The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

26 May 2013

Notes on Baca family Y-DNA

Last week, FamilyTreeDNA President Bennett Greenspan gave the New Mexico Genealogical Society a two part presentation on genetic genealogy.

In the audience was a woman who is a distant relative of mine. I won't write her name on this post, but I will say that her maiden name is Baca. During a break, we began speaking about our families. We had spoken before, and may have even talked about our Y-DNA certificates. Since only men have the Y chromosome, this Baca cousin had to have her brother take the test.

Her brother's certificate shows that we are separated by only on step in the 37 marker test (although he has taken the 67 marker test, I have only taken the 37.) DYS # 448 shows "17" for me and "18" for him. According to her research, on her direct paternal line she is the 5th great-granddaughter of Luis Maria Baca through his 1st wife. On my direct paternal line, I am the 4th great-grandson of this man through his 2nd wife. Therefore, she is seven generations separated from Luis Maria Baca while I am six generations separated. According to our Y-DNA TiP report, there is an 77.81% chance that we are related within six generations and 84.11% chance that we are related within seven generations.

Comparing our Y-DNA results are important for me because it may prove that I am descended from Luis Maria Baca (aka Luis Maria Cabeza de Baca.) According to my uncles, my great-grandfather Juan C. de Baca y Luna was adopted, which might mean that he himself is not the great-grandson of Luis Maria Baca. I have found in my research, though, a baptismal record that shows that he is the legitimate son of Martin Baca and Maria Rita Luna, which makes him Luis Maria Baca's descendant. I believe the misunderstanding that he was "adopted" is the fact that his mother remarried after his father died.

I am still trying to find more information through DNA. For instance, I would like to find out if it is true that Luis Maria Baca was the descendant of Josefa Baca, through her son Antonio Baca (see Fray Angelico Chavez's "Origin of New Mexico Families", pages 144 and 152) or through a more direct Baca paternal line that extends to the 1st Baca male in New Mexico, Cristobal Baca.

Right now, there are 21 men who have submitted their results to the Baca Y-DNA project for comparison. Within that project, there is a group of 6 men who match significantly enough to be considered to be in the same lineage. There is only one other pair of two who match, and everyone else are distant enough not to be considered part of the same lineages. I am one of that group of 6. I have not been able to compare my lineage against any of the other five men except for the one I mentioned before. I have sent out emails to the others to see if they will respond.

If you have the Baca surname, I suggest that you take a FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA test so that we could have more data. I suggest taking at least the 37 marker test in order to make a good comparison. Share your family tree information with other people in project so that we can compare our trees. For more information on the cost of the test, visit

Remember, only men can take the Y-DNA test (a man's Y-DNA is what makes him male, as opposed to female.) If you are female, you will have to have your brother, father, grandfather, cousin or uncle on the same paternal line take the test. Also, the Y-DNA test only looks at the direct paternal line - usually the surname line - father's, father's, father's, father's, father, etc. There are other tests that will show a maternal line (MtDNA) and other lines of your DNA (Family Finder.) Visit the FamilyTreeDNA website for more information.

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