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For the Corson Cousins newsletter, April 2007

Corson Surname DNA Project

In the last quarter, the project gained two participants.  Participant #32, with the surname Coursey, joined with his results already determined from his participation in the Coursey-DeCoursey DNA Project.  He matches Courson Participant #31 on 36 of 37 markers in the relatively rare haplogroup (in Europe) called J2.  Given that they have 5 generations of no known genealogical relationship, this result indicates that their common ancestor lived ca. 6-30 generations ago (95% confidence interval).  Their male-line Courson and Coursey ancestors both lived in Tattnall County, Georgia in the 1840s, suggesting that their earliest-known ancestors (born between 1760 and 1788) may have been closely related. 

Participant #33, with the surname Raisor, believes that he may descend from Teunis Corsa (ca. 1702-aft. 1763), grandson of Division II progenitor Jan Corszen (ca. 1649-1703).  According to extensive research, Teunis, also known as Teunis/Dennis DeCoursey, changed his name several times, apparently in response to increasing hostility toward those with French-sounding names in the years leading up to the North American colonial wars of 1753-1763.  One of his surnames was “Racer” (an English translation of the French word “coursier”, according to one source).  Thus, Teunis is credited with leaving behind descendants who now have the surnames Corsa, DeCoursey, Corsaw, and Racer.  The results, which will arrive in April, will indicate whether the participant’s Raisor family descends from Jan Corszen, who belonged to haplogroup I1a, most common in northern Europe. 

Erratum: In the last project report (October 2006), I listed the six ancestors, some of them Division progenitors, for whom the project has been able to estimate a genetic signature.  I incorrectly stated that one of them was Cornelius Cursonwhit (c.1660-c.1719), the Division I progenitor.  In fact, the project has identified the genetic signature of his son, Samuel Corson (1686-ca. 1765).  Because Cornelius had no other known sons, we cannot test a second line of descendent from Cornelius to see whether it would have a genetic signature that matches Samuel’s.  Consequently, unless documents reveal a second son or a male-line ancestor of Cornelius, and we are able to test a descendant of the second line, we will only be able to guess (and hope) that had the same genetic signature as Samuel.   

Now that you have the status to date, I’ll describe the most important topics that remain to be addressed by the project: 

1.       The European origin of Division progenitors.  Can we find men in Europe who have genetic signatures that match those in the project?  Will their genealogies suggest where in Europe our progenitors came from?  I’ll take the lead.

2.       The Division III Corssen-Vroom split.  Male-line descendants who document descent from two different grandchildren of progenitor Cors Pieterszen (b. 1612) have two very different genetic signatures.  At least one of them cannot descend from him.  Only additional participants from this large Division can provide an answer.

3.       Connecting “orphaned” branches.  Several Corson, Courson, DeCoursey, and Coursin ancestors are categorized in Division X because we are unable to find documentation to connect them to a particular family.  Participation by male-line descendants of these families could answer some of these questions quickly. 

In the meantime, if you have Internet access and would like information about the DNA Project between issues of Corson Cousins, you can visit the project website: