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From the President

Dear McCousins,

If you are still searching for the trail of your ancestors, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is the available records are the same ones that were created 100, 200, or 300 years ago. The good news is that they are much easier to find, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and the many groups who painstakingly digitize records and put them online. (Use the Internet with caution, as you can find a lot of junk as well as careful copies of original records.) Not so long ago, a complete set of US census records could only be found at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Then they became available on microfilm in regional libraries and Family History Centers. Now you can sit in your home and study a digital copy of the actual record at your convenience. I call that progress!

No single source lists every website containing genealogical resources. A good starting place is, which is organized by states and counties and attempts to be an inclusive list of genealogy sites., a free site, contains a wealth of data on American and other records. is a subscription service with many records and is constantly adding to their collection. is also a subscription service. Free site is also organized by states and counties; their message boards are especially helpful. Your local library may offer one or more of the subscriptions sites and not charge library patrons. I have had excellent results by simply putting my topic in a Google search bar (e.g. West Virginia vital records). I could go on and on, but you get the idea. My bookmark list is full of favorite genealogy sites, saving me from recalling the exact name or having to frequently hunt for it.

I read an article in the May/June Family Tree Magazine about the 10 most common myths in genealogy that could sabotage your family tree. It was very interesting, and I'd like to share them with you:

  1. All surnames were changed at Ellis Island.
  2. If it's in print, it must be true.
  3. All the records you need about your family are online.
  4. This is my ancestor, according to 423 family trees.
  5. One of my ancestors was a Cherokee princess.
  6. The courthouse burned and all the records are gone.
  7. The same surname must be a relative.
  8. Hey look, it's our family coat-of-arms.
  9. Four brothers came to America.
  10. Source citations are just for professionals.

I have heard most of these many times over. How about you, or are you guilty of swallowing one or more of these myths?

As we focus on a Gathering plan for 2018, we welcome your suggestions about location and program. While understandably, everyone would like to have the gathering near their own home, the location selected should be convenient for as many members as possible. Currently, CMA has four firm bids. One that is very different from any venue used in previous years is a conference center/church camp with many outdoor recreational options located near Flat Rock, North Carolina. The other three are all hotels: Hyatt Place West and Hilton Garden Inn, both in the Raleigh-Durham area, and the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Hickory, NC. We are also looking at Memphis and Salt Lake.

Our gathering program could vary from local history experts, a national/international speaker, time to meet and swap information with others from your ancestral line, social time and/or free time for seeing local sites. We really want to hear about what appeals to you. Please send your comments to Sandra McCollum at or any board member. All suggestions will be cheerfully received! And thanks in advance for your help!

Cindy McAlister Bresson




The Roanoke Dons - Where are they now?
W. Donald McAlister
Old Hickory, TN

At the Gathering of Clan McAlister of America in 1998 in Roanoke, VA, someone noticed the unusual number of Donald McAs in attendance. A picture was taken that eventually appeared in the September issue of the CMA Journal. I was one of the group in that photo, and since it was going on 20 years since we gathered in Roanoke, I got to wondering as to what has happened to those guys - thus, Where are They Now?

The Roanoke Dons - L to R: Don, Donald, Donald, and Donald in order of the updates below. (Photo by author)

Four of the five in the picture are still living and replied to my request for info about them. The wife of Donald in Cedar Rapids, IA, agreed to provide information concerning her late husband. So, here are updates on the "Roanoke Dons."


Don McAlister (J27)
Alliance, OH

I'm Don McAlister of Alliance, OH and ancestral line J27. I've resided in the Alliance area my entire life except for a short period of service in the US Army-Air Corps, when I was assigned to Warner-Robbins Field in Macon, GA. A graduate of Mount Union College and the University of Akron Law School, I still work at my first employer Clem Lumber and Distributing, where I'm now the owner and CEO.

Over the past two decades, I've become very involved in community projects. Some of these have included the Marlington Local Board of Education (32 years), Alliance Community Hospital Board (35 years), New Baltimore Cemetery Board of Trustees, New Baltimore Athletic Club (40+ years), and Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Last December I was honored for my service on the Alliance Hospital Board when their community/conference room was named the "Don & Rose McAlister Community Room."

My hobbies have included travel, genealogy, Wednesday Breakfast Club, grandchildren, reading, and time at Fort Myers Beach, FL. In April 2016, my wife Rose passed away; we were married 67 years. Since 1998, I have attended Clan McAlister Gatherings in Huntsville, Washington DC, Nashville, Savannah, Clarksville and Louisville. Each has been an outstanding experience of meeting new friends, seeing old friends, and generally having a very good time.

One other activity that has captured my attention over the last several years has been DNA testing. I have watched with great interest as the technology improved and many more persons have joined our McAlister DNA project. I am always intrigued when someone is added to our DNA subgroup and curious about family connections.


Donald McAlister (A05)
Old Hickory, TN

Since the 1998 Gathering in Roanoke, I have remained retired although sometimes it doesn't feel like it. Vickie and I still live on Shute Lane in Old Hickory, TN. Toward over 40 years of educational experience, I began as a classroom teacher and coached football and boys and girls basketball in Fayetteville, TN. During this time I served as recreation director for the city of Fayetteville. Following this I served as principal for six years and superintendent of schools for seven years, then taught school administration in one of our local universities for a while. Fifteen years of that time was spent working with local school board members and lobbying the Tennessee legislature.

I didn't listen to the advice I received when I retired, "Be careful or you will end up busier than when you were fully employed." We are very involved in church activities at the Church of Christ in Donelson, TN. I've visited all 50 states, had some adventures travelling with my grandson Henry, and as told by my friends in CMA, once made a trip from Tennessee to Texas to pick up boxes of CMA archives during a tornado!

I also belong to a group that sings at four nursing homes each month. We sing hymns, old standards and tell humorous stories that the residents seem to enjoy.

I meet periodically for breakfast or lunch with several groups all of which are trying to save the world.

As a charter member of the organization, my CMA connections have involved serving as a member of CMA Board of Directors (2004-2016), secretary to the Board (2006-2014), and president (2014-2016).


Donald R. McCallister (J43)
Aloha, OR

My wife Terry and our children lived in Visalea, CA where I earned an Associate Degree in Accounting. After earning a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice in 1979, I worked as a SORT with the PD.

As you may have known, I was Police First Sergeant at the Hominy PD in Oklahoma and was injured in the line of duty. I was shot in the head and had my lower spine almost severed in 1981. In 1983, I was awarded The Police Medal of Honor, The Police Purple Heart, The Legion of Honor by the state of Oklahoma and the American Police Hall of Fame in Florida. In 1989, I was placed on leave of absence and on Medical Retirement by the city of Hominy but retained my credentials as an officer for the city.

My head injury prevented me from working in accounting so we moved to Ottumwa, IA. We then moved to Fayetteville, NC where Terry found work as a rehabilitation trainer. We moved to Sheridan, WY and stayed until 1998 when we bought some land in Heppner, OR.

In 2011 when Oregon kicked 2400 Medicaid seniors off the roll and Terry was one of the very ill, we moved to Arizona, the only state that would take her. Terry was too ill to live in the home we bought in Arizona City and while staying with our daughter, Tanya, she went into a coma on her 69th birthday and passed away four days later. In 2015, I moved to Portland, Oregon but now live in Aloha, OR with my daughter. I am still working as a Community Emergency Response Team Officer.


Father Donald McAllister (J12)
Dover, NH

I was born and raised in the small town of Norway, ME, graduated from the University of Maine, the University of Oslo, and received two Fulbright scholarships in consecutive years in 1960-61 (the only American to ever do that), received several masters degrees, two doctorates, and authored two books. I served two years in the US Army. I have received several awards, including the Oxford Hills Community Service Award.

I was ordained a Catholic priest in 1971 and have worked for the Sisters of Mercy Hospitals in San Francisco, Ann Arbor, MI, and Portland, ME. In my spare time, I became very interested in pursuing my family history. My research fills more than 30 notebooks, which I have donated to the Historical Society in Norway, ME.

I am now living at St. Ann's Senior Home in Dover, NH. Although I am officially retired, I conduct a church service every day at St. Ann's. Because I am losing my eyesight and can't focus I can no longer drive. I have also been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Other than these health problems, I am doing well, especially for an 83-year-old priest.

Probably the most exiting thing I have experienced in the last several years was serving as chaplain on six 10-day cruises to St. Petersburg in Russia. While there we were able to visit the Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.


Donald Edward McAlister (RJ07)
Dover, NH

Don passed away on 18 Jul 2010 in Cedar Rapids, IA, and his wife Mary Jo provided us with this sketch of Don's life.

Don and I met through our sons when the boys were in Boy Scouts and Don was their Scout Master. His wife had passed away, and I had been divorced for some time when our friendship became serious and we were married on October 4, 1969.

He was a supervisor in the accounting department at Iowa Electric, and I was an administrative secretary there. The boys were juniors in high school, Don's daughter Patricia was a senior in college, and my daughter Penny was a freshman in college. After the boys left home for college, we decided to buy a condo, as Don didn't enjoy yard work and didn't want to shovel snow any longer. Two months later (on Easter Sunday 1976) Don had his first major heart attack. We hadn't even moved into the condo yet! Don fought hard for the next 34 years, had two more heart attacks, artery surgery, prostate cancer, lung cancer, two by-pass surgeries, and seven stents. He was very positive during all this.

He was very active most of the time, and was very outgoing - a real people person. When Don felt good, we traveled. When he had problems, we stayed home and took care of them. We went to Hawaii three times, Jamaica, two cruises, went to Europe, Hawaii, and all over the US with the Iowa Women's Basketball team and when I bowled in 29 national tournaments. We had a wonderful time traveling.

Don worked 40 years at IE and when they offered an early retirement made to order for him with his health failing, he took it. I worked for another five years and then retired with him. At the time he said to me, "If you will just take over the cooking, I will do the clean-up." I don't think he planned on doing it forever, but he did, even all the clean-up when I baked for Christmas.

Don was a great guy. He did not have an enemy and was a friend to all. I was so fortunate to spend 40 years of marriage with him, he was so good to me and the kids. He was not one to yell and holler but always found a solution to any problem that came up, and with four kids we had a few! We really did have a wonderful marriage, and I still miss him a lot. In closing, I want to say how much we enjoyed each of the Clan McAlister gathering we were able to attend. They were great fun, and we had many wonderful memories of them.




Tales of the McCallister
Timberland Homesteads

Lula McCallister
Submitted by Joyce McCallister Amenta Schmidt
Doylestown, PA

Editor's Introduction - These family stories were submitted by CMA member Joyce Schmidt. Her cover note sets the stage for these wonderful tales of a homesteading McCallister tales: "I compiled and published this collection of stories of the McCallister homesteading in Drain, Douglas County, Oregon, written by my great aunt Lula McCallister. I am in the J04 line. My branch descends from Edward, fourth son of James McCallister, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, to Kentucky, Illinois, and then Oregon. This branch of the family is buried in Oregon. I did this as a gift to my father, Kenneth John McCallister, who instilled in me an interest in our lineage and or Scottish heritage."


As seen in the inset at upper right, Douglas County, OR is in the southwest quadrant of the state. The larger view shows details of the county, whose population is approximately 107,000, and the little town of Drain is encircled in red. The Umpqua River is created from the Umpqua National Forest watershed (located in the Cascades Range) and winds its way by Roseburg, the county seat, and then northwest before emptying into the Pacific at Winchester Bay near Reedsport. Notice that Crater Lake is located just to the county's southeast. (Images from Google Maps and Wikipedia Commons).


These stories are based on the true adventures of Lula, Dora, and Wesley Baird McCallister from 1906 to 1910 in Douglas County, Oregon part-way between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains on the Umpqua River. They were written by Lula McCallister and published by Wesley's surviving kin in 2001.


The Beginning

     Dora was my older sister and Wesley was my brother, and my name is Lula. Our father had died and we were helping our mother run a rooming house in Drain, Oregon.
     Our rooming house had burned and we were discussing a plan for our future. Many suggestions had been considered but Wesley said they took money, and of money, we had very little.
     I had a vision of a cabin in the woods for many years, and at last put in my suggestion "I am going to take a homestead."
     Expecting opposition, I was surprised when Dora said, "We could do that."
     Wesley was almost angry "You couldn't go alone!"
     "No, not alone, you will come with us."
     "Not me! I would not live in the backwoods on a homestead for five years for all the land in Oregon!"
     Dora had a very persuasive way, especially with Wesley. He thought she was always right. "Think how you could entertain our friends, being located in the center of a sportsman's paradise. You will not have to stay all the time. You could get us started, and we will hold your homestead down for you."
     "Oh, I'll stay - if l go. But I'll be a typical old farmer and not shave until I come out." (For a year he kept his word.)
     "'Hunter's paradise', you said. I wonder if Jones [a land agent] ever located anyone on that land he was talking about, down the Umpqua River - 480 acres - 160 acres each would be just right. I will see him at once."
     We were lucky, for we found it was vacant and Jones would show us the corners. A visit to the land office and we were out on a new adventure.
     Packing a few necessary things as for a camping trip, Dora, Wesley, the old mare and I were at last on our way. The trip down the river road was thrilling, and in anticipation of the good times we could have on that river, all kinds of plans were made - sandwiched in with Wesley's sarcastic remarks. What kind of cabins? How long before we could have a garden? We must keep the old horse and could we have a cow?
      Meeting Jones at the Ferry, we soon left the old military highway at Mill Creek, then fairyland began. We followed the old trail, crossing and re-crossing the creek many times, and then we were there.
     We were tired but happy. It did not take us long to decide on a campsite. A level clearing a few yards from the creek was chosen.
     Night had caught up with us and Wesley was soon rolled in a blanket and fast asleep. He had scraped a nice level spot for us and built a campfire against a big log.
     Lying there looking at the stars, I could not sleep. The creek talked to me, the wind moaned and sometimes sang, the fire crackled and blazed up, making all kinds of fantastic shapes of the brush and stumps around us.
     A new life was before us. To carve a home out of nothing would mean many hardships. We were all determined to do our best to make it a happy as well as prosperous time.
     At last it was morning and Dora was saying she did not like the springs in her bed.
     "I aim to please. I'll have springs deluxe tonight for all of us." And Wesley cut fir boughs laying them with the limbs to the outer edge, and they were a great improvement.
     The first thing to consider was a shelter. We had a saw, an axe, and a frow. It was some job to get a tree on the ground, but after it was down, it took but a short time to saw it in four-foot lengths split it with wedges and, with the frow, make some boards. The corner posts were made of poles, also the 'ridge pole' and the sheathing for the roof. Helping all we could, we had the frame work ready the first day.
     Next day we learned to make shakes. We hurried to get the roof on, for this was Oregon and it looked like rain. On the fourth day it was a house, a chicken house it became afterward, but it looked good to us then.
     Later, lumber was hauled in and good five room houses were built on Dora and Wesley's land. I insisted on a log cabin. When it was completed, they both envied it. Inside was a rock fireplace and homemade furniture; an outside setting among the trees, it looked very picturesque.
     The first cabin completed, we had some things brought down that were saved from the fire - a stove and some springs, and we had the beginning of a home. All of us lived together while we cut out a trail to my place and did some clearing at Dora's place.

Dora and Lula McCallister in a photo taken ca. 1900. Dora was born in Jun 1866 in Knox, Co. IL and died on 18 Apr 1941 in Portland, OR. Lula was born in Lincoln Co., NE on 14 Jun 1873 and passed away on 19 Dec 1944 in Portland. (Photo provided by Joyce Schmidt).

     Next, we made a shelter for the horse and brought in a cow. A small patch at a time, we were clearing a place for a garden.
     Until we had houses and stoves at Dora's and my places, our great trouble was the rain. On a trip to her place with the horse and cart it had rained all the way and we were wet and cold. We had crossed several streams, the old horse drinking her fill at each, and sister insisting she need not to stop at the next creek to drink. Dora touched her with the whip to move on, and unused to such treatment, she jumped out of the harness and left us in the middle of the creek. She turned and looked at us from the bank - we looked so funny we laughed with her.
     That same night we were sitting by the fire drying out after our trip, when we heard a noise in the brush outside. Wesley got his gun.
     "Don't go out," I begged. "You can't see to shoot."
     But he thought that an easy way to hunt. When the game comes to your door, you hold the lantern and let it shine in its eyes. Trembling, I followed. "There it is, why don't you shoot?"
     Wesley laughed and said, "It is old Trailer, the neighbor's dog."

The Road

     To take the trail to Dora's place was only three fourths of a mile from Wesley's house to her cabin. It was steep and rocky and not well blazed out.
     For that reason we went by the road. This road was of great interest to us because it was the old military road from Scottsburg to Roseburg.
     During the Indian War of '53, supplies were carried from Scottsburg (the head of navigation on the Umpqua) to the troops of Southern Oregon. Other soldiers and my father under the Command of Captain Nesmith took a canon along this road.
     The canon must get through. Every precaution was taken. When a canoe full of Indians would come in sight, the soldiers would promptly disappear, usually behind a tree.
     As we would travel along this road, I was measuring in my mind how big this tree or that tree would have been then, almost one hundred years ago. But however big the tree, I imagine they kept twisting around the tree to keep on the farther side as the boats came by and passed.
      The road, winding along by the river, was a source of never-ending pleasure; so beautiful, cool and shady. Sometimes views for a long distance up or down the river, with its shadows that reached to the sky, then again just a glimpse of water framed by the trees. And never a trip along the road but some kind of wild life could be seen, sometimes a doe with her fawn, a grouse, a pheasant, or maybe a mother quail with her brood in the dust in the road. Always something interesting.
     My First Hunt
     Wesley was a good shot. Dora and I had practiced some and I was anxious to try my skill and the real thing. It was Saturday - hunting day. I followed Wesley, keeping on the ridge and well out of the brush.
     I soon saw a five-point buck, a grand looking fellow; head up on the alert for the yell I gave, "Look!"
     Immediately he was in the air. A shot from my brother's gun and he was down. Running to him, where he was struggling to regain his feet, I was just in time to see his big human looking eyes with actual tears in them, saying to me - cruel, cruel.
     I could eat none of that venison and my hunting days for deer were over right then.
     Forty years ago was a much different time from now, and if in my story, we seem to have broken the law, remember it was then, not now.

A Proposal

     We were employed at the time of filing and were not at the homesteads to really make them our homes until the houses were built. In the meantime many visits were made to them, usually with company on weekends.
     On one of those times, we had started late and were undecided about crossing the mountain in the dark or camping before it grew too dark to see. Meeting an old mountaineer, Wesley asked him the time.
     "I'll 'low as how it's nigh unto sundown." "Grateful," Wesley said. That was our favorite expression for months.
     We decided to camp. Wesley had killed a deer and I was certain a cougar would come for it in the night. I selected my bed between a big fir and the fire.
     They were all soon asleep but me. I was waiting for the cougar. I could hear noises in the tree; I imagined I could see it in the limb. I whispered, afraid to move. "There is something in the tree."
     All was commotion. They shined its eyes, shot and down at my feet fell a big owl. Then they laughed.
     It was an exciting trip for me, for I had a proposal for marriage. Our 'low as how' man was on the ferry and insisted I stay with him - saying as I was a woman alone, I could never prove up on my homestead.
     As an inducement he told me of his one-room cabin, some chickens and a cow. As the greatest inducement of all he said he was home very little.
     Wesley was enjoying the proposal more than I so I put an end to it saying I 'low as how' I could make it alone, but if I found I couldn't I'd let him know.

Going for the Mail

     The mailbox was one mile to the county road - a weekly mail - rain or shine we got the mail. First the gate with a big fir for each post, then the pole bridge that we built over the creek that now bears our name on the map.
     Then on past the curly maple with the big burl that we planned to someday saw off for a tabletop. Then through ghost hollow where the "lonesome one" was calling up and outside a clearing - the meadows we called it.
     There was the quail tree, surely several broods made their home there. If we just had a shot gun and would aim at the trunk along toward dusk, you would kill at least a dozen. That is if one had a gun and wanted to.
     Now through the trees again, to the big creek with its wiggly, wobbly foot bridge. Then the road and mail box. It was hard sometimes to resist opening the other's letters. But if you had the fun of going for them - you should at least let them have the pleasure of opening their own mail.

The Umpqua River

     It had been many years since I rode in a boat down that river, but I remember it was the most beautiful river in Oregon.
     For miles it flows peacefully along between beautiful farms and towns, then through wooded country and rocky shoals that seemed hard for it to flow over, then growing wider as it gathers to itself more streams and creeks.

The North Umpqua River runs eastward from Roseburg. Much of it is designated a national Wild and Scenic River.(Bureau of Land Management Image from Wikimedia Commons).

     Toward the mouth it is a great river that centuries ago seems to have cut its way through a chain of mountains, high rocky bluffs on each side with their water falls and when the sun is shining on them, it is beautiful. Then it widens again until it is a mile wide at the mouth at Winchester Bay.
     I must not forget to mention the bath pool, a "natural." It was just right in the summer with high rocks on three sides and a sand bank on the fourth with a gradual slope to deep water. The local children spent many happy days there,
     We often took our eastern friends on the trip down the river to get their first glimpse of the ocean. First, we had to take them by team to Scottsburg, which was the end of the road. Then we had to take Captain Cornwall's little steamer "Juno" to the mouth of the river where many people camped during the summer. The boat stopped at every little house and farmlet for mail and to pick up their produce, as the boat was these peoples' only outlet.
     I remember on one occasion a little old lady was at the tiny wharf with eleven eggs and said, "Please, Captain, can't you wait, the hen is on the nest." I can't recall for sure, but as I have author's license, I'll say the hen soon cackled and we were again on our way.

Trolling for Salmon

     Salmon were in the river. We must get our share for we were self-supporting now. The salmon dried, salted, or canned were a wonderful help.
     Wesley borrowed a boat and we rowed with a troll line on each side and, when a big two or three foot salmon would strike, the fun began. It would sometimes pull the boat in its effort to get away. It took an experienced fisherman to win. Swimming up and back the fish would jump out of the water. With another whirl he would be off again. One was never sure of him until he was in the boat.
     The comment and advice to the one holding the line was nerve-racking. "Let out the line," "pull in now," "give him more line," and "Oh, you've lost him," or "you've got him" was the reward.

Fishing by Hand

     After a few years the salmon return to their birthplace to spawn. Unless they are caught before they injure themselves on the rocks in the riffles they are unfit to eat. It was great sport to catch them to feed to the chickens until the eggs tasted fishy or the yolks turned red. After the chickens have had their fill, the fish made splendid fertilizer.
     Hearing the salmon flopping over the rapids near the house, we would go down for more sport. They are at a disadvantage in shallow water on the rocks. If you are swift you can slip your hands in their gills and throw them on the bank, but that wasn't the way I learned. They fight back and you get a good wetting.
     They are tired after making it over the ripples and hide in some pool or with their head under a rock where they think they are hidden. If you lie on the rock and tightly clasp your hands around the tail, the fish puts up very little fight.
     Wesley made a trough by hollowing out a log. We coated it with paraffin and called it our fish kit. We often had too many fish, as we did not salt them down.
     There was one large rock under which they would hide their heads. I had caught a number of fish there but I tried too many times. I crawled under a bush that grew close to the rock and had a big fish by the gills. My face was close to the water, and I was not able to raise my head because of the brush, it would splash the water until I nearly drowned.
     Mother, thinking I was having a lot of fun, called from the bank, "Don't let him go, don't let him go!" The fish won the battle, as I had to let go and to get out of the trap I was in. After that I stuck to the tail method.
     With fish in the kit, eggs in the basket, a venison hanging from a limb and butter and cream in our spring house, we were well supplied. Writing about it makes me wish I were there now.
     There were sturgeon in the river. The boys caught some by tying a heavy line to a very long hook baited with a piece of meat. They swim on the bottom of the river, have a peculiar mouth and suck in their food. They have no bones only gristle-like bone down their back. They grow from 6 to 8 feet long - no scales but a tough hide.
     We would skin them and then slice through the entire body backbone and all. The great steaks rolled in flour were delicious. They would sometimes have four or five gallons of eggs. Too bad we didn't know the process of making caviar but the chickens liked them as they were.
     Another thing that always went over well with our guests was the campfire suppers. Dora would make a pan of dough, roll and cut it in strips. We had long sticks on which we would wrap strips of venison, then a strip of bacon, putting the dough on last. Each baked their own over a bed of coals. Many of them said it was the best they ever tasted.
     There were plenty of crawfish in the creek and our guests wanted to catch them. They were good dropped in a pot of boiling salted water on the campfire and eaten while hot.
     Burning the shells in the fire saved a lot of mess but made such a stink we were afraid it would attract the cougars.
     We worried about the trout until we found how good they were salted and then smoked over a slow fire - "Jerky" as the Indians called it.

High Water on the Umpqua

     In the spring when the snows melted, every little drop of water seems to have an inward urge to move, joining with others it quietly flows through the meadow brook - to the larger creek with its rocky rapids - perhaps a waterfall or two and then the river. The great river that ends in the sea - home!
     But our beautiful river did not look so good to us when its waters were muddy or it was full of floating logs and other debris.
     We lived on the wrong side of the river. The only way to a doctor, dentist, or supplies was by the ferry. Dora had an ulcerated tooth. It was causing her great pain. We must go to a dentist.
     We crossed on the ferry, but we were frightened that a log would hit us and break the cable. Dora's visit to the dentist finished, we hurried back to the river. The river was rising fast. It looked dangerous. The man that we had hired to take us across had been drinking. He said he would not trust the ferry but he would take us over in a rowboat. We had doubts about the wisdom of that suggestion, but Dora felt so ill and Mother was at home alone so we climbed in the boat.
     We made it until we got in the current. Then while the swift muddy water had us in its power, I looked to see Dora's head over the side of the boat. Dora, Dora, you can't fall - you can't now. She opened her eyes - as I pulled her back - she exerted all her strength and was herself again.
     The incident seemed to give new strength to the oarsman. He put forth all his power; got us out of the current and landed us in a bush thicket several yards from land. But the water was not more than a foot deep. He said that was the best he could do and we had better get out. So we did!
     We waded to land and found we had been carried about one half mile down the river. But the walk back was good for us. It quieted our nerves, partially dried out our wet feet and we found old Dolly gratefully awaiting us. How good it felt to be wrapped in the blankets in the cart and knew we would soon be home.
     Home in front of a nice blazing fire and mother fussing over Dora with all the remedies she knew to prevent a cold.
     Nasty old river! Although I loved it - I did not like it then.

The Big Fire

     Before we had really moved, Wesley and I were spending a week at his place, clearing more space for a garden.
     I was trying to burn the brush as he cut it, but could not get it to burn. "It won't burn." I said. But it did, more than a thousand acres.
     We were tired and had gone to bed. Sometime near morning we heard the fire. It was running up the trees, great blotches of it jumping from treetop to treetop. In our excitement we grabbed gallon pails and started for water. Wesley said we'd better move out of here fast. We knew there was a fine and imprisonment to set a fire, although this was an accident, we were scared.
     We had no idea of the extent of the fire until later when we found that not so much timber had been destroyed, but that all the underbrush was cleared out.
     We were told, too, that the Indians in olden days never let the underbrush grow, but would keep it burned out for better hunting. But deliver me from ever setting another fire like that.
     There is always a humorous side, if we look for it, and it does seem funny now when we think of us with our little pails of water against that forest fire.

My Cabin House

     My cabin was built of peeled cedar logs, hewn flat on the sides and notched at the corners to fit perfectly. It seemed to me airtight.
     With the aid of a horse to pull, Wesley snaked up lumber for the floor and the ceiling and the upstairs floor, double duty - an open stairway with the peeled cedar as the banister.
     My fireplace was a miracle. Near the cabin was a ledge of rocks suitable for the hearth and the two side sections. They fit perfectly as if hewn by hand. I was quite proud of the mantle with the burnished design on the front.
     With lots of cedar nearby we spilt long-wise boards, planed them to smoothness, and made furniture.
     I decorated everything. The seat under the stairway with its red oilcloth cushions and fish net drapes and the big arm chair to match, all homemade. I had my photography outfit with me. I hung a lot of pictures on the walls, for I had kidded myself into thinking I was a photographer - anyway to make it a hobby.
     The front porch was a favorite place in an evening - with its crisscross railing around it and on each side of its three steps. I could stand on this porch and look for miles to the distant mountains. At such times we seemed isolated from the world - no radios to bring the world to us - no autos to take us to the world.
     We sat on the porch one twilit evening that I shall always remember. Molly, my sister from Portland was with me. She was humming little sketches and then really sang that old song "Oh, don't you remember sweet Alice Ben Bolt." It echoed through the hills and brought the tears to my eyes - that to me was real music.
     Just as she finished, she ended by saying, "There is the evening star." We repeated together,
     "Star light, star bright,
     First star I see tonight,
     I wish I may, I wish I might,
     Have this wish I wish tonight."
     And we finished by sending out on the sweet night air a quiet prayer. Life was like that on the Homestead.

The Tall Fir Trees

     Two years had gone by. We had our cabins completed, a barn and chicken houses at each place and the gardens were growing. Then we moved down for good.
     The homesteads were growing in value and we heard some talk of claims jumping. We could not lose them now so I made up my mind I could stay at my cabin alone at night as well as day.
     Putting up a brave front, I said good night to Wesley, who had been working on my barn, and said I was staying.
     "Won't you be afraid?" he asked.
     "No, I'll keep the dogs and read."
     But lonesome was no name for the night I endured. I prayed and read the twenty-third Psalm, but by morning I was weak from fear.
     I walked out to "my cathedral," as I called it. The tall firs in long rows, almost as if planted that way, thirty feet or more before there were any limbs. No underbrush, but the fir needles on the ground like a carpet and just one mossy log on which I sat.
     While singing, "Only God can make a tree. He made them and gave these to me," another song came to me: "He walks with me. He talks to me and tells me of his love." My nervousness left me and I have never again been afraid to stay alone.
     Since then, a tree is the most beautiful thing in nature to me. I always went to my cathedral if I had a problem to solve. It seemed that in its quiet stillness I was alone with God.
     A few days later, I was at Wesley's place again and our delayed weekly papers came. Then I knew why I had been such a coward on that night - I was alone in my cabin. The headlines were "Jack Frost, the escaped criminal, was seen in the woods" near my cabin. He may have been near that night, but seeing it occupied, had not come in. He was one of Oregon's worst criminals.
     I will never forget some of the horrible tales told of him. Some of his boyhood playmates told how he was always saying "I am tough, I like to hear dogs howl," and picking up a young puppy, he threw it into the fireplace. Another thing we all knew was he ran off with a neighbor's young wife leaving the baby.
     I wonder if he could have been near the cabin that night, and the thoughts of his evil mind came to me like mental telepathy.
     This is supposition, but it could have been true and proves to me that "God is always near if we but reach out and take him by the hand, he will lead us in the way we should go."

To be Continued




Checking in on Fort McAllister
Harold A. McAlister

Decatur, GA

This important Civil War coastal fortress has long been a favorite historic site of CMA members. Susan and I visited there for the first time this past March and camped there in our small motor home for a few days to explore the park and do some fishing and bicycling. I also met with Park Manager Jason Carter to learn more about the park itself and, especially, how it is recovering from some significant damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew last October.

The Hurricane struck the Savannah area on 7 Oct 2016, and Fort McAllister Historic State Park was not spared. A public fishing pier near the park's entrance was hard hit, and a minimum of 150 large water oaks and live oaks fell to the high winds. Satellite imagery in the illustration at right is strongly suggestive of tornado activity in the park, which is the impression you get in walking through the campground. Recovery from that hit will be years in the making. Still, it could have been worse as the historic earth works of the fort itself were undamaged except for the ever encroaching shore line crowding up to the rampart alongside the broad Ogeechee River.

Top: The park sits in marsh land with green indicating the dry land portions connected by a causeway. The campground consists of 65 sites for tents and RVs. Bottom: Google Earth views before and after Hurricane Matthew. The spotty removal of trees in the campground is strongly indicative of tornadic action. There's a nice small fishing pier at the bottom of the campground where we had fun with a variety of fish and blue crabs. We also had a friendly game warden come up to check our licenses! (Diagram by the author).

This wonderful place is a great blend of historical significance, natural beauty, and recreational opportunity. In addition to the 65 campsites equipped with electric power and water, there are seven very nice cottages located near the marshland prior to crossing the causeway to the Savage Island campground area. The park's fourteen staff members are supplemented with dedicated volunteers in maintaining the park and keeping it open with great hospitality to its half million annual visitors. You can take a guided tour of the fort, which is far more complex than I'd anticipated, or you can explore on your own. There's a great small museum on site with a large supply of Civil War era artifacts.

With its proximity to Savannah, Hilton Head, Tybee Island and other great spots along the Georgia coast, there's no excuse for folks in the Southeast like us not to go there.

Below is a montage of images from our visit




Report from the Genealogy Committee
Frank McAlister, Robert C. McAllister
Jeanne Bowman & Cynthia Bresson

CMA Genealogy Committee

100,000 McAlister Descendants?

Thanks to the hundreds of genealogical contributions from our CMA members over 27 years, we are on the brink of surpassing 100,000 McAlister (all spellings) descendants in our genealogy database! As of this writing, the database contains 99,324 records. We need your help to meet this significant milestone. Some members have not yet sent us their family history. As a challenge and a reward, the CMA will provide a free two-year membership to the member who provides new information that puts us over the 100,000 record threshold! Submissions will be processed in the order they are received by the Genealogy Committee (email address above) and the winner will be announced in the CMA Journal. We look forward to hearing from you!

New and Merged Ancestral Lines

New Line: B07 - Benjamin McAllister, J32 line steps back two generations. Eric McAllister of Alameda, CA (ericmcallister@ sent a GEDCOM file and copies of supporting documents that carries the J32 James McAllister line back two additional generations. Eric's cover message stated: "I think that J32 James McAllister (my great-great-grandfather) may be the son of Edson McAllister, son of Benjamin McAllister. I am attaching a summary of the pieces that help show the relationships with images of the referenced documents." The documents provided included Federal and NY Census records, death certificates, a gravestone photograph, and excerpts from a book that provides summary biographies of early NY inhabitants.

Benjamin, the progenitor of this new line, married Sally Perry, and Eric has documented eight children. The only child with descendants identified so far is Edson born 14 Jul 1812 in Cortland, NY. Edson (whose name is spelled variously in the records) married Mary Crissey and their second child was J32 James. The J32 line was established in 1995 based on information from Mary Jane Jones of Elma, WA. The Rev. James McAllister was born 4 Jun 1847 in Cortland, NY, and died 4 Jun 1929 in Clio, Genesee County, MI. He married Retta Ackley in 1870 in Cortland, and they moved to MI in 1876. Eric's submission is the first new information regarding this family since that time, and it represents a significant contribution. Eric will be the line coordinator for B07, which has 228 records in the CMA database.

New Line: P06 - Patrick McAllister. Through a query we were introduced to Lisa Mason of Cincinnati, OH (lisamariemason13@ She immediately joined CMA and shared the family information she has researched and data obtained by her Mom's cousin who visited Scotland in the 1980s. Lisa prepared the following summary of her family line beginning with her immigrant great-grandfather Patrick who came to the USA in 1892. This new line has 25 descendant records.

Ancestral Line Updates

Update on J47 - James McAllister. It had been over ten years since we had received new information regarding the J47 line until Genie Zappanti ( of Mesa, AZ sent us her GEDCOM file. Her significant additions almost doubled the number of descendants to 504 records, and Genie is our new J47 Line Coordinator.

James McAllister was born in 1790 in County Louth, which is on the east coast adjacent to Northern Ireland. His wife was named Mary, and it appears that they raised their family in Whitehaven, Cumberland Co., England, where James died 24 Apr 1861. Their children James (1815), Mary Ann (1819, likely died young), John (1825), Charles (1826), Elizabeth (1828), Emma (1837-1841), and Mary Anne (1838-1842). It appears that sons J47-1 James and J47-4 Charles were the only children who came to America, and we have no descendant information on Charles.

J47-1 James and Margaret Hutchinson were married 16 Feb 1845 in Whitehaven, England. Their children were all born in Whitehaven between 1843 and 1858: Thomas (1843), Hector (1846), James (1847), Jane (1849), Elizabeth (1849), William (1852), Mary Jane (1861), and John (1858). James arrived in America 8 Dec 1863 and Margaret and seven children followed her, arriving 15 Aug 1864. The family may have lived in Pennsylvania for a period, spent some time in Greenup Co, KY, and ultimately settled in Streator, LaSalle Co., IL. According to family lore Margaret and two children died of cholera about 1866 when they were in route from Kentucky to Illinois; however Genie's research has only found one child (James) whose record trail stops early, so maybe it was only Margaret and James who died of cholera. Mary Jane was only six when her mother died so she lived with her uncle Charles McAllister and his wife Margaret and by 1870 she was living with her brother Hector and his wife Hannah (Ellwood) McAllister.

James, Thomas, and Hector all worked in coal mines. While living in Streator, James was killed in a mine cave-in. Sandy Parcher provided a more detailed account of this family that can be found in the March 1998 issue of the Journal.

Genie's recent submission identifies many descendants of J47-3 John and his wife Ann Townsley. This branch of the family remained in Cumberland County, England as far as we know.




Family Tree DNA
McAlister Project Report

Nancy Hudson, Jeanne Bowman & J A McAlister

FTDNA McAlister Project Administrators

The membership growth of the McAlister DNA Project has been steady since we started in 2003. We now have 265 members. Since the last report, we have added 5 more McAlister men to our Y-DNA Project. Subgroup 151 contains the names of 16 men who carry the surname of McAlister, but have not had a match to another McAlister male. In March of this year, one new member's DNA test matched one of the men in subgroup 15. The subgroup 15 individual tested in 2012; it has taken 5 years to find a McAlister match. If you know of a male McAlister who is not currently a member of the project, please encourage him to join our DNA project and test.

Autosomal Tests (Family Finder)

The FTDNA autosomal test is known as Family Finder. This test is designed to find relatives on any of your ancestral lines within the last five generations. Family Finder uses autosomal DNA, which is the mixture of DNA you received from both parents (about 50% from your mother and about 50% from your father). Because autosomal DNA is a mixture of your mother's and father's DNA, it is unique to each person. Both men and women can complete this test.

We have many female McAlisters who are hoping to further their family research but do not have a male McAlister relative who can do the Y-DNA test for them. Consequently, the females are using autosomal DNA in hopes of connecting with their McAlister family or in hopes of breaking through a brick wall. Thirty-seven men have tested with Y-DNA and Family Finder. However, there are 5 subgroups in which no male McAlister has tested with Family Finder: subgroup 2, 6, 7, 12 and 14. If you are in one of these subgroups, please consider testing with Family Finder as it may help others locate their male line. In addition to helping a female McAlister identify her male line, Family Finder can be helpful in determining which line men in a specific subgroup belong to. W05 in subgroup 4 traces his earliest known ancestor to William McAlister, 1803-1871, SC. In looking at his Family Finder results, W05 in subgroup is most likely a member of the A09 line in subgroup 4 as he matches many McAlister cousins from the A09 line who do not carry the McAlister surname. To reiterate, his Y-DNA results placed him in subgroup 4 and his Family Finder results place him in the A09 line of subgroup 4. These findings narrow down where to concentrate on finding a paper trail.

Beneficiary Information

Once again, we'd like to stress the importance of identifying a beneficiary for your FTDNA account. Currently, only 68 kits in the project have specified a beneficiary. Because genetic genealogy is a relatively new science, the ability of DNA to trace the origin of a given line or to connect one family member to another is constantly evolving. As new products are developed, additional testing may provide the answer, but without a beneficiary to order new tests or agree to an upgrade, the information contained in the DNA will be lost forever. FTDNA recommends owners of DNA kits name a beneficiary, and preferably, put the name of your beneficiary in writing as well as specify what you would like your beneficiary to do with your DNA. Are you willing to have additional products ordered for your DNA if the test would provide answers? Are you willing to share those results with members of Clan McAlister of America? Is there anyone in your family that is interested in managing your DNA? We have many original participants who are deceased. Unfortunately, when we ask their surviving family member(s) about their DNA, we are often informed that no one is interesting in managing the kit in the future. We also find that kit owners have not updated their contact information and are, therefore, lost to follow up. Please, please consider naming a beneficiary for your kit and make certain your email address or contact information is up to date. Finally, if you would like to leave your kit to the FTDNA Project or to the Genealogy Committee, please put your desire in writing and clarify what you want done with your DNA. You have spent too much money for the results and information to lay dormant.

Beneficiary Information Page

The "Beneficiary Information" page is where you can enter and update the information of your kit's beneficiary. The beneficiary is the person who will be granted control of your myFTDNA account, your DNA test results, and any stored DNA sample in the event of your death. After they contact us, they will gain complete control of the kit and will be authorized to order additional tests with any DNA that may remain in stock.

This page contains the following fields:

To update this information, fill out the form and click the "Save" button. Once you have saved the information, a link to a printable form will be available. Note that because the form uses the information on your "Contact Information" page, you should update that page before proceeding. If you would like a hard copy of this to include in your will or with your other legal documents, click the "Printable Form" link. This will take you to the form. Alternatively, you can click here to obtain a pdf copy of the Beneficiary form. Verify your information, print it, and have it notarized.

To access your "Beneficiary Information" page:

  1. Sign in to your myFTDNA account.
  2. In the upper-right corner, click on your name/kit number, and then click Account Settings from the drop-down menu - Or - In the upper-left corner of the page, click on myFTDNA, and then click on Account Settings from the slide-out menu. The Account Settings page is displayed.
  3. On the Account Settings page, click the Beneficiary Information tab. The Beneficiary Information page is displayed.

Submitted by Nancy S. Hudson




Query Editors Report
Robert C. McAllister & Jeanne Bowman

Query Editors

Genealogical queries to CMA are handled by our Query Editors through on-line submissions to Each query is carefully researched against the CMA database, and often also against other resources, before the reply is made. Please let the Query Editors know if you have any additional information to pass along regarding this issue's queries.

Query of 10 Nov 2016 from Edith Sauter, My MacAllister branch began with Richard McAllister (R04), and we specifically descended from William Ira McAllister, John Wentworth McAllister's son. We have tested with FTDNA and pretty well secured our DNA connections with CMA I think. Our R1b has evolved down the line to Z-P112. David Stedman is my researcher contact with FTDNA.

I was just checking in on the status of our lineage. Nancy has worked with me in the past. Also, Lynn was so gracious to direct me on where to stay in Kintyre (Stonefield Castle) in Tarbert. I really enjoyed Glenbarr Abbey as well. Thanks so much for all your work and attention to detail.

Response from R.C. McAllister: Thank you for your note which arrived as a Query. My wife and I have been overseas since mid-November, helping out at Chisholme Institute, a school in the Scottish Borders. We arrived home on Saturday evening, safe and sound, Thank God. What with the flurry prior to departure, I was unable to respond before leaving, for which I beg your forgiveness.

In any event, I'm back online now. After reading your message several times, I'm unsure what question you are asking. For instance, you wrote, "I was just checking in on status of our lineage." As far as I know, there is no question that R04 is part of the McAlister (any spelling) lineage. If I have not understood correctly, please do not hesitate to correct / advise me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Reply from Edith: Thanks so much for your most gracious reply. I certainly understand the question you have about my letter.

Within the last few years, my MacAllister branch was accepted by Clan Mcalister, and I wondered if there is a current site that lists all the branches that exist now? In this same query, have earlier descendants been found to Richard Mcallister?

Reply from R.C. McAllister: Thank you very much for the clarification. It seems you have not fully searched the CMA web site so you are in for a treat. Please point your web browser to Once the site loads, click on the Search bar (top left) and enter R04. The result is a list of every page where R04 occurs. The best place to start is Descendants of Richard McAllister ~1705-1776 (R04), William Worth's massive compilation spanning ten generations,

Another is by Helen McAlister Huntington, and CMA Ancestral Lines cma-lines.html, CMA Patriot Ancestors, www., and Edwin Alden McAllister This list is not exhaustive so you have some happy reading before you.

After re-reading your above message, I realized I had not fully answered. So, here goes.

1. Is there a current site that lists all the branches that exist now? I rather doubt it. Bill Worth's data, though extensive, is now several years old. The current R04 Line Coordinator, Ray McAllaster, 801 Corder Road, Warner Robbins, GA 31088,, has not added anything that I know of in several years. Genealogy is a tale with no end. Would you like to pick up the tale and further it? Any contributions would be most welcome.

2. Have earlier descendants been found to Richard Mcallister? I assume you mean, "ancestors" to Richard Mcallister. Not to our knowledge. If we knew, say, Richard's father was named William, then the R04 designator would be retired and the line would be renamed W(some number) in accordance with the numbering system explained on


Query of 29 Dec from Laura Waddle, I am looking for more information on Ann McAllister born approximately 1801-1804 in Adair Co., KY. She married Peter Bryant on 13 Feb 1821 in Adair Co. I have a copy of the marriage index from the Adair County marriage rolls. I have also found them in both the 1860 United States Federal Census Division 2, Adair, KY and the 1850 United States Federal Census KY Adair District 2 Post Office Columbia, KY. In, most people have her father listed as a John H McAllister, however he was not born until 1817, therefore could not be her father. I do not have any other information regarding her parents. They also have her death date as 1868, however I did not see any evidence to support this. Any help would be appreciated.

Also, I am interested in joining the CMA. Do I need any other information to join? I have a pretty good paper trail leading me to Peter Bryant and Ann as his wife. I have also had my DNA and several family members tested through While none of us holds the McAllister name, we do share DNA with McAllister descendants. I will be happy to share any information I have. Thank you so much for your time and effort!, Laura Waddle. BTW, here is my path to Ann....

Response from Frank McAlister: Thank you for your interest in Clan McAlister of America! I have checked our genealogy Database and you and Ann belong to our JL03 line. (A description of our line number system is below). I'm glad that you see the obvious error in the information, which unfortunately is all too common. We show Ann McA as the daughter of John L. McCallister, the progenitor of this Adair Co. line. Here is a brief description that we published in 2013 on this family:

John L. McCallister was born about 1776 (location uncertain) and died about 1826 in Adair Co, KY. He married Elizabeth Smith in 1792. Four children of this family have been identified, but there are possibly additional children: 1) John Jr., b. abt. 1792, m. Sarah D. Smith on 30 Jan 1816 in Adair, KY; 2) Samuel, b. abt. 1808, m. Mary K. Williams on 2 Nov 1829; 3) Hannah, m. John Bryant on 17 Jan 1821; and 4) Ann, b. 1802, m. Peter Bryant on 13 Feb 1821.

I do not currently have access to the information submitted on this family from a CMA member because our files are in storage for a home renovation. However, I'm attaching a copy of the June 2013 CMA Journal which gives a bit more information on the member who submitted the information on John's family. See pages 75-76. Our journal is a terrific benefit of being a CMA member; four times a year there is great information regarding McA families in America, and great human interest stories.

We would love to have you join the CMA. Let me know if you have any additional questions.


Query of 31 Dec 2016 from Robert W. Allison, I would like to know if the McAlister Clan considers Allisons of Scottish origin as a branch of the clan

Response from R.C. McAllister: Thank you very much for your posting on our Query page. The Clan Allison is a sept, or branch of the Clan Macalister. CMA does not maintain genealogical information about any sept other than ones spelled with a variation of McAllister. We do not include the McAlister septs, like Alexander, Allison, Sanders, etc. due to the limited (100% volunteer) personnel available to maintain such records. At some time in the future, we may add the Alexanders of Menstrie since they are not a sept but are a cadet house in the MacAlasdair Clan line.

That said, our sister organization, The Clan MacAlister Society, may have records. Try contacting the president at clanmacalister. I hope this helps. you.


Query of 2 Jan 2017 from Genie Zappanti, I see that you have 240 records for my James McAllister (Line J47) born 11 Feb 115 in Whitehaven, England; he died Dec 1875 in Streator, IL. He was married to Margaret Hutchinson. I was just wondering what other information you have on James and Margaret. Thank You, Genie

Response from R.C. McAllister: I am unsure what "other" information you mean. Virtually all the J47 name data were supplied by Sandy Parcher in about 2004 which I gather you have seen. Alas, her CMA membership lapsed in 2006 and we have not heard from her in 10 years or more.

Ordinarily, we notify the Line Coordinator of queries to their particular line. In this case, the position of J47 Line Coordinator is currently vacant. The LC's function is to be the primary contact person and to be knowledgeable about a given line. Please let me encourage you to rejoin CMA and assume the duties of J47 Line Coordinator.

Reply from Genie: I would love to have someone connected to J47 contact me! I would be happy to send you a link to my tree that is on Ancestry - you don't have to have a membership to use the link '- if you would like to see the information I have accumulated on my lines over the 40 years I have been working on it.

Reply from R.C. McAllister: Thank you for the kind offer of an invitation. In fact, it would be much more useful if we had a GEDCOM file of your family tree. Only the Ancestry account owner can extract / create this file. Instructions on how to create it are below. If you could share this with us, it would help a lot.

  1. Log in to your Ancestry account
  2. Click the TREES tab and select a family tree
  3. Click the Tree Name menu in the top left and select Tree Settings
  4. Click the EXPORT TREE button in the panel on the right
  5. Right-click (Mac: Control + click) the DOWNLOAD YOUR GEDCOM FILE button
  6. Select Save target as... or Save link as... from the drop-down menu
  7. In the window that appears, choose a location on your computer and click Save
  8. Attach the GEDCOM file to an email and send it to us
Once we have that file, we can easily compare it with what we have and send you the results.

Reply from Genie: I was able to split out my tree in Family Tree Maker, so hopefully this attached GEDCOM will do


Query of 28 Jan 2017 from John McAllister, I am trying to get further information on Archibald McAllister, born 1791 in County Donegal, Ireland. His wife?s name was Betsy, also born 1791 in Armagh, Ireland. The two children I know of are Mark McAllister, born 1831 in Antrim, Ireland and Margaret, born 1846 in Morvern, Argyll, Scotland. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Response from R.C. McAllister: Thank you very much for your posting on the Clan McAlister of America Query page. I have searched the CMA computer database and am unable to locate the family you described in your query.

This is not surprising given the scant Irish data we have. As a 100% volunteer powered non-profit, the CMA is completely dependent on data submitted by members and other interested parties. There is hope, however.

If you have any additional information, such as Betsy's maiden name or the names of her grandchildren, it will help narrow the search.

Our current president, Cindy Bresson, is an active Ireland researcher and I have copied her on this message. She may be able to help you. Also, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has a program of digitizing significant archives to make them accessible to the public online at

A note of caution: Don't get hung up on the exact spelling of McAllister. Standardized spelling only became widespread in the very late 1800s. I've personally seen a will from the early 1800s in the testator's own hand where he spelled his own name 3 different ways on a single page.


Query of 21 Feb 2017 from Frank Alexander, Need some help. Stuck on family tree, at Who was Charles Tarlack MacAlister, Stewart of Kintyre, Mother/wife' I keep getting Lady Margaret Ylis (Macalister) 1400, or Lady Elizabeth Haybuton (Macalister) 1408-1479, and Lady Margaret Stewart. I am also having a problem finding the wife of Laird Raghnall Macalister 1341-1401.

I am a member of Ancestry. My tree the "Frank Alexander Family Tree," it is a public tree, and you may use any part of it. Thank you for your help.

Response from R.C. McAllister: Could you please go to your Ancestry account and select File, Export and save your tree as a GEDCOM file (*.ged) and send it to us- If you do that, it makes analysis and comparison to our existing line records a lot easier.

Reply from Frank: I have found a way I hope. Am attaching it to this email. Please let me know when you receive it.

Partial example of the supplied Descendant List of Andrew Alexander 4th Baron:

Response from R.C. McAllister: Wow! That is quite a tree. It looks like your download/ export worked, too. One question, do you have sources for these dates and peoples' identities? The export process may have stripped them out.

Your tree spans periods not reflected in our CMA database. I have taken the liberty of forwarding it to Lynn McAlister who is also a professional genealogist and Scottish Historian. I'll let you know any / everything she has to say.

Further Response from R.C. McAllister: Thanks again for sending your data file. I have reviewed carefully it as has our CMA Historian. Alas, there are no sources shown. If such a coherent lineage has survived the ravages of time, wars, civil strife and such, we've never encountered it. The names of the wives are especially unusual in a genealogy such as this because wives were considered chattel until well into the 19th century. For more details, please see


Query of 4 Mar 2017 from Dorothy Swanson, I am writing in hopes you can assist me. I saw you were in Ohio and there is my question! I have a James McAllister who married a Louisa Duncise on 18 May 1876 at Stark Co., OH. They had a daughter Luella who was born on Cherry St. in Canton, Stark Co., OH.

They moved to Des Moines Co., IA at some time after the daughter's birth. James filed for divorce in 1882 She was to have been guilty of prostitution(-) according to court records.

In the 1880 census Louisa and daughter Luella were living with her sister, Molly Crosby in Stark Co., OH. I would like to know what became of the daughter after that. Any ideas would be appreciated. I belong to Clan McAllister also.

Response from C.M. Bresson: Not only do I live in Ohio, I live in Stark County and will be happy to help; give me a week or so to see what I can find for you. Canton has many years of city directories available, and the marriage records are pretty complete.

Do you have birthdate for Louella, specific location for 1880, and/or additional information on James? (Makes a difference where to look if city or rural.) There is a family of McAllisters in Louisville, OH to this day, but I don't know their ancestors. Stark Co. Library has a very good genealogy department with a staff genealogist Lauren Landis and helpful volunteers.


Query of 22 Mar 2017 from Marsha Harris, Trying to find parents of Lewis McAllister who, according to census records, was born in PA in 1811. Married to Barbara Moser. My grandfather, Frederick Allen McAllister. His father was Ira W. McAllister; his father was Jonathan McAllister and Lewis was Jonathan's father. Have been researching genealogy for over 15 years.

Response from R.C. McAllister: I have searched our without locating this family. I did, however, locate a Lewis Frank McAlister, b. 6 Jun 1876 who married a Martha 'Mattie' Moser on 6 June 1901. While the dates are wrong, the association of the two names may be more than mere coincidence. Can you provide me more information, such as the wives' names for Frederick, Ira and Jonathan as well as the names of their children. A note of caution: Don't get hung up on the exact spelling of McAllister. Standardized spelling only became widespread in the very late 1800s.

I've also seen published family trees on Ancestry showing one of my known ancestors in a completely different family line. That researcher confused two different men named Robert, both born within a few years of each other and in the same geographical area. Mixing is easy to do so it is important to check all known generations.




The Clan McAlister Ancestral Lines
Frank McAlister

Database Manager

Ancestral Codes

To organize our McAlister Genealogy, we use a system devised by founder Paul Towry. It assigns a unique code for each family line. We begin with the earliest known ancestor of the line, and use the initial(s) of his/her given name(s). For example, James McCallister is designated as a "J" line while George Washington McAlister is a "GW" line. A two-digit number is added to the letter code to distinguish the many progenitors with the same initials. So, A01 is the first family line in our system with the initial "A" and J04 is the fourth family line with the first initial "J." The family line code is then the prefix for all the descendants of the line.

Migratory Paths

An important characteristic of a family line is what we call their Migratory Path. The line description includes a short summary of the recorded movements of the early descendants of the line. This information can help us identify similarities of several lines and perhaps suggest that families are related.

To better understand the migratory paths as presented in the following pages, a few tips may help. The locations identified are generally presented in chronological order of the family's residences. We emphasize the earliest members of the line and highlight the major locations of the family. Three symbols are used to precede the name of each place. A state is preceded by a / (slash), a county by a - (dash), and = designates a village, town or city. This facilitates searches of the database. There is a limit to the amount of information that can be included; therefore we must be selective about the places chosen. As part of the migration description, we highlight lines where there is reason to believe the line originates in Scotland or Ireland, and that individuals in the line immigrated to America. The designation IMMIGRANT means the progenitor was the immigrant, whereas IMMIGRANT LINE indicates that one or more descendants of the progenitor immigrated.

DNA Subgroup Codes

The DNA column in the chart identifies the subgroup of the Paternal Y-DNA tests for descendants of particular ancestral lines. The subgroups are indicators of the likelihood of a common McAlister ancestor, based on the first 12 DNA markers as tested by Family Tree DNA. A few lines show two subgroup numbers.

The Subgroup 15 lines do not have matching markers, but are grouped based on their Haplogroup matching. A few lines are not yet in a designated group and are marked UNG (ungrouped). Additional testing and research is especially needed in these last two cases. For any of the line without DNA test results, we encourage these families to consider the Y-DNA test for a male in the line with the McAlister surname. More information regarding the DNA results can be found on the McAlister Project webpage at mcalister/about.

Merged and Retired Lines

In the years that we have accumulated the many McAlister family histories that make up our rich store, we have established 508 family lines. We often succeed in finding common ancestors for two lines. This permits combining the two lines into a single line. Once we establish that a line merges with another or if an ancestor of the current line progenitor is discovered, that Ancestral Code is retired. As of this printing 172 lines have been retired, and there are 336 unique family lines that remain active.

Active Lines

The 2017 CMA Ancestral Family Lines List (click here for the PDF file showing all the lines) contains all the family lines currently identified. In each, the line progenitor is identified with dates and places of birth and death. The spouse is named with place and date of marriage. The migratory path is shown. The final item shows in square brackets the number of records currently in the database. It generally corresponds to the number of identified descendants in the line, but the number is slightly inflated in cases of multiple marriages since there is a separate record for each marriage. The total number of records for all lines in our database is 99,324 as of this compilation.

Line Coordinators

Significantly, a Line Coordinator (LC) is named for each family line along with their email and home addresses. If you find no LC listed for your line, or you simply want to adopt a line presently without a LC, please consider volunteering for this role. For more information about what our LCs do, please contact Frank McAlister (contact information is on the inside front cover of this journal).

Recent Changes Noted

Changes from last year's publication are indicated with RED text which can be seen in the electronic version of the journal. In the printed version of the journal the red text may appear a bit fainter than the normal black print.


If you have any questions or corrections regarding the brief line descriptions, please send them to Frank McAlister.










We hope you have enjoyed this issue of Mac-Alasdair Clan.