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From the Corson Cousins newsletter, January 2006
Corson Surname DNA Project
Since last issue’s report, the project gained three
participants with the surnames Courson, Courser, and DeCoursey.
The Courson participant descends from James
Courson (b. ca. 1762 in Lancaster Co., South Carolina), who served as a private
in the Revolutionary War. Descendants
of James currently live in states such as Alabama, Georgia, and Texas, and they
may be related to the Coursons who settled in the “Wiregrass” region of
southern Georgia and northern Florida. The
participant’s DNA results do not match those of any other participant in the
project, which confirms that he does not descend from the two Divisions whose
genetic signature we've been able to estimate (Divisions I and II).
Based on his genetic signature, he appears to belong to a haplogroup
(genetic group) currently called “J2”.
This indicates that James Courson’s male-line ancestors lived in the
Mediterranean region thousands of years ago.
If James came from western Europe, then one of his male-line ancestors
likely migrated there within the past 5000 years. We are looking for other “southern” Coursons who would be
interested in participating in the project.
The Courser participant
joined the project to test the hypothesis that he descends in a direct male line
from Benjamin Fletcher Corsse (1692-1770), son of Division II progenitor Jan
Corzen (ca. 1649-1703). According to his test results, his genetic signature matches
those of the two Corsa/Corson descendants of Jan Corszen already tested.
In fact, it matches theirs on all 43 markers examined.
This result supports the paper-trail genealogy that documents Captain
Isaac Corser/Corsa (c.1737-c.1840) as a son of Benjamin Fletcher Corsse.
After the Revolutionary War, Isaac and his son John Courser (1765-1847),
as Loyalists, emigrated from New York to Nova Scotia, settling later in Prince
William, New Brunswick. Another son
of Isaac’s, Andrew Corsa (1762-1852), an ancestor of the project’s Corsa
participant, remained in New York. Division
II descendants belong to haplogroup I1a, a haplogroup that occurs most
frequently in northern Europe and Scandinavia.
participant documents his descent from William DeCoursey (bef. 1720-1788) from
Bensalem Twp., Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. Some
have hypothesized that the Bucks County DeCourseys descended from Division III's
Benjamin Corssen (1686-1740). At
least for this participant, the DNA data do not support this hypothesis, since
the participant’s genetic signature differs greatly from Benjamin's (which was
estimated from those of two descendants of Benjamin).
We don't yet know, however, whether this DeCoursey participant carries
the genetic signature of all Bucks County DeCourseys.
Consequently, we’re working to contact distant relatives of his for
testing. The DeCoursey participant
belongs to haplogroup R1b, the most common haplogroup in Europe.
2005 - Year in
In 2005 the project gained 15 of its 20 participants (Fig. 1), with the following surnames: Colson (2), Corsa (1), Corson (7), Courser (1), Courson (1), DeCoursey (1), and Vroom (2). Based on their results and documented genealogies, we were able to establish the genetic signatures of the following ancestors:
Cursonwhit (c.1660-c.1719), progenitor of Div. I
(c.1649-1703), progenitor of Div. II
(1686-1740), Div. III
(1686-1769), Div. III
discovered that his brick-walled ancestor, William Corson (bef. 1765- aft.
1823), had a common ancestry with two Corson participants who trace their
descent from Division IV. As just
reported, another participant confirmed that his ancestor John Courser
(1765-1847) had a common ancestry with one Corson and one Corsa participant who
trace their descent from Division II. In
the coming year, our main priorities will be to determine the ancestral genetic
signatures for Divisions III, IV, and VII.
We’ll also aim to establish ancestral signatures for the surnames
Courson and DeCoursey.
DNA Project Newsletter Available
If you would like
to receive more frequent news about the DNA project, you can subscribe to the
electronic newsletter that I send out as an e-mail message each month.
You can read past issues of the newsletter, browse male-line lineages of
current participants, and see test results and interpretation at the project
If you’d like to learn more about the uses of DNA
for genealogy, a good introductory book is Trace Your Roots with DNA : Using
Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree, by Megan Smolyenak and Ann
Turner. It describes how DNA tests
work and what they can and cannot tell you about your male-line or female-line
ancestry. Megan Smolyenak recently wrote an interesting article
for Ancestry.com titled, “Have You
Already Been DNA-Tested?”. It
emphasizes that one person’s Y-chromosome DNA represents not only that person,
but also all male-line relatives who descended from that person's earliest known
male-line ancestor. If you have
Internet access, you can read it at http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=10738