Cushman (Y-DNA)

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Status summary

Completed as of September 29, 2020:

  • Recruiting direct male-line Cushman descendants for further SNP testing - anyone interested in submitting their DNA for testing should contact Raymond T. Wing (email: wing.genealogist AT gmail DOT com)

Still to do as of August 29, 2020

  • NGS/WGS test multiple Y-DNA descendants of Thomas Cushman to firmly place family clade as well as test descendants to discover any subclades unique to descendants lines


English Ancestry

A wikipedia article on Thomas Cushman stated the family was "Flemish in origin, who with other countrymen came to several regions of England at the invitation of King Edward II around the year 1336. (From Thomas Fuller, Church History of England, 1837.)"

An April 1914 NEHG Register article[1] documents the English ancestry of Thomas Cushman. The article starts with the will of John Crocheman, who apparently never married as he failed to list a wife or children in his will. The will does mention "Johane Crocheman my sister" and "my brother Thomas Crocheman" was primary heir and residual beneficiary.

While not in the Register article, a website[2] states the Cranbrook, Kent parish register has the burial of Thomas Crouchman 14 Jun 1567. This website states his wife was possibly named Joan[3] and they may have had a daughter Anne as well as a son Thomas.

Going back to the Register article, the next generation was Thomas Cowchman/Couchman who originally lived in Hawkhurst, Kent, but was living in Rolveden, Kent in 1578, aged 40 years. This Thomas married Rolvenden, 18 Jul 1568, to Eleanor/Ellen Hubbarde. Thomas' will, dated "Rolvinden" 10 Feb 1585/6 and proved 12 May 1586, listed his children (all under 21): Richard, Robert, and (daughter) Sylvester. The Archdeacons transcripts of the Rolveden parish records records several children for Thomas (but not eldest son Richard). Most of the children (with the exception of Sylvester and Robert) died young. Thomas' widow Ellen married Emanuell Everden at Rolveden on 17 Oct 1587. He was buried there 3 Dec 1589. The widow Ellen married for a third time at Canterbury (License 6 Nov 1593) to Thomas Tilden. A wikipedia article on Robert Cushman states his mother was buried at Ashford, Kent in 1601.[4]

Robert Couchman was baptized at Rolveden 9 Feb 1577/8. He became the first of the family to have his surname spelled Cushman. Robert married twice, first to Sara Reder at St Alphege parish church, Canterbury, 11 Jul 1606. They moved to Holland shortly after their son Thomas was baptized (Feb 1607/8) and Sara died in Leiden, Holland, where she was buried on 11 Oct 1616. Robert then married at Leiden 5 Jun 1617 to Mary (Clarke), widow of Thomas Shingleton of Sandwich, Kent. It appears Robert and his second wife never had any children, and it is likely she died before 1621.[5] Shortly after this second marriage, Robert was picked along with John Carver to be the agents on behalf of the Separatists to negotiate a way to emigrate to the Colony of Virginia. Robert almost certainly intended to emigrate with the other colonists in 1620, but due to the leaky Speedwell which had to be abandoned, Robert was left behind. He did come over on the next ship, the Fortune in 1621, but had to immediately return back to England (to continue negotiations with the Merchant Adventurers). Robert always intended on coming back to the new colony, but died in England and was buried at St. George, Benenden, Kent on 6 May 1625.

First Generation

(Elder) Thomas Cushman was baptized at St. Andrew, Canterbury, Kent on 8 Feb 1607/8, son of (Deacon) Robert Cushman and Sara Reder. The family soon moved to Holland to join the English Separatist movement there. Thomas and his father emigrated to New Plimouth in 1621 aboard the Fortune. Robert had to return back to England (to continue his business dealings with the Merchant Adventurers) and he left his son Thomas under the care of Gov. Bradford. Thomas married Mary Allerton (daughter of Pilgrim Isaac Allerton). The family continued to live in Plymouth, where Thomas was appointed the Ruling Elder of the Congregation (replacing the recently deceased William Brewster) in Apr 1649. Thomas continued to serve as the Elder until his own death, 10-11 Dec 1691 and he was buried on Burial Hill in town. His wife survived until 28 Nov 1699, being the last surviving Mayflower passenger.

Thomas and Mary had eight children: Thomas, Sarah, Mary, Isaac, Elkanah, Fear, Eleazer and Lydia.

Second Generation

Thomas (II) was born about 1637 and died at Plympton 23 Aug 1726. He married twice, first to Ruth Howland (daughter of Pilgrim John Howland) Plymouth 17 Nov 1664. His second marriage was Plymouth 16 Oct 1679.

Thomas had three children by his first wife (one daughter and sons Robert [b. 1665] and Thomas (II) [b. 1670]) and four sons by his second (Job, Bartholomew, Samuel & Benjamin)

Isaac was born 8 Feb 1648/9 and died at Plympton 21 Oct 1732. He married Rebecca Harlow (a great-granddaughter of Pilgrim Richard Warren) about 1675. They had seven children; five daughters and two sons (Isaac & Ichabod)

(Deacon) Elkanah was born 1 Jun 1651 and died at Plympton 4 Sep 1727. He married twice, first Plymouth 10 Feb 1677 to Elizabeth Cole, who died 4 Jan 1681/2. He married second, Plymouth 2 Mar 1682 to Martha Cooke (granddaughter of Pilgrims Francis Cooke and Stephen Hopkins).

Elkanah had three children by his first wife (adaughter and sons Elkanah and Allerton) and five children by his second (three daughters and sons Jacob & Josiah).

Eleazer was born 20 Feb 1656/7 and died after Nov 1733. He Plymouth 12 Jan 1687/8 married Elizabeth Coombs and had eight children; three daughters and five sons (John, James, Moses, Eleazer & William).


  1. New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 68 pp. 181-85 "Genealogical Research in England: Cushman" by Elizabeth French
  3. but it may simply be this is the "Johane Crocheman" mentioned in the will of John Crocheman above.
  4. but it fails to list a source for this burial
  5. As she did not emigrate to New Plimouth with Robert and his son Thomas

DNA results

Previous Y-DNA testing

The Cushman, Couchman surname DNA Project currently lists eight individuals as "Probable Descendants of Robert Cushman, of Kent"[1] All of the testers have only done Y-STR 37 testing to date. FTDNA predicts the family falls under R1b-M269. Plugging in the modal value for the family into the Nevgen Haplogroup Predictor[2] gives a prediction of: R1b DF27>ZZ12>ZZ41 with a 73.3% probability.[3]

Further needed testing

We need additional direct male-line descendants of Thomas Cushman to WGS/NGS test to both confirm the lineage as well as to refine the haplogroup further and delineate descendant clades.

  1. but the STR results appear to have far too wide of a spread (ie some have a GD of 10-12 at 37 markers) for them all to be descendants of Robert Cushman. It is much more likely only five or six of these eight individuals are actual Y-DNA descendants of Robert Cushman.
  2. Not set for ANY specific haplogroup, since we are only dealing with 37 STR markers
  3. The next highest prediction was R1b L21>DF13>CTS1751>Z17966 at 5%, but a 16% chance of it falling into a "unsupported clade".

Summary of findings

References & External Links

  • Cushman, Robert E. and Franklin P. Cole, (rev. 2005 by Judith H. Swann) Robert Cushman of Kent, History and Genealogy 2005, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Plymouth MA
  • Wakefield, Robert S. and Margaret Harris Stover, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations vol. 17 Allerton 1998, reprinted 2015, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Plymouth, MA
  • Roser, Susan E. and Judith A. Swan, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations vol. 12 Cooke 2017 addendum of 1999 2nd Edition, General Society of Mayflower Descendants, Plymouth, MA
  • wikipedia article on Thomas Cushman
  • Cushman English Ancestry
  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register, vol. 68 pp. 181-85 "Genealogical Research in England: Cushman" by Elizabeth French
  • Mayflower Quarterly, Sep 2013, pp. 226- "Robert Cushman, Mayflower Pilgrim in Canterbury 1596-1607" by Robert C. Cushman and Michael R. Paulick
  • Cushman, Joseph Augustine, The First Seven Generations of the Cushman Family in New England, 1964, (Bridgewater or Sharon), MA. Dorr's Print Shop