Saturday, January 7, 2017

GPS Study Group Week 2: Where was James Baldwin born?

 Genealogical Proof Standard Study Group

Chapter Two – Building a Solid Case
Marceline Beem

Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case, 4th Edition Revised. San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2014.

This week’s discussion focuses on resolving conflicting data using the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS). Two factors to consider when analyzing source documents are WHO provided the information, and WHY it was provided – or the motivation for creating the record in the first place.

James Baldwin was a pioneer in North Florida, and is enumerated in the 1850 census of Duval County. This week’s research question is Where was James Baldwin born? A variety of documents - census records, tombstone inscriptions, death certificates of other family members, and a military pension application - were used to determine that James Baldwin’s place of birth was Columbus County, North Carolina.

Census Records

Document #1: 1850 Census – Duval County, Florida

James Baldwin household in the 1850 census of Duval County, Florida1

James Baldwin, 36, NC
Elvy 40, NC
Martha J M, 10, NC
Leonard, 9, NC
Nancy E., 6, NC
Elva, 4, NC
Polly, 2, FL

Document #2: 1860 Census – Alachua County, Florida

James Baldwin household in the 1860 census of Alachua County, Florida 2


James Baldwin, 49, m, farmer, 6000, 8000, NC
Elvy, 50, f, NC
Leonard, 18, m, farm laborer, NC
Narcissa, 15, f, NC
Elvy, 14, f, NC
Mary, 11, f, Fla
Caroline, 9, f, Fla
twins {Georgia Ann, 7, f, Fla
         {Susannah, 7, f, Fla

Document #3: 1870 Census – Putnam County, Florida

James Baldwin household in the 1870 census of Putnam County, Florida3

James Baldwin, 60, M, W, farmer, NC, male over the age of 21
Elvey, 61, F, W, keeps house, NC 
Caroline, 18, F, W, FL
Susan, 16, F, W, FL
[non-family members omitted from transcript]

Document #4: 1880 Census – Putnam County, Florida

James Baldwin household in the 1880 census of Putnam County, Florida4


James Baldwin, W, M, 68, married, farmer, NC, NC, NC
Elva, W, F, 70, wife, married, keep house, NC, NC, NC
[page break]
Susannah, W, F, 27, daughter, single, at home, Fla, NC, NC
[non-family members omitted from transcript]

Each of these census records are digital images of the original record, created by the enumerator at the time the census was taken. Since we do not know who the informants were, we cannot determine if James’ birthplace is primary or secondary information. However, each census record provides direct evidence that James was born in North Carolina.

Tombstone Inscription

James Baldwin's tombstone, Eliam Cemetery, Melrose, Florida5




Columbus Co. N.C.

April 14, 1812


June 12, 1884

I have personally observed the tombstone on several occasions, and took the above photograph in September 2016, making this an original record. From a voucher in his probate packet,6 we know the tombstone was ordered shortly after James Baldwin's death, but none of the surviving heirs would have been present at his birth, making this secondary information. The tombstone provides direct evidence that James was born in Columbus County, North Carolina.

Death Certificates

Document 1: Caroline Price

Death Certificate of Caroline Baldwin Price7

Partial Transcript:
Mrs. Caroline Price
Date of death: March 19, 1940

Father: James Baldwin
Birthplace: Nichols S.C.

Mother: Mary Nichols
Birthplace: Nichols S.C.

Informant: R.A. Price, Gainesville, FL

The death certificate is a certified copy of the original document filed with the state of Florida. The name and birthplace for her father are secondary information, provided by Caroline’s son, Russell Price. The document gives direct evidence of James Baldwin’s birthplace.

Document 2: Leonard Baldwin

Death Record for Leonard Baldwin8

This entry is from a database without image scans, making it a derivative source. Even though we do not know WHO the informant was from this listing, we can be certain that it was not someone present at James’ birth, making this secondary information for this particular research question. The document provides direct evidence that James was born in North Carolina.

Military Pension Record

Confederate Pension Application of Leonard Baldwin, 19079


State of Florida
County of Putnam

On this 20th day of July, A.D. One Thousand Nine Hundred and nine, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public in and for the county and State aforesaid, Leonard Baldwin who, being duly sworn
according to law, declares that he is 66 years of age, having been born on the 27 day of Sept 1842, in the county of Columbus, in the State of N.C. That he is a bona fide citizen of Putnam, State of Florida. That he has resided in the State of Florida continuously since the [blank] day of December 1847.
[end transcript]

In his affidavit for a Confederate Pension from the State of Florida, Leonard Baldwin, son of James Baldwin, stated that he was born 27 Sep 1842 in Columbus County, North Carolina. The pension record is a digital image of original records held at the Florida State Archives. Although the information about Leonard’s date and place of birth is given by Leonard himself, it is secondary information because he would not remember his own birth. Although the affidavit provides direct evidence to where Leonard was born, the document does not directly answer when and where James Baldwin was born. However, it does provide indirect evidence that James Baldwin of North Florida is the same person known as James Baldwin (Junior) in Columbus County.

Newspaper Article

Newspaper Article about Caroline Baldwin Price10


During the afternoon many interesting reminiscences were exchanged as Mr. and Mrs. Price related early experiences in this part of the state where they have both lived since early childhood, having come here with their parents from the Carolinas.

Mrs. Price, who is the last surviving member of her family, is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Baldwin and came to Florida with her parents from Columbus county, N.C., in 1848, driving through the country with mule teams, bring with them their slaves and household goods. They first settled near Middleburg and during the Civil War moved to Melrose on Lake Santa Fe.

Note: The article identifies Caroline’s parents as “Mr. and Mrs. James Baldwin,” who came to Florida from Columbus County, North Carolina. The article also states that Caroline came to Florida with her parents from North Carolina in 1848. While the relocation date is corroborated with census records (her sister Polly was born in 1848 in Florida), Caroline could not have been part of the party since she was not born until 1851.

This is an original record, coming from microfilmed copies of the newspaper. In regards to the current research focus, the article provides secondary information (no one who witnessed James' birth in 1812 would have been living in 1929). The article identifies Columbus County as the former home of James Baldwin. It does not directly address the question of where James was born, but it provides evidence that he lived in Columbus County, North Carolina prior to moving to Florida. Information in the article does not conflict with other evidence that James was born in Columbus County.


I often find it helpful to summarize my analysis in a table.

Summary of Findings

Birth Place
1850 Census
North Carolina
1860 Census
North Carolina
1870 Census
North Carolina
1880 Census
North Carolina
Columbus County, North Carolina
Death Certificate for Caroline Price
Nichols, SC
Death Certificate for Leonard Baldwin
North Carolina
Confederate Pension Application for Leonard Baldwin
Does not directly address this research question, but gives Leonard’s birthplace as Columbus County, NC, tying James Baldwin of North Florida to James Baldwin of Columbus County, North Carolina
Newspaper Article for Allen & Caroline Price’s 50th Anniversary Celebration
Baldwin family came to Florida from Columbus County, NC

The table clearly shows that all but one document gives James Baldwin’s place of birth as North Carolina, most likely in Columbus County. To properly use the GPS, we must address Caroline’s death certificate, which shows James’ place of birth as Nichols, SC. Caroline Baldwin Price was James Baldwin’s daughter, married to Allen Price. The informant, R. A. Price, (the WHO) is their son Russell, who was born about 1892. Three of his grandparents died before Russell was born, including the Baldwins. His maternal grandmother, Sarah Smith Price, died after he was married and had his own child, and since they lived in the same community, he would have known her well. He identifies James Baldwin as Carrie’s father, but gives his birthplace as Nichols, SC. Nichols is in Marion County, South Carolina, just over the state line from Columbus County, North Carolina. Nichols is also where his maternal grandmother, Sarah Smith Price, was born. Considering the closeness of the two areas, and the possibility that the families were connected before relocating to Florida, Russell could easily have confused the birthplaces of the Baldwin grandparents that he never met, especially in a time of emotional distress.


1. 1850 U.S. census, Duval County, Florida, population schedule, Thomasville District, page 118 (stamped), line 6, James Baldwin; digital image, ( : accessed 24 Sep 2016), Florida > Duval > Duval county > image 57 of 62; citing NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Adminsitration, n.d.) (The page is hard to read because of faded ink, even when using viewing aids at Ancestry and FamilySearch. In the citation, the line item is used because the dwelling and family numbers are partially illegible.)
2. 1860 U.S. census, Alachua County, Florida, population schedule, Division 17 (Waldo Post Office), page 5 (penned and stamped), dwelling 31, family 31, James Baldwin; digital image, ( : accessed 24 Sep 2016), image 5 of 77, citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 106.
3. 1870 U.S. census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Orange Springs, page 46 (penned), 535 (stamped), dwelling 128, family 122, James Baldwin; digital image, ( : accessed 24 Sep 2016), citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 133.
4. 1880 U.S. census, Putnam County, Florida, population schedule, Precinct 11, Enumeration District (ED) 134, pages 17-18 (penned), 89A-B (stamped), dwelling 112, family 112, James Baldwin; digital image, ( : accessed 24 Sep 2016), citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 131.
5. Eliam Cemetery (Melrose, Florida), James Baldwin tombstone; photographed by Marceline R. Beem, 24 Sep 2016.
6. Putnam County, Florida, probate file no. 274, James Baldwin (1884), receipt for limestone from James S. Clark & Co., 11 December 1884; “Florida Wills and Probate Records, 1810-1974,” digital images, ( : accessed 23 September 2016); the petition is imaged as p. 839 of Putnam County Probate Packets 236-277.
7. Caroline Price, death certificate, state file no. 5308, certificate dated 19 Mar 1940, State of Florida, State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Alachua County, Gainesville, Florida.
8. “Florida Deaths, 1877-1939,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 Sep 2016), entry for Lenard Baldwin (1917); citing Melrose, Putnam, Florida, reference cn 851; FHL microfilm 2,116,887.
9. “Confederate Pension Records”, database and images, Florida Memory ( : accessed 24 Sep 2016);  Form A, Soldier’s Pension Claim Under the Act of 1909, affidavit taken 25 July 1909 for Leonard Baldwin, application no. A07843, (Bradford County, 1907), for service in 2nd Regt Cav, image 3 of 17.
10. “Mr. and Mrs. Allen Price Celebrate Golden Wedding on Thanksgiving”. [Note: a copy of this newspaper article was provided to the researcher by a family member. There is no indication of the name of the newspaper or the date of publication. Allen Price and Caroline Baldwin were married 27 November 1879, so the article should have been published in 1929. An inquiry to the Alachua County (Florida) Library, which has microfilm copies of the Gainesville Sun for the time period, yielded no results. The records for the Palatka Daily News (Florida) need to be searched to determine if the article was published in that newspaper.]


  1. Hi! Is this part of a group study you're doing? It looks like a wonderful study, so I was curious! Thanks!

    1. Hi Dana, yes, it is! We are studying Christine Rose's book on the Genealogical Proof Standard with DearMyrtle. You can find info about it at

    2. Thanks! It looks like you will get a LOT out of this. I think I'll go ahead and buy the book and participate on my own. :)

    3. I'm learning a lot - one of my goals for this year is to improve my genealogy-related writing skills, and this is certainly helping with that! So glad you are going to join us! Even though you aren't a panelist, you can still do the homework and link to it if you want feedback. DearMyrtle has instructions for that on one of the other blog posts about the study group.

  2. I am almost finished with my own "week 2" homework and came over to read yours more thoroughly. I think you did a great job explaining the conflicting place of birth listed on the death certificate. Great job!