Is Joe Abernathy related to Geillis Duncan on Outlander?

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

Outlander Season 3 introduced us to Joe Abernathy. When Claire went back to the past, we also learned Geillis was alive and now called Abernathy. Is this just a coincidence?

There are no coincidences in the world of Outlander. Diana Gabaldon has planned out her novels, so knows who is related. So, if Joe and Geillis have the same surname in Outlander Season 3, does this mean they’re related?

Probably not. However, Joe is likely a descendant of one of Geillis’ slaves. While there are no coincidences, Gabaldon also does plenty of research. She’ll know that slaves were given the surnames of their masters, so in this case, all of Geillis’ slaves would have had the surname Abernathy after Geillis’ husband.

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It’s highly likely that Joe is a descendant of one of the slaves, mainly Ishmael. That’s the theory among Outlander readers, due to a few details in “Voyager.” When Claire meets Ishmael, she finds herself thinking of Joe, such as the way he dictates autopsy reports. There are also parallels between Ishmael and Joe, such as Ishmael being a medicine-priest and Joe being a doctor.

None of this has been confirmed yet. We’ve had other ancestors confirmed over the course of the books, including Roger getting the chance to meet Geillis’ son, his own ancestor. However, Gabaldon is still to confirm this potential link. It could all be coincidence, but I just don’t believe that Gabaldon has done anything out of coincidence.

Next: Will we get to see Joe Abernathy again in Outlander? [Spoilers]

Do you think Joe is related to Ishmael in Outlander? Is the use of the surname just a coincidence? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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