April 28, 1996

How many times have we been in a library, picked up a book about genealogy, and looked in the index, hoping to find one of our ancestors? As a volunteer in the Virginia Room of the Arlington County Central Library in Arlington, VA, I have the opportunity to look at indexes in many books. Recently, I reviewed Albemarle County in Virginia, by the Reverend Edgar Woods, published by The Michie Company, Printers, Charlottesville, Virginia in 1901. The index listed Nathaniel McAllister on page 366, so I turned to it, and found his name under the following heading: "A Declaration of Independence, signed by citizens of Albemarle, April 21st, 1779, the original of which is preserved in the rooms of the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond".

On pages 365, 366 and 367 of the Rev. Wood's book, there are 206 names of Albemarle citizens who signed the Albemarle Declaration of Independence. Besides Nathaniel McAllister, Thomas Jefferson, a member of the Virginia Assembly, Randolph Jefferson, his brother, and various other men of the Commonwealth signed their names. On June 1, 1779, Thomas Jefferson was elected Governor of Virginia by the legislature in Williamsburg. He was then 36 years old.

The next question is: To which Clan McAlister of America line does Nathaniel McAllister belong? Unfortunately, I do not know. The only CMA line with a firm link to Albemarle County, Virginia, in the proper time period, is J29. This line's progenitor was John McAllister, who married Cary Turner, 13 Nov 1798, in Orange County, VA. There are 127 J29 records in the CMA computer data base. The line coordinator, Dale MacAllister, Singers Glen, VA, sent me the J29 pedigree chart in 1993. Albemarle County was formed in 1744 from Goochland County. Part of Louisa County was added to it in 1761. It is probable that one of our Virginia lines included Nathaniel and his family.

A major project is under way in the United Kingdom, which may help us to discover the Virginia origins of various McAllister families. The Virginia State Library is currently associated with a project which is microfilming the records of all the towns in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from which immigrants to Virginia originated. A new source of primary records is now available to researchers on-line. As I have so often written, research continues...

Robert M. McAllister