Most Likely Origins Of Abraham Temple, The Original Immigrant

Abraham Temple, of Salem, Massachusetts, and His Most Likely Origin

Now, for the pessimistic view of Abraham Temple's origins. What follows is solidly based in official records (what few there are) and on several DNA tests. The bottom line up front: I am convinced Abraham was an orphan who took the name of the Temple District orphan asylum, which was near the Templar headquarters in London. His relationship to the Templars, however, was in name only - not in DNA. The Templars were long gone by the time of Abraham's birth (b 1603) - aside from the purge against them in France, Pope Clement V had disbanded the order in 1312. Abraham's surname derives only from geography, not genetics or genealogy.

Although Levi Temple may have considered Abraham might be related to the line of Peter Temple of Stowe, England, the first outright suggestion relates to Dr. Henry Curtis Temple in his 1930 genealogy of the family. The next major genealogists, Albert Temple (and with some degree of reluctance at the conclusion, Danny Smith), went out of his way to "prove" that relationship, but was unable to come up with anything but conjecture. This train of thought is extensively covered in the notes on Abraham found on his entry in the website. What can be proven by other means reveals it is wishful thinking.

The first real proof of Abraham is from the records of Salem, MA, where he was as early as 1636, since he was accepted as an inhabitant of the town before 21 June of that year. Family lore in one branch of Abraham's descent says that Abraham was a stowaway, but there is not evidence to confirm or disprove this. The ship on which he sailed is also unknown. Although he was apprenticed as a tailor, there is evidence to suggest he was a mechanic (according to Levi Temple). That is about as far as records take us.

But there is better information possible. DNA narrows and focuses the search. The DNA evidence is, and must be, circumstantial, unless someone wants to try and get some of Abrahamís DNA (unlikely, as we arenít really certain where he is buried).† I am a documented descendant of Abraham, so all my conclusions are derived from testing my own DNA.† Y chromosomal DNA tells us the R1B haplotype (which I turned out to be and that I share with all other male descendants of Abraham) traces back to an entry into England in about 2500 BC. The distribution of that haplotype in the British Isles favors an origin more westerly, pointing towards Ireland. Both in Ancestry and 123andMe DNA testing, the conclusions are identical, pointing to the western part of NW Europe - but we can do better than that. The clincher, though, was in the BritDNA analysis.

BritDNA specializes in the autosomal DNA distributions in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The graphic below shows the distribution of DNA with Abraham's characteristics, and the greatest density - the greatest likelihood of his origin - is in SW Ireland, by a wide margin. Abrahamís father, most likely, was from southwest Ireland.† There is a slim chance his father was from London, of course, but he may also have been passing through.


Of course, the map shows a distribution, and Abraham and his father may have been from Stowe - but, according tot he distribution, there is only a roughly 1 in 7 chance of that. The distribution says there is a better than 1 in 2 chance he was from Counties Kerry, Cork or Limerick. My hope is that when enough folks have had their DNA tested by these services, we can start to pin down the family roots even more tightly.† And, ultimately, I hope we can get enough evidence to find out what our family's (and Abraham's) surname most likely was.† But, thatís a few years and many DNA tests away.† For right now Ė all we can really say is that we (and Abraham) are most likely Irish.

And that is the key to saying it was most unlikely that Abraham was related to anyone at Stowe, or English royalty of any kind. There are indeed lines of Temples in North America who are related to Stowe, but not the largest of the lines, which are th ones related to Abraham Temple of Salem, MA.

OriginReturn to Name Origin and the Provenance of Abraham

Home Return to Table of Contents