Our AfroMexican Ancestry

Our AfroMexican Ancestry

Our AfroMexican Ancestry runs deep and traces of our African Ancestry can still be seen today. My mother has always had very thick curly hair and my brother also has it the same way. Before you start judging me let me explain a little more. My tio (uncle) Chema passed away a few years ago. He had a very dark skin and very curly hair. My other uncles did not have dark skin as he did but did have curly or wavy hair including my aunts. You may say that I am stereotyping him/them due to some traits and to be honest I was.

I used to tell my mom that we were black and she would just ask “Why do you think that?” I would tell her just look at tio Chema. She would quickly scold me and tell me not to say such things, that the family would get offended. Then I would tell her either we have black blood in us or Guela (grandma) had an affair with a black guy. As you can imagine she did not find my reasoning amusing.

Clues to my AfroMexican Ancestry

My first clue came with Galindo’s dissertation “Con Un Pie En Cada Lado: Ethnicities and the Archaeology of Spanish Colonial Ranching Communities Along the Lower Río Grande Valley” on Pg. 68 Table 5 she talks about there being 113 Afromestizos in the baptismal records of Ciudad Mier from 1767 to 1789. I thought to my self, Mier is not that far from the ranch I grew up at.

The second clue that I found to our AfroMexican Ancestry was the marriage record of my 5th great-grandparents Joseph Antonio Tanguma and Maria Barbara Rodriguez. I have not posted online that document due to it being damaged and torn but even like that you can clearly see the words “Antonio Tanguma morisco [torn] años Cirviente leal”. The first time I wondered what this meant after much research I found the following Casta Painting depicting the racial classifications and it tells us exactly what a Morisco is.

Our AfroMexican Ancestry

Mexican caste system drawing.

As you can see his father was a Mulato and married an Espanola.

“Cirviente Leal” (Faithful Servant) 

More than likely, when I read the names of my ancestors in census records it usually states their names then goes on to say “todas armas” (all weapons) the number of children and the number of servants. He was probably counted as a servant since his name is not mentioned. Years later in 1797, I do find him in the Mier Church Padrones listed as living on the ranch named Miguel Perez. He and his wife are listed as the oldest residents of the ranch. I wonder if he was a slave or just trying to make a living as a servant. I also wondered as to how society might have had treated him. If you have more information about this ranch “Miguel Perez” or where it was or is located please let me know. I would love to find out who originally owned it since this will give me clues as to where to search for my ancestor. I still have yet to find the names of the parents of my Morisco ancestor.

My DNA Results

A driving force to doing my DNA test was to confirm that I had African ancestry and my AncestryDNA results confirmed it. It came back as 2% with traces to North Africa and Nigeria. Some people may not take this as being that significant but as Ancestry explains you are passed down DNA from many ancestors but not all. They also go on to explain in their videos that the DNA make up of you and your siblings are different and for you to not be surprised if you have slightly different DNA results. Know I am just wondering, If I do a DNA test on my brother would his percentage come up higher?

Some Questions Answered

This video is very informative and you will get a better picture of AfroMexicans.

 Do you have African Ancestors?

If you do let me know, I would love to find out more about our African roots.

The Slaves of Monterrey

Read More About This Book

This book is an awesome resource and proves that the records are out there to prove that blacks were in Mexico and they never left, their blood, our ancestor’s blood, still flows through us. I hope that you embrace your ancestors and not alienate them. If you read the comments on YouTube under the above video you can clearly see that people still have a long way to come when it comes to race.

Let me know what you think about this post and if you have anything to add to this post please post it in the comments section. FYI my Morisco ancestors are just one of many that I have found but I have to yet prove my ancestry to them with documents and thus that is why I don’t list them in this post. From my research, I have also come to find many ancestors labeled Mulatos and Mestizos.

30 thoughts on “Our AfroMexican Ancestry

  1. Darlene

    I think your article is very helpful. I, too, have cousins who are dark skinned with very, very, curly hair. Blacks call it “kinky” or “tight”.

  2. Vanessa E

    My DNA test came back 5% African (from Mali) and I found an ancestor who is listed as mulato libre and his children as collotes (black mixed with Indian). They are from Sonora, Mexico. Do you know of any resources that list black Slaves in Sonora?

    Info from his marriage record: Jose Nazario Cantua natural de Nabojoa y vecino de esta Fundacion en el Rancho de S. Barbara sirviente de Dn Thomas Pelayo, hijo legitimo de Alfonso Cantua defunto y de Rosalia Dias [He was married in Alamos, Sonora].

    1. Leo G. Hernandez

      My DNA also came back 7% black from Mali. Several others also show Mali. How did Mali get to Mexico? Was it one of the slave trading centers? I may have found my own answer in Wikipedia. One line says, ” In Louisiana, the non-Muslim Bambara from Mali were a large group.”
      My family origins are in southern Texas and western Lousiana.

  3. Pingback: Testing My Parent's DNA | Moises Garza

  4. Patricia

    I know I have a Mexican ggg grandfather from Mexico named Antonio Gonzella or Gonzales but I don’t know what part of Mexico. He was mentioned on my gg grandfather Jerome Grant death certificate as his father but that’s all I have on him. He was already in the USA when he and my ggg grandma Hannah McDonald ,had my gg grandfather Jerome. I wish I could find out more.

  5. Alma

    Mine was 1.9%, we”re close in percentage, and same location, Moises. I have all kinds of brick walls so I’m still not sure where my African ancestor/ancestors are. I’d love for my sisters to test but both said no.

  6. Anna

    Your research is so valuable! I was so unaware. I came up 2% sub-saharan african, and was surprised at first because I was not aware of those details of Mexican history. I have curly hair that everyone compliments me on. I am half Mexican and half Maine-Massachussetts Yankee. I think my Texas Mexicanamerican father must have been 3 or 4%. My mother has passed and father’s whereabouts unknown since 1957. My maternal uncle, my mother’s full brother has no african heritage whatsoever, all european. So I know it came from my father. I liked discovering that I had sub-saharan. It makes an exciting history to be discovered. Apparently it happened about 1750-1800 according to Ancestry data. Sadly, I have no relatives to discuss this with except 3rd and 4th DNA cousins. (Still searching for Father Felix Reyes, probably from San Antonio, but have recently found a 1st-2nd cousin, Garza, who is probably 1st cousin once removed, who sadly did not respond to my timid letter).

  7. Tack

    I notice the pictures above left out the Albino in the cast system. Albino is the correct term for northern European peoples that come from the Germanic tribes. The term had been used in that way since Roman times
    the term Albinoid can be found in the Oxford dictionary even today though it is banned in Webster’s dictionary
    because of cultural reasons . Albino is not a sickness as most people believe. They are an actual people and the cast system was correct in its description. if you think I am incorrect please check description in Oxford dictionary. Even the English do not deny this.

  8. frank gonzalez

    My recent DNA shows 4% from Nigeria. My father passed away but his sister (my aunt) has 8% Nigerian. No records found of my paternal grandparents. Does this mean that my grandparents (between them or just one of them) had 16% black and my great grandparents 32%?

  9. Melissa

    My DNA has my African percentage at 6%. I also found on a census record that my 3 times great grandmother was labeled as “octoroon”. Upon looking into that I found that if someone’s race was labeled octoroon, that meant they we’re at least 1/8 African. After her, I was not able to trace it back any further.

  10. Leticia De La Cruz

    I too have a 7% African blood, and some siblings have darker skin and curly hair.
    My parents come from Muzquiz Ciahuila, where they had El Nacimiento De los Negros y El Nacimiento De los Indios, history says there was Group of Kickapoo Indians that were joined by a group of runaway slaves in Texas that asked permission from Mexico or protection, because of attacks from American soldiers and were allowed or given land around the Mountains of Muzquiz Coahuila , I’ve read this in a book. I believe thi is where I got 57 % Indian blood & 7% black. It would be interesting to find my ancestors.

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