In Memoriam: Cameron Allen, FASG, 1928-2017

This past January, the American Society of Genealogists lost one of its senior members, an FASG who epitomized the Society’s emphasis on scholarship and its value to the scholarly world.

Cameron Harrison Allen was born in Springfield, Ohio, on 7 February 1928, son of George Badger Allen and his wife Dorothy (Spencer). He died in Palm Springs, California, on 23 January 2017, aged 88. In 1962 at the age of only 34, he was elected a Fellow of The American Society of Genealogists, as number 78 on the roll. He served the ASG as Secretary (1989-92), Vice-President (1992-95), and President (1995-98). When he died, he was second in seniority among the Fellows.

Cameron completed his Bachelor’s degree in 1947 at Otterbein College, Westerville Ohio, and a Master’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin in 1951. He then served in the Corps of Engineers, US Army, from 1951-53 in Korea. In 1956, he earned a Master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois and the degree of Juris Doctor in 1959 from Duke University.

His entire professional career was at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, beginning in 1959 as Assistant Law Librarian and retiring in 1983 as Librarian and Professor of Law. He published prolifically both in law and genealogy, the latter in The American Genealogist, of which he was a Contributing Editor for many years, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, The Virginia Genealogist, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, The Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Magazine, and the Society’s journal, The Genealogist. He specialized in the early French families of Manakintown, Virginia, of which he was the leading expert. His genealogies of the Chastain, Soblett, and LeVillain families are definitive.

Cameron was a life-long Episcopalian, serving on several parish vestries and seldom missing Sunday worship, even when he had to be out of town. His last published work was a book-length study entitled The History of the Holy Trinity American Episcopal Church, Paris, 1858-1979, which he completed in 1984, but did not publish until 2013 when publication was supervised by a nephew through iUniverse.

Despite his employment at Rutgers, Cameron considered his home to be Columbus, Ohio, until he moved to Palm Springs, California, during his last years. In Columbus, he was a partner in the family firm of Strawser and Allen, which dealt in commercial real estate.

Cameron Allen was a “genealogists’ genealogist.” Everything he published was thoroughly researched, fully documented, and carefully analyzed. He will be sorely missed.

He is survived by his brother, Spencer Allen, his sister Carolyn Allen Swavely, and nieces and nephews, as well as by his surrogate family, Mike Ridenour and Roy Caffarel, to all of whom the Society sends its deep sympathy.

David L. Greene
ASG Biographer