alida mcparlin

Alida McParlin, one of four sisters, was born in 1867 in New Orleans. Her mother, Alida Roca of Brownsville, Texas, died in Santa Fe in 1875, leaving the girls to be brought up by their father.

(Alida Roca was named after her godmother, Alida Yates Leavenworth, daughter of Gen. Henry Leavenworth, for whom Fort Leavenworth is named.)

Alida fell in love with a Peruvian mining engineer, Manuel Elguera, who was in Washington for an international conference. In 1894, they married in the family's ancestral house in Annapolis, then settled in Lima, Peru, where they both lived to a ripe old age.


Why McParlin? thomas mcparlin

We get asked that a lot. One of our founders, Managing Editor Hugo Moreno, had a great-grandmother named Alida McParlin (left). Alida wrote a memoir—back in the days when memoirs were usually about other people—about her father, Brigadier General Thomas A. McParlin. This memoir later helped fuel Hugo's abiding fascination with family history and genealogy. Given our interest in personal tributes and family histories, it seemed appropriate to name the firm in honor of Alida and Thomas.

Thomas Andrew McParlin (1825-1897) was born in Annapolis, Maryland. He spent four adventurous decades as an army surgeon, from the Mexican War to campaigns against the Seminoles in Florida, to an uprising by the Walla Walla Indians in Washington Territory. During the first years of the Civil War he served as medical director of the Army of Virginia, commanded by Gen. John Pope, and in 1864-65 as medical director of the Army of the Potomac under Gen. George McClellan and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Immediately after the war, he was stationed in New Orleans, where he was cited for meritorious service and made Brevet Brigadier General for his bravery in fighting epidemics of cholera and yellow fever.

Later, Thomas served at West Point, where, under his direction, the new cadet hospital was planned and partially built. In the 1870s, while he was posted in Santa Fe, he wrote a geographical and geological survey of New Mexico and Arizona for the Smithsonian. He retired to Annapolis in 1889 and, after a peripatetic life, died in the same house—indeed, in the very same bedroom—where he was born.

The surname McParlin is an unusual variant of MacFarlane, and may in fact be closer to the original, since the clan claims descent from a certain Parlan. The clan's ancestral lands are in the Scottish Highlands, in the vicinity of Loch Long and Loch Lomond, but Thomas's ancestors spent a few generations in Ireland before coming to America.