The Black Belt DNA Project has three main goals:
- Geographic: Settlers from Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas flocked to the Black Belt from the 1830s onward and brought their slaves with them. Sometimes families were broken up prior to leaving the upper south and sometimes they were broken up after arrival in Alabama. DNA patterns will help to determine the point of origin of these African American families.
- Patrilineal: Y-DNA patterns will reveal connections among families regardless of surname. Y-DNA may lead to Africa or to Europe.
- Matrilineal: MtDNA will help African Americans explore their deep ancestry and their connection to Africa.