Moren@: Language of Resistance

It is often that Dominicans come to mind when it comes to self-hate or anti-blackness. "Dominican's don't like to be called black"- is a common term. I remember back close to a decade ago I watched one of my first afro-dominican documentaries "Congo-Pa-Ti" which featured the community of Villa Mella in North-Santo Domingo and although one part featured the outstanding traditions of the people, the other almost in mockery asked residents of villa mella what they considered themselves as far as "race", some respondents said yellow, cinnamon and where quite precise with their color. The ones that said "moren@" where translated in the subtitles as "mixed black" or "light skin black". In the end it seemed to illustrate for the English speaker that Dominican's don't use the term "negro" "black" and therefore use other terms to avoid it. Growing up as a person who gets called "moreno" by…

Confirming African Matches: Abuelo's Peul(Fula) Relatives

As African-descendants in the new world its probably the most asked question. Where from? Whom from?

The first thing to know is there is no such thing as static identity, Ethnic groups in all corners of the African continent have been moving, mixing, adapting at and endless rate. We in the new world often romanticize that we come from "a place" where "our people" live, but it will always be many peoples and many places and not just in the now but in the before as well.

Case #1 My maternal grandfather:

Paternal: Half his fathers family is from Tamboril Santiago and the other half Camaguey, Cuba.
Maternal: San Francisco de Macoris all the way to late 1700s on every single line

Most numerous ethnicity of his African relatives: 4 Fulani Relatives

Location of relatives: Most with connections to or from Fouta Djallon, Guinea, but some with parentage in Senegal, Gambia and Niger.

Match Strength: This is determined by CM (Length) and SNP (Density) the longer and more dense the hi…

Gitanas in Santo Domingo: Small DNA admixture Segments

There is a common word you will hear in the genetic-genealogy world which is "noise".

What is noise? Noise in the DNA world can be very small ancestry segments that have a possibility of being "fake" or from another ancestry. For example in most Native Americans get some "Central Asian" admixture <2%. As more and more of the worlds diversity is added to these tests, the more refined they become to get rid of these "noisy" segments. Most noise segments are under 1%.

Are all small segments <1% noise?: Absolutely not, in either case you should always try to prove or disprove the validity of small segments. Using multiple DNA companies or tools is the best way to be absolutely sure, and even better if combined with genealogy.

The Case of real South-Asian (east-Indian) ancestry in my grandfather Antonio

23andme shows him having 0.2% which can be in the noise range. All of this 0.2% is located on the X Chromosome (Th…

Manumission in the colony of Santo Domingo

Despite the very high number of free and highly autonomous peoples living in the colony of Santo Domingo (3 out of 4 people of "color" where free) by 1681  1, there where still folks who where enslaved and how they attained freedom would have been through various forms. Here are some examples.

In the San Francisco de Macoris 1812 Census we see the legal status of folks but only the enslaved are marked as "slaves". In this list the majority of the peoples listed are mulatto/pardo/black(moren@) but this is not marked as only enslaved is marked.

María Dolores Alvarado de 36. Agregados: Juan Rodríguez de 12, Tomás Rodríguez de 7, Felipa Paulino de 20 y Basilio Alvarado de 2. Esclavos: Salvador Ventura de 36, Juan Alvarado de 30, Cecilia Gomes de 26, Felipa Sánchez de 10, Bernardo Sánchez de 6 y María Alvarado de 8.

Here we have 6 enslaved persons listed, each with their ages listed.  Turns out Salvador Ventura and Cecilia Gomes where married even though this is not mark…

La Banda Norte: Roots in the colony of Santo Domingo 1492-1606

Most of us hit brick walls before the early 1800s or late 1700s. This has a lot to do with the abandonment of the colony of Santo Domingo, and quite a few natural disasters. For example All records prior to 1805 in La Vega were swallowed by an Earthquake in 1790. The only parts of the island almost unaffected due to much stronger infrastructure and care taking of records are the East and Capital, so Higuey, Hato Mayor, and Distrito Nacional (Santo Domingo).

La Banda Norte, literally meaning the North Band was a group that existed from the beginning of the colony until 1606 specializing in contraband. With how abandoned the island was and the lack of "Rule" it meant that contraband trade with the English/Dutch/French was the best way to make money. The area that it encompassed was much of the north-coast of present day Dominican Republic and Haiti. The grand majority of the inhabitants of the North Band where Blacks, Mulattoes and Mestizos, in other words free people of color.…

Myth of extermination of Quisqueyas Native-Americans

First of all the native's in Quisqueya, present day Dominican Republic and Haiti where not one people, or a single cultural group. There was a complex set of people who had arrived in different waves from South-America, Central-america and likely even St. Augustine Florida. Per Anthropology the island has been inhabited for the last 10,000 years.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the Taino died off in the 1500s, there are old books that quote things like "By 1548, the Taíno population had declined to fewer than 500" - Wikipedia . This is in fact false, there where pockets of native's throughout the island until relatively recent times.


In Boya, Monteplata around 1656 it was reported that this was an 'Indian' town with about 6 houses, and it states the reason for the few # of total people is that most of these natives had gone to neighboring towns for employment.

[villa que es de indios descendientes de los de esa isla; tendrá como seis casa…

Yo mama! Maternal line roots

The X chromosome is full of mysteries and information. Defined here is inherited by both biological male's and female's. Mtdna is that single direct female ancestor which we all inherit, for alot of us there may be results that are obvious and for some surprising. As much as we try to define what our last known direct female ancestor looked like, coming from such a mixed ex-colony the possibilities are endless. Your great-great grandmother can be very white but her maternal line be African because perhaps HER great-great grandmother was an African woman, and vice versa. Refer to Tools for Finding your Roots for which DNA test would give you Mtdna information. 
A few years back I averaged out the continental frequency of these maternal lines using the results of 309 of my Dominican relatives. The results where very much in line with DNA studies done in the Dominican Republic. Details here for the amateur one I did myself.

The interesting thing about maternal lines is that for …