What Are My Maternal Genes Saying About Me?

I have always wanted to know my ancestral roots as far back as I can remember. Being adopted somehow heightened my curiosity.  Even though I have had a successful reunion with my biological family, the curiosity of my deep roots have never subsided.  I saw this DNA testing as an opportunity to know more about my ancestral roots and about myself.

Below is an illustration of how sons carry their mother’s DNA and how the daughter passes on her mother’s DNA to her children.  I know very little of biology and will not attempt to pretend that I do…All I know is that Science has advanced so much so over the years, that it has allowed others such as myself to learn more about their maternal line through DNA testing, and so here I am.

Photo from: http://www.genebase.com/store/product.php?spId=6

In July of 2011, I received an email from the National Urban League(NUL) stating that they were partnering with 23andme, with the intentions of encouraging people of African descent to participate in the testing of their DNA.  The NUL and 23andme stated that there is a lack of participation of African Americans and there is little known about the connection between DNA & Disease in the African American.  I have been a participant of a National longitudinal study of African American Women, and so I also saw this as an opportunity to find out what diseases I may be inheritable to, and find ways that I could prevent those diseases from occurring.

I have always identified as being African American with the knowledge that I have Mexican and some Indian Ancestry.  All I know is DNA doesn’t lie, so here is what some of my information shows….Even though I do not understand what everything means.

My Maternal Haplogroup B2

My maternal Haplogroup is B2 which is found in Native American Ancestry, and U.S. Southwestern Groups.  I believe that B2’s are also found in South America, North America and Asia.

My Ancestry Painting

So what this chart is showing that I am 48% European, 33 % African, and 18% Asian.  Am I surprised…Well, yes and no.  I thought I would be no more than 10% European, 50% African and 40% other.

What I find interesting from my Ancestry painting is that I have no long solid lines.  I am totally intertwined with various colors in the chart.

I am very curious as to what my paternal line has to say about me.  I would be thrilled if I could get one of my father’s brothers to take the DNA test for me, but I think that I will have to at least get one of my brothers soon to do this for me.  On my maternal line, my Uncle and Grandfather recently died and so my hopes of getting anything from my maternal line will be impossible.

Global Similarity

The Global Similarity chart of my DNA revealed that on my Maternal line that my DNA similarity is largely matched in South and North America.

I am hoping that I can get more clarity of my DNA as time goes on.  The 23andme testing has been very valuable to me.  I believe that I will be able to be a part of this health study for awhile.  I am required to complete online surveys on my health, environment and behaviors.  I hope more African Americans participate as this will be most helpful.

The other thing is that many African Americans state they are of Native American Ancestry.  What we need to do is have our DNA studied so that there are more of us and there can be more info as to the actuality of this.  I believe that since there are more Europeans in the DNA bank, they base the Native American Ancestry by their Genes.  If I am mis-stating this, please let me know.

I am sure many of us have watched Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates.  He is an advocate for 23andme, and has stated in his program that many African Americans ancestry are of European descent rather than Native American.  I am not sure of his statements because I think until more of us decide to participate we will not have a fuller picture as to our ancestry.

One thing that I know for sure is that I self-identify of the African American culture, so that is what I am.

Genealogy When You Are Adopted

A few years ago, I presented “Genealogy When You Are Adopted”  at the 8th Annual Discover Your Roots Conference in Los Angeles and at the San Diego African American Genealogical Research Group. Searching your family roots when you are adopted is difficult to do if your records are sealed and you have nothing really to go on except your birthdate, and where you were born. Each State and county has different rules and regulations as to the access of records. I was born in Los Angeles, CA, and even though the records are sealed, I was successful in reuniting with my birth family.

At a later date, I will share my story.

Genealogy When You’re Adopted Click on name (link) for a larger showing of slide show.

If you are interested in my sharing more as to the process of research in California, let me know.  I can be contacted at sugarhillharlemny@gmail.com

Family Connections

Johnny, Ermalinda, Herlinda, Tori

I am taking the Weekend off to spend some time with my Mother Ermalinda Espinoza, my daughter Victoria, and my siblings Johnny and Herlinda Mitchell.  We will be in the Long Beach, CA area…

Johnny, Me, Ermalinda, Herlinda

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Felipe Espinoza, Jr., Funeral Card Friday

Felipe Espinoza Jr.

[I never had the opportunity to know my grandfather, but I adored him much more than anyone would understand. Our few hours together  could not be matched even if I had spent a million hours with him. I discovered from this picture, that I have his “eyebrows”!  I always wondered who on earth had eyebrows like mine?]

A 55-year resident of San Pedro, passed away on October 8, 2010, at the age of 84. He was born in Wickenburg, Arizona on March 3, 1926. He was a World War II veteran, and attained 50 years membership in Local 721, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Felipe is survived by his wife of 63 years, Esther Espinoza, and leaves behind three children, 7 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. On October 15, 2010, visitation will be at 12:30 p.m. and services will follow at 1:00 p.m. at Green Hills Mortuary and Memorial Chapel. Burial will follow at Green Hills Memorial Park.

Published in Daily Breeze on October 14, 2010


Felipe Espinoza, Jr. was my grandfather, whom I met when I was twenty-one years old when I showed up with no invite, at his home in San Pedro, CA.  I remember him as a very kind person, and quite handsome.  He made me feel welcomed once I got past the front gate and into my grandparents home. He later told me they thought I was selling cookies, and that they thought I was my sister with short hair.

I feel my story of reunion with my birth family begins with my grandfather Felipe, as he was the first one I met, and he was the one who took me to see my “Mother.”  My (birth) mother was a missionary, and she was coming to dock later that evening.  I had no idea of this information, but I was at home two days before Christmas, and I heard God say “Go!”  So I packed up my three children at the time, and went.  There was no better time, as I recollect, my “Mother” was to be preparing for another trip and that she might not have been available to me except for the day I arrived.  If I had not shown up that day, I would have missed her.

An interesting story that was told to me be my “Mother,” of which I still need to confirm, is my grandfather’s father was Full Native American.  His tribe was annihilated physically and culturally.  My Great-Grandfather’s parents were murdered along with many others in the border of Arizona, so my Great Grandfather was adopted into the Espinoza family, who were of Mexican descent.  I may have some of this information incorrect, however it does make sense.

It has been very difficult for me not to be recognized as a “regular” member of the family, and documented as such in my Grandfather’s obituary.  If I had to rewrite my Grandfather’s obit, the number of grandchildren would have been “8” instead of “7”, there also would have been “15” great grandchildren instead of “11”, and there would have been “3” great great grandchildren instead of none.

[Funeral Card]  I attended his burial and my daughter attended the funeral.

Funeral Card
Funeral Card for Felipe Espinoza, Jr.
Grave site service

Doves being released at Felipe Espinoza’s Burial


I see that as I dig deeper into the life of my grandfather Felipe Espinoza, I will find that this truly is a story of Love, Adoption, Sacrifice & Acceptance.