Ghanaian ancestors

This guide was last updated in 2014

Genealogy in Ghana can be a daunting prospect, as many records are lost or were never kept in the first place. However, it can also be immensely rewarding.

The country’s rich and diverse history means that, as Reggie Yates discovered, Ghanaian ancestry is rarely straightforward. Relevant records can be found across the world.

There are many ethnic groups in Ghana. For example, the Ashanti people are the major group in the inland Ashanti region, centred around the important trading town of Kumasi.

On the coast, the Fante people are in the majority in the coastal towns of Elmina and Cape Coast, while in the Accra area the Ga people dominate, while the Ewe are to the East.

The Portuguese arrived in the 15th century, closely followed by the Danish, the Dutch, the Swedish and the British. However, by the 18th century, by far the most important presences were the Dutch and the British. They held forts right along the coast trading in slaves, palm oil, gold and timber.

The Dutch sold their forts to the British in 1872. In 1900, the British formally annexed the Gold Coast as a colony, and this was the case until Ghana gained Independence in 1957.

Further resources
previous Step
Ask your family
next Step
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here