Michael Cooley's Genetic Genealogy Blog GEN • GEN
28 October 2018

Another Brief Update for Cooley Group CF07

The previous article about CF07, Brief Update On Cooley CF07, presents the genetic proof that Peter Cooley of Connecticut could not have been the ancestor for this group. We're no closer in determining that ancestor, but the genetic study and newly discovered records are opening some doors.

CF07 has long had two genealogical groups, those who came out of Halifax County, North Carolina and went to Spartanburg, South Carolina, and a Franklin County, North Carolina family that went to Tennessee and elsewhere. Y chromosomal results instruct that the two groups are closely related, but the genealogies, as presented in the past, are in conflict: John Cooley of Franklin, apparently born in 1734, and John Cooley of Halifax born in 1725, were neither the same person nor were they brothers. They must have been at least first cousins, we thought.

However, it's been found there was no John Cooley born 1734 in Franklin — at least none that appears to be relevant to this study. A file of guardianship records started in 1787 proves that the father of Edward Cooley (married Deliah Hartsfield) and of Winifred Cooley (married Vincent Sanders) was Edward Cooley Sr. That corrects the genealogy to the extent that it's now possible that this Edward was either the brother or the son of John Cooley of Halifax County — and the genetics supports (but does not prove) the claim. Indeed, some genealogies do list him as a son but without supporting evidence. We know from the will of John Cooley, 1767, however, that reference is made to John's "children" but John is the only child mentioned.

But we don't have clear indication, let alone proof, of the birth years for any of these men. Other researchers have estimated John's birth closer to 1715 than to 1725. With some age tweaks, the hypothesis that Edward was John's son can work. And this brings me to another point. It is said that John A Cooley, presumed son of John Cooley of Halifax, was born in 1756. However, he's named executor of his father's will in 1767 — at eleven years old! Either the wrong father and son have been paired, or their birth years are wrong. I don't know about the former, but the latter is almost certainly true.

Irrespective of birth years, we can use this hypothetical tree as a starting point for further investigation.




The elder John could easily have been born in the 1690s. But with so many old records lost during the Civil War and other calamities, we might have only the DNA to work with. It works, however, only when the lineages are correct. One small detail at a time just might get us there.