Saturday, August 21, 2010

Surname Saturday: Where to start? "A" for Allen

Since I just started this new genealogy blog, but not my genealogical research - it is difficult to know with which surname to start! There are so many that I have invested inordinate amounts of time investigating, making them very close to my heart. It is tough to choose just one!

I think I will start at the beginning - Allen. On this line, I am very fortunate to have been preceded by two excellent genealogists, my dad's cousins Louise Casey Ware (1938-1995) and Charlotte Casey (1942-1996). They both passed away too young, but left behind a plethora of notes. Louise's sons tell me that the sisters were "obsessed" with genealogy. Hmmmm...? Somehow, that sounds a little bit familiar...

On to the Allens:
George Henry Allen (1880-1965)
My great grandfather George Henry Allen was born in Gypsy Village, Melbourne, Australia on April 28, 1880, to English parents. His mother died when he was only eight years old. Reportedly, his father George Allen (1851-1913) marched him down to the docks when he was about fifteen because he was fighting with his step-mother (who was also his first cousin).  For the next ten years, he sailed the world, until finally settling in San Francisco after meeting and marrying my great grandmother Fredrikka Herstad (1871-1953) in 1906.
George and Fredrikka (Herstad) Allen

George's father arrived in Australia on Feb 16, 1873 on the "John Rennie" with his brother Charles. The rest of the family soon followed on the "Atrato". They were from the village of Stinchcombe, near Cheltenham, England and the family had lived in the Gloucestershire area for generations before setting sail for Australia. There are two family stories in regard to this departure. One is that Queen Victoria (for whom one of the Allens served as green grocer) had given the family land in Australia and the other is that there was some sort of disagreement over an inheritance, causing ill feelings and precipitating the move. I think the second is the more likely of the two, but I have yet to see any documentation of either. Possibly, I will find that there is a bit of truth in both. Thus far, I have only done limited research in England and Australia. Hopefully, it will prove to be very interesting once I dig into this, seemingly, colorful family.
Home of the Allens, built 1750 -Stinchcombe, England
I do know that George Henry's great grandfather was Isaac Allen (b. 20 January 1788), a butcher from Gloucestershire. According to Louise's notes, his parents were Henry and Mary (Gillins) Allen, b.c.1760. That is probably as far as I can get on this line until I finally give in and sign up for Ancestry World Edition. Just writing this post has reminded me how much more research there is to do!
Garden view of Allen residence in Stinchcombe

I received a package a couple of weeks ago from Louise's son with a lot of great surprises. I will write about that soon.

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