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McCool Name Study - 2023 Y DNA Testing Campaign

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
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Surnames/tags: McCool McCoole
Profile manager: Kevin Ireland private message [send private message]
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You're a McCool/McCoole if:

  • Your surname was McCool when you were born
  • You have an ancestor named McCool
  • You married a McCool
  • You (or an ancestor) were adopted by, or born out of wedlock to, a McCool
  • ...or you are connected to a McCool family in any way by birth, marriage, or upbringing.

It turns out, though, that there are multiple, biologically-unrelated McCool lines in the world. Many of us are interested in identifying the line to which we're most closely connected.

Based on results from the limited number of McCool Y-DNA tests taken to date, we've found that some of the well-accepted McCool lines contain errors. For example, there are two different groups of McCool men whose paper trails show that they are "Toberhead" McCools. Both of the McCool lines have multiple matches within the lines going back to the 1700s - but don't match to each other. Additional Big Y DNA tests should help us unravel many of this puzzle - and help us solve others.

For this reason, we're excited to announce the 2023 McCool Y-DNA test campaign. Starting mid-November until 31 December, we will try to increase the number of McCool Y-DNA tests by 50 to 100%.


Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Q: Who can test? A: We need Y-DNA tests from male McCool or McCooles (must be the biological son of a male McCool(e), grandson of a male McCool, and so on.) Note that if the tester is the descendant of a female McCool (or a male non-McCool) anywhere in his paternal line, his Y-DNA test will show matches to his non-McCool's male line and won't help our McCool research.
  2. Q: Which Y-DNA test will be purchased? A: Our primary goal is to increase the number of McCool Big Y-700 tests. This will improve our understanding of the different McCool lines of descent. However, we will purchase Y-37 tests upon request that will simply verify that a tester is or is not a match to a previously-tested McCool.
  3. Q: When will the test be purchased? A: After we've identified a suitable tester and test level, we will typically wait until the next FTDNA sale to purchase a test. There are usually 4-5 sales across the calendar year. Any excess funds after purchase will be applied to other McCool tests.
  4. Q: How will my donation be spent? A: We will make every effort to apply your donation as you direct. Please contact us in advance to ensure that we understand your research goals. If we haven't been able to find a suitable tester by the end of the calendar year, we will apply your donation to test an individual as closely aligned to your request as possible.
  5. Q: Can I simply buy my own Y-DNA test? A: Absolutely. It helps a lot when people can pay the entire cost of their test. Purchase the test directly from FamilyTreeDNA at https://www.familytreedna.com/. Please buy a Big Y-700 test if you can justify the cost, otherwise the Y-37 is a great entry-level test. Important: Please let Kevin Ireland know if you buy a test so we can minimize the purchase of unneeded overlapping tests. He can also inform you of any coupon codes that provide a purchase discount.

Y-DNA Background

Why Y-DNA?

Because every male inherits their entire Y-chromosome from their father, the Y-DNA information is passed mostly unchanged (on the direct paternal line) for many hundreds (to multiple thousands) of years. Minor copying errors are introduced about once every 83 years that can be tracked using today's Y-DNA technology. Those errors, called mutations or variants, are then passed down to all subsequent male descendants. We use these variants to estimate how closely Y-DNA tested men are related to their Y-DNA matches.

Every Y-DNA-tested male shares a common ancestor with his matches. The stronger the match, the most recent the common ancestor.

Surnames in the modern era are usually inherited the same way as the Y chromosome. This makes a Y-DNA test a great option to support (even if not fully prove) a paper trail to a common ancestor (such as McCool or McCoole).

Who should take a Y-DNA test?

Women inherit an 'X' chromosome from their father instead of a 'Y', so they can't take a Y-DNA test themselves (they have to rely on a test from a close male relative such as a father, brother, paternal uncle, or male McCool cousin).

In a perfect world where funds were unlimited, every male would test. More practically, we'd love to have one Y-DNA test from a male-line descendant of every male McCool born anywhere in the world about 1800. Ideally, that test would be a Big Y-700 test so we can determine about where each McCool line branched off from every other one.

Which Y-DNA test should I take?

There are two types of Y-DNA tests: STR tests, like Y-37 and Y-111 - and SNP tests like Big Y-700 (which also includes a Y-111 test). All of them confirm if matches share a common paternal-line ancestor, but higher-resolution (and more expensive) tests give a better indication of how closely two matches are related.

If you can justify the expense of a Big Y-700, that's what we most need. It still can't "prove" which of two brothers (or first cousins) who lived in 1750 was the common ancestor - but it is the only test that can narrow it down to a few possibilities.

How much does a Y-DNA test cost?

FamilyTreeDNA sells the tests year-round at a "regular" price, and then usually holds 4 to 5 sales per year. Historically, the best prices are found during the Nov/Dec holiday sale and during the RootsTech Conference in March (coupon code required). Other sales are slightly higher. Contact Kevin Ireland for the current coupon codes (if any).

While there's no guarantee of future sale prices, here's what we're likely to see:

Test Level Regular Price Usual Sale Price Holiday Sale or March
Y-37 $119 $109 $79 to $99
Y-111 $249 $219 $199
Big Y-700 $449 $399 $379

Regular and sales prices are in US dollars. Customers anywhere in the world can purchase at the same price (unless legally restricted by their home country).

There is a one-time shipping charge (which includes pre-paid sample return if you live in the US) of $9.95. Outbound shipping for international customers is also $9.95, but they must purchase return shipping independently from their local shipper. International customers, especially those who live in Australia, should read the International Shipping Information carefully.

Please verify all costs and international terms before ordering as they are subject to change.

Testers who take a lower-level test such as Y-37 can upgrade to Big Y-700 later and get a partial credit for their initial purchase. No shipping charge is levied on upgrades.

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Categories: McCool Name Study