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My name is Michael Cooley. The arts were my principle life's motivation during my later childhood and early adult years. I played the drums for eleven years and performed in thirty some-odd plays. Like so many of my generation, I traveled the country, played the guitar, and scribbled poetry for a year or so. After returning to Long Beach, California, I studied computer programming at Control Data Institute in 1971 and '72 but ended up piddling around with photography and staring for ten years at an artist's easel — generally living a casual, Bohemian lifestyle.

I moved to Santa Cruz, California (from Long Beach) on June 11, 1975.

My grandmother gave me a copy of The Harts of Randolph (an expert account of the descendants of signer John Hart) sometime in the late 1970s. Although I found the connections the author made between our family and others rather suspicious, I quickly discovered the local genealogy collection from whence I set out to prove or disprove the veracity of the author's claims. I was hooked. (Click here to see my ahnentafel.)

Running became a big part of my life beginning in 1994. That was a surprise to me—and to my friends and family—as I had never been athletic. (I'd always gotten C's and D's in P.E. class.) The benefits to my health were enormous, but a torn disk and CAD (etc., etc.) ended my running "career" in 2006.

I began publication of The Pettit Correspondent in 1988 and took up computer programming again. Publication of the National Queries Forum began in 1989 after leaving my management job at the Nickelodeon Theatres in Santa Cruz (now owned by Landmark Theatres). NQF was sold to another publisher in the summer of 1994 and Genealogy Online hit the Net in November of that year. After a great deal of development and exposure, I sold the website to Rootsweb in March, 2000. (They later sold the whole shebang to, which has not done justice to their great many aquisitions.) I was the technical support manager for zNET Internet Services (now defunct) for five years beginning in 1995 and joined (now MegaPath) in July 2000 managing its "legacy" technical support department (read There I performed the standard 9 to 5 until being laid off (along with the rest of the Santa Cruz office) only one week before my first anniversary date. Over the next five and a half years I worked at Cruzio and served on the Santa Cruz Track Club's board of directors from 1998 to about 2002, for which I hosted and maintained the club's web page for several years. Intermittent work began with Santa Cruz County Elections between January, 2008 and June 2009. Then it was back to the "board room" for three years with the Cooley Family Association of America (2011-2014).

The economy collapsed and I moved in with my sister and her family in Humboldt county, California, parking the moving van in their driveway on July 3, 2009. School finally beckoned again and I received two A.A. degrees from College of the Redwoods and a B.A. in history from Humboldt State University. In December 2017, I earned an MA in English (with an emphasis on creative nonfiction writing) from Southern New Hampshire University. From 2012 to 2018 I worked as an instructor for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at HSU offering classes in genealogy, genetic genealogy, history, and cinema. I'm also the admin for seventeen DNA projects through FamilyTreeDNA, three of which have discussion groups on Facebook: the Worldwide Cooley Y-DNA Project, the Pettit-Mellowes Y-DNA Project, and the R1a-YP4248 Subclade Project. I began blogging on the subject in April 2016 about the time I wrote a suite of perl scripts that parses SAM files, spitting out both known and novel SNPs. . . . Really, this is good stuff. :-)

I've lived in Santa Rosa, California since Tuesday, April 30, 2019, and returned to giving presentations about genetic genealogy, first to the Sonoma County Genealogical Society and then for another's class through Santa Rosa College's Older Adults Program. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has upset future plans. In the meantime, my continued frustration with FTDNA's deepening affection for its continual reduction of access to pertinent data for volunteer admins has caused me to build offsite homes for my projects. Of particular interest is the R1a-YP4248 Subclade Project, an umbrella haplogroup for a growing list of surnames, including Cochran, Cooley, Coombs, Cummings, Gray, Hackett, Mann, Rankin, Sample, Story, and Whitfield.

More than you will ever care to know. -->

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