Who Is Henry Whipple?

According to the Whipple Genweb, Henry Whipple (one of many Henrys in the database) was born on May 13, 1788, in Rhode Island. He died March 19, 1848, in Cumberland County, Illinois.

Until last month it was assumed that his parents were Ezra Whipple and Abigail Harwood. Ezra is a great great grandson of Matthew Whipple, born in Bocking, England, in about 1590. Matthew sailed from England to Ipswich, Massachusetts, with his brother John in 1638. The brothers were great grandsons of Thomas Whipple of Bishops Stortford, England, born in about 1475.

Last month I received an email from a relative of a direct patrilineal descendant of Henry. The direct descendant had just received the results of his Y chromosome DNA test, which showed  him a member of the R1b haplogroup.

A significant number of patrilineal descendants of Captain John Whipple of Providence, Rhode Island, have all belonged to the R1b haplogroup. Thus far, no confirmed patrilineal descendants of Bocking/Ipswich Whipples have been in the R1b haplogroup.

Several weeks ago I unlinked Henry from parents Ezra and Abigail. Some have suggested that Henry is the son of Luther Whipple—a confirmed descendant of Captain John—and his wife Eunice Gates.

… So who is Henry’s father?

Henry is likely a direct descendant of Captain John of Providence, Rhode Island. On the other hand, it is possible that Henry or one of his ancestors was adopted, or one of his descendants could have been adopted.

While Y-DNA tests can be a tie-breaker in helping to choose between two candidate Whipple ancestors—one a Rhode Island descendant and the other an Ipswich/Bocking descendant—Y-DNA tests aren’t foolproof.

Because the R1b haplogroup is the most common among European males in general, a random male (of any surname) in the U.S. or Europe is most likely a member of that haplogroup. Y-DNA tests are useful (for Whipple genealogists) only when a male of surname Whipple is trying to choose between two possible ancestors—one a Rhode Island Whipple and the other a Bocking/Ipswich Whipple.