DNA Real-World Examples........
DNA & Genealogy: A real-world example
So you are a genealogist, have encountered that inevitable “brick-wall”, & are at your wits-end. You’ve pounded your fists, raised your arms to the sky, and yelled “Cook(e)/Koch!? It may as well be ‘Smith’! What now!!??” I’ve been there. And then I found “Y-Chromosome DNA”. The great thing about Y-Chr. DNA is that it parallels our genealogical paper trails. Like the records you’ve poured over,Y-Chr. DNA passes from grandfather to father to son, just as genealogy follows the paternal surnames. But, practically speaking, does it work? YES!
Example #1: Adding Further Proof of Paper-Trail Theories: John Cooke died in Cumberland County, VA in 1775. I had longsuspected that William Cook(e), a neighbor & fellow patentee of 24 March 1740, was a relative, a brother, of my John Cooke. I had ample deed & landgrant evidence for each, plus I had accounts from the records of the store of Thomas Partridge, Hanover County, VA, that listed “William Cook”, “your brother John Cook”, & “your son Claten”. I found Edgar Forrest Cook of Louisiana. He was descended, per paper trial, from a “Clayton Cooke” of Virginia. He was tested, I was tested, and we matched! Further, we added additional evidence through the test that our assertion that Abraham Cooke married Martha Clayton, & that William & John were sons, was probably true.
Example #2: Different Surname Matches- Michael Williams was tested in the “Williams DNA Project” and his results we reposted. I was tested in the Cook(e)/Koch Project”, and my results were posted (R1b-LINEAGE 2, John Cooke). FTDNA contacted the two of us by email: we matched. However, a disclaimer was also posted (paraphrased): “matches between different surnames likely represented a Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) before the emergence of surnames, about 1000+ years ago” Not very useful in common genealogical pursuits, huh?
Let’s face it:we ARE related to other males with differing surnames. For example, say that, 1000+ years ago, Thomas the millwright of Green Acres had 3 sons: John, the “cooper”, Robert the “blacksmith”, & James “the cook”. Potentially, Thomas “MILLER” had sons John COOPER, Robert SMITH, & James COOK.
But there was more to the Williams-Cooke match than meets the eye……… After further digging,and much correspondence, I learned the following: Michael Williams was descended from Jacob Marion Williams, eldest son of Phillip Williams & Catherine Miller. The couple resided, for a short time, in Botetourt County,Va. “Botetourt? (pronounced ‘Bot-eh-tot’)”. That sounded familiar, somehow. So I learned more. Jacob had brothers, and descendents of those brothers were also tested in the Williams DNA Project. HOWEVER, their DNA results did NOT match Michael’s, though they did match each other’s. The same male did NOT father Jacob as these brothers! I visited the Botetourt courthouse. I found Millers,Williams, and a few Cooks. And then it hit me: William Cooke of Prince Edward County, VA was listed on a deed, ca1830, in which he deeded his interest in his father’s estate to brother John Cooke III. On that deed, William was listed as“OF BOTETOURT COUNTY”! (William’s father was John Cook, Jr (d1801). And this John Cook, “jr” was a son of MY John Cooke, “Sr” of Cumberland County, VA).
No, the DNA results do not prove relationships (cousin, brother, uncle), but they DO prove relatedness. Did William Cooke of Prince Edward father that first Williams child? Did the Williams family adopt “Jacob”? We may never know. But Michael Williams is a “DNA COUSIN”.
The Cook(e)/Koch DNA Project has connected me with multiple Cooke cousins, a Williams cousin, numerous other “different surname” cousins, and, a “Johnson” cousin (his father was adopted). We haven’t sorted the paper trails, yet, but we are much closer to expanding, greatly, this Cook(e) family tree.
Further, we know from mismatches in the Project (lines that do not match ours) that pursuing this line or that line is now fruitless. Think of the times you’ll save!!
Jim Cooke, Admin, Cook(e)/Koch DNA Project
Genealogists will tell you that there were 4 major Cook(e)/Koch lines that settled in Virginia in the 17th & 18th centuries:
1. Cookes of Gloucester, VA-progenitor, Mordecai Cooke of “Mordecai’s Mount” (tested and more below)
2. Cook(e)s of Isle of Wight-Surry, VA- progenitorin Virginia: William Cooke, Sr. (tested and more below)
3. Cook(e)s of Loudoun-Fairfax, VA- progenitor, Dr. Stephen Cooke
4. Kochs of Germanna, VA – a German line whose settlement was established by Gov. Alexander Spottswood of VA.
Other lines also existed, certainly, and manylines passed through Virginia, but the above 4 lines tend to be those from whichothers try to prove descent.
Some of these other lines include (earliest “father” shown):
*Shem Cookes & John Cook(e)s of Amelia County, VA (brothers) - thought by some to descend from the"Gloucester" line of Mordecai Cooke;
*Abraham Cooke, Sr. of New Kent-Hanover (believed he married Martha Clayton) & the Cookes of Cumberland County,VA –although descent from a particular line was unproved, most paper trails seemed to lead to “Gloucester”.
Use of the DNA Kits offered by the Cook-Cooke-Koch DNA Project, and the posted results thereon, has helped to untangle these lines and to dispel much of the “assumption” that has occurred over the years in Virginia Genealogy; particularly, that they were all related to and descended from Mordecai Cooke the Immigrant of Gloucester Co, VA.
We can NOW say, based on the results and the paper trails of the participants, that Lineage 2 & Lineage 3 are NOT related to one another and are NOT descended from Mordecai. Further, neither are they related to the Cookes from Isle of Wight.
So, these are the specific, distinct lineages discovered and confirmed via Y-DNA testing:
1. R1b-LINEAGE 3: Descendants of Shem Cooke & descendants of John Cooke were tested.
These participants are related, and the belief that John & Shem were brothers (or at least related) appears to be confirmed.
2. R1b-LINEAGE 2: Descendants of John Cooke of Cumberland, VA (d1775) & a descendant of Clayton Cooke [son of William Cooke (d ca1750) of St Martin’s Parish, Hanover, VA] were tested. Their results confirmed their relatedness. It further confirmed the belief that (i) John Cooke & Clayton Cooke were related; (ii)appears to confirm the belief that Abraham Cooke married Martha Clayton and that John & Clayton were related to the couple. NOTE: Descendants of three ‘believed” sons of Abraham & Martha have been tested and do indeed match each other.
3. I2b-LINEAGE 1: Multiple descendants of Mordecai Cooke of Gloucester, VA have been tested, to include a participant with a direct, unbroken paper trail (a lineage also shown in the book by William Carter Stubbs). All match one another. IN FACT, this lineage from Gloucester County, VA also matches a participant who claims descent from Francis Cooke of The Mayflower!! This was an unexpected finding.
NOTE: Because The Gloucester Line is well-documented, and therefore a major line, many researchers set out to prove descent from Mordecai Cooke. It is always possible that the paper trail is flawed.
4. I1-LINEAGE 1 & 1a: Descendants of Richard Cooke of Bristol, England, thought to be the English “father” of the Cookes that went to Isle of Wight-Surry, VA, were tested. Their results confirmed that they were indeed related to one another.