Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mary Polly Allen - My one and only Allen Ancestor

I learned about my ancestor Mary Polly Allen late last year after corresponding with a descendant of Ridley J. Thomas who had left a "post-it note" on another researcher's Rootsweb family tree on Mary's husband Abraham Huddleston.[1] The post-in note mentioned a Thomas family bible that I was very interested in seeing.[2]

The bible stated that Abraham Huddleston was the father of Nancy Huddleston who had married my ancestor William Thomas and that Mary Polly Allen was Abraham's wife.

Mary Polly Allen Pedigree
Pedigree View of my Huddleston, Thomas, and Allen Ancestors
Nova Lee Peters was my great-grandmother

According to the Family bible, Abraham Huddleston was born 13 June 1773 in Bedford County, Virginia and died 1 Feb 1858 in Thomasville, Oregon County, Missouri. His wife, Mary Polly ALLEN was born 20 Mar 1777 in Virginia. It is not known exactly when she died; however, it must have been after 1850 because she was enumerated on the 1850 Oregon County, Missouri census with her husband Abraham and two grandchildren, Henry and Martha Huddleston.[3]

Mary Allen and Abraham Huddleston were married in Bedford County, Virginia on 2 Mar 1793. Abraham's brother Daniel Huddleston provided surety and Nathaniel Shrewsbury married them. The request was made by Ann Allen.[4]

When I plugged Mary Polly Allen's name into's search box and added Abraham Huddleston as a spouse, 254 records were returned.[5] About two-thirds of these results did not have any names assigned to her parents and the other one-third had "Charles Allen" as her father and "Ann" as her mother.

Information on exactly who this Charles Allen was or where he came from was not located. Some of the trees had him identified as Colonel Charles Allen, the Revolutionary War Patriot from Virginia who married Ann Venable. Although there were several online SAR applications on about Colonel Charles Allen who was married to Ann Venable, I could not find any information about who their children might have been.

Since the online trees are notorious for being incorrect and are often bordering on the absurd, I decided to turn to DNA to help me figure out who the parents of my Mary Polly ALLEN might be. I had noticed recently that many of the matches to my maternal grandfather have ALLEN listed in their surnames. Is ALLEN becoming the new SMITH or JONES? I don't think so. But I sure am curious as to where exactly it is coming from and whether or not it is connected to my one Allen ancestor (at least that I had identified so far).

I logged into my Grandfather's ftDNA account and pulled up his Family Finder matches. I typed in "Allen" into the Ancestral Surnames search box.

Ancestral Surnames Search Box Allen

I got 60 matches back. However, the search box also picked up surnames that contained "allen" including "Ballenger." I can mark these off my list. Off these 60 matches, about 40 of them have online gedcoms uploaded to their profiles.

Next, I wanted to see if any of these matches have Colonel Charles Allen and Ann Venable OR Charles Allen and wife Ann as ancestors in their online gedcoms. I click on the first gedcom, then type in "Allen" into the search box and click the "Search Names" button:

Gedcom Search Box - Allen

ftDNA will pull up all of the "Allens" it could find in the tree and give me a list that I can select from:

Gedcom Select Box - Allen

Since there are so many trees with Allen in their list of surnames, I simply looked for Charles in the list above and if I did not see his name, I closed the tree and moved on to the next one.

Unfortunately, most of what I found were females named Allen with no known parents, dates or places of birth. This did not increase my confidence that my Mary Polly Allen was the daughter of Charles and Ann Allen. In fact, if anything, what it did was made me question this relationship even more.

Next Steps....

1)  I want to look more closely at the Allens in each of these 40 gedcoms. Is there a particular Allen that shows up over and over again? If so, then maybe they are our common ancestors.

2)  Find and contact other descendants of Colonel Charles Allen and Ann Venable. Ask them if they have done DNA testing and compare our results using If you are a descendant of this couple, or if you descend from Mary Polly ALLEN and Abraham Huddleston, please contact me.

3)  As soon as the site is back up and running (and fully functioning), I intend to search the online gedcoms there as well. I will search first for my known ancestors, Mary Polly Allen and Abraham Huddleston. Then I will compare any of this couples' descendants' DNA to that of my family. Then I will perform a search for Colonel Charles Allen and Mary Ann Venable and compare their descendants' DNA to mine as well.

Except,...there's just one little problem...I know how to search the gedcoms, but I don't know how to figure out who they belong to, how to contact the gedcom owners or find out their Gedmatch IDs so I can compare our DNA results.

Any ideas? If so, please email me or leave a comment below.


[1] Mary Jo Freeman,, WorldOneConnect File, "Willard and Related Families," accessed 11 August 2013, Abraham Huddleston. Post it note left by Jim Gray citing a Thomas Family Bible. 
[2] Thomas Family Bible, last owned by Jackson Thomas, digital copies in the possession of Jim Gray,
[3]  1850 U. S. Federal Census, Oregon Co., MO, p. 400A, Abraham Huddleston; digital image,, ( : accessed 19 March 2014); citing NARA Microfilm publication M432, Roll 408. Mary Huddleston, 73 yo. 
[4] "Bedford County, Virginia Marriage Bonds Database," VAGenWeb, a USGenWeb Project, ( : accessed 11 August 2013), Extracted from the appendix in Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol VI, Virginia. 
[5], Public Member Tree Search, ( : accessed 19 March 2014); parameters included the following: First Name (Mary Polly), not exact; Last name (Allen), exact; birth (1777), not exact; in (Virginia, USA), exact; death (Missouri, USA) exact; Spouse name (Abraham) exact & (Huddleston) exact.


  1. There is a new GEDMatch User Information search on the (currently limited) home screen. You can search by one of the following:

    GEDmatch DNA kit number
    GEDCOM (genealogy) ID number
    Email address (must match exactly)

    So, after finding a Gedcom that looks promising, use this search feature with the number of the Gedcom to find the owner.


    1. Hi Elizabeth thank you for your reply. I've seen the search all gedcoms feature but I have not located a place to enter gedmatch Id or gedcom id. Can you explain further. No one has yet been able to point me in the right direction. Thank you.