This week gave me a chance I had not had in 70 years. It all started when I got a note from Ancestry.Com. It came in the form of a question; "Did I know a Dana Whipple?"
Dana Whipple was the name of my father, who I did not know well. He and my mother parted ways in 1948 and divorced in 1951. For nearly 40 years I looked up everything I could on the Whipple family.
With the coming of the computer age I was able to answer a lot of questions. I found that my father had been born in Alabama and had spent time in Lakeland, Fla., and then had moved on to Washington D.C., where he had met my mother. I had emailed different members of the Whipple family but they were not actually Whipples but people who had married into the Whipple family.
I started looking for my father's family in the mid '70s. It had started with a conversation with my older sister and her memories of Charles Dana Whipple also known as Dana Whipple. Next I started to find a paper trail that included finding a hospital record here court papers there and records from the Catholic Church my mother went to.
It was slow and several times I took all the information and stuck it in a drawer. Then I would hear something or find something and I would pull the old notebook out and add the new material. It was not until 1994 that I had time to really do research. I had an uncle on my mother's side of the family who introduced me to the computer age. Now I have a two volume book of papers called "The Whipples of Alabama, Florida and Washington D.C."
Most of the facts on the Whipple family had come from spending many hours at the Library of Congress, The U.S. District Court System and the Archives. The Archives in Washington hold all of America's records such as census forms from the beginning of the nation. The latest census records are from the 1930 census. The Census records come out every 10 years. In 2020 the 1940 census will be released.
The Archives Buildings also hold military records and a list of ships and the passengers that have landed in America. It was through these records that I found out where my great-grandfather on my mother's side of the family came to America in 1880 and was admitted through the port of Boston.
This past Sunday I held a conversation with my cousin. Her name is Pamela Whipple; she lives in the old Whipple home in Lakeland. We spoke for nearly an hour talking about ourselves and about the family history.
Finally all those hours and days and years spent trying to find my father's relatives had led to an hour of conversation and the beginning of being part of the Whipples of Lakeland, Fla. Move over Alex Halley I have finally found my family's roots.