Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Causer, Causier, Cawser, Corsair, Corsar, Courser
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/public/corser
Contact: Mr William Corser
I started to research my Family Tree in 1969, after the birth of our first daughter, but soon ran into the dreaded 'brick wall', and put the little I had found to one side. Twenty five years later, that same daughter gave me some genealogy software for my birthday, and I started again. With the sources now available, and with a little luck, I broke through the wall and made definite progress. As there were several spelling variations used for my family in various records, I began to gather all instances of my names in the hope of finding more of my family members. It wasn't long before I realized I was well on the way to a One Name Study - and the rest is history.
My One Name Study Objectives are:
The main variants covered by my One Name Study are:
Dictionaries of surname origins tend only to cover Corser, giving it as an occupational name for a dealer in horses. The connection with horses stems from the Latin root 'currere' which gave the Latin 'cursor' for runner, and the family name of the 'Cursores'. The Latin words were carried across into Italian and French. In Italian there was 'corsa' for a course and 'corsiere' for a courser or horse. In Old French there was 'corsier' or 'coursier', meaning a steed, 'corsour' meaning running, and Le Corsour was a name for a horse-dealer.
There is a section on my web site dealing in depth with the derivation of the names in my One Name Study.
In England Corser and Causer were found mainly in Shropshire and south Staffordshire, although there were occurrences in Worcestershire and Warwickshire. Cawser was mainly found in a restricted area of Staffordshire bounded by Stafford, Lichfield and Burton-on-Trent. Causier was most often found in Worcestershire.
Corser and Causer also appeared in Scotland, while occurences of Corsar and Corsair were more frequently found there. These names appeared mainly in Aberdeenshire, Stirlingshire and East Lothian.
In North America the Corser name became established very early on in New Hampshire. The spelling variant Courser became used in some branches of this family, particularly in Vermont and Quebec.
Several Corser families emigrated to Australia in the early and mid nineteenth century, and became established in Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Causer became established in New South Wales.
At the present day the names are found in most counties of England and Scotland, and in many states of the USA as well as in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
My web site has maps showing the distribution of several of the names at different periods.
I have over 125,000 entries in my One Name Study, taken from the IGI world-wide, British BMD Indexes, Scottish Church Records, the VRI disks sold by the LDS, census returns, parish records and many other sources.
I have been successful in finding traces of ancestors for people in the UK, Australia, the USA and Canada. If you think I may be able to help find someone you are searching for I will be happy to try to find references to them in the sources I have to hand. Let me have as much information as possible, including full names, dates and places for the person or family you are looking for, plus any parents, children or spouses you may have discovered. If you contact me by post and want a reply by the same means, an IRC or sae would be appreciated.
I have started a DNA Project for the names in my study with the American company Family Tree DNA, and males bearing the names are invited to join the project by donating a sample of their DNA. So far 8 Corsers have joined the Project, as well as two Causers and one Courser, and there are also three members with associated family links. I would like to have Cawser and Corsar members as well, to see if there is any cross-over between the names. There are instances of Causer, Cawser, and Corser in the same area, so it would be very useful to compare DNA for both names. The URL for more information is in the Links section - the donor deals directly with the company.
Core surnames covered by the Project are: Causer, Causier, Cawser, Corsair, Corsar, Corser, Courser
Exploratory surnames (ie those which might be variants of or have evolved from the core surnames): Causzar, Cauzer, Cauzier, Coarser, Corsaw, Corsor, Cousar, Couser, Cowser, Curser.
My One Name Study web site can be found at
Details of my DNA Project can be found at
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: