Y DNA Test not part of AncestryDNA

Yesterday I came very close to ordering a DNA test from Ancestry.com, assuming that it would include Y Chromosome  test results.

Before clicking the button to place the order, I decided to phone their 800 number to verify that the test would include a Y Chromosome haplogroup if the person being tested is a male.

Unfortunately, Ancestry doesn’t offer a Y DNA test. Fortunately, I phoned before placing the order. Ancestry’s test is an “autosomal” DNA test. According to the customer support person I spoke with,  it uses the other 22 pairs of chromosomes, but not the X and Y chromosomes.

Why Y DNA?

For many individuals desiring to know their roots, an autosomal DNA test might be helpful. However, the Y Chromosome DNA test is particularly helpful for a Whipple trying to learn if they are descended from Captain John Whipple of Providence, RI or instead from the Ipswich, MA or Bocking/Bishops Stortford, England Whipples (Thomas Whipple or his great grandsons Matthew or John.)

Worth noting:

  • A “large” number of male Whipples that know they descend from Captain John of RI have taken the Y DNA test and found that they are in haplogroup R1b1b2.
  • Most male Whipples who know they descend from the Ipswich Whipples are in haplogroup I2b1. One who “assumes” he is an Ipswich Whipple based on records research has learned he is in haplogroup T.
  • If you are a male with surname Whipple with a missing link in your patrilineal Whipple line, a Y DNA test will tell you one of three things:
    1. You are a biological descendant of Capt. John of Providence if your haplogroup is R1b1b2 …
    2. You are a biological descendant of the Ipswich Whipples if your haplogroup is I2b1 …
    3. You are descended from some other Whipple line, or an adoption, illegitimate link may exist.

So a Y DNA test isn’t guaranteed to pinpoint your Whipple ancestry, but it might (in case 1 or 2 above) help prune your tree of possible ancestors.

Where to get a Y DNA test

I purchased my test from Family Tree DNA (ftdna.com) several years ago for less than $100. I just checked their web site, and at the time of this writing their cheapest Y DNA test is $169. In the past, they have periodically offered tests for considerably less than that. (I recommend waiting for a “special.”)

What if you are female?

Females don’t have a Y chromosome. However, their brothers, uncles and male cousins do. If one of them is surnamed Whipple and a patrilineal descendant of an incomplete Whipple line, you can invite them to have a Y DNA test.

If you have additional facts about DNA testing that I’m missing, please email me at webmaster@whipple.org!

Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in DNA Testing

Last evening I spoke briefly with a friend of mine who is a genetics professor at a local university. I asked him in passing if I’m missing anything new in genealogical DNA since I first read about Y DNA and mtDNA. He responded with the following in an email:
Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP’s) are now becoming the most commonly diagnosed markers for molecular genealogy due to sheer numbers and relative ease/low cost of doing the assays.  23andme is the biggest SNP analyzing company and they have a huge database (800,000+) of clients they have surveyed with over 900,000 genome-wide markers (not just on the Y and mtDNA).
Unlike Y DNA tests I’ve seen, which test fewer than 100 “markers” for $100 or less, (he writes that):
A simple saliva test for 900,000+ markers by 23andme now costs just $99.
Also, rather than be limited to a single chromosome (like the Y chromosome) …
… you can trace chromosome segments on the 22 pairs of non-sex chromosomes around in extended families.
As I learn more about SNP, I’ll blog some more.

DNA Tests for Female Whipples?

A female cousin asked the following question on the Whipple Website Facebook Group:

If I did a dna test for ancestry.com is there a way match dna on your dna site?

With my limited experience in my own DNA tests and reading Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree (Rodale, 2004, ISBN 1-59486-006-8), I replied as follows (edited):

My experience with DNA testing at Whipple.org is limited to Y Chromosome DNA tests. Because only biological males have Y chromosomes–and since (historically and traditionally) most American children have taken the surname of their father, the Y chromosome DNA test has (serendipitously?) ended up being a convenient way for two living males with identical surnames to determine if they might share a common ancestor who has the same surname.

Since (I’m guessing that) you are a female, it would follow that you probably have two X chromosomes (rather than one X and one Y chromosome found in males). WIthout knowing details of your DNA test, I can’t comment on how to match your DNA. (The DNA tests described at http://dna.whipple.org are Y chromosome DNA tests only.)

All is not lost, however. If you have a living brother, male cousin, or uncle with surname Whipple–and if you are certain that you share a common ancestor with him–you can pay for his Y chromosome DNA test to find his Y-chromosome haplogroup and see if it is one of those described (so far) on the home page of the new http://dna.whpple.org site.

For females, the mitochondrial DNA test is a way for living females to determine if they share a common female ancestor. I haven’t thought this one through completely, but I suppose that, if you have a matrilineal female ancestor who you are *certain* is a biological child of a Whipple father–and if that female ancestor has a brother with living patrilineal descendants–you can conclude (but not with 100% certainty) that you are a descendant of a known Whipple.

DNA testing–and genealogical research in general–can be “dangerous.” Take (for example) the Ipswich Whipples: Most of their assumed patrilineal descendants report being in the T or T1 haplogroup. I know of one person in the I2b1 haplogroup. Well, guess what: Somewhere in the string of male ancestors of the Whipple in the I2b1 haplogroup, there was an adoption, and extramarital affair, or some other circumstance that resulted in a non-Whipple father. This can prove devastating to a male living Whipple who has assumed something for his whole life.

Fortunately, the Whipple Website isn’t limited to biological Whipples. It is for ANYONE named Whipple (first, middle or family name), as well as ANY descendant (adopted or otherwise), as well as their spouse(s) and spouses’ parents. … and the Whipple Website doesn’t (intentionally) let its descendancy lines “daughter out” through name changes at the time of marriage.

I hope none of these ramblings have offended anyone They MIGHT touch on sensitive (and PRIVATE) subjects. I apologize in advance if they offend anyone. (Whew!)

One more thing: I shouldn’t have jumped to a conclusion regarding the Ipswich Whipple haplogroups. It MIGHT be that the T and T1 (rather than the I2b1) descendants have a non-biological father-son relationship somewhere–or maybe even BOTH haplogroups have a non-biological father-son relationship … somewhere. That’s what makes DNA research so interesting … and embarrassing … and personal … (and private).

Another Whipple in DNA Haplogroup T

This past week I received another email from a patrilineal Whipple descendant whose Y chromosome DNA shows him in the T haplogroup.

Thus far, all but one patrilineal descendant of the Ipswich/Bocking/Bishop’s Stortford have reported being members of the T haplogroup. (Descendants of the Rhode Island Whipples have been members of the R1b or R1b1b2 haplogroup).

If you are stuck trying to decide between two candidate Whipple ancestors living in the same geographical area–one an Ipswich Whipple descendant and the other a Rhode Island Whipple descendant–a Y DNA test might help you choose between the two candidates.

If you are a male with surname Whipple and your Whipple ancestry follows the fathers’ lines back to the most distant known Whipple, a Y DNA test might prove to be a tie breaker in choosing between two possible ancestors.

If you are a female Whipple and have a brother or Whipple cousin, try to encourage them to have a Y DNA test. (All it takes is four swabs from inside the mouth, submitted to a lab for testing.)

The price of tests continues to drop. For the purposes described above, a minimal number of markers (a 12-marker test, for example) should be sufficient. Some labs offer a 12-marker Y DNA test for $49.00. Periodic “specials” by competing labs cost even less.

If you are a patrilineal Whipple descendants and your haplogroup begins “R1b,” you are likely a Rhode Island Whipple. If The haplogroup name begins “T,” you are probably an Ipswich Whipple. (Note: One Ipswich Whipple descendant has reported being in haplogroup I2b1. If you are in that haplogroup, then you are likely his cousin.)

Good luck in your research!

See last year’s post for a Whipple DNA Summary and Overview.

Ipswich Whipple Y-DNA … So Far

This past weekend I received a report from yet another patrilineal descendant of Matthew Whipple (b. 1590). He reported his haplogroup as T1. Previous Ipswich Whipples had reported haplogroups T (without the 1) and I2b1. One disconnected Whipple also reported a haplogroup of T.

At this point I’m guessing that T and T1 are close matches. (Slight mutations can occur as generations pass. Might T1 be a mutation of T, I wonder?)

Here is what we have so far. (Each indention level represents one generation):

Last week we reported that a descendant of Joseph Marks Whipple (b. 24 Aug 1752 Greenwich, MA, d. 10 Jun 1843 Johnston, OH) is in haplogroup T. (We don’t know Joseph’s connection yet. We’re guessing he is a descendant of Matthew (b. 1590) or Matthew’s brother John (b. 1596 Bocking, Eng., d. 30 Jun 1669 in Ipswich, MA).

A significant number of the descendants of (another) John Whipple (b. abt 1617 somewhere in England; d. 16 May 1685 Providence, RI) are members of haplogroup R1b1b2.

To summarize: Of the small sampling of Y DNA from Ipswich Whipple descendants, most of them seem to be of haplogroup T (or a related haplogroup).

If you are a male named Whipple and are a direct patrilineal descendant of either of the two Ipswich Whipples (Matthew or his brother John), please consider having a Y DNA test and submitting your haplogroup to the Whipple Website.

Feel free to correct or comment on any assumptions made in this post!


During the past 2-3 years (or more?), patrilineal descendants of the Rhode Island and Ipswich MA Whipples have been submitting DNA for testing. During that time, known Rhode Island descendants (descendants of Captain John Whipple at http://whipple.org/366) have belonged to haplogroup:

  • R1b1b2

During that same time, two descendants of Matthew of Ipswich (http://whipple.org/5946) have submitted DNA tests, with TWO different results:

  • T
  • I2b1

The Ipswich tests have been inconclusive …


This evening I received an email from a male patrilineal descendant of “disconnected” Jonathan Whipple (http://whipple.org/38969), who married Anne (maiden name unknown) and had a son named Joseph Marks Whipple (http://whipple.org/32580). (Jonathan and Anne apparently died when Joseph was two years old. That was when he was adopted by John Marks (http://whipple.org/140204) and his wife Mary.)

The result:

Haplogroup T

We can now fairly confidently conclude that Jonathan Whipple (http://whipple.org/38969) is a direct descendant of Matthew Whipple (http://whipple.org/5946) or his brother John (http://whipple.org/5890).

As we search for parents of Jonathan Whipple (http://whipple.org/38969), we can now eliminate Whipples that are descendants of Captain John Whipple (http://whipple.org/366) of Rhode Island!

(Note: Don’t be confused by the similar names of John of Ipswich and John of Providence. See Two Immigrants Named John. Also visit the two John’s pages at http://whipple.org/5890 and http://whipple.org/366. Scroll to the bottom of their pages and read the notes …)

DNA Test Results … So Far

The very small sample of Y Chromosome DNA test results submitted so far seems to indicate that the Ipswich (Massachusetts) Whipples and the Providence (Rhode Island) Whipples don’t share a “recent” common ancestor.

Rhode Island (Samuel, Eleazer), 3+ test results:
Haplogroup R1b1b2 (R-M269)
Ipswich (Matthew), 2 different test results:
Haplogroup T (T-M70)
Haplogroup I2b1

If you are a patrilineal male descendant Matthew or John of Ipswich, or of John of Providence, we welcome results of your yDNA tests.

The Whipple DNA Blog Is Joining the Whipple Blog

Lately I’ve felt stretched a bit too far, maintaining two Whipple blogs in my spare time. In an effort to save my time (and make DNA-related posts more accessible to followers) I have copied all the posts from the former Whipple DNA Blog to this blog and tagged the posts with the DNA tag. (Click on the tag to see all the DNA Blog posts.)

Last year I became a “convert” to genealogical DNA research (after years of disinterest). I wanted to know for sure if the Rhode Island Whipples and the Ipswich Whipples are related. Judging from Y DNA test results of the past year, I’m satisfied that the two families aren’t related biologically.

While the majority of patrilineal descendants of Captain John Whipple of Providence share common Y chromosome DNA, I have yet to find two patrilineal descendants of Matthew Whipple of Bocking that belong to the same Y DNA haplogroup!

Why don’t Bocking/Ipswich Whipple descendants belong to the same haplogroup? Can we be sure that Captain John of Providence isn’t related to the Bocking Whipples?

It is my opinion that Captain John likely came from the vicinity of Essex County, England in 1632. (That might include Hertfordshire to the west, London to the south, or one of the neighboring counties. Many of the passengers aboard the Lyon in 1632 were from Essex and neighboring counties. John was an indentured servant of a man from the Essex area.) That’s about as much as I can surmise about young John.

I’m still puzzled that so far there are no matches among patrilineal descendants of the Bocking/Ipswich Whipples. I encourage patrilineal descendants of John and Matthew of Ipswich to have a Y DNA test–even a basic 12-Marker test!

In the meantime, the former Whipple DNA blog is merging back into the Whipple Blog.

Hopefully I can find sufficient time to focus on a single blog! Thanks for your interest and encouragement!

Another Match!

Four days ago I received another email with the subject: “Family Tree DNA Y-DNA12 Test Match 12 for 12,” indicating that yet another Whipple is a descendant of Captain John Whipple of Providence, Rhode Island. Because Family Tree DNA has a strict privacy policy, I’m not certain who that person is. (I do see, however, that there are five Whipples listed whose Y-DNA 12 Test matches mine.)

If you also received notification about four days ago–and you just recently had your DNA tested, feel free to email the webmaster— especially if you are uncertain of your Rhode Island connection!


12-Marker Y-DNA Test for $99.00!

This week Christopher Congdon reported a way to purchase a 12-marker Y Chromosome DNA test from FamilyTree DNA: Visit https://www.familytreedna.com/order-form.aspx?ty=58&Group=Whipple&code= — it takes you directly to the page for the 12-marker test.

As I mentioned in an earlier post: the 12-marker Y-DNA test should be sufficient for the objectives of the Whipple Website’s tests — to see it the Ipswich MA and Providence RI Whipples have a “recent” common ancestor.
Before you run out and plunk down your $99.00: Make sure you are a male patrilineal Whipple descendant! (That means that your Whipple ancestry goes back through fathers’ lines as far as you know; it probably means that your surname is Whipple.)
I hope to see more test results from descendants of Ipswich Whipples, Matthew (http://whipple.org/5946) and John (http://whipple.org/5890). We’re still looking for common haplogroup trends among their descendants.
(Last time I checked, I THINK I saw about 49 tests of Rhode Island Whipple patrilineal descendants, all with a common haplogroup. All “Rhode Island Whipple descendants) trace their ancestry to the John Whipple at http://whipple.org/366.)

Which Y-DNA Test?

Now that I’ve had time to look at the results of different relatives’ Y-DNA tests, I have formulated a new opinion about which Y-chromosome DNA tests are best. The tests with the fewest “markers” (which are also the cheapest) are probably sufficient–for starters, at least.

A 12-marker test ought to be sufficient to for a male Whipple to determine whether he is a biological patrilineal descendant of the earliest Rhode Island ancestor, Captain John Whipple (See http://whipple.org/366) Unfortunately, FamilyTree DNA doesn’t seem to offer a 12- or 25-marker test. The “starter test” advertised on their web site (http://www.familytreedna.com) is the 37-marker test. (They also offer a 67-marker test–considerably more expensive.)

If you are a male Whipple and suspect that you descend from the Ipswich (Massachusetts) brothers John and Matthew, we urge you to have your Y-DNA tested and submit your results! (Thus far, we know of only two tests of Ipswich Whipple–and both are different. Even a 12-marker would help identify a trend!)

We also welcome test results from other Whipple tree descendants. Here are a few possibilities:

  • The Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana (male) descendants of George Whipple of Baden-Baden, in the present-day state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany. (George’s son, Charles Frederick Whipple, immigrated to the U.S. in 1844. He was living in Houma in the 1900 Census.)
  • Male descendants of the purported Robert Eugene Whipple of county Cork, Ireland, who died in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. His three grandsons, Joseph, John William, and James, were born in Virginia in the 1820’s and 1830’s.
  • Male descendants of anyone listed on the Disconnected Whipples page–including Whipples from the United Kingdom. (It would be interesting to see if/how they share ancestry with U.S. Whipples!)

We (the rest of us Whipples) look forward to learning about the Y-DNA results of any other male Whipples interested in participating!

If you know of a Y-DNA testing service that offers the 12-marker test, please contact the Webmaster (webmaster@whipple.org).

(If you purchase a 37-marker test from FamilyTree DNA, they offer an upgrade to the “full-blown” 67-marker test–if you’re interested.)

Ipswich Whipple Y DNA: More Uncertainty

A few days ago I posted preliminary results of an Ipswich Whipple Y Chromosome DNA test. That test indicated no close relationship between the Rhode Island Whipples and that descendant of Matthew Whipple (brother of John) of Ipswich.

Two days ago I received another Y DNA report from another descendant of the same Matthew. (Matthew is the nearest common ancestor of both individuals.) Those DNA results were also different from the Rhode Island Whipple DNA results. Unfortunately, the two Ipswich Whipples DNA tests don’t match each other: both Ipswich Whipples have different Y DNA results.

We can’t really conclude anything at the moment, except for the following:

  • If you are a male named Whipple and a Y DNA test shows that you belong to haplogroup R1b1b2 (R-M269), you are likely a descendant of Captain John Whipple of Rhode Island.
  • If you are a male named Whipple and a Y DNA test shows that you belong to either haplogroup T or I2b1, you are likely an Ipswich Whipple. (Well, at least you probably aren’t a Rhode Island Whipple.)
Feel free to submit your Y DNA test results to the Whipple DNA web site–especially if you don’t think you are a Rhode Island Whipple.
More later …
Weldon Whipple

Accessing Your yDNA Test Results on FamilyTree DNA

A fellow Whipple reported that he received an email in the past few days from FamilyTree DNA, informing him that some of his Y chromosome DNA test results were available. He indicated that he didn’t know how to access the results. I recalled that when I first received my test results, it took me several weeks to “discover” where the results were on the web site. With that in mind, I’ve decided to share how I accessed my test results.

Step 1. Follow the link to your myFTDNA account

The email has a section that says something like:

Follow the link below to access your myFTDNA account.
Your Kit Number is xxxxxx
“History Unearthed Daily”

Jot down your Kit Number and visit http://www.FamilyTreeDNA.com.

Step 2. Log into FTDNA

On the left section of the page,

  • enter your Kit Number in the first field, then
  • enter your password. (The email you received when you ordered the test should have your password. If you can’t remember it, click on the “Forgot Your Password?” link.)

Step 3. View your Y-DNA Results

The next page should say “Welcome to your Family Tree DNA personal page!”

The first time I saw the page I was scared away. There are two places on the page that will show you the test results. On the left-hand “navigation bar,” scan down until you see “Y-DNA.” Beneath that heading, you will see these links:

  • Matches
  • Haplotree
  • Ancestral Origins
  • DYS Values
  • Print Certificate/Report/Data

(You will see the very same links a ways down on the main [right-hand side of the] page, with explanatory prose.)

The rest of this blog entry tells you how to click on the five links just mentioned. Feel free to skip the rest of these instructions, unless you need further help. (Hint: Your haplotree is on the page you view when you click the Haplo tree link.)

Step 4. Click on “Matches”

You should see the “Y-DNA Matches” page. Scroll to the bottom to see some test recipients whose tests exactly or closely match your results. (If you’re lucky, you might see some other Whipples. In my case, four other Whipples are listed. There is also one exact match with a different surname.)

My page shows four sections:

  1. 12 Marker – Exact Match
  2. 25 Marker – Exact Match
  3. 37 Marker – Genetic Distance – 2
  4. 67 Marker – Genetic Distance – 3

Step 5. Click on “Haplotree”

(The “Haplotree” link should still be in the left navigation bar, under “Matches.”)

After Flash finished drawing the page, look near the top, on the right part of the page. On my page, I see:

My Predicted Haplogroup: R1b1b2   Shorthand: R-M269

Those two values represent your haplogroup (and a shorthand identifier for it …). (Compare those values to what you see on the “Results” tab of this Whipple DNA blog.

If you’re interested in sharing, I’m very interested in your haplogroup and shorthand value.

I’ll not mention you by name on this blog–to protect your privacy. However, I’d like to include you in the summary numbers).

On the same page, you can click “Frequency Map” and “Migration Map” to learn more about your ancestors’ possible migration paths.

Step 6: Click on “Ancestral Origins”

(The “Ancestral Origins” link should be in the left navigation bar, under “Haplotree.”)
Read where they think your ancestors came from. (You may be very surprised!)

Step 7: Click on “DYS Values”

(The “DYS Values” link should be in the left navigation bar, under “Ancestral Origins.”)

You might want to print this page (clicking on the “Print This Page” button on the top right.”)

I’m not sure what all the values mean, but they’re useful if you want to search another yDNA database. I googled for some yDNA databases, and finally settled on Genetree, at www.genetree.com.
On that site, I clicked the “Sign Up” link at the top of the page (then used my signup when I return to that site).

After entering the site, I did the following:

  1. Clicked on the “DNA” menu item near the top of the page, then “Y-DNA Profile” on the drop-down.
  2. On the “Y-DNA Results” page, I clicked on “Markers” and then “Edit,” to get a page of Markers with blanks to enter the Values. The Markers correspond to “DYS#” on the FTDNA printout; the Values correspond to “Alleles” on the FTDNA printout.
  3. After I filled in as many blanks as I could (yes, I left some blank), I saved it.

On the Genetree site, it reported that I had 49 matches–many more than I did on the FamilyTree DNA site.

Step 8: Click on “Print Certificate/Report/Data

The page has two PDF certificates and one Migration Map. You can also download your Y-DNA Matches as CSV (“comma separated values”) files (for importing to a spreadsheet, etc.)

Well, that’s about all I have to say. Feel free to click around on other parts of the FTDNA site.

Feel free to add anything (as a comment) that you think I’ve missed. (I might even update this page if necessary …)

Good luck!

Preliminary yDNA Test Results: Ipswich and R.I. Whipples Not Closely Related?

Yesterday I received an email reporting the results of Y Chromosome DNA tests of an 8th great grandson of Matthew Whipple (born about 1590, died 28 Sep 1647) of Ipswich, Massachusetts.

(Recall that Matthew and his brother John–both born in Bocking, Essex County, England–sailed from England to Ipswich, Massachusetts, in about 1638. John was born about 1596 and died 30 Jun 1669.)

The 8th great grandson mentioned above is of Haplogroup T (Shorthand T-M70).

My own Y DNA test results (received during the fall of 2010) show me to belong to Haplogroup R1b1b2 (Shorthand R-M269). I am the 8th great grandson of the other (younger) John Whipple, born somewhere in England around 1617. He landed at Dorchester (part of present-day Boston), Massachusetts in 1632 as a teenage indentured servant. He later married and moved to Rhode Island. Several other Whipples in the yDNA databases match my DNA. Those that I’ve been able to identify are also descendants of Rhode Island John.

So, to summarize what I’ve observed so far:

Ipswich Whipples: Haplogroup T (Shorthand T-M70)
Rhode Island Whipples: Haplogroup R1b1b2 (Shorthand R-M269)

If you are a male Whipple whose patrilineal line descendants directly from the Ipswich brothers Matthew and John–or from John Whipple of Rhode Island–we welcome a report of your haplogroup findings.

–Weldon Whipple, Webmster

Do the DNA.Whipple.org and the Whipple DNA project work together?

I just read the following question on the RootsWeb Whipple mailing list:

So do the DNA.Whipple.org and the Whipple DNA project work together or are they complete separate entities. What is the best way to do an DNA test? Would the National Geographic test work as well? I was interested in that project before I started researching my ancestry but have not done any at this time. Looking forward to seeing what develops.

Here is a response from the co-coordinator for the Whipple group (posted to the same mailing list):

For genealogy purposes the wisest choice is FTDNA or worldfamilies.com. … FTDNA and worldfamilies cooperate closely. Worldfamilies sponsors a “surname group” for Whipple and others. Ordering your test through worldfamilies gives you an FTDNA test, and supports worldfamilies efforts in supporting surname groups and other efforts. I belong to three surname groups, two of which operate through worldfamilies, and serve as a co-coordinator for the Whipple group, a role I have only recently started and am learning.

The key issue is to to have ready facilities for sharing your results for genealogy studies. In this case there is a significant difference between “genealogy” as in the effort to find your specific relatives, and “genealogical” as in tracing the possibilities of your relationships before people had names. My opinions, of course.

Here is the Whipple Website’s response:

The Whipple DNA web site (dna.whipple.org) is more of a “cheer leading” site, focused on very specific objectives, the chief of which–at the moment, at least–is determining whether–or not–the two largest Whipple families in America share a “recent” common ancestor. Whether the answer is “yes” or “no” will help focus future Whipple genealogical research.

I used FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA) for my own tests (mainly because so many others have done the same). I’m satisfied. For the present, I recommend the same test for other patrilineal male descendents who are interested in genealogical DNA. If you are a descendant of either Matthew or John of Ipswich, Massachusetts, I am particularly interested in results of your tests.

So, there you have it.

Weldon Whipple, Webmaster, Whipple Website

67 Marker Y Chromosome DNA Test Results Arrived Today

Today I received an email from FamilyTree DNA, informing me of the results from the 67 Marker DNA test ordered earlier. (This completes the tests I’ve ordered.)

In searching the Y DNA databases, I have found several other Whipples with 90% or greater matches to my DNA, all of them descendants of Captain John Whipple of Dorchester, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island.

Hopefully more results will be forthcoming from known descendants of the Ipswich, Massachusetts/Bocking, England Whipples. It will be nice if/when we can establish whether or not the two main families share a common ancestor.

If you are a male named Whipple and can trace your patrilineal ancestry to the Whipples of Bocking, England, having your DNA tested would help us nail down a Y-DNA haplogroup for that Whipple branch.

If you aren’t sure of your male-line Whipple ancestry, feel free to contact the Webmaster: webmaster@whipple.org.

More later

Update: Trace Your Roots with DNA

Last night I finished reading the book Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner (Rodale, 2004; ISBN 1-59486-006-8). I strongly recommend it to anyone seriously interested in genetics and genealogy. Here are a few things I learned/concluded.

Y-DNA Testing

Of the two primary DNA tests used in genealogical research, the Y Chromosome DNA test interests me the most. It seems like a perfect match for determining whether the Whipples from Rhode Island and the Whipples from Ipswich, Massachusetts/Bocking, England share a common ancestor–or not. Learning that information can help researchers focus their pre-New World Whipple genealogical research.

mtDNA Testing

Just as Y-DNA testing is good for determining the patrilineal ancestry of male Whipples, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing is useful for verifying/validating a female’s matrilineal ancestry. For Whipples in general–the focus group of the Whipple Genweb–mtDNA testing seens less useful. (That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for specific Whipple’s, however, in researching their own ancestry.)

See the DNA testing objectives suggested by the Whipple Website (which focus on Y-DNA tests). Their focus on Y-DNA tests need not exclude involvement of females that are Whipple descendants. Although our female cousins have no Y chromosomes, they do have brothers, uncles and male cousins to be recruited.

Other Y-DNA Databases

Page 192 of Trace Your Roots with DNA lists several additional Y-DNA database organizations:

  • www.yhrd.org (Y-chromosome Haplotype Reference Database), originated in Germany, primarily as a forensic database.
  • www.ybase.org, sponsored by DNA Heritage, is the “first open-access database designed especially for genealogists.” It can “accommodate results from any genealogical testing company.”
  • www.ysearch.org is the database associated with Family Tree DNA–the organization that is testing my own Y-DNA and (perhaps?) the “official” organization for the Whipple DNA project.
  • GeneTree is associated with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation), associated with the database.

This morning I quickly visited all four sites in an attempt to learn of their searchability and availability to genealogical DNA newcomers.

One of the for probably deserves special note: When I visited GeneTree, I was immediately presented with a very simple (and compelling) registration page, which I “fell for.” After I registered (for free), the site sent me an confirmation email, which included a link to the GeneTree database. It offered an easy-to-use interface for adding my Whipple pedigree and entering my alleles from the Family Tree DNA test.

Within 5-10 minutes of submitting that form, an email arrived in my inbox, informing me of 49 matches–many of them Whipples. I spent the afternoon “clicking into” those matches at GeneTree.

I continue to recommend Family Tree DNA for participants in the Whipple DNA Project. However, I also strongly suggest that participants pro-actively search other available Y-DNA databases for matches.

I currently feel fairly confident about the Y-DNA signature of Captain John Whipple of Rhode Island (http://whipple.org/366). I need to gain the same degree of confidence for the Ipswich/Bocking Whipples.

The future is bright for the Whipple DNA Project. I look forward to watching it unfold!

The Whipple DNA Project at worldfamilies.net

As proof that I’m still a “newbie” at genealogical DNA research, I realized this afternoon that the Whipple DNA Project has been around for at least two years at http://www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/whipple/. Even more surprising (to me) is that my pedigree is already online. (I recall uploading it somewhere a month or so ago. This afternoon I realized that it is posted–with a few others–at the worldfamilies.net URL mentioned above.)

Approximately two years ago Blaine Whipple submitted a document announcing the beginning of the Whipple Surname Family Tree DNA Project. (You can view the document at http://whipple.org/dna.pdf.) Although the offer described in that document has expired, prices of DNA testing have decreased since the document was created.

To join the Whipple Surname Family Tree DNA Project, I suggest the following:

  • Identify a living male relative named Whipple (perhaps yourself) who you think is a direct descendant of someone named Whipple, going from father to father, until the most distant male Whipple ancestor is reached.
  • Visit the FamilyTreeDNA web site and sign up for a Y-DNA test. (It will cost some money–but less than it did two years ago.) The instructions on Blaine’s 2008 invitation said to select the “37 Marker” test. Today many suggest selecting the “67 Marker”. If you aren’t certain of your ancestry, you might decide to request the less expensive 12 or 25 Marker test. (If either of those looks promising, you can request a higher-numbered Marker test after receiving the results of your test.)
  • FamilyTreeDNA will send you four mouth swabs and give instructions for swabbing the inside of your mouth at intervals specified in the instructions, then storing them in small containers. When complete, return them to FamilyTreeDNA in the envelope they send you.
  • FamilyGreeDNA will email the results to you, inviting you to upload your patrilineal pedigree for others to see for comparison.
  • When you upload your pedigree it appears on the worldfamilies.net web site.

I’ll share additional information as I  become aware of it.

My 37 Marker Y-DNA Results Arrived Today

FamilyTree DNA emailed the results of my 37 marker Y-DNA test today (having previously sent the results of the 12 and 25 marker tests). They are still working on the 67 marker tests.

(If I sound like I know what I’m talking about, I really don’t. I have, however, received the following book from Amazon.com–two days ago: Trace Your Roots with DNA: Using Genetic Tests to Explore Your Family Tree by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Ann Turner (Rodale, c2004; ISBN 1-59486-006-8). I hope to read it over the Thanksgiving weekend. Previously I had begun reading The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine by Francis S. Collins (New York: Harper, c2010; ISBN 978-0-06-173317-8). The latter book is fascinating, but doesn’t say much about genealogical applications of DNA.)

Anyway, here is what I know so far (in case readers want to know how I compare with them). I’ll include my 12 and 25 marker results as well.

My Haplotree

  • My Y-DNA Haplotree: R1b1b2

My Y-DNA 12, 25 and 37 Markers 

  • My Y-DNA 12 marker has an “exact match” with 4 other individuals (three of them named Whipple). Here is what that means:

The probability that the five of use share a common ancestor within the last …

2 generations is 18.50%
4 generations is 33.57%
6 generations is 45.86%
8 generations is 55.88%
10 generations is 64.04%

(Note: Captain John Whipple is 10 generations away from me–not counting my own generation. If we extend the above sequence to 28 generations, someone with an exact match would have 94.30% probability of sharing that ancestor.)

  • My Y-DNA 25 marker has an “exact match” with 2 other individuals (both named Whipple):

The probability that the three of us share a common ancestor within the last …

2 generations is 37.69%
4 generations is 61.17%
6 generations is 75.81%
8 generations is 84.92%
10 generations is 90.61%

(If we carried that back to 26 generations, the probability of having a common ancestor would be 99.79%.)

  • My Y-DNA 37 marker has a “genetic distance” of two from the same two Whipples referenced above (in describing the 25 marker).

For the 37 marker, the probability that the three of us share a common ancestor within the last …

2 generations is 7.89%
4 generations is 26.85%
6 generations is 48.04%
8 generations is 65.86%
10 generations is 78.79%

(If we carried that back to 26 generations, the probability of having a common ancestor would be 99.81%.)

Countries of Origin of My Patrilineal Ancestry

Several pages on the FamilyTree DNA site talk about countries of origin of my patrilineal line. (Patrilineal means, me, my father, his father and his father … ad infinitum.) To sum them up, each test (12, 25, 37 marker) suggests the following countries of origin:

  • 12 marker: England (3 matches), Italy (1 match), Scotland (1 match), United Kingdom (1 match). [I’m not sure what the “matches” refer to.]
  • 25 marker: England [matches not specified]
  • 37 marker: England [matches not specified]

I’m still awaiting the results of my 67 marker test. If any direct-descendant Whipples have your results, I’m interested in how they compare with mine. (I’m still trying to figure out what sorts of privacy implications are involved in DNA testing. For that reason, I’m not giving the names of the other Whipples whose Y-DNA tests match mine.)

–Weldon Whipple, Webmaster, Whipple Website

Whipple DNA

About two months ago at a relative’s wedding reception, I struck up a conversation with an ardent fan of genealogical DNA. Until that time I had always been a skeptic of its benefits, preferring instead to identify actual relatives by name, using vital records and other sources.

By the time we left, I was a convert. I returned home and immediately signed up for a DNA test at Family Tree DNA. I have received some of the test results; I’m still waiting for the rest.

For the past several weeks, several Whipple relatives have exchanged email about the benefits of DNA to genealogical research. While I am still a newbie, here is part of one of my replies:

Two thing I have gleaned:
yDNA: If two males can trace their male line back to the same common male ancestor, they should have an exact match. (The “y” is for the y chromosome that determines maleness.)
xDNA: Same as yDNA except substitute female for male. This isn’t as useful because females in our society tend to change surnames when they marry.
Since you are a RI Whipple, you and I should have an exact yDNA match. I’m assuming that the three Whipples with whom I have an exact match are RI Whipples.
We need more Ipswich Whipple male-line Whipple descendants to take the yDNA test. If they are all exact matches among themselves–but different from my DNA, then we can conclude that the two Whipple families don’t have a common Whipple ancestor. If they do all match, then we can conclude that the two Whipple families do share a common male ancestor somewhere.
I really ought to write something like this on the Whipple Blog. … But I really would like to see the results of my 37 marker and 67 marker (the latter of which I ordered today).
Because three other Whipples are exact matches with me, I now feel confident that Capt. John of RI is in fact my biological 8th great grandfather.

DNA testing has a place in genealogical research. Let’s see what DNA can tell us about our ancestry.

Connecting Whipples with DNA

Most Whipples living in the United States today can trace their ancestry to one of two English ancestors:

  1. Matthew Whipple of Bocking, England, through his two sons Matthew and John, who came to America in 1638 and settled in Ipswich, Essex County, Massachusetts.
  2. Another person named John Whipple who came to Dorchester (part of today’s Boston), Massachusetts aboard the ship Lyon in 1632, at about the age of 15.

Efforts to find a relationship between the two families have not yet succeeded.

Whipple genealogist Blaine Whipple has just announced “a new project to determine whether the the Ipswich, MA Whipples and the Dorchester, MA-Providence, RI Whipples are related.” The project, which involves DNA testing, is described in a PDF document submitted to the webmaster in early December. Whipples might want to consider participating.

Note from the Webmaster: In discussing this with my mother-in-law, a genealogist who has been pursuing an interest in DNA testing, I expressed misgivings about whether it would be accurate in my case, since–although my male line goes directly to the Rhode Island Whipples–a female line goes back to Ipswich, MA, at the same time as the early Ipswich Whipples were living, and there is a possibility that that might skew the conclusions.

My mother-in-law informed me that DNA research includes X-DNA tests and Y-DNA tests. The Y-DNA tests follow male ancestral lines exclusively; X-DNA tests follow female ancestral lines exclusively. Re-readng Blaine’s document, I see that the test is a Y-DNA test. According to her e-mail:

Where it says “Y-DNA” – I think that shows it is the male DNA they are going to check. The email should have stipulated only males to do it.

Comments, anyone?


  1. Many “disconnected” Whipples appear on the Whipple Website’s “Disconnected Whipples” page. Feel free to help connect them to other Whipples. (Note: Some Whipples are known have other origins. One George Whipple of what is now present-day Germany, for example, is the father of at least two children who migrated from Baden-Baden to Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, in the 1840s.)
  2. Very recent research suggests that Matthew Whipple of Bocking, England, might be the son of Thomas Whipple (who was the son of another Thomas Whipple) of Bishop’s Stortford, England. See FAQ 2.2 for more information.