My Best Guess

Whittle Family Tree

I promised earlier to share my thoughts on who could possibly belong to whom in this family. My ideas are my own and should not be taken as anything more than my ideas and potential leads to be explored. They are being placed here and not on Ancestry since we all know that the week after I post a “possible connection” it becomes gospel and is propagated in multiple trees. Much like an urban myth it is impossible to take back a connection on Ancestry – they reproduce at the speed of light and people rarely respond to the messages telling them that there is no proof of a connection.

In the past 18 months we (Ruth and me) have worked this family from both directions. We pursued the family from the known back through the unknown and we also looked at all the documentation available to us from oldest to newest. We followed families in both directions and explored many Whittles that proved to have no family connection at all. We made lists of Whittles and tried to tie them together by repetitive names, by dates and locations. We found – as you will notice when you look at the name grid – a complete generation that is not documented. The children of John W. are the most likely parents of Benjamin’s generation, but we found no marriage, death, or other documentation that would clarify that situation.

Based on the available documentation that I have previously provided there are several possibilities for the father of John Nelson and Jeremiah Whittle. The men of the appropriate age would be Benjamin b.c.1755, David b.c.1760, Richard b.1755-1765, and Zachariah b.1755-1765. If I were pursuing this family any further than I would be looking hard at Zachariah Whittle as the possible father of Jeremiah and John Nelson Whittle.

A Zachariah Whittle married Elizabeth Disney in 1795. Only one Zachariah is found in any of our available records and according to the census records, Zachariah would have been 35-45 years old at the time he married Elizabeth Disney. It is possible this is a second marriage. He falls in the possible age category to have children born c. 1774 (John Nelson) and c. 1775 (Jeremiah).

Why not the other men in the category? Richard marries Elizabeth Burland in 1784 and her extant letters and other documentation do not mention any previous children for Richard Whittle. David Whittle appears by his extant documentation to be born c. 1760 and his children are clearly documented by the records concerning his death. On the 1790 census Benjamin has three females of the right age and no males in the household born prior to 1784 – well outside the window for John Nelson and Jeremiah.

So where are John Nelson and Jeremiah in 1790 if not on the census with one of the documented Whittle males? There are many options available in this case. First, they could be living with other family members – and not just family members in Maryland. There is plenty of evidence that the Whittle family was spread across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia. Many of the Whittle obituaries we have found ask for Pennsylvania and Delaware papers to copy the material. It is quite easy to believe that the boys could be with an aunt, uncle, cousin, or grandparents. Second, by 1790 the boys are between 14 and 17 and could have been bound to a tradesman, in which case they would have been counted in his household. The extant records are simply not good enough to pinpoint their location.

Now before everyone jumps up and says, “What about deeds and tax records?” let me clarify a couple of things. While I can’t look at anything except materials available online, (self-imposed rules of Cold Genealogy) I can use any records and research provided by family members. Ruth kindly supplied me with copies of her research. She checked for any Whittle wills, land records, and tax records in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, and she also paid a professional genealogist to research extant records in the Maryland State Archives and Baltimore County resources. Most of that documentation is already up in the posts. The research did not turn up any deed or tax records to clarify the situation. In fact according to both Ruth and the professional, no Whittle bought or sold any land in Baltimore County from 1727-1775 and no Whittle sold land in the county from 1787-1823. No Whittle was listed as owning land in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, or Harford County in the 1783 Assessment List.

We have not searched the wills of the spouse families. As records become available online in a searchable format it is possible that some situations may clarify themselves. Currently, this is where we stand:
Samuel Whittle is the son of an UnknownA Whittle and Eliza Unknown
UnknownA Whittle is the son of Jeremiah Whittle and Nancy Best
Jeremiah Whittle is the son of UnknownB Whittle and Unknown Mother

I accomplished my original goal, which was to identify who might be in the plot of Samuel Whittle at Govans Presbyterian. Unfortunately, I am unable to go any further at this time. I will revisit the Whittles every so often and update the information as it becomes available, but it is time to move on to another family.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.