"This has fascinated my family" Mahamadou Gary, Mali

Mahamadou Gary is from the African country of Mali, born in a village called Fatao. He has a PhD in biology and works as a lecturer at the University of Bamako. Mahamadou’s hunger for learning was definitely part of the motivation behind searching for his past. However, the main trigger for wanting to discover his family history was when his mother passed away back in 1996. Originally adopted by his uncle, he realized that he knew very little about his biological parents.

In a country where family structures are both archaic and complex, he set himself a very difficult task. Family history is passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Societal leaders such as griots and blacksmiths are officially responsible for this function. However, over time memory fades and the truth can become distorted. With large families, a lack of educational facilities, technical services and a total absence of vital records, Mahamadou’s research relied heavily on knowledge of the senior members of the village and research tools on MyHeritage that allowed him to document and preserve all the memories, names and photos he discovered.

His efforts paid off. Once Mahamadou began his research he was quickly able to go back 3 generations. The more information he added and the further he searched, led him to “discover wonders”. One surprising discovery he made along the way was that his great-grandfather had six children, as opposed to the five that he previously knew of. This opened up a whole new branch in his family tree. Through collaborative family tree building, he’s managed to go even further into his family’s past.

Mahamadou says one of the greatest benefits from his research has been getting his family interested, engaged and inspired by his research. In addition his children use MyHeritage to know about upcoming events such as birthdays or anniversaries.

“It’s so easy to use, all the family can understand their heritage now.”

At the moment Mahamadou’s family tree has an impressive 1,152 individuals and 339 families, spreading across Africa, Europe, USA and Canada. The Soninke, his ethnic group, are known to be great adventurers and using MyHeritage, Mahamadou has connected with relatives living in Asia, Hong Kong and Bangkok. He often receives messages of thanks and congratulations from these relatives for the work he has done in helping them understand and connect to their roots.

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  • Sheila-ann Sandere

    March 28, 2017

    I am so very happy for you Sir Mahamadou. I think that you may understand my next statement very well, I am my parents eldest child of 7. At age 5 years and 2 months my parents seperated and their children ended up in the Louisian state’s care. I have little info about my siblings after running away from the last foster home at age 15. I have always been very different from everyone in that I have always felt out of place here in America. My spirit seem to always long for Africa. I am now close to 61 years of age and I continue to feel the presence of many African ancestors. Growing up without elder wisdom I just always felt a spiritual connection inside myself that was not of this earth, speaking to me and encouraging me never to give up. I have searched without success for my siblings all my life. Finally I have achieved the oppertunity to do the DNA testing with MyHeritage, I can hardly wait to recieve my kit to know my true heritage. I read your story and saw your picture, your handsome attaire gave me a instant feeling of kinship. My heart smiles for you and your discoveries. I pray I too will know the answers I have sought for so long. I have many living relatives in America but no one still will not claim my siblings or me to this day.
    May peace continue to fill your soul.

  • Valerie Fregiste

    April 11, 2017

    Many thanks Mahamadour from Mali in West Africa for investing so much of your time towards this purposeful quest.
    I, too, wish to do likewise, but cannot due to the perishing of my West African ethnic group through slave bondage during “The Middle Passage” Slave Trade to America, and the Caribbean in the 16th Century, a quota having gone to slave on island Plantations ruled by France.
    All we know is that inhabitants of African heritage on my/our island , La Dominica, along with islands: Les Grenade, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Marie Galante, St Lucy and St Martin, also in the Caribbean have been rendered impotent to the truth about our family history prior to our enslavement, and during enslavement, as children born during slavery were taken away from their mother, sent to neighbouring islands, and sold as slaves to French Planters. AN ALL TIME TRAGEDY!

  • Michael Eli devenport

    August 4, 2017

    So nice

  • Michael Eli devenport

    August 4, 2017

    Nice families

  • Gloria Mills Battle

    July 19, 2018

    That is an exciting story. I love history. I do have roots in Mali. I would love to speak with you. I’m thinking about using this website to do DNA as well. God bless you and your family.

  • Coumba

    November 11, 2018

    Bonsoir Mahamadou,
    Votre histoire est très interessante.
    Merci pour ce courage.

  • samanthia

    December 13, 2018

    This is very encouraging. This makes me want to know more about my family make up. Blessings to you my brother.