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For the Corson Cousins newsletter, January 2013

Corson Surname DNA Project

The project currently has 62 participants, 61 of whom have results.  The most recent results arrived for Division IV, and results are pending for Divisions I, II, IV, VII, and XV.

Recent Results

Division IV

Participant #62 traces descent from Peter Corson (ca. 1660-1731) (son of Caersten Jansen, 1634-ca. 1697) of the Cape May County, New Jersey, Corson family.  His genetic signature matched that of other Division IV descendants and is thus consistent with his documented lineage, giving the project 6 confirmed descendants of Caersten Jansen.  Two descendants each descend in the male line from John Corson (ca. 1660-1728), his brother Peter Corson (ca. 1660-1731), and later descendant William Corson (bef. 1765-aft. 1823) from Cumberland Co., New Jersey.  It still remains unknown whether William Corson descended from John or Peter Corson.

Pending Results

Divisions II, IV, VII, and XV

As mentioned in the previous issue, one goal of the DNA project is to have at least one descendant of each Division tested on the maximum number of STR markers commercially available in a package (currently 111 markers).  To this end, the CCFHA Board agreed in November to purchase “upgrade” DNA tests for individuals from Divisions II, IV, VII, and XV during an end-of-year sale at Family Tree DNA.  Unlike Divisions I and III, these 4 Divisions are not already represented by 111 markers.  Once their results arrive, we will be able to estimate more precisely how closely related each of the Division progenitors was to each other.

Division I

At the same time, a Division I descendant (Participant #22) purchased an upgrade from 67 to 111 markers, which will allow us to look for differences between his genetic signature and that of Participant #1 (me), currently tested to 111 markers.  Although we are 7th cousins, once removed, we show no differences in the 67 STR markers tested to date.

During the same sale, I purchased a different kind of DNA test, one that examines tiny DNA mutations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).  Without going into great detail, a SNP test can identify male-line descendants of a common male ancestor who lived thousands of years ago, which helps to define the area of the world from which their more recent male-line ancestors came (in this case, ancestors of Division I progenitor Cornelius Cursonwhit).  I’ve already tested positive for 3 SNPs, and these, coupled with my 111 STR markers suggested that Division I may also be positive for a SNP called Z253.

Currently, about 100 men have tested positive for Z253.  They trace their male-line ancestries to the British Isles, Scandinavia, France, and Spain, and from their genetic signatures, it has been estimated that their common ancestor lived about 2500 years ago.  Within this group, Division I matches most closely men with the surname Carrucan (Irish, but thought to come from a Viking settlement), Rawlings, and Heffernan.  Thus, testing positive for Z253 would indicate that Cornelius Cursonwhit shared a common male-line ancestor with these men who was born about 500 B.C.E.

As always, you can visit the DNA project website ( to learn more about the project and discover test results between issues of the newsletter.