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For the Corson Cousins newsletter, January 2015

Corson Surname DNA Project

The project currently has 69 participants, 68 of whom have results.

 Pending Results

Division X (possibly Division IV)

Participant #40, with the surname Corson, joined way back in 2008 (see Corson Cousins 28.4), but he passed away soon after, and his DNA sample was discovered to be insufficient for analysis.  Since he was the last male Corson in his family line, his daughter began searching for male-line Corson cousins who could represent the larger branch of the family.  Fortunately, Participant #40 had several male Corson nephews.  Although most of them declined, his daughter found a Corson great-nephew willing to participate.  He has become the new Participant #40.  He traces descent from John Somer Corson (b. 1866, Indiana; d. 1917, San Bernadino, CA).  Research to date tentatively suggests that John Somer Corson may have descended from a Division IV ancestor.

 Existing Results

Division I

I promised in the last issue to tell you more about the results of the “Big Y” SNP test that I took last summer (thanks to some financial support from Division I cousins and the CCFHA). A SNP test examines individual base pairs of one’s genetic code.  The Big Y test examined about 12 million of the approximately 23 million base pairs of my Y chromosome (see Corson Cousins 34.1 for more detail).  Given the relative expense of the test, fewer people have taken it to date, but it has the potential to reveal where male-line ancestors of our Division progenitors lived.  In time, when many more people have taken the test, it may help us identify where Division progenitors themselves lived.

Based on Big Y results, Division I belongs to a genetic group called “BY60” within an older and larger group called “Z253”, whose progenitor is estimated to have been born about 2500 years ago.  Within BY60, Division I matches most closely a man who traces descent from Svend Sivertsen Bøen (c.1617-1701), of Høland, Akershus, Norway (VWVJY at  Other close matches trace descent from Lars Olofsson (b. 1761) of Söne, Sweden; John Heffernan (1790-1836) of Ireland; William Moore (b. 1775) of Bedford Co., PA, and a Samuel Moore (1816-1891).  A somewhat less close match is with men with the surname Carrucan (Irish, but thought to come from a Viking settlement).  You can see a tree comparing SNPs of some of these progenitors by searching for “Cursonwhit” at

Although pointing toward Scandinavia and Ireland, these datapoints are too few to “triangulate” a location or birth century for a common male-line ancestor.  All we can say for now is that these progenitors shared a common male-line ancestor who appears to have been born in northern Europe sometime between 500 BC and 1600 AD.  The more descendants of this ancestor (and of this ancestor’s contemporaries) who test, especially those with male-line genealogies stretching back to pre-modern Europe, the more information we will have with which to estimate a birth year and location for a common ancestor.

Between newsletter issues, project updates can be found at its website: