I'm fortunate to live within about 35 miles of the Allen County Public Library, and I try to get there every four weeks, although sometimes it's more like six weeks, to do research there. Sometimes I hit gold, sometimes I find nothing, and many times I find bits and pieces that need to be researched to find out if they are gold, or fool's gold.
Saturday was one of those days. I think I've hit gold, and possibly some fool's gold, but I'm not entirely sure which is which. I went to the library specifically to start researching ancestors who were in Virginia during the American Revolutionary War. I have two ancestors that I know were there and were veterans, James Allen who died in Goochland County, Va in 1801 and Moses Parrish, who died in 1800, also in in Goochland County, Virginia in 1800. I was searching for clues that might lead me to two more ancestors, Michael Dunn and John Campbell, who are believed to have also been in the Revolutionary War, but so far I have been unable to identify them or to find any records for those two men.
What I did find was some tantalizing information about James Allen. First, I found that he was also an ensign earlier, as James Allen from Goochland County is listed in the book "Virginia's Colonial Soldiers" by Lloyd Dewitt Bockstruck on an August 21, 1769 muster. I'm not sure what the militia would have been called for, this long before the war broke out but at this time James would have been a good British subject. I also found a William Allen, who was a captain in Goochland County in 1740. I wonder if this is some relation? One of the sons of James Allen and Sarah Crowdas was named William, and James Allen who married Tabath Parrish also had a son named William.
I found James,Allen listed in the 6th Virginia regiment along with Isaac, George, and Henry Allen. There was also a Richard Allen in the 6th V.R., but I'm not sure whether or not he was from Goochland. The younger James also named a son Isaac, and the older James had a son named George. So I'm beginning to think that there may be a connection between at least James and Isaac and George, and possibly William who was in the militia in 1740. It's only a theory at this point, but it seems worth pursuing.
(Background: The 6th Virginia Regiment was formed in 1775 at Williamsburg and participated in the Battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. They were also at Valley Forge. This doesn't mean our Allens were at all these battles, but I was able to find the payroll records for Isaac Allen, and it appears that he at least was at most of these battles. He was discharged in February of 1778, but I don't yet know why. If the record of James was similar, then he would have served in these battles and somehow survived. I need to find out what more I need to know to do more research about James!)
I found a query in the Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly asking for the parentage of James Allen Senior, dated back in 1964 or 1965. So people have been looking for his parents for at least 50 years, and we seem no closer to finding the answer than we ever were. But clues like this may help.
I want to research these Allens who seems to share names and at least county locations, to see if I can find that connection. I think I'll start with Isaac, because that is a less common name than James or William, and see what I can find out. I also want to learn more about James, who was apparently an officer in the militia and then in the Revolutionary War, to see where he may have been and when, if ever, he was involved in fighting. And maybe sometime along the way, I'll stumble across Michael Dunn or John Campbell, although I think they were Irish or Scotch-Irish and likely more in Augusta County, or possibly even Fincastle County (Kentucky) during the War.
I found a marvelous resource at the library called "Virginia in the American Revolutions-A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians" which I looked up on the DAR website. It seems to be available only there, but it is definitely now on my wish list. It's over 1300 pages with sources and maps and background information. I don't think I can do this research without it! (My husband also has ancestors from Virginia whom I need to research for a possible Revolutionary War connection, so I really need this book!)
If someone reading this has any additional information about any of the Allens mentioned in this blogpost, or any of the other people I briefly mentioned, I would love to hear from you. My email is
Here's the Allen line of descent:
James Allen-Sarah Crowdas
James Allen-Tabath Parrish
Archibald Allen-Margaret Dunn
George Allen-Nancy McCoy
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook