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A Little Allen Family History

July 20, 2022

My mother’s surname was Allen. That seemed simple enough when I was young; it’s not an uncommon name and so I thought nothing particular of it. However, when I was in my late 40’s, I began to embrace genealogy and steadily I uncovered a wealth of information about this simple name.

Allen or Allyn as it was often spelled in Scotland means literally “from the rocks” and purportedly described people you lived in the highlands. I found that my distant ancestor, Samuel Allen, came to the new world in 1633/1634 aboard the Mary and John and helped settle Plymouth, Massachusetts as well as parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut. He was actually the town recorder for Plymouth  and as such I was able to obtain copies of his signature. This is really interesting stuff for a researcher such as me.

This Allen family kept moving on to greener pastures, first to Connecticut and then on to Missouri and finally to Montana and California. I was able to document these unique travels completely beginning in 1634 and ending in the present day.  The family figured heavily in the history of the towns of Buffalo, Missouri and Anaconda, Montana as well. The Allen hand print is firmly on both.

Several years ago, I felt the urge to push the boundaries of our Allen family history even further back in time. I was finally able to fix the family in the years prior and after the Battle of Hastings and even considerably before that. It seems as though this quaint surname figured into the history of France and England in ways in which I had not imagined. The family had actually come to England during the Normand Conquest.

Surnames change a bit throughout history and I found that the Allen/Allyn family was originally named Fitzalan and before that Fitzlaald. Here is a painting of one of my ancestors, Edmund Fitzalan (May 1, 1285 to November 17, 1326) who was executed in the Tower of London.

His son Richard Fitzalan (1307-January 24, 1375) was the 10th Earl of Arundel who married Eleanor Plantagenet.

As I researched my mother’s family even further back in time, I found that the Fitzlaald surname gave way to a variety of other surnames that largely assumed various places of birth (Bretagne, France, Alsace, France, etc). My family tree continues to 55 BC in the person of Francus of Alsace and then onto the Sicambri (80 BC) and Cimmerians (510 BC) and eventually to Troy in the person of Priam (1355 BC to 1283 BC). Beyond Priam, the genealogy becomes suspect to historical interpretation. But imagine my awe at being the 188th grandson of Priam of Troy!

Starting with a simple name of Allen, who knew where I would have wound up. It’s been a lot of work (thousands of hours) and a lot of fun! Allen? Who knew!

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One Comment
  1. Fascinating, Allen. Great job of research, which I think must have taken some perseverance.

    Liked by 1 person

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