DNA testing for genealogical purposes is a new and fascinating weapon we can add to our arsenal to assist us with our genealogy research. There has been much written on this subject over the last several years. The Internet or your library has many resources available to explain the science and benefit of DNA testing for genealogy purposes. Therefore, I won’t dwell on that here except to point you to several Internet sites with a good primer on this subject (see the end of this article).
I encourage all Cooley-surnamed males to have their DNA tested. The y-chromosome is passed from father to son to his son, and so forth. That means that a Cooley-surnamed male today has the same DNA signature as each of his Cooley male ancestors!
If you are having difficulty identifying your Cooley line, a DNA test and comparison of the results with others who have documented their Cooley ancestors could help point you to the most likely branch to research. Many Cooleys are descended from Benjamin Cooley (1615 – 1684). If your DNA matches a documented Benjamin descendant, then you know that you too are a likely Benjamin descendant. Similarly, if you do not match Benjamin’s DNA, you likely descend from a different Cooley branch. The CFAA has descendants from several immigrant Cooley ancestors. Many members are still researching to make the connection with their Cooley immigrant ancestor. Our Cooley surname DNA study has DNA results for several different immigrant ancestors. Your DNA test can identify which line is yours.
One exciting application for Cooley DNA testing is to determine the European home of our immigrant ancestors. When we match the DNA test results from a CFAA member with the DNA test results from a European cousin who has documented his ancestors back to the 16th and 17th centuries, we develop insight into the old world origins of our ancestors. For example, we find no documentation of Benjamin’s arrival in the colonies. When did he come? What country/town did he come from? DNA testing may be the way to answer these and other questions. Once we identify Benjamin’s origin, we can then likely identify his ancestors. (We have circumstantial evidence of Benjamin’s birth place and parents, but are still looking for conclusive evidence. DNA testing may give us confirmation. Or it may disprove the circumstantial evidence and point us in a new direction!)
Below are links to the major DNA testing laboratories. Each site has excellent pages describing the test methodology, and tutorials on the application to genealogy. Pricing varies as each site periodically offers specials or adjusts prices to reflect competition. All have Cooley-surname DNA projects. Order a kit under our project and your test results will be included.
To learn about the role of DNA testing in surname studies, click the following link:
Y DNA: The Role of Surnames (From: Facts & Genes. Copyright (c) 2007 Family Tree DNA. All rights reserved.)
One member, William Warren Cooley, documented his thoughts on his DNA test. Read about them HERE.
Contact the CFAA Genealogist if you have questions about participating in the Cooley-surname DNA project.
Our former Vice President Michael Cooley has a personal web page wherein he shows some of the independent Cooley lines discovered through DNA testing.