Allen grew up in northeastern Ohio and attended The Ohio State University (OSU), where he earned bachelors and masters degrees in biology and zoology with majors in aquatic sciences and fisheries biology, respectively. While at OSU, he met and married Diana Rigg. Their journey westward began with Allen’s post-graduate education at the University of Idaho, where Allen minored in statistics. That led to another move and a career of over 32 years with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Allen and Diana both delved part-time into their respective family histories while working and raising their son Samuel in Alaska. Upon retirement, they resettled in Washougal, Washington (not too far from Portland, Oregon). Their interest in family genealogy was rekindled and their research took off.
Allen’s 3rd great-grandmother, Ingibjörg Guðrún Klemensdóttir, emigrated from Iceland in 1875 with her 11-year-old daughter, Kristjana Margrét Guðmundsdóttir (Allen’s 2nd great grandmother), and her 9-year-old son, Jónas Steinn Guðmundsson. They emigrated shortly after the death of Guðrún’s husband, Guðmundur Einarsson. They initially tried to make a go of it in the (later abandoned) Markland settlement in Nova Scotia. In 1881, Kristjana married Henry Charles Howard in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Shortly thereafter, Henry and Kristjana, along with her mother Guðrún, resettled in New Jersey, USA.
Most of Allen’s ancestors were of Irish and English origin on both his father’s and mother’s sides. Frustratingly, researching his Irish roots has been a difficult and mostly fruitless undertaking. With the discovery of Icelandic Roots, the same cannot be said about his relatively distant Icelandic heritage (1/16 Icelandic!). This discovery strengthened an already keen interest in his own roots and finding out about his ancestors’ lives and times in Iceland and Nova Scotia.
Allen joined Icelandic Roots as a member in February 2020 and quickly explored everything he could find about his Icelandic ancestors. He started making suggestions to add more and more of his cousins of Icelandic descent to the database. All these suggestions led to his being granted editing rights (after being trained by IR volunteer Kristy Marston). As of April 2020, Allen has officially joined the volunteer team, specializing in researching and editing cemeteries in the database.