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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - February/March 2003
Cooper Family Research Program

Have you been contacted about, or are you already a part of, or do you have living COOPER surnamed males who are already members of the Male COOPER Surname Reconstruction Project, aka Male Cooper DNA Group (MCDNAG)? If not, you/they are definitely great candidates to participate. The Y-chromosome test is best for this purpose as it remains in the DNA of males surnamed Cooper relatively unchanged for 500 years or more.

I'll give you some background, it's lengthy but important:

At the beginning we only had 6 participants in the group. That is the minimum Family Tree DNA ( likes to work with to give the special reduced group rate. The test is a simple inside-the cheek swab with a little instrument that looks like a cross between a cotton swab and a tiny toothbrush. It is completely painless and only gathers skin cells from there, no blood is drawn or submitted.

These six men, surnamed Cooper, who had no idea if they were related to each other or not, but seeking DNA matches so as to determine if any of these 6 lines were related. Hopefully some matches would surface and those who matched could benefit from each other's research, or at least be pointed in
the right direction for further research.

I had suspected that I might be related to one of the six, Hiram "Ben" Cooper, of Bella Vista, Arkansas, (the new Group Administrator) because the name "Fleet" occurred in my family a number of times. I knew that Ben had volumes of paper trail on his line, descended from Fleet Cooper, Sr., but I had nothing that could confirm mine other than a hunch. Ben and I were the first two of the six to come up matching what is called 12 of 12 markers, a perfect match, indicating that we had a 99.9% probability of sharing a common ancestor! We were notified by email, who our match was, along with the matching person's email address. We opted to go for the 25-marker refinement of our results, and matching again, we nailed down our common ancestor as having been no further than approximately 7 generations back. Additional census information surfaced and I found my g-g-g-grandfather in a neighboring county to where I live now, who turned out to be a grandson of Fleet Cooper, Sr. and a cousin to Ben's g-g-g-grandfather.

The group now has 38 participants enrolled, and some of them are still awaiting the test results. I believe the process has identified about 15 separate lines of Coopers. Of these there are at least three lines that have two or more matches, some to the surprise of the participants. So now those in these three lines know they are genetically related, and through sharing of research, may round out or fill out missing pieces of their respective puzzles.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing, please contact the Group Administrator, H. Ben Cooper at, and he will be more than happy to answer further questions and help you in joining this growing group.

Neither Ben nor FTDNA will not breach confidentiality. FTDNA does make contact between participants who have exact marker matches, 12 and/or 25, and have signed and returned the Release Form, but they let them further the contact between each other. They merely give email addresses, no personal information or addresses.

In addition, there is a website under development by the Group Administrator (Ben) which will show the overall progress of the program. Again, the identity of each individual will be keep secure and a code used which is unique to each person on the website. The link is:

I know this has been L-O-N-G, but I hope it sparks an interest in soliciting participants in the exciting technology, relatively new to genealogy, but gathering a huge following.

Sincerest Best Regards,

Gary W. Cooper

Return to Feb/Mar 2003 Index


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