Cooley Genealogy

Since 1936 when our Association was established, genealogical research has grown into a major business. The worldwide web has connected researchers with data only previously available by personal travel. We live in a digital age that Dean Cooley would envy as he spent almost sixty years researching descendants of Ensign Benjamin Cooley for his book The Cooley Genealogy. Over the years, The Cooley Genealogy was recognized as the authority for finding in which line you descend. It has been exciting to learn that many Cooley lines of descent exist other than from the immigrant Benjamin. The Cooley Family Association of America is interested in ALL Cooleys, regardless of the immigrant from whom the Cooley is descended. Our on-going DNA studies help us segregate members into groups sharing a common Cooley ancestor. There are over a dozen such lines identified today.

One function of the Association is to be a repository for new information about the family. Its records and files have grown steadily with data not found in The Cooley Genealogy which was completed and published by Dean Cooley in 1941. In 1943 the unsold copies of the book were donated to the Association; all of those copies have been sold to individuals or placed in libraries. The main section of The Cooley Genealogy records the descendants of Benjamin Cooley, who settled in Longmeadow, Massachusetts circa 1640. A reprint of the book was prepared in 1988, and all of the reprints have been sold. It was Dean Cooley’s wish that any part of the book not specifically covered by copyright may be reprinted, copied, quoted, etc. as desired. Digital copies of the book can often be found on-line.

Other Cooley immigrant lines have been documented as part of the Association records. Peter Cooley sailed from London with his family as indentured servants and settled in Virginia just prior to the Revolution. Abraham Cooley is believed to have come to New York State prior to 1780, then moved to North Carolina and later to Virginia. John Cooley served in the French and Indian War from Virginia and relocated his large family to North Carolina. Various spellings are numerous; public records include most commonly variations such as Coley, Colley, Cully, Culy, Coolye, and others. The CFAA is interested in all individuals with a Cooley name in their pedigree including any spelling variations.

The Cooley ancestors of all members documented on Membership Applications since 1936 are shown in a searchable database in the MEMBERS section of this web site. You must join the Association to access these pages. Privacy of living Cooleys is respected and information redacted from the on-line database.

A Member’s Search for his Roots

William Warren Cooley, a descendant of the immigrant ancestor Benjamin Cooley, journeyed to England and Ireland recently to study firsthand the Cooley connections in the British Isles. He has documented his travels in this 6-minute video. A broadband connection is required to view this fascinating documentary.

If you are unable to view the video below you may also watch it HERE.