then he read about a company that could take his DNA from a cheek swab and trace his lineage to an ethnic group within an African country.
When Jacobs received his answer from African Ancestry in December 2003, he handled it like precious cargo. His DNA sequence on his father's side matched the Yoruba people of Nigeria. His mother's side matched the Bamileke people of Cameroon.
"It made me feel wonderful. It was a feeling of: 'My God, that's how it all happened,' " Jacobs recalls. "The woman came from Cameroon and Nigeria is right next to it, so they all came to a common place to go to the ship. The feeling is hard to describe, like having a long-lost parent and you found them. I was able to make this huge leap, and now all I have to do is go back and visit."Click here for the rest of the article.