Whipple DNA Status

Webmaster’s note 17 April 2016: There is reason to suspect that the haplogroup T reported by at least one Ipswich Whipple descendant is not a Y-DNA haplogroup, but instead a mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplogroup.  As a Y-DNA Haplogroup, T is found primarily in southern Asia and Australia; it is extremely rare in northern Europe. As a mitochondrial haplogroup, on the other hand, it is very common in Europe.

Y-DNA testing has been used to help identify or verify Whipple ancestry. Males with surname Whipple can use a Y Chromosome DNA test to help connect with their ancestors. Females can ask a brother, uncle, father, or male cousin with surname Whipple to do the same.

(Note: Mitochondrial DNA tests are sometimes used for females to trace their matrilineal ancestry. If you are aware of any who have used mitochondrial DNA tests in verifying Whipple lineage, please share it with webmaster@whipple.org.)

A Y-DNA “12-marker” test is probably sufficient to connect males surnamed Whipple to the Rhode Island or the Ipswich/Bocking Whipples–or to confirm that they are from some other line, or perhaps from an adopted line?  More expensive tests such as 37- and 67-marker tests are probably overkill–at least initially–in identifying Whipple ancestry. (You can generally upgrade the 12-marker test later if you want more markers for your personal research goals.) After you receive your results, the Webmaster of the Whipple Website (webmaster@whipple.org) is interested in your results–especially if they point to haplogroups other than R1b, or R1b1b2. (We’ll be careful not to identify any submitter by name on this site!)

Sorting Out the American Whipple Families

  1. Rhode Island Whipples (R1b, R1b1b2, …). Captain John Whipple (http://whipple.org/366), born between 1615 and 1617 somewhere in England, migrated to New England as a teenager in 1632. He settled first in Dorchester, Massachusetts, then moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1658 when just over 40 years of age. He died 16 May 1685 in Providence. We know virtually nothing of his ancestry.  Tests so far point the R1b, R1b1b2, and similar haplogroups for John and his male patrilineal descendants.
  2. Bishop’s Stortford/Bocking/Ipswich Whipples (T, T1, I2b1, …). Thomas Whipple (http://whipple.org/106442) of Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England, was born about 1475. His son Thomas (http://whipple.org/47862) and grandson Matthew (http://whipple.org/5929) moved east, settling in Bocking, Essex, England. A small number of tests seem to point to haplogroup T for this Whipple branch. Thomas’ two great grandsons migrated from Bocking, England to Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1638:
    • Matthew Whipple (d. 28 Sep 1647 in Ipswich, MA) http://whipple.org/5946. His descendants have reported haplogroups T, T1, and I2b1. (T seems to be “winning”?)
    • John Whipple (d. 30 Jun 1669 in Ipswich, MA) http://whipple.org/5890. (We have no test results from descendants of this John Whipple. Logic would indicate a haplogroup of T or T1?)
  3. Other families. If you’re a male patrilineal descendant of the Baden-Baden/Louisiana Whipples, (see  http://whipple.org/56069), we’re interested in your haplogroup. We’re similarly interested in the Y-DNA test results of British Whipples and other Whipple subgroups. (Perhaps some British Whipples could offer clues to ancestry of the Rhode Island Whipples?)

Disconnected Whipples

Male patrilineal descendants of disconnected Whipples (see the Disconnected Whipples page) can be tested to see how their haplotrees compare with the haplotrees identified above. If you’re stuck in identifying an ancestral connection, a Y-DNA test can help you choose between a Rhode Island and an Ipswich ancestor.


(The following are definitions I’ve encountered while reading 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]. These appear in blog posts–often without further explanation. Let me know if you need more definitions.)

“One of the alternative versions of a gene or genetic marker that can exist in a particular location on a chromosome.” — Trace Your Roots with DNA, p. 249.
An individual collection of “short tandem repeat” (STR) mutations within a DNA segment. Individuals with matching (or nearly matching) haplotypes belong to the same haplogroup. They likely share the same MRCA.
“A distinctive landmark that occurs in an otherwise featureless stretch of DNA; a DNA sequence with known genetic characteristics that can be tested for purposes of comparison.” — Trace Your Roots with DNA, p. 253.
Most Recent Common Ancestor. The nearest common (male–in the case of a Y chromosome test) ancestor shared by two related individuals (cousins/siblings/etc.).
Patrilineal ancestry
A person’s ancestral line consisting exclusively of fathers: me, my father, his father, his father, … etc. (patri = “father’s”; lineal = “line”)
Y Chromosome DNA test. A popular genealogical DNA test for matches (or near matches) of “markers” that appear on the Y chromosome. Because only males have a Y chromosome, the test determines if two living males–generally with the same surname–share the same MRCA (i.e. whether they have common patrilineal ancestry).

Who Are My Whipple Ancestors?