The Search For John and Martha Conaway Allred

Allred Lineage:  James Vernon, Edward Jackson, Samuel Jackson Allred, Masten, John......unknown but DNA proves a link back to Solomon Allred born 1680 England

Originally Published in AFO Newsletter Issue # 39, page 16, Summer 1999

Great Great Grandpa is Lost in Georgia
by:  James Vernon Allred

About 18 months ago I got a phone call from a distant cousin, John, with whom I had not spoken for over 20 years.  He said he was starting to do some research on our family tree.  I told him that my parents had passed and had left no information on our family.  As I recall they never talked about our ancestors.  He told me my grandfather was Samuel Jackson Allred, born in Cedartown, Georgia.

Since I live close to Washington, DC, I decided to go to the National Archives to see what I could find.  Some very nice volunteers there instructed me on how to go about searching the census records and within an hour I had found my father, Edward Jackson Allred, grandfather Samuel and - Eureka! - my great grandfather Masten Allred, all in census records of Georgia and Alabama.  I was so excited that I immediately became a genealogy enthusiast.

I thought this genealogy stuff was not only fun, but it was really easy.  I was able to link great grandfather Masten, to his father John Allred, in Gwinnett County, Georgia, in the 1840's and 1850's.  But, then the trail became difficult to follow.

I decided to go to Georgia for an on the ground search.  I visited Lawrenceville and Cedartown, only to be told the courthouses had been burned during the Civil War.  In fact one young lady told me that General Sherman had burned their courthouse in 1917.  He must have had a very long career in the Union Army.

The discoveries came slow for the next year and then things started to accelerate.  First I saw a query in the great Allred Family Newsletter from a descendant of Noah Allred, who was my great grandfather's brother.  I quickly contacted my new cousin, Steven, and within a day I had an electronic photograph of Noah, Jr.

Then I found tax records in the Library of Congress that located great grandfather Masten in Forsyth County, Georgia in 1845.  With new enthusiasm I made a second trip to Georgia where I found extensive information.  For example, in the vault at Cumming, Georgia, I found a Criminal Docket from 1849 which gave the court record of Masten Allred, who had been arrested for "playing poker".  At the Gwinnett County Historical Society I discovered some research done 20 years ago by an Allred descendant on my great grandfather's brother, Henry.  I contacted my newly discovered cousin, Sue, who filled me in on her conversations with friends who knew our family in Cedartown.  In the record room in the Cedartown Courthouse I found numerous property transactions, birth, and marriage records of Masten Allred's family members.  I even talked to the Probate Judge who had dated an Allred while in high school.  Is this a small world or what?

Later I researching the Family Tree Maker CDs and discovered another new cousin, Laquida, on the West Coast who had submitted her familyt ree.  It included extensive information on great grandfather Masten and his siblings, Pinkney, Charity, Melia, Jessie, Jimmy, Seaborn, John, Mary Ann, Solatia and of course Henry and Noah.

It also had great great grandfather John Allred married to Martha Conaway.  John was listed as being from Scotland and they had been married in North Carolina.  John was listed as being from Scotland and they had been married in North Carolina.  This information is somewhat different from I had found in that the John Allred I had been tracing was married to a Mary who was born in South Carolina.  Laquida had interviewed her mother and an aunt who had provided all this information from memory.  As I have done additional research on this part of the family at the National Archives I have found it to be very accurate.

The latest discovery of family information was found in an Allred Family Newsletter article written by Glen E. Allred.  It recounted the visitations of missionary Reddick R. Allred in his diary of visits of Allred families in Alabama and Georgia in the 1880's.  Reddick visited Seaborn Allred in Talledago County, Alabama in 1886, Masten's son George and two extensive visits with Masten which gave me a great deal on insight on how they lived.

This truly is the age of information transfer.  To think that in 1999 an Allred in Virginia, researching his family roots back 150 years, is provided information from a man in Bountiful, Utah whose great grandfather visited his grandfather 120 years ago in the back hills of Georgia, is almost beyond imagination.  Great Grandfathers Masten and Reddick would be astounded.

I have not been able to find out where my great grandfather Masten was buried, but I know he died after 1900 and I believe either in Cedartown, Georgia or eastern Alabama.  I have not been able to find information pertaining to great great grandfather John Allred (of Gwinnett County, Georgia) and would appreciate hearing from anyone.  Was great great grandfather from Scotland?  This new information contradicts everything I have heard about the original family coming from England, settling in North Carolina.

This wasn't as easy as I had first thought.  But it has been twice as much fun.  I have met scores of wonderful researchers, genealogists, archivists and lots of new "cousins".  Everyone has been so kind, gracious and helpful that it has become a very rewarding hobby.