Get it? Because “mẹ” means mom in Vietnamese. Oh, c’mon. It’s a solid pun.  

After getting my results back from 23andMe, I knew that I had to get my mom’s results in as well. Not only would her results confirm my suspicions that my African heritage came from her and not my Vietnamese-as-hell father, but a few of my “cousins” also told me that it would help with the search for my grandfather, since she has more of . . . well, my grandfather’s DNA.

So I ordered the kit for her, she spat in the vial, and we sent the box off to the company!

Now, you’d think that I’d know to be a bit more patient with the results knowing how long it took last time, but as it turns out I’m an incredibly impatient person. Each day, I would check the status hoping to see the kit move further along in the process.

It got to the point where my browser knew what I was looking for as soon as I clicked on the search bar.

One day, I did my usual check of the status and discovered that they finished processing the kit! The company hadn’t e-mailed me, though, which was strange since the PROMISED they would.

Whatever, I’m not bitter.

Anyway, the results were . . .

(Please click on the video below)

. . . pretty much what I figured.

The Results

Mom's 23andMe Results

Mom’s 31.3 percent Sub-Saharan African and 17.8 percent European.

This confirms, barring any weird instances of African heritage and/or European heritage on my Ba Ngaoi’s side, my grandfather as a mixed race black man.

Further breakdowns of those ethnicities are as follows:


Once again, we get the majority of the makeup here as being from West Africa, which means I more than likely have ancestors who first came to America by way of the slave trade.

This is further corroborated with the fact that the Concholar/Smith family came from several generations of slaves and indentured workers.

And that’s weird for a number of reasons:

  1. I probably came from slaves, which means my mom, brother, and I owe our entire lives—all the good, bad, and everything in between—to the fact that our ancestors were denied some of the most basic rights of a human being. They were taken from their homes, put on ships, and forced to work for people they didn’t know. Part of me feels a sense of outrage for that . . . but I guess I should be also grateful since I’m, ya know, alive because of it? I dunno.
  2. I don’t even know where to start with ancestry research of slaves. Is there an extensive database out there with slave records? Am I going to hit a brick wall eventually when I find the first black ancestor who came to America?

On the European side, her results look like this:

Mom's 23andMe European Heritage

Not too much to comment on other than I think it’s pretty cool to think that I might have Irish ancestors. When I studied abroad in Dublin during college, I was always jealous of my buddies who were taking trips to check out their old ancestral homes in the Irish countryside.

Who would have thought that I could have been doing that too the entire time! Far out.


It’s so dope to think that mixed race relationships are a common thread throughout my family’s history. From my mom and dad, my Ba Ngaoi and grandfather, and also my grandfather’s parents (I assume), it doesn’t look like we ever let something like race get in the way of love and family.

Vietnamese culture tends to stress the “importance” of dating and fostering romantic relationships within your own race, which was hard for me having grown up dating pretty much exclusively outside of my own race. It’s kind of punk rock that my family has also had a history of flipping the bird at those archaic ideals.

Just goes to show you, love’s love at the end of the day—no matter what the color of your skin is.

Next up . . .

  • AncestryDNA: We got a kit from as suggested by a few helpful genealogists! I’ll take a dive into what the kit is like and how it differs from 23andMe.  
  • History of the Boat People: brief overview on the Vietnamese diaspora following the Fall of Saigon and where my family fits in it all.



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3 thoughts on “23 and Mẹ: Mom’s Not-Too-Surprising Results”

  1. Hopefully the Ancestry DNA results give you more answers than questions. I know some new matches have been showing up the past couple of weeks on the tests I administered.

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