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McCool Name Study - Y-DNA Test Results

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Surnames/tags: McCool McCoole
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This research is part of the McCool Name Study.

Every new McCool Y-DNA test result adds a great deal of information to what we know (or think we know) about the various McCool lines. Some test results flesh out our existing McCool knowledge - while others require us to go back to the drawing board and fix assumptions that turn out to be wrong.

It turns out the early McCool genealogy is quite difficult. Many McCools carry identical names. Records, where they exist at all, are often inconclusive. While it's interesting to know that a John McCool bought a piece of property, was he 25 years old at the time? 60? Were two different properties bought by the same John McCool or two different men?

Wills are one of the most valuable tools for researchers, but early McCools bestowed legacies to their children while they were still alive. The children were often not listed in the will.

Y-DNA tests prove absolutely that two matching men share a common direct paternal-line ancestor (son to father to grandfather...) - but they don't identify who that common ancestor was. It's a great sign (but not proof) when matching Y-DNA results support the paper trails. If the Y-DNA results don't support the paper trails, though, it proves absolutely that (at least) one of the paper trails is wrong.

Unfortunately, we only have a small set of McCool Y-DNA tests in the world. Here's where we are as of May 2023 (each discussed in detail below):

Three clearly unique lines with a total of 15 tests:

  • Potential Toberhead McCool Line 1: nine matching tests, including three Big Y-700, one Y-111, three Y-67, and two Y-37. Current haplogroups are split between R-FT256460 (1 test) and its subclade R-FT303841 (2 tests).
  • Potential Toberhead McCool Line 2: two matching Big Y-700 tests. Adding the second Big Y test advanced the haplogroup from R-FGC11674 to R-FTC4736.
  • Venango Co PA Line: four matching tests, including two Y-67 and two at Y-37. Unknown I-P37 haplogroup.

Two County Donegal lines with 6 tests:

  • Donegal Line 1, NYC: three matching tests: Y-67, Y-37, and Y-12. Unknown R1b haplogroup; all three testers are closely related.
  • Donegal Line 2, Liverpool: three matching tests: Big Y-700, two Y-111s. R-FT385091 haplogroup; all three testers are closely related.

Four singleton lines - no McCool-surname matches:

  • Tyrone Co Line: one Y-111 test. Unknown R1b haplogroup.
  • Possible Donegal-Canada Line: one Big Y-700 test.
  • Possible Benjamin C McCool line: one Y-67 test. Unknown I-M253 haplogroup
  • Unknown McCool line: Unknown R1b haplogroup


Toberhead McCool Line

Early Toberhead McCoole-McCool Men

Potential Toberhead McCool Line 1

Nine matching tests: We had the most early Y-DNA tests in this line - which has been supplemented by several more. We thought the line was well-researched and that new tests would simply confirm what we knew. That's not what is taking place.

The good news is that we've gone from four matching Y-DNA tests to six and now nine (including three Big Y-700 tests). The more interesting news is that we now have two other tests - tests that match each other but don't match the nine - for men that we previously believed were members of this line. We're calling those two results "Potential Toberhead McCool line 2."

This means that at least one set of our Toberhead paper trails is wrong. That begs the question: which set of matches descends from John McCoole Sr? The large group of nine matching men? Or the new matching group of two? Neither one? For now, we'll assume it's the group of nine. But this highlights the need for more Y-DNA tests (especially Big Y tests) from descendants of John Sr's younger sons. Will they match to the nine - or the two? Or perhaps even to another McCool line?

Because many of these men are not closely related, we're confident that their common ancestor was born in the late 1600s or early 1700s.

Line 1 Big Y-700 Tests

Of the nine Y-DNA tests, three were Big Y-700 tests:

  • FTDNA kit# B141731
  • FTDNA kit# 926286

Both men have solid paper trails to their "McCool Generation 7" ancestors [need to add explanation later].

Potential Toberhead McCool Line 2

Two matching tests: We originally believed that Archibald McCool, who died in the Battle of Charleston in 1780, was the great-grandson of John McCoole Sr. When his Y-DNA-tested descendant didn't match the previous six (at the time) presumed-Toberhead Y-DNA tests, we knew we needed more testing. Was Archibald (or one of ancestors) adopted? Born out of wedlock? Part of an untested McCool line?

Because these men are not closely related, we're confident that their common ancestor was born in the late 1600s or early 1700s.

Donegal Lines

We have two County Donegal lines, with three matches each; the two lines are definitely not related to each other.

Unfortunately, the three matching men in each grouping are very closely related (within that grouping). Until we find a distant McCool cousin(s) who matches to one of the groupings, these matches tell us very little other than the men (in each group) share a great-grandfather (or similar ancestor).

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Categories: McCool Name Study