Out of Africa: My Genetic Journey Results

At the beginning of the year, I donated my DNA samples to the National Geographic Genographic Project to learn more about my ancestry and the results are in…

According to my National Geographic report, civilization’s story begins in Africa sometime between 150,000 and 170,000 years ago, with a woman whom anthropologists have nicknamed “Mitochondrial Eve.”  My DNA results identify me as belonging to a specific branch of the human family tree called haplogroup L3, speifically subclade L3e1a.

Samburu woman by By Ai@ce

Samburu woman By Ai@ce


The most recent common ancestor of everybody in haplogroup L3, is a woman who lived around 80,000 years ago. Individuals from L3 are found all over Africa, including the southern reaches of the sub-Saharan region. My L3 ancestors were significant because they are the first modern humans to have left Africa (the travel bug is ingrained in my DNA!!), representing the deepest branches of the tree found outside of that continent.

The map above shows the direction that my maternal ancestors followed as they set out from their original homeland in East Africa.

I decided to do a bit more digging and found some additional details on my haplogroup and subclade:

  • L3e – West-Central Africa. It is the most common L3 sub-clade in Bantu-speaking populations. L3e is suggested to be associated with a Central African origin and is also the most common L3 subclade amongst African Americans, Afro-Brazilians and Caribbeans.[45]
  • L3e1 – Central Africa origin and is found in Algeria, Cameroon, Angola, Mozambique, Sudanese and Kikuyu from Kenya as well as in Yemen.

Clearly, my ancestors are from Africa; we all knew that going in.  Though exact locations of origin are unknown, I’m happy to have completed this process and learned a bit about the human journey and potential origins of my maternal ancestry.  South Africa is the only place in Africa I’ve visited to date, but I can’t wait to return to explore more of my ancestors homeland!

Do you know your haplogroup and where you ancestors are from?

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  • Verla Chaddick says...

    April, we have communicated before. I too, am L3 (subclass L3e1a.
    Following my submission of the National Geographic DNA kit I met with Spencer Wells and learned that my mtDNA did not leave Africa until slavey. His guess based on additional testing that my ancient mother was taken from Angola by Portuguese slavery.

  • […] wanted to return back to Africa since completing my DNA testing with the National Geographic Genographic Project.  I’d visited South Africa before (which everyone keeps saying isn’t really Africa […]

  • monica says...


    I have also done my DNA test with Naional Geographic, and am part of the same exact group.

    Contact me if you would like I would love to hear what you’ve heard of our group.


    • Awesome! So glad to hear. I really want to do more research, because the results were kinda vague. I had to google the haplogroup to find what I put in the post. So much more to learn and explore!

  • […] travel is your desire, set a specific goal and time frame to achieve it.  Do you want to visit the homeland of your ancestors before the next family reunion, celebrate your 25th birthday in Vegas, or travel around the world […]

  • April, I think it’s cool that you discovered some more of your ancestry. I’ve heard that Africa is absolutely the most amazing place to visit. One of my friends visited Ethiopia. I’d love to go there.

    • April Thompson says...

      Alison — It was a cool project and what little I’ve seen of Africa was amazing. I hope to make it to Ethiopia soon. Put a plan in place and go and tell me all about it when you return! :-)

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