Monday, February 1, 2016

FM Baldwin DNA Project

FM Baldwin DNA Project 
When I first started DNA testing, one of my main goals was to break through the Baldwin brick wall.  Click here to view my first post about beginning DNA testing.

You can read about Baldwin brick-wall and the Jane Baldwin Mystery here.  My line descends from Jane’s son, FrancisMarion (FM) Baldwin.  The paper trail back to FM Baldwin is solid – with vital records, census records, land records, cemetery records, county histories, family histories, obituaries, and now with DNA proof.  But, there are still a lot of questions and holes in the research going back just one more generation past FM Baldwin to his mother, Jane Baldwin (maiden name unknown). 
Brick Wall
Image courtesy of GenealogyInTime Magazine
Even though breaking through the Baldwin Brick Wall has not yet happened…we may be getting closer.
I have enlisted the help of Baldwin relatives to help solve this mystery through DNA testing.  
For this blog post I will share the results I have found thus far with the autosomal DNA testing for descendants of Francis Marion Baldwin.  

First, let’s discuss Autosomal DNA. 
Autosomal DNA is inherited from our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, etc.  When two or more people share segments of the same DNA then that means they share a common ancestor.  The more DNA a person shares with another person, the closer they are related and the closer their shared most-recent ancestral couple.  First cousins will share more DNA than third cousins and the most recent common ancestors for 1st cousins would be grandparents.  The most recent common ancestors for third cousins would be 2nd great-grandparents.

Autosomal DNA is inherited equally from both parents - 50% from each parent.  The average amount of DNA inherited from our grandparents is around 25% - but it can vary because of mixing (recombination) every generation. According to the ISOGG Wiki, “The amount of autosomal DNA inherited from more distant ancestors is shuffled up in a process called random recombination and the percentage of autosomal DNA coming from each ancestor is diluted with each new generation.” 
SMGF (Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation) has a great animation about how we inherit our autosomal DNA.  To view all their animations, go here.
I like the chart below that shows DNA recombination and how we might match with a cousin.
Diagram courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The goal of DNA testing is to find genetic cousins (meaning those who share DNA with you), and then determine the ancestral couple from whom shared DNA is inherited.  Below is a chart made by Blaine Bettinger that shows expected shared percentages in autosomal DNA relationships.
Many of my cousins have tested with AncestryDNA.  I like AncestryDNA because matches will sometimes have family trees connected to their DNA test results, and that makes it is easier to figure out who the common ancestors might be.  Although, AncestryDNA shows the amount of shared DNA (centimorgans) with matches, it AncestryDNA does not have a chromosome browser.  This means I cannot see where or on what chromosome I share my DNA with my match.  Because AncestryDNA does not have a chromosome browser, it is important for those who test at AncestryDNA to transfer their raw DNA data to FamilyTreeDNA ($39) or to GedMatch (free).  In addition to finding more matches, these other sites have tools that help to analyze the data and matches to determine who the common ancestor may be. 

DNA from my grandfather, Jess Baldwin

To start the FM Baldwin DNA Project, I encouraged as many of my mom’s generation to test as possible, and five of my mom’s siblings were willing to participate in DNA testing.  I also have four first cousins on the Baldwin side who tested their DNA.  The DNA I share with all of my aunts and my uncle (from 1387 cM to 1727 cM) is within the expected range for an aunt or an uncle.   I also share DNA with my cousins (from 683 cM to 1374 cM) within the expected range for a 1st cousin.  Below is a chart showing how much DNA I share with my mom, uncle, aunts, and cousins.  The ICW (in-common-with) ancestral couple for this group would be my grandparents, Jess Baldwin and Mabel Leffel Baldwin
In genetics, a centiMorgan (cM=centiMorgan) is a unit for measuring genetic linkage. 
I want to show what a chromosome browser looks like, so below is the chromosome browser from FamilyTreeDNA showing how I match to my mom, uncle, and 3 aunts.  This chart shows my 23 chromosomes (dark navy base color) with the matches.  My mom is the top match (orange color), and since she is my mom we match along the entire chromosome.  As you can see, I match my uncle and aunts in varying amounts (as also noted in the table above).  My uncle is the blue match.  It is interesting to look at the X chromosome (Chromosome 23).  Since my uncle could only receive his X from his mother not his father (men receive an X from their mother and a Y from their father), the segment he shares with me had to come from his mom – my grandmother.  

DNA from my great-grandfather, Allen Baldwin 
The next generation back on the family tree are Jess Baldwin’s parents, AllenBaldwin and Mary Jane Stewart Baldwin.  In addition to the descendants from my line (mentioned above), I have found four other grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Allen and Mary Baldwin who have tested their DNA.  These four descendants are from two of the daughters of Allen and Mary Baldwin (sisters to Grandpa Jess Baldwin).
Below is a chart showing DNA matches between the descendants of Jess Baldwin’s sisters to me and also to my mom and my aunts.  The cousins match me within the expected range for 2nd cousins (290 cM – 380 cM) and match my mom and my aunts within the first cousin once removed range (423.3 cM – 698.3 cM).  Since our shared DNA is within the expected range for our known relationships, we can determine that Allen Baldwin and Mary Stewart Baldwin are the closest common ancestors we received the shared DNA from.  Some of the DNA will be from the Baldwin family and some will be from the Stewart family.
The columns in purple show the relationship of these cousins to me (clm).  Columns in blue show the relationship to my mom and aunts.  My mom and her sisters would be first cousins to the children of Jess’s sisters, but since these matches come from the sisters’ children and grandchildren, they are first cousins once-removed and so on.  (c = cousin, r = removed, 2c1r = 2nd cousin once removed) 
Notice that Cousin A shares a lot less DNA with me than with my mom and less than half the amount of DNA with me than with my Aunts.  This is why it is important to test family members, because they may have more shared DNA matches on certain family lines than you might have.  Since my Aunts share quite a bit more DNA with the Baldwin cousins, I often use their DNA to search for additional Baldwin matches.
  • Note that the above chart shows NO shared match between Aunt #2 and the Cousins B and D because they did not test at the same company (and have not transferred DNA data to Gedmatch), and so the DNA data cannot be compared.  The Aunt #2 tested at and the Cousins B & D tested at AncestryDNA so they cannot be compared.    If the cousins B&D had transferred their DNA data from AncestryDNA to, we could compare the shared DNA match information.  This is why it is important for those who test at AncestryDNA to transfer their DNA data. provides a place for those who test at any of the three companies to transfer their DNA data so it can be compared to others who originally tested at other sites.
Cousins A and C match each other, match me and my mom, and match each of my aunts and my uncle, who also match each other.   So all of us form a triangulated group representing Allen Baldwin.

DNA from my 2nd great-grandparents, Francis Marion Baldwin  and Mary Sadler.

Allen Baldwin’s parents are Francis Marion (FM) Baldwin and Mary Sadler Baldwin, my second great-grandparents.  It was such a long time before I received any DNA matches from descendants of FM and Mary Baldwin, I was beginning to think that perhaps Allen was adopted or something.  But within this past year, there have been 3rd cousin matches show up.  Several descend from Anderson Lafayette Baldwin (ALB).  He was the older brother of our Allen Baldwin and first child of Francis Marion and Mary Baldwin.  These cousin matches each come from a different children within the Anderson Lafayette Baldwin (ALB) family.  There is also a match from a descendant of Alice Baldwin. who was a younger sister to ALB and Allen.  But, we need more descendants of FM Baldwin to test! has a “Francis Marion Baldwin DNA Circle”, which shows a possible DNA relationship to those within the circle.   All are descendants of Marion Baldwin(FMBaldwin) and Mary Sadler and there is a good possibility that the DNA we share came from them.  Within each DNA Circle are family groups.  The Allen Baldwin Family Group within the FMBaldwin DNA Circle had 9 members: myself, my mom, siblings, aunts, cousins (all descendants of Allen Baldwin mentioned above).   The Anderson Lafayette Baldwin has two members.  In order to be included in the FM Baldwin DNA Circle, link your Ancestry DNA test results to a public family tree that goes back to FM Baldwin and Mary Sadler as ancestors.
FM Baldwin DNA Circle

According to, requirements to be included in and view a DNA Circle are: 1-you must be an AncestryDNA customer, 2-link your AncestryDNA test to a Public tree, and 3-subscribe to

If you have an AncestryDNA test and don't want to pay for a subscription to Ancestry, you can transfer your raw DNA data to Gedmatch for free.  Two of the above matches have transferred their raw DNA data from Ancestry to GedMatch and another has also transferred his raw DNA data from Ancestry to  FamilyTreeDNA has some great tools to analyze the data.  Below is FamilyTreeDNA’s chromosome browser showing how my mom and 4 of her siblings match KB, the grandson of Anderson Lafayette Baldwin. 

As more descendants of Francis Marion Baldwin and Mary Sadler participate in DNA testing we will be able to determine which segments of DNA belong to the Baldwin side and which belong to the Sadler side.  This will be especially helpful in going back to the next generation of Jane Baldwin. 

DNA has already helped to prove Mary Sadler’s father, John Sadler, was related (most likely the brother) to William Sadler – who came to Texas in the late 1850’s and settled in Frio, Texas. 

Thus far, we only have descendants from three of children of Francis Marion and Mary Sadler Baldwin in the FM Baldwin DNA Project: Anderson Lafayette Baldwin, Allen Baldwin, and Alice Baldwin Atchison.  
So, “pretty please” if you are a descendant of FM Baldwin and Mary Sadler consider participating in DNA testing.  

If you have tested or plan to test with, you will need to link your DNA test to a public tree (that includes your direct line back to FM Baldwin) in order to be in the Francis Marion Baldwin Circle.  If you want to keep your main family tree private, you can make another (duplicate) tree just to link your DNA to.  It will need to be public (one of the requirements from  That family tree will only need direct ancestors back about 4-6 generations or so -- No need to put all the children or descendants.  The only people you got your DNA from is your direct ancestors.  
And remember, if you test with Ancestry, you can transfer your raw DNA data to GedMatch or to FamilyTreeDNA, so that you can access a chromosome brower.:)


Anonymous said...

Love all the links to Genetic Genealogy information sites! I really like the animations on the Learn Genetics site at the University of Utah. Great site with easy to understand animations! I have shared that site with all of my family that I am trying to encourage to DNA test.
Maybe I can get some of my family converted to DNA testing.:)
Great post with a good plan to start testing family members.

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting. I am thinking about testing with one of the companies. Does it matter which one? Which would be the best to help with the Baldwin DNA project.

clm said...

Testing at any of the companies would help with the Baldwin DNA project. Ancestry might be the easiest to start with. You would/should be included into a Baldwin DNA circle.
If you test at be sure to link your DNA test results to your family tree that includes your Baldwin family back to Francis Marion Baldwin or to Jane Baldwin.
Encourage your cousins to also test.
If you are a direct male descendant from one of Jane Baldwin's sons, please consider testing your Y-DNA at FamilyTreeDNA.