Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Whipple Books Website: books.whipple.org

The Whipple Website was officially born on January 7, 1997. It wasn't much. In the summer of 1997, I learned how to generate web pages from my Personal Ancestral File database and published the forerunner of today's Whipple Genweb (http://genweb.whipple.org); it had pages for fewer than 3000 Whipples. (Today's database has over 147,000 Whipple relatives.)

A complete novice, I owned few books of Whipple genealogy--just copies of my parent's personal genealogies (many of them handwritten), plus a thin book about the ancestors of Dr. Charles M. Whipple (Sons and Daughters of Jesse), which I had purchased from him in the late 1970s.

From my inherited genealogies I learned that my 8th great grandfather was a Captain John Whipple of Rhode Island. I also (incorrectly) thought that his father was named Matthew Whipple of Bocking, England.

One day (in 1998 or 1999?) I was copying another relative's personal genealogy and ended up at Mary Whipple, who married Simon Stone; Mary was the daughter of John Whipple of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Bocking, England, according to that genealogy. That John was a son of Matthew Whipple of Bocking, England. Mary's father (John) was born some 20 years before my 8th grandfather John.

That was my first Eureka moment--when I realized that something (I wasn't quite sure what) was amiss in the Whipple Genweb.

I began collecting old published Whipple Genealogies. They had been published without the aid of computers or the Internet. They all seemed to be either about the Ipswich Whipples or the Rhode Island Whipples; books about one family rarely acknowledged the existence of the other.

As my Whipple book collection began to grow, I created a Books page on the Whipple Website. That page grew to multiple pages, and was soon occupying far too much of my time. I cut back in order to leave time for maintaining the Whipple Genweb.

Last year (2013) I realized that the Whipple Website had lost focus. It dawned on me that recent, well-documented genealogies by Blaine and Charles M. Whipple weren't being spotlighted sufficiently. As I visited some of the huge Internet databases, I saw that early Whipples were in a far worse state than they had been in 1997. I wondered what I could do about it.

Here is what I did:
  1. I reorganized the Whipple Website. The home page now begins with links that focus on the research of Blaine and Charles M. Whipple (with some "glue" pages to smooth things out). Anyone who reads those articles, then visits the large Internet genealogical databases, will immediately realize that those sites have serious problems.
  2. During the past 2-3 weeks I've been redoing the Books website (http://books.whipple.org) to focus on what I feel are the most important books. They are probably the most accurate ones available on the Whipple Families in America. That site went live yesterday.

I hope that--as Whipple cousins build their own databases and contribute to existing databases--they will now have the resources to more nearly "get it right" as they enter early Whipples.

(If you miss the old books pages and look closely at books.whipple.org, you will find links to the old books sites.)

In the meantime, the Whipple Genweb continues to grow. I appreciate the cousins who inundate me with (mostly well-documented) additions and corrections to the Whipple Genweb. Feel free to report typos, error and corrections to the Webmaster (me). I especially appreciate it when your emails offer solutions to the errors and inconsistencies that you report.

--Weldon Whipple