I’m Creole. Why Do I Have South Asian DNA?

Tracing Your Roots: Several factors could explain a questioner's surprising genetic-testing results.

Lauren Williams with her mother, Andrea Williams

However, the migration in question may have been more modern. Migration Information Source also described the 19th-century tendency for the European colonial powers to send people from India as indentured laborers to a variety of locations including “Guyana, Trinidad, Natal (South Africa), Suriname, and Fiji … Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, and Mauritius … Guyana and East Africa … Guadeloupe, Martinique, and La Reunion … Natal (South Africa).” It could very well be that one of your mother’s ancestors came in contact with someone with Indian ancestry while living outside of Louisiana — or perhaps the contact occurred when that person emigrated to Louisiana.

Further research of her family tree could uncover the nature of the connection that led to her test results.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University. He is also editor-in-chief of The Root. Follow him on Twitter.

Send your questions about tracing your own roots to TracingYourRoots@theroot.com.

This answer was provided in consultation with Kyle Hurst, a researcher from the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Founded in 1845, NEHGS is the country’s leading nonprofit resource for family history research. Its website, AmericanAncestors.org, contains more than 300 million searchable records for research in New England, New York and beyond. With the leading experts in the field, NEHGS staff can provide assistance and guidance for questions in most research areas. They can also be hired to conduct research on your family. Learn more today.

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