GEN • GEN: Michael Cooley's Genetic Genealogy Blog
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11 May 2016
The Bogus “Dutch Cooley” Lineage
Thanks to a 1930s genealogy written by one-time poet, Lura Coolley Hamil, a number of Cooley families have been
misidentified. I'm not going to enumerate here all the many errors Hamil
committed to paper — except to say that she spent only six months on
the project. I've spent ten years looking at the genetic evidence.
Furthermore, there is no paper evidence to support her claims.
The following series of slides utilizes Y-STR data. To refresh
memories, STRs (Short Tandem Repeats) are strings of bases, the A's,
C's, T's, and G's of the genetic alphabet soup, that repeat at specific
locations on the Y chromosomen number of times. For example,
at position DYS385b (the sixth column, below)
I have 13 repeats of GAAA. Normally, at least 37 positions (markers)
are examined to determine the likelihood that two people are related. But
only 12 are needed to disprove a relationship. For 12 markers, at
least 11 should match.
The first frame is taken from Hamil's tree. Those highlighted in blue in
the second frame are persons for whom at least one descendant has tested.
The yellow boxes in the inner graphic, found in the later frames, indicate
mismatches. As we see, none of these six families are even remotely related
along the paternal line, proving that Hamil's claims were false. As Elizabeth Cooley, a one-time genealogist of the
Cooley Family Association of America, wrote in 1977, Hamil's work
"should be labeled with a huge 'Skull and cross bones.' Mrs. Hamil went
about grabbing up anything she felt might go together, has mixed up many
different Cooley families, etc." The following proves the point.
I believe I've identified a seventh lineage but have not yet located a