Or rather, lack of update, as I seem to have hit another wall!
In my last post about my mysterious third-cousin-or-closer, I talked about how “Ronan” and I most likely shared a set of great-great grandparents, or a singular great grandparent, and based on the matches we had in common, I knew that the connection was the Whibley family, but I was fairly certain that none of the Whibleys ended up in his part of the world (Georgia, USA), so I was particularly stumped.
Once again, something obvious was staring me in the face. Something that I had actually alluded to in the last post. One of my other Whibley matches, who I will call Ben, is my double third cousin twice removed. You have a “double cousin” when a pair of siblings marry another pair of siblings. In this case, Jemima Ellis married Robert Whibley and her sister Jane Ellis married his brother Richard Whibley. Ben is descended from Jemima and Robert, and I am descended from Jane and Richard. Because we have two sets of common ancestors, our DNA match makes it appear that we are more closely related than we really are.
… What if Ronan and I are double third cousins too? Could he also be descended from Jemima and Robert? Did any of Jemima and Robert’s children end up in Georgia? Possibly. Certainly, two of them visited America. One, Herbert Ellis Whibley, is on a passenger list sailing from New York to Southampton aged 21 in 1893, though I could find nothing else to explain what he was doing there or how long he stayed. Another, Ernest Edwin Whibley was in the Royal Navy and sailed all around the world between 1898 and 1910. If one of these Whibleys had visited Georgia and had a fling with a local woman resulting in pregnancy, that would explain how I was related to Ronan. If this hypothesis is correct, I would expect to see that Ben and Ronan are closely related, even closer than either of them are to me. I fired off a quick email to Ben introducing myself and was fairly optimistic of getting a reply – it seems like he has an interest in genealogy, since he has gone to the bother of putting a tree on Ancestry as well as having his DNA tested. But no – no reply, nothing. So once again I have hit a brick wall. I have also gone through the “Quick family tree” that I have compiled (I have since filled in the blanks that I complained about previously, thanks to good old American obituaries) and looked for any obvious children born out of wedlock at the right time, but no one stands out. Of course, it is not only single people who have flings with visiting Whibleys from a foreign land!
One day I will solve this frustrating mystery. But it does not look to be any day soon.