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About us

The study seeks to match Baldwin lines of unknown origin with documented lines of families whose origins are known from records. It uses the Y-DNA found only in males, and passed to their male-line descendants who inherit their surname.


To accommodate growing interest from still looking for the places their early ancestors came from, the project's focus now includes:

--Any male searching for an ancestral connection.

--Any male Baldwin who knows his family's origins, and is willing to help others link with their ancestors (and in the process perhaps learn of previously unknown cousins).

Results to date may be viewed through the Y-DNA Results tab, above, by selecting the "colorized" option. Results, at up to 111 markers, have been grouped into clusters, some closely matching, others with more differences (greater Genetic Distances) separating them. The more closely matching ones. including Clusters 1, 4 and 5, show close enough matches to have descended from a single ancestor within historic times. Color coding is used to distinguish marker values that differ from the most commonly occurring, or modal, values found at that marker within the cluster.

The initial focus of the Baldwin study was on southeastern , to distinguish later-arriving Baldwin families from descendants of Thomas, Francis and John Baldwin, who came in 1682 from , , to what is now , , then part of

Some findings: Test results that show generally matching marker patterns have been grouped into clusters. Within each cluster, members match closely enough that there is a high probability they all descend from a common ancestor. In each cluster heading, after the cluster number, there is a designation of the branch of the Y-DNA genetic tree to which the cluster belongs. Some,like R1b, designate in turn the major branch or haplogroup by a capital letter, then successive numbers and letters to designate each of the subordinate branches leading to a particular cluster. The other type of designation--a capital letter followed by a letter-number combination like R-U106--identifies the major branch by its capital letter, followed by the designation of the defining marker of its particular sub-branch, also called a subclade. However, the second type appears only if one or more of the cluster members have been tested for the defining marker. It is of a different type, called a SNP, from the STR markers tested for every member.

Members of Cluster 1 who have a documented descent from an immigrant Baldwin are all descended from several related Baldwins from , , who came to in 1638 and later.

All the in Cluster 4 who have well-documented lines to an immigrant ancestor descend from Francis Baldwin, 1656-1702. He was youngest of three brothers who came to , in 1682, sons of William Baldwin of Hook Norton, . No descendants of the second brother John, 1661-1732, have yet been tested. In Cluster 4A are three descendants of the oldest brother Thomas, 1657-1731, all three descended through his son Anthony, born 1689/90. Like others in the cluster, all three show the rare and therefore distinctive value 17 at marker YCA-IIa.  

It is not yet known whether that mutation from the usual 19 first appeared in Thomas himself (and therefore would be found in all his male descendants), or in his son Anthony (and would then appear only in Anthony’s own descendants). To answer that question, a DNA test is needed from a documented descendant of one of Thomas’s other sons—twins Thomas and Joseph, born 1685, or William, born 1697.The line represented by #164080 has been attributed to Thomas through Joseph’s son John, but the evidence pointing to Joseph as John’s father at best supports only its probability.

The allele 17 at marker YCA-IIa, number 28 in the marker sequence as reported by FamilyTreeDNA, occurs very infrequently, so it is quite distinctive when found.. Allele frequency tables compiled by the late Leo Little (whose memory is honored by the L series of SNP marker designations) found that among 5,528 samples from Y-Haplogroup I, the allele value 17 at this marker was found in less than half of one percent (0.5%).

Cluster 5 includes descendants of John Baldwin (known as “the Quaker”), who settled in by 1650. In other clusters, where results may not match as closely, their common Baldwin ancestor may have lived some generations before descendants left for .