Michael Cooley's Genetic Genealogy Blog
9 August 2021

Excellent Big Y Results for Cooley Group CF10

The CF10 Cooleys have long been of interest to me due to "researchers" having conflated this family with my own CF01 Cooleys, as well as several others. I wrote a brief article about the problem and how Y chromosomal analysis has revealed its utter-fictional attributes in The Cult of the Bogus Dutch Cooleys. I post initial DNA findings for the Cooley DNA Project at the Facebook group, The Worldwide Cooley Y-DNA Project. What follows is edited from yesterday's posting about the latest results for CF10.


The CF10 results I mentioned the other day were not for a Carroll as I had thought. That's still in the hopper and will undoubtedly be a good match. They were for a Cooley who had not yet joined the project. I'd been told sometime ago that this test was being ordered, but that was the last I heard and the whole thing fell off my otherwise prickly radar. But his results are with us now, and they're perfect!

The new tester is a descendant of the John Cooley (1749-1813) who married Abigail Lippincott. The family resided in New Jersey. I have long guesstimated, based only on the Y-DNA results, that he might have been a brother or cousin of William Cooley (-1817), the husband of Elizabeth Firmin who had been unceremoniously matched to my John Cooley of Stokes County, North Carolina. William and his family first resided in Maryland and later Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The new Y-DNA results lack proof of the exact relationship between the men, but the whole group is turning out to be tightly defined, Y-DNA-wise anyway. I've been looking forward to results like this for years. And it appears the upcoming Carroll Big Y will fit right in, as demonstrated in the following graphic, included and described at Cooley DNA Group CF10.

Edward Carroll was born in Ireland in 1774 and immigrated to Canada. The Keenans and Scullys also have Irish roots. No doubt, as is stated in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Fayette County, Pennsylvania (1889), William Cooley was also born in Ireland, as was likely John. And Carroll sits right between John and William's Y-111 STR results. Yes, I've written considerably about STRs and their inherent flakiness, but the results do tend to cluster, as shown above. That's important because they allow us to place project members into broadly-defined groups, such as CF10 or CF01. But it's the advanced testing of the Big Y and similar products that provides granularity. Comparing the two studies, we see how the mishmash above snaps into focus:

The shared haplogroup between John and William constitutes a single SNP, FT43454, a marker that would have first emerged in a very specific man, a man who likely lived well within the genealogical timeframe. The John tester has no novel variants (SNPs that are, so far, only found in his sample) and the William tester has three, two of which can be tested at YSEQ.net. Between William and John, then, there's an average of 1.5 SNPs per tester. The general method tells us that the in-common ancestor (the Most Recent Common Ancestor or MRCA) was born about 150 years before 1950 — about 1800. Of course, that's too recent to be realistic. Even if John and William were indeed brothers, their father was probably born in the 1720s. But the Law of Averages is dependent on the Law of Large Numbers, and those numbers are not present in the CF10 group. Nevertheless, this is about as as tight as tight can be.

It's a similar story for the closely-related Scullys. Both testers have no novel SNPs going back to their MRCA, Martin Scully (1783-1844). Keenan has more novel SNPs, and that's good. It should help the timetable as it adds more variables to our CF10 biological clock: We add up all the SNPs that emerged since the large FT43162 haplogroup (13) and divide that by the number of testers (5), and we have an average of 2.6 SNPs per tester. That can mean that the FT43162 MRCA lived in the late 17th or early 18th century. Again, we can't be specific but that further affirms the tight genetic alignment among these families.

This averaging works best when you have lots of testers, say in the hundreds! But we now have an idea as to where we're going. Unfortunately, a great deal of the public record in Ireland went up in flames a hundred years ago and we may never learn just why Cooley, Carroll, Keenan, and Scully were so closely related. The answer might reside in the large FT43162 haplogroup — or in the results of other Big Ys, of which there are several. I'll invite them into the group. After all, the more the merrier — as proposed by the Law of Large Numbers. But the new results reveal that CF10 is not a single-surname group. It's a tribe of sorts, and one that might be sorted out to a degree. I'm looking forward to getting my fingers into this pie!

There is one more point of interest. What about William Cooley's three private SNPs? Did they emerge with or before William or in the tester's lineage since William? We need only to look for matches. Another Big Y for that is not needed (although they're always helpful!) since we have the DNA tree pretty much nailed. Two of the three SNPs (FT43285 and A24205) can be tested via YSEQ.net's Sanger testing for $18 each, plus a one-time kit fee of $6. A match between two of William's descendants, particular if from different sons, will help place the emergence of those markers.

I rolled my own CF01 Cooleys into the R1a-YP4248 Subclade Project so that we can study the deep history in a methodical way. I don't want to start other such subclade projects, but we can do something similar with the immediate upstream haplogroups for both CF10 and CF07. They may be a bit off the mark in terms of the name, but each surname came into its respective lineage at various times. It's no matter whether Cooley was introduced into any one line during the 13th, 17th, or even the 20th centuries. After all, despite the genetics, a Cooley is a Cooley is a Cooley. Dig it, man.