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.