Genealogical Mysteries of the Indiana Allens.

Every genealogy has ``loose ends.'' Here are three mysteries I'd especially like resolved:

(This page used to contain a list of Montgomery Allens, but that list has moved Here.)

Who was Martha A. H. Givens?

Since my website advertises information on GIVENS, I am often asked what my line of descent is from Samuel Givens (1693 - 1740). The succinct answer is ``I don't know'' but I'm rather too long-winded to let it rest at that. Click here for the pedigree of my possible 3-great grandmother, Martha Givens, but I have little confidence this is my Martha Givens. (And even if she is my ancestor, there is, as shown, much disagreement about her pedigree.)

There were three ALLEN-GIVENS marriages shortly after their immigration to America, so the ALLENs and GIVENSs might almost seem like one big extended family. (There were also many ALLEN-ALLEN marriages and GIVENS-GIVENS marriages; documention these interesting relationships is one purpose of this website.)

In the 1850 Monroe County Census, the following households show up almost right next to each other as neighbors in Bloomington District #132:
HouseNameAge     Birth     deduced identity
78MARTHAGIVENS 68 VAMartha Miller
79OLIWORLEY (household of four)
80JOHN WALLEN 46 KY(; W = Washington
80MARTHAALLEN 34 KYMartha Ann Givens
80JAMES DALLEN 8 mos. IN(; D = Darwin

Using other information all of these people can be identified and appear in my Allen list or my Givens list with the indicated indexes. Martha Allen was Givens before marriage and the mother of my ancestor James D. Allen (then 8 months old). (The two teenagers in that household were by John W. Allen's earlier wife, Fanny Clark.)

Because of the intermarriages in the Allen and Givens families, both the father and mother of John W. Allen were probably first cousins of James Givens' mother, and likewise both appear to be first or second cousins of James Givens' father. James and Martha Givens had several children besides the Robert who was living with them in 1850. Here is the pedigree of their daughter Martha. (It shows uncertainty and alternatives because various reconstructions have been offered for the GIVENS genealogy.)

It surely wasn't coincidence that John W. Allen lived right next-door to his double (or quadruple!) second cousin. The early Virginia Givens headed south to North Carolina while my Allens eventually went West to Kentucky. Although some North Carolina Givens later moved to Kentucky it was to a different County than my Allens. Yet sometime in the 1820's or 1830's they got back together in Monroe County, Indiana.

In 1847 John W. Allen married Martha Ann Givens, his second wife. Records of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR ID Number 104636) confirm that she was James Darwin's mother with the lines

``... Descendant of Robert Allen (Allan), as follows:
1. James Darwin Allen (1849-1912) m. 1871 Nettie Wiley (b. 1851).
2. John Washington Allen (1804-52) m. 2nd 1847 Martha Ann Givens (d. 1850). ''
No birth year is shown for Martha, but from the census data we know it was 1815 or 1816.

John W. Allen's next-door neighbor James Givens had a daughter Martha who shows up in LDS records with birthyear ``circa 1822.'' Was she my ancestor (John W. Allen's 2nd wife)? So far I've found no other information on James Givens' daughter. The six-year discrepancy in birthyear doesn't bother me -- LDS birth estimates are often far off -- but there is another reason I doubt if it's the same Martha Givens.

Age 31 seems a little late for a woman to marry for the first time, so I guess John's wife was a widowed daughter-in-law of James Givens rather than his daughter. Another clue supports this -- on an old family record (which we mislaid many years ago) her name is shown as ``Martha A. H. Givens.'' I'll guess my ancestor's maiden name was ``H---'' and a Givens was her first husband -- but I still can't locate her.

(James Givens had a nephew John who married Martha Hazelwood. They were living in Monroe County in 1850, but she's not the one. The dates don't fit and, anyway, that Martha appears separately in the 1850 census living with her husband John B. Givens in the Van Buren District.)

Who was Eliza Ann Allen?

Who was the ``Eliza Ann Allen'' who appears to be James Darwin Allen's stepmother in the 1860 census? Recently a kind correspondent sent me cemetary records that show she was indeed the third wife of John W.

On Nov. 29, 1853, John W. Chard deeded some property to Eliza Allen. (The similarity of given name ``John W.'' to John W. Allen seems odd, especially with a surname -- charred -- that resembles a bizarre euphemism, but is almost surely just a coincidence). Recall that William J. Allen's biography reads ``(April, 1853) came to Bloomington with his mother....'' Weren't J.W. Allen's two wives both already dead? Could this ``mother'' be instead father's new wife? Obviously the biographer is not being too careful, since he ignores William's siblings.

Perhaps, in 1851, after several months' mourning, the twice-widowered John W. Allen may have married an Eliza Ann (prob. from Kentucky as was Eliza 1860), then age 36.

Instead she might be a spinster cousin, or sister-in-law, but that seems unlikely for several reasons. The 9-year old Robert and the 1853 land deed in her name makes it appear she lost a husband at about the same time John W. Allen died. She should show up somewhere in the 1850 census, but her surname then probably wasn't Allen. Could her forename be shown as Elizabeth instead of Eliza?

The only Elizabeth Allen in 1850 Monroe County has the wrong age. Is there an Eliza or Elizabeth of the right age with a different surname? Consider Elizabeth Wright (35 Ky) living in Indian Creek Township with James Wright (20) next door to John (22), Elizabeth (21), and James D. (1) Wright. (Another next-door neighbor was household of Isaac Boyd.) She might be the widowed second wife of James and John's father (or even their mother if she lied about her age). Did she take J.W. Allen as a second or third husband? (There's even time to bear him 9-year old Robert for the 1860 census.)

There was even a Bennett Wright and Rebecca nee Givens who passed through Monroe County, and were about the right age to have daughter Elizabeth. This Rebecca was likely an aunt of John W. Allen's second wife, Martha Givens.

I found Elizabeth Wright by examining every Elizabeth or Eliza in the 1850 Monroe County census. There were about 33 of the right age, but I excluded those with two or more small children (since there are no teenagers living with Eliza in 1860), some with a middle initial other than ``A,'' and most who didn't come from Kentucky -- Eliza's birth state shown in 1860 census. This left four possibilities. Of these two of the most likely looking (Eliza A. Woodburn and Eliza Ann Browning) turned up in the 1860 census so they had to be excluded too. Only two possibilities remained from the set of 1850 Monroe County Elizabeths:

I'd like to identify this Eliza Ann Allen, but even if I do the mystery may not be solved. What was her relationship to twice-widowered John W. Allen? What were the causes of death for John and his second wife Martha anyway?

My notekeeping is so poor, best thing is to keep my progress report right on this webpage!

Some other Elizas I still need to check are Eliza Ann Martin who married Chancy B. Allen in 1841 Carroll Co., and Elizabeth Ann Jolly who married James M. Allen in 1836 Posey Co. I also show Eliza Allens in 1840 Scott Co (pg. 258) and 1850 Lawrence Co (pg 417) censuses.

I think I've eliminated all the Eliza Allens of 1850 Indiana except the afore-mentioned. I need to do Kentucky though; starting with Eliza Allen in 1850 Kento Co., Ky (pg. 130).

So far this Eliza Ann Allen is elusive; she has shown up only three places on the Internet in my searches to date:

I suspect the LDS record is meaningless. There is a similar record with same parents and James Allen born 1849, so perhaps the LDS record was extracted with guesswork from another document, quite probably the 1860 census itself.
Table of contents
Allen chart
Givens chart
Census data
Robert's bio
Shelby branch
Monroe branch
other families
Home - JDA
send me E-Mail
Copyright 2001, JDA