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In 2010, Whipple genealogist Blaine Whipple of Portland, Oregon, suggested using Y chromosome DNA tests to determine if the Bocking/Ipswich Whipples are biologically related to the Rhode Island Whipples.

Blaine's research had established that his own Whipple ancestor had come to Ipswich, Massachusetts, from Bocking, Essex county, England, in 1638. Rhode Island Whipples, on the other hand, descend from the teenage John Whipple who arrived in Dorchester, Massachusetts, six years earlier, in 1632, likely from Essex county, England. Teenage John eventually married and had a family, with whom he moved to Providence, Rhode Island, in 1658.

Enough male patrilineal descendants of both Whipple groups have participated in the Y-DNA tests to answer the question posed by Blaine (who passed away on January 3, 2015). The results of Y-DNA tests show that the two groups belong to different Y-DNA haplogroups. Visit the DNA Frequently Asked Questions for the haplogroups of the two branches.

Click here to see the current Y-DNA results for Whipples who have participated in Y-DNA tests at Family Tree DNA.

Although the original objective of the project failed to identify a connection between the two 17th- century immigrant families, it succeeded by answering the question posed by Blaine (and many other researchers). Now researchers can focus their efforts on the two groups separately. (They can, for example, look for other origins of teenage John. See the Whipple Blog post entitled Seeking the Origins of Captain John Whipple of Dorchester MA/Providence RI.)

Y-DNA tests might still be useful in some situations. Numerous disconnected Whipples, for example, have living descendants who are uncertain about their ancestors. Living male patrilineal descendants of those disconnected Whipples might want to use their own Y-DNA to attempt to determine which—of any—of the two main Whipple groups they descend from. (Try checking out Who Are the Baden Baden Whipples?)

See posts on this site (and elsewhere on the whipple.org sites) for ideas and information about other groups of Whipples. Good luck as you explore your ancestry! If you come up with surprising Y-DNA results, feel free to share it with webmaster@whipple.org.