Source:Fleming, 1971 identifies a large froup of Cowans as descending from "Seven Brothers" whose earliest ancestors are said to have come to America from County Down, Ireland with the so-called "Wigton Walkers, both groups settling in Old Chester, PA. While there are connections between the Wigton Walkers and some lines of Cowans, there is no evidence to show that the Cowans
Nonetheless, there does appear to be a large, possibly inter-related group of Cowans, who settled in Old Augusta, the Carolina Cradle, and in Southwestern Virginia. YDNA evidence (below) shows that some of these Cowan's are in fact closely related. We do not know, in many instances how those relations run. Identifying those relations is a major problem in Cowan genealogy, for which YDNA studies may eventually yield a solution.
Data was extracted from the FTDNA Cowan Project website 18 Augusta 2013. The raw data was processed using the yALL 2.0 program.
Color coding in the above table indicates increasing dissimilarity between kits being compared. Dark brown coded cells indicate kits that showed identical ydna signatures. Dark orange cells show kits that are very similar to each other, with lighter shadings of orange indicating increasing dissimilarity. Cells shaded green are those at the edge of the range of acceptance based on a criteria of 13% dissimilarity. Dark green cells represent the least similar kits still within the acceptance criteria. The blue shaded cells mark the point in the matrix where each kit is being compared with itself; by definition its dissimilarity with itself is "zero". Note that cells with high similarity are considered to have a very high probability that the kits being compared share a common ancestor. As the dissimilarity values increase, the probability that a relatively recent common ancestor is shared, decreases proportionately. While cells shaded green (highest levels of dissimilarity shown) are still considered to have potential for sharing a common common ancestor, the probability that this is the case drops off considerably. In these cases it is quite possibility that these are "false positive" estimates, and in actuality, no common ancestor is shared in a genealogically meaningful timeframe.
Previous assessments of the Seven Brothers lineage, using the yALL 1.0 version of this program, suggested that a substantial number of kits in the Cowan project shared a relatively recent common ancestor. Results above using yALL 2.0, which accounts for differentce in marker specific muatation rates, suggests that while those previously assigned to the Seven Brothers group are probably more closely related to each other than to others in the Cowan project, they probably do not share a relatively recent common ancestor. Instead, we now appear to have three major subgroups: