Baughman ancestors linked by DNA testing

August 31, 2003|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

A journey to find his Baughman ancestors led a Washington, D.C., Pulitzer Prize winning photographer to Danville in search of African-Americans who may have a link to the pioneers who came to Kentucky as early as the 1700s.

J. Ross Baughman, director of photography at The Washington Times, has spent many years traveling and researching his Baughman lineage.

His most recent project is a DNA study of the Baughmans (Bachmans) in American and Switzerland. The lab results from 20 specimen donors have linked them to common roots.

He is interested in finding African-Americans in Kentucky connected to the Baughman family. Baughman is searching for information on Jacob Baughman after he left Virginia, and why Samuel Baughman had slaves.

Baughman said the early Baughmans were Mennonites and were against slavery. He also wants to learn more about that connection.

The Baughmans came to Lincoln County, Ky., from Greenbriar, W.Va., after the Revolutionary War. Research shows the family also spread into Boyle and Mercer counties.


"We have compelling evidence that a single paternal ancestor gave rise to several American branches, and have been able to relink them to exact ancestral villages near Lake Zurich," according to Baughman's Web page.

The Baughmans are among the few pioneering family history groups pursuing this new avenue of research, and participation so far already puts the family among the largest sample fields, said Baughman.

He said the research will become even more compelling with larger numbers, and more personally meaningful to families if they have a suitable candidate.

Because of the specific chromosomes that have been traced, participants must be male and have been born with the Baughman or Bachman surname. Because DNA labs approach this test in different ways, it will be necessary for any new people to join in with our same methods, sending a collected cheek swab to Oxford Ancestors in Oxford, England. Each person will have to pay for their own lab work.

It will also be crucial, for two reasons, that each specimen sent in be marked "Part of the Baughman/Bachman Project" for the lowest possible group rate on the lab fee, and so that all of the results can be collated and analyzed by the Oxford scientists. For the sake of privacy and confidentiality, each person's results will be returned only to him.

"Your specific results will be known only to you until you choose to share them with the Project organizers in America," said Baughman.

Each participant will receive a color chart of the Y-line DNA from Oxford Ancestors, along with a background report on how the tests are analyzed. By staying in touch with the American organizers, participants will find out immediately if and how their code matches with other samples already collected, and if any future donors are revealed as matches.

Learn more about the Y-line DNA lab through their web site, and register your interest in the project via e-mail directly to

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