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Baldwin Surname DNA Study


Objective and Research Focus


The study seeks to match Baldwin lines of unknown origin with documented lines of

Baldwin families whose origins are known from records. Click the Results Table to see how closely many of the participating families match. Following the table is a list of family lines represented in the study, each identified with its earliest known Baldwin progenitor. 


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


  --Any Baldwin 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).


The initial focus of the study was on southeastern Pennsylvania, to distinguish later-arriving Baldwin families from descendants of Thomas, Francis and John Baldwin, who came in 1682 from Oxfordshire, England, to present Delaware County, Pennsylvania,  then part of Chester County. The scope has since been expanded to include any Baldwin for whom DNA testing may help sort out family lines, and includes a number of descendants of early immigrants to Connecticut from Buckinghamshire. Also included are early Maryland and North Carolina families whose European origins have not yet been identified.


Documentary Sources


Early Baldwin lines in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, Kentucky

 and Ohio are described in C. C. Baldwin, The Baldwin Genealogy (Cleveland: 1881).  

Extensive revisions and additions to the original work are found in Aubrey H. Baldwin

Jr., Revised Baldwin Genealogy, 5 volumes (Philadelphia: 1989), both available as Family History Library microforms, and in Frank C. Baldwin, The Baldwins from Virginia Westward (Evanston, Illinois: 1980; 3rd printing, 1999), still in print. Earlier published accounts of two Maryland families, whose progenitors are usually distinguished as "John the Quaker" and "Henry the Mariner," should be reconsidered in light of more recent research. DNA testing is a supplement to careful documentary research, not a substitute for it.




What We Have Found


We now have results for more than 60 participants, and they represent four separate haplogroups or major branches of the human population tree, all four found principally in Europe. All but six samples can be sorted into clusters of closely matching patterns, and these in turn belong to only two of the European haplogroups, designated R1B and I, the letter. Both are found widely throughout western Europe, and are the most frequently found types in Great Britain and Ireland.


Within Haplogroup R1b, those in Cluster 1 show close relationships among lines descended from an early Connecticut family from Buckinghamshire. Among Haplogroup I samples, those in Cluster 4 closely match known descendants of an early Chester County, Pennsylvania, Baldwin family from Oxfordshire, while those in Cluster 3 descend from an early Baldwin who settled in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Click on Results Table to see details. Click on Cluster 1 and Cluster 4 for high-resolution comparisons of these closely-related families, including comparisons at 67-markers.


Within each of the clusters, those tested at 25 or 37 markers are closely enough matched to descend from a relatively recent male ancestor who bore the Baldwin name. However, the tests can only estimate a range of generations within which he lived and how closely related the descendant sample donors are. The 67-marker tests can provide more precise estimates of how far back the common ancestor lived. The separate clusters are sufficiently distant genetically from each other to have diverged well before surnames came into use, so each must have independently adopted the Baldwin name after that time.


Haplogroup R1b had been believed to have entered Europe before the Ice Age, when glaciers isolated it on the Iberian and Italian Peninsulas, and it expanded northward as the glaciers retreated into present France, Ireland and Great Britain. More recent studies indicate that it arrived after the Ice Age, as part of the Neolithic spread of agriculture, expanding northward after the glaciers had already retreated. It is now the haplogroup most frequently found in western Europe. Haplogroup I is almost completely restricted to northwestern Europe, and would have been common within Viking or Norman populations. The E3b haplogroup originated in the Near East and migrated with the spread of agriculture along the Mediterranean coasts of North Africa and southern Europe, where it is found today. Q3 is a distinctively Native American haplogroup.


Test Procedures


Tests are made from a sample swabbed from the inside of the cheek on a toothbrush-like scraper, which is sent to the laboratory with written consent for its use in the project, and for exchanging addresses to contact other participants whose samples match.


The test uses DNA from the Y-chromosome, like that used in the study of President Thomas Jeffersonís family. Y-chromosome DNA is passed down unchanged (except for random mutations that occur at any one marker perhaps once in every 500 generations) from father to son in the all-male surname line, so samples for this project must come from a male with the Baldwin surname. If you are a Baldwin female, you can still help by encouraging or sponsoring the participation of a Baldwin father, uncle or nephew, or if a Baldwin by marriage, participation by a husband or son. If you know where your ancestors originated, or first settled in the U.S., your participation is especially valuable, because it may help others find a locality where further traditional research into documents may be fruitful.  


As part of a family study project, participants receive special pricing from the testing firm, Family Tree DNA, of Houston, Texas. The tests are done under the direction of Dr. Michael Hammer at his University of Arizona laboratory. The current price is US $99 for the basic test, which reports the values at 12 specific points or markers on the DNA molecule. However, the Baldwin samples tend to be so similar at only 12 or 25 markers that we now recommend starting at the 37-marker level. Additional markers can be tested later from the same sample for more precise results, and tests may be done for all-maternal (non-surname) line mtDNA, also at discounted prices. Participants are asked to pay the cost for testing their own samples.


Join the Baldwin Surname DNA Study


Click to contact the study coordinator.


More Information


DNA Testing and Interpretation

International Society of Genetic Genealogists is a no-dues online membership organization the brings together newcomers to the field as well as some of those who pioneered the way,

Charles Kerchner's Genetic Genealogy Resource Site

Terry Bartonís World Families Network

Calculating Time to Most Recent Common Ancestor

Family Tree DNA provides testing for the Baldwin study.



DNA Basics: How and Why it Works

     (Not essential for using DNA in genealogy, but nice to know)

DNA Basics by Nancy Custer is a comprehensive introduction to molecular biology--the chemistry and biology behind DNA testing. No special background is necessary to understand the material.



 Last Updated: 3 April 2010†††††††††††††


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