Barnum Family Genealogy: 1350 to the Present

Barnum Family DNA Project

 –Remember, DNA is the Gene in Genealogy –


Project Surnames:

BARNUM                                BARNHAM                                BARNAM

Participation in the Barnum Family DNA Project

In order to take a Y-DNA test and participate in this project, you must be a male with the Barnum surname or a variant. The Y-Chromosome genetic sequence of males in your immediate family will be identical (except for rare mutations). If you are a female Barnum descendant, you can encourage a close male relation (father, brother, cousin, uncle, etc) to take the test. The male member of the family chosen to take the DNA test must personally apply for membership in this program.  Ultimately, a minimum of two participants from each major branch of the Barnum family will be needed to allow for unrecorded adoptions, false paternity, etc. and also to verify and confirm each other’s test results.

This project is open to Barnum (or variant surname) males who purchase a Y-DNA analysis from Family Tree DNA (FTDNA). We have chosen Family Tree DNA because of its good reputation, large database for comparison purposes and discounts for participants in the Barnum Family DNA Project. To participate in our DNA Project and receive a significant discount on Y-DNA testing through Family Tree DNA, just click here. NOTE: If you have already tested your Y-DNA with Relative Genetics, DNA Heritage, Ancestry DNA, Oxford Ancestors or Genebase and would like to convert your results or add more markers to your existing test, you may be eligible for a significant price reduction from Family Tree DNA. Please contact the webmaster for details.


The more markers included, the higher the resolution of the test. Higher-resolution tests have an increased ability to resolve relationships between two individuals. Tests lower than 25 markers are offered by some labs, but are not very useful for genealogy projects. The results of your testing will be used by Family Tree DNA for comparison on your FTDNA pages. FTDNA stores your sample for 25 years, which makes later ordering of additional tests very easy.


There are 20 lines of descent going back thousands of years and spread throughout the world that we might call the ancestral fathers. These 20 different “ancient ones” were the patriarchs of clans called haplogroups (labeled A through T). Here is a listing of the Y-DNA haplogroups and their origins.


Since part of our Y chromosome DNA is passed from father to son relatively unchanged for thousands of years, we can determine to what haplogroup we belong as well as narrow down the possibility of any two persons having a common male ancestor (12-marker test). Other parts of our Y chromosome DNA can change over a few generations (additional markers – 37 or 67) thus narrowing down the search even further. Since we already know that the Barnum line descends from haplogroup R1b, a 37-marker test is the minimum available from FTDNA that will provide us with useful genealogical information. More markers allow for greater accuracy.


When you receive your results they will be in the form of four web pages. Click here for an example using imaginary results. Your personal FTDNA webpage will contain links to your account information, DNA test results, maps and useful research tools.


You will be notified by email as 12, 37 or 67 marker matches occur and will receive a certificate with your markers and additional information.


Your test results can be posted to this website if you like. You will decide whether you would like to remain anonymous or what information you want to share. Additional surname tables will be created as necessary.


For all those with the Barnum surname, marker matches above the first 12 will be compared with others to look for more-recent relationships. There exists associated database ( that allows us to compare markers online. By clicking on the search buttons next to the names of those participants who have posted their results, you will be able to see the genetic distance between those participants and their closest genetic matches.


Participants with a genetic distance of 3 or less on 37 or more markers are relatively closely related.

Important things you need to be aware of (the “fine print”)

Identity protection

I will not identify your results by name as part of this project without your authorization. You may personally choose to include or not include your e-mail address with the results that you ask to have posted to this study. In any case, without your authorization your name will not appear on the results page in connection with your results. Only your e-mail address will appear — and then only if you so choose. Please recognize, however, that your e-mail address may include your name or other words that may reveal your identity.

As far as I am concerned, the only people who will know your name-identified results will be you, me, and anyone else that you may choose to tell. Again, be aware that if you give me permission to connect your e-mail address to your results, that could reveal your identity

As long as time and database size permit, I am willing to serve as the “middleman” in communications between you and another project participant. If you choose not to have your e-mail address published on the results page, the only way you will be identified in this project is by group, number and earliest known ancestor. Someone could then e-mail me and say that they would like to carry on an e-mail dialogue with you. I would then contact you and ask you for your permission to give this person your e-mail address. If you don't give your permission, they don't get your e-mail address from me.

Non-paternity events

Inevitably, some participants in any DNA project will discover that their genetic heritage and their surname became connected in an unanticipated way. Two examples are adoptions and out-of-wedlock births. The risk may be as high as 4 to 5 percent per generation. In other words, if you've identified Barnum ancestors by traditional genealogical techniques, there could be a 4 to 5-percent chance that they are not really your ancestors. Non-paternity events such as unknown adoptions, conception outside of marriage, and other non-paternity reasons for assigning a surname to a child can all be explanations for this phenomenon. If your line of descent falls into that category it will be wholly your own decision whether or not to share your data within this project.

If you do decide to participate in the Barnum Family DNA Project, when you send me your DNA test results I would like to receive the following information from you (if known):
    1) Include “Barnum Family DNA Project” in the subject line of your e-mail.
         2) Provide your Y-DNA test data or a link to the site where it is posted.
         3) Provide your Barnum line of descent as far back as you have documented it.
         4) Be willing to share that information with others.

I will not use your name, or the name of any living person in your line of descent, without your expressed permission. 


A Research Guide to the Genealogy of the Barnum/Barnam/Barnham Family Worldwide

The information on this site is developed and maintained by Patrick Barnum

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