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For the Corson Cousins newsletter, July 2007

Corson Surname DNA Project

During the last quarter, one participant joined the project and two received DNA results. 

Raisor DNA

Participant #33, with the surname Raisor, received his test results a few months ago.  He wished to test whether he descended from Teunis Corsa (ca. 1702-aft. 1763), grandson of Division II progenitor Jan Corszen (ca. 1649-1703).  According to documentary evidence, Teunis changed his name at one point to “Racer” and bore sons with that surname.  The project has identified the genetic signature of Jan Corszen based on documented genealogies; it belongs to haplogroup I1a.  The participant’s genetic signature belongs to a different haplogroup (R1b), disproving a male-line relationship with Jan Corszen within at least 4000 years.  In contrast, the participant’s genetic signature has close matches (and one perfect 43-marker match) with men with the Osburn(e) surname.  At least one Osburne traces his male-line ancestry to England; thus, it is possible that the Raisor participant also may find his male-line ancestors there. 

DNA Storage

Participants who test with the labs Relative Genetics (most project participants) or FamilyTree DNA (a few project participants) will have their DNA stored for 20 years in laboratory freezers by default (unless a participant requests having his sample destroyed).  This “banking” of DNA is very useful for performing additional future tests, which are continually improving.  Testing additional markers on the Y chromosome can indicate with greater precision how closely two men may be related.  For example, based on average mutation rates, a perfect match on 43 markers indicates a relationship 1-10 generations in the past, while a perfect match on 67 markers would indicate a relationship within 1-8 generations.  In some cases, this extra degree of precision becomes important.

It is also possible to store DNA at home.  Kits selling currently for about $10 allow individuals to store saliva samples (containing buccal epithelial cells that contain the DNA) on special index cards.  They provide very basic DNA storage that can be used for future genealogical or even medical tests.  If you’d like more information about them, write me or visit this website: 

Corson DNA from Canada

Participant #34, with the surname Corson, joined the project and received his results recently.  He documents descent from Daniel Corson (1763-1849), who moved from Sussex County, NJ, to Ontario, Canada after the Revolutionary War.  The participant’s genetic signature matched almost exactly (41-42 markers out of 43) that of 3 other Corson participants (#7, 9, and 27) whose documented genealogies merge at an ancestor named Benjamin Corssen (1686-1740), documented grandson of the Division III progenitor, Cors Pieterszen (1612-1655). 

Thus, these results indicate that the participant and his documented ancestor Daniel Corson are related in some way to Benjamin Corssen.  Until and unless we can find documentary evidence, however, we won't know whether Daniel Corson was a direct descendant of Benjamin Corssen or one of his cousins. 

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