Several distinct, unconnected Cooley clans have emerged through DNA testing. For example, at least seven separate DNA signatures are found among the so-called Dutch Cooleys. In fact, the DNA for the Dutch Cools/Kools/Coles has no resemblance to any tested Cooley family.
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This is the Cooley SNP tree as of April 2018.
CF01: Three distinguishable subgroups have emerged from CF01 since about the 17th century. The first I've nicknamed Old CF01 due to the fact that they have Y-STR markers that appear to be slightly older than the others. The second I call New CF01 simply because they have markers that likely emerged more recently. Virtually all of these Cooley testers can be shown to be the descendants of John Cooley (c1738-1811) of Stokes County, North Carolina. The third group is the Whitfields, who are a Y genetic match of New CF01 and are, therefore, also New CF01. The whole of CF01, including the Whitfields, is characterized by the terminal haplogroup R1a-YP4491, which includes SNPs YP4491, YP4492, YP4493, and YP4494, and appears to be of Scots-Norse, possibly Viking, origins. At this writing, none of the Old CF01 members have tested for YP4494 nor have any completed a Big Y test. In all likelihood, the CF01 Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) lived 300-400 years ago.
CF02: This group emerged out of Tring, Hertfordshire, England and nearby regions from about the 1400s. As a whole, they are characterized by haplogroup R1b-A12020, which is comprised of 15 SNPs. The best known Cooley immigrant is Benjamin Cooley, born in Tring in 1615 and died in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1684. The Benjamin subclade is defined by SNPs A12022 and A12024. Only Benjamin's descendants are known to have these, but descendants of his brothers or uncles will likely to turn up eventually. Nehemiah Cooley (c1685-1759) was also of Tring but lacks the Benjamin SNPs and makes up the second Tring subclade. To date, we have only one representive of this group. To our knowledge, none of this clan has shown up in the U.S. The third A12020 group I call the Goshen Cooleys because brothers Abraham and Thaddeus are found in Goshen, Orange County, New York and went south to Virginia. A likely third brother, Jabez, is found with the brothers in Kentucky and later moved into Ohio. A fourth subclade descends from Samuell Coley, also believed to have been born in Tring, but he's not directly related to Benjamin because his descendants lack the Benjamin SNPs and have a fairly high variance among the STRs. The Samuell group is also negative for the Nehemiah and Goshen SNPs. A possible fifth subgroup of the Tring A12020 Cooleys is found in Daniel Cooley (1699-1762) and also of Goshen, NY— I may dub them the Old Goshen Cooleys as they arrived early in Orange County and many of the descendants stayed well into the 19th century. Like the others, the descendants lack the Benjamin SNPs. Further testing is needed to determine any relationship to the Nehemiah or the Goshen brothers. Big Y testing is needed in order to determine any new defining mutations.
CF03: This is a bit of an oddity. The tester is a perfect match to the CF02 STRs but SNP testing puts him in a completely unrelated SNP branch. I can't help but think there was an error somewhere in the testing.
CF04: This group may also have a Norse connection but lack the "New Scandinavian" SNP (L448) of CF01. The presently known terminal SNP is R1a-A12227, but that's based on the results of only one Big Y test. A great deal more testing is needed in order to begin to determine the relationship among the members.
CF06: The two members group claim descent from Peter Cooley of Fredericksburg, Virginia, an indentured servant from the U.K. who had arrived with his family in 1774. Additional testing for this group would be very useful. They're of the rare European haplogroup E-M35.
CF07: I refer to this group as The South Carolina Cluster because of the descent of at least some of the members from John A Cooley (1756-1794) of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Most researchers agree he was the son of John C Cooley (c1725-1767) of Halifax County, NC. And genealogical records suggests that there was a collateral family, that of John Cooley (1734-) of Franklin County, NC, and one STR test results of that lineage confirms there was a relationship. Advanced SNP testing is needed, though, to take it further. Some researchers claim these families are descended from Peter Cooley (1771-1725), but if Peter was indeed a grandson of Samuell Coley (CF02), it's genetically impossible. Genetics does tell us that these Cooleys are of the ancient Clan Colla of Ireland rather than of the Tring Cooleys. The terminal SNP for CF07 is R1b-BY38665.
CF08: This group appears to have arisen from an NPE. John Cooley (1809-1901) was the son of Catherine Burner who later married John Cooley (1758-), an immigrant along with his father Peter Cooley (CF06). The presently-known terminal SNP is R1b-A17249.
CF09: At this writing, the results of a third Big Y test will soon be posted by FTDNA. The most dominant family in this group, which I refer to as the North Carolina Cluster, is James Cooley (1758-1834) and Penelope Gargus. The oldest known family is that for Abraham Cowley (-1753) of Henrico Co, Virginia. We have only one tester for him, however. There are multiple Cooleys and Coleys of the region for whom no genealogical connection can be made. The genetics is there, though, and can, with sifficient testing, connect some dots. I will be posting an article on my blog not long after the new Big Y comes in.
CF10: This clan is presently divided among two early American families, John Cooley (1749-1813) and Abigail Lippincott, and William Cooley (-1817) and Elizabeth Firmin. I would like to surmise that they were brothers but there is no corresponding genealogy evidence, as is the case with the Goshen Cooleys. But this line is important to the whole of Cooley genealogy because it disproves the Dutch Cooley theory of Lura Hamil (1878-1933), both men having figured (erronealously) in her genealogy. To date, at least seven different Y-DNA prints have been implicated that work and none match the Dutch Kools (etc.) of New Amsterdam. To learn something about the relationship between John and William, advanced DNA testing is required. The most recent haplogroup we can assign to CF10 is R1b-FGC3899 (aka R1b-Z246), which is estimated to be about 4000 years old. We have a long way to go to determine the lineage's history. Two non-Cooley STR matches, however, have Big Y tested. Therefore, we have good results with which to compare.
CF12: I know little about this family other than to conclude that it may have ties to James Cooley (c1732-) of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. The three testers are of the major haplogroup I2b.
CF13: The Adair County, Kentucky Cooleys nearly shadowed the movements of the CF01 Cooleys across the country and landed in nearby communities. For that reason, it had long been believed that Daniel Cooley (1765-1826) was a son of John Cooley of Stokes County, North Carolina. It wasn't until 2014 that DNA proved otherwise. Like CF10, their known terminal SNP, R1b-Z16372 in this case, is about 4000 years old. But we have four non-Cooley Big Y tests with which to make comparisons.