> Does anyone have any information as to Charles' father and beyond?
Not to my present knowledge.
> Are records from Scotland so sparse that the trail is gone?
Virtually. Records for certain areas of Scotland don't even begin to exist until around 1800 or later. And the laws regarding inheritance and disposition of real property (land) were considerably different from what we are accoustomed to today. There was no requirement for parish clergy to maintain birth, marriage, or death records for even the rich aristocracy, let along the common people. What little there is in that regards is so impossibly spotty it makes one want to weep.
We of today, being far more egalitarian, have, I fear, a very imperfect understanding of how a feudal society is truly structured, or how it actually functions. Scotland was feudal long past the time Charles Abernathy first purchased land in Virginia: landowners in the 1700's could (and did) force entire tenant families out of their hovels to make room for sheep. One reason so many Scots in the 18th and 19th centuries fled Scotland.
> How about info on Alice Short's father William?
I don't have a copy yet, but his will does exist. Don'tknow how much more there may be in the way of official records. There is now no question but that she is one of the few wives that far back in the various American Abernathy lineages whom we can positively identify by maiden name.