Monday, December 10, 2012


A few weeks ago, Mom decided she wanted to know more about the old, dead ancestors in her family tree.  I told her she should just use her registration number to look up her pedigree with the AKC, but Mom said that was only for dogs.  She said it was much more complicated for people, and you could spend lots of time digging up your ancestors, so to speak.  And when you try to do this, it's called genealogy.

So this is the latest thing Mom is doing with all the spare time she doesn't really have.  In my opinion, it's a silly thing to do because she doesn't even have any children or nieces or nephews to give this information to after she finds it.  But Mom says that doesn't matter because she is just doing it for herself.

Anyway, Mom has a couple of distant cousins who already did a bunch of genealogy, and they figured out certain parts of the family tree.  So Mom wanted to work on a different branch of the tree that she didn't know much about.  She chose the Allen branch because her last name is Allen.

Clay County, Missouri

Mom already knew that her great-grandfather, John Allen, came to Clay County, Missouri from Casey County, Kentucky, but she didn't know when he did this exactly.  But after looking at some old obituaries, she learned that the family came to Missouri in the fall of 1855.  First they went by wagon to the Mississippi River, and then they went the rest of the way by steamboat up the Missouri River.  Later on, Mom wants to do some more research on her Great-grandfather Allen, but the thing she really wanted to find out before that was when her first Allen relative came over from England.

The Natchez steamboat and a bunch of wagons

So by using the website (which costs more than Mom expected it would to join), she was able to wade back through a bunch of information and slowly put together the Allen family tree.  And here's how it goes:

John Allen (1834-1920) was born in Casey County, KY and died in Clay County, MO
His father was James Allen (1811-1894), who was born and died in Casey County, KY

Casey County, Kentucky

The father of James was Robert Mark Allen (1772 -1828), who was born in Frederick County, VA
    and died in Casey County, KY
The father of Robert Mark was Benjamin Allen (1745-1826), who was also born in Frederick County,
    VA and died in Casey County, KY

Mom told me that this all fit with what she had learned in school about how America was settled.  First, people came there by ship from Europe, and they just went a little ways from the coast to claim land and make their homes.  But after a while, people started moving farther west, like to the wilds of Tennessee and Kentucky.  Later on, they moved to the new frontier, which by then was in Missouri and Iowa and Arkansas.  Some people went all the way to Oregon or California, but Mom's ancestors did not do that.  They just stayed in Missouri, which is where Mom was born.

Frederick County, Virginia

So anyway, after digging up all these ancestors, Mom was beginning to wonder if she would ever find the first Allen who came to America, but finally she did!  His name was Robert Allen, and he was born in 1695.  But he was not born in England, like Mom expected.  Instead, he was born in IRELAND, in a town called Armagh.  Mom and I had never even heard of this town before, so we had to look it up.  It is located in County Armagh in Northern Ireland.

So that's where Robert Allen was born, and he died in Virginia in 1769.  His first wife was from Cheshire, England, and his second wife was from Ireland.  I think he married the second wife after they got to America, and the same year that his first wife died, but it's hard to get all this ancient information sorted out.

Anyway, if you go back another generation, you learn that the father of Robert Allen was named James Robert Allen, and he was born in Scotland in 1650, but he died in Ireland in 1695.  So really there was only one generation of Allens in Ireland before they immigrated to America.

The city of Armagh

Mom was able to go back one more generation to Henry Allen.  He was the father of James Robert Allen, and he was born in 1626 in Glasgow, Scotland.  He died in 1647 in the same place.  By the time you get back that far with the Allen clan, you start seeing the name spelled "Allan," which is the Scottish way to spell it.  The English way is with an "en," and that's why Mom thought her ancestors came from England.

Charing Cross in Glasgow, Scotland

Of course, some other branches of Mom's family tree really did come from England, but Mom will have to do some serious research to find out which part of England they came from.  I'm not sure why Mom is so excited to have all these ancestors from a place like Great Britain.  If she were a basenji like me, she could have ancestors from the Congo, which is so much more interesting and exotic!

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