A Croydon couple are hoping to use ground-breaking genetic technology in order to discover their ancestral roots and send out a truly personal and positive example of black culture, writes Daniel Menhinnitt.

Rachel Hunte, aged 26, and Matthew Barrett, aged 34, from Windmill Grove, West Croydon, are hoping to use a specialist service that tracks common genetic material across the world to explore their heritage.

They plan to marry in October, during Black History Month, and want to bring something from their ancestral roots into the ceremony.

Rachel Hunte explained what the service means to her: "There is a burning desire for us to make the ancestral link through blood. Where we come from is one of the most important unanswered questions in our Afro-Caribbean community.

"The fact that we are now in the information age allows us to know many of these answers, giving life to the expression where there is a will there is a way'."

Rachel and Matthew plan to use the service, Roots for Real, to trace their past back over hundreds and even thousands of years increasing their understanding of who they are and where their culture comes from.

Their wedding will be televised and both Rachel and Matthew hope that other people interested in making their marriage ceremony more personal will use it as an example.

The couple hope their wedding will combat much of the negative publicity directed at the black community and be an inspiration to others in discovering the beginnings of their own cultures.

The wedding is being organised by Avrill Cassell, who runs marriage planners A Touch of Class, aims to base the ceremony around the theme of African majesty, introducing African colours, dress designs and catering.

Since a trip to Egypt the pair gained a personal perspective of black history and hope people in their home community of will be able to embrace the positive messages of Black History month.

The new Roots for Real technology will help them move forward on their journey of cultural discovery.

The service, which uses technology featured on the BBC2 documentary "Motherland A Genetic Journey", will help continue the couple's journey of discovery.

The technology analyses mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down from mother to child for many generations. This means we share the same mtDNA code as siblings, and maternal relations.

Roots for Real mtDNA tracing service can take a small sample of a customer's mtDNA through testing an applicants saliva.

The mtDNA is then matched against the world's largest geographic database of mitochondrial DNA samples, to discover where in the world there are individuals who share the same motherline.

Through this process people like Rachel and Matthew Barrett can trace back their earliest cultural heritage.

Rachel said: "Our DNA holds perhaps the most intact record of our family, our lands, language, tribes, customs and traditions.

"It would be soul satisfying to know that our children can grow up with a strong sense of identity and heritage by being able to unravel a time we thought would be lost for ever."

The service costs £195 and takes approximately five weeks for the test to be completed.

l For more information on the tracing service provided by Roots for Real visit http://www.rootsforreal.com or call 0845 450 0180.