According to mongabay.com, the HARRIS surname ranks as the 15th most common surname in the U.S. as surveyed in the 1990 Census (behind Smith, Jones, Brown, etc.).
My mother's Harris Family is a very interesting family to follow through history. My interest in this family started in the summer of 1973 after hearing my mother speak of "Captain Thomas Harris" and a ship called "The Prosperous." My mother's Harris family has been meeting for an annual Harris Reunion for descendants of James David Harris (1871-1938) ever since 1961. The reunion has been held in various places in Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, and Montana. There is also a Harris Reunion held in Tennessee every year which is for any of the descendants of Gideon Harris (1772-1860).
In the last 25 plus years I've made contact with many Harris researchers far and wide. The premier Harris researcher in my own family line was Joe Cletus Harris of Florence, Alabama. I met him at the Harris Reunion in Tennessee in 1978, and he passed away the next year with cancer. I also received much help and encouragement from his widow, Olive Harris. She passed away in August 1997.
An interesting point to mention is that not only was Olive the main researcher on the Gideon Harris (1772-1860) family line, but she also was a descendant herself of Robert Harris of the Forks who married Mary Claiborne Rice, reported to be the daughter of William Claiborne. This is another well-known Harris line from Virginia, but as yet does not tie in to the Captain Thomas Harris of Jamestown family. Other researchers who have helped me include Lewis D. Harris, Garland Harris of Adamsville, Tennessee, and Barbara (Harris) Crockett of Michigan.
One of the fruits of my Harris research was a book which I completed in 1990 called: James David Harris: His Kith and His Kin. It is 191 pages and includes an index. I am still taking orders and selling copies at $12.00 apiece (this price includes postage) to all who are interested. It mostly covers the family of James David Harris (1871-1938), who was my great-grandfather, but also includes lineage charts and some references to the Harrises in early Virginia with a bibliography for doing further research. Also some of the allied families of interest are included in this book. If interested in the book, send an e-mail to
Glenn Gohr to work arrangements for payment and shipping.
Also because of my research on the Harris family, in February 1997, I made contact with Craig W. Kinder and told him about a family newsletter called Harris Hunters which is edited by Richard G. Boyd. Craig responded by contacting MAISER at Indiana University and getting a Harris Family E-Mail List started. This list was the one that got me started as list manager for so many different family surname lists through MAISER and Rootsweb. This list has really taken off with lots of Harris researchers coming together to share ideas and information.
I used to hold to the belief that Captain Thomas Harris of Jamestown, VA was the son of Sir William Harris, b. ca. 1550 Creeksea, Essex Co., England, d. 14 Nov. 1616 Creeksea, Essex Co., England who married 1582 to Alice Smith, b. ca. 1556 Weston Hanger, Kent Co., England, d. ca. 1615 Creeksea, Essex Co., England.
This view was supported by records published by Olive and Joe Cletus Harris of Florence, Alabama. Also by John Bennett Boddie and by William Ligon. However, recent research has uncovered the will of Thomas Harris of Creeksea, Essex Co., England, who died in 1617 unmarried and without issue. All of his property was willed to his brothers and sisters. For a typed copy of this will go to The Will of Thomas Harris of Creeksea, County Essex, England, 1617.
Thus the Capt. Thomas Harris of Virginia is NOT a son of Sir William Harris and Alice Smith. That also means there is no proven Royal descent in my line of Harrises. The Harrises of Essex intermarried with the House of Percy, the Nevilles, and many other noble families, but this is now proven not to be my direct line of descent.
More research is being done on this. Current discussion on the HARRIS-VA discussion list is that Captain Thomas Harris was still a close relative of Sir William Harris of Cricksey/Crixe/Creeksea County, Essex because of his association with the Virginia Company of London that helped to establish Jamestown. Sir William Harris and his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Smith, were heavily involved in this enterprise in the New World.
I have been placing updated information on my HARRIS family on the WorldConnect site with Rootsweb. It includes the basic information on every family member traced (except I have omitted birth and marriage dates on living family members, for privacy reasons). The Harris Genealogy from Virginia and McNairy Co., Tennessee Database on WorldConnect can be accessed at: http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=g-harris
Also, if you have an interest in additional Harris family stories and other information, visit my Harris Miscellany Page
If you have queries concerning the HARRIS surname, you may post these at the Harris Family Genealogy List which is a part of the Rootsweb e-mail discussion lists. It offers free queries and discussion on the Harris surname and variant spellings.
To subscribe, send an e-mail to: HARRIS-Lemail@example.com
Leave subject line blank (This will be ignored).
In the body of the message type: subscribe
Then a welcome message will be sent telling how to post messages. Once you are subscribed, you may send a query to everyone on the list by sending e-mail to: HARRIS-L@rootsweb.com
Archived postings to the Harris e-mail list can be found on the WEB at:
There is a printed family newsletter for the Harris Family which was started in 1995. It is called HARRIS HUNTERS, and is open to Genealogy for Harrises the world over. It is published quarterly by Richard G. & Jerri Lynn Boyd. Subscription price is: $15.00 per year. Each issue is full of Harris information from all over the U.S. and elsewhere and includes a large query section. An index to these newsletters is also available. If you wish to subscribe, contact:
For members/subscribers to the HARRIS HUNTERS printed newsletter, you may submit your pedigree to genealogist Ann Harris of Austin, Texas, who is compiling a large database of Harrises. Ann also is incorporating the files of Dr. B. L. Harris of "The Harris Descendants Project" into her database which is another large database which took years to compile. Eventually this information will be posted on the Harris-Hunters Web Page.
Also, if you have queries concerning the Harris surname, you may post these at the Harris-Hunters Family Genealogy List that was started by Craig Kinder and now is managed by Richard G. Boyd.
Harris-Hunters Family Genealogy List is a part of the Rootsweb e-mail discussion lists. It offers free queries and discussion on the Harris surname and variant spellings.
Then a welcome message will be sent telling how to post messages. Once you are subscribed, you may send a query to everyone on the list by sending e-mail to: HARRIS-HUNTERS-L@rootsweb.com
Archived postings to the HARRIS-HUNTERS e-mail list can be found on the WEB at:
A new Harris query list was started in October 1998 through the efforts of Charles "Chuck" Harris of St. Louis, John Harned, and others. It is called the Harris Families of Virginia, 1600-1800. Much discussion on this list has centered around Capt. Thomas Harris of Jamestown, Virginia, who came to Virginia on "The Prosperous" in 1611 and on John Harris of Charles City County, Virginia, who appear to be brothers or cousins. There has also been discussion on Robert Harris who married Mary (Claiborne) Rice and other early Virginia Harrises. It is a great discussion list, however none of the e-mails have been saved on any of the Rootsweb archives, except for what has been forwarded to either the Harris-VA List or the Harris-ColonialVA List. In conjunction with the HARRIS-VA List, J'Nell Thompson is compiling and merging a large database of Harris family files for the new Harris Families of VA project.
A variant spelling of the name is HARRIES. Rootsweb also has a list for this spelling.
To subscribe, send an e-mail to: HARRIES-Lfirstname.lastname@example.org
Leave subject line blank (This will be ignored).
In the body of the message type: subscribe
Then a welcome message will be sent telling how to post messages. Once you are subscribed, you may send a query to everyone on the list by sending e-mail to: HARRIES-L@rootsweb.com
Archived postings to the HARRIES e-mail list can be found on the WEB at:
I am now the list manager for the HARRIS-VA list. If you have queries concerning the Harris surname in Virginia at any time, you may post these at the Harris-VA Genealogy List.
Then a welcome message will be sent telling how to post messages. Once you are subscribed, you may send a query to everyone on the list by sending e-mail to: HARRIS-VA-L@rootsweb.com
Archived postings to the HARRIS-VA e-mail list can be found on the WEB at:
I am also the list manager for the HARRIS-COLONIALVA list. If you have queries concerning the Harris surname in the colonial period of Virginia, ca. 1600-1800, you may post these at the Harris-COLONIALVA Genealogy List.
Then a welcome message will be sent telling how to post messages. Once you are subscribed, you may send a query to everyone on the list by sending e-mail to: HARRIS-COLONIALVA-L@rootsweb.com
Archived postings to the HARRIS-COLONIALVA e-mail list can be found on the WEB at:
I am also the list manager for the following Harris family lists on Rootsweb, arranged geographically. The list includes all 50 U.S. States and the District of Columbia, plus regions in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. With a common surname like Harris, it just seemed logical to break down points of research to specific localities. That is about the only way to do a keyword search to find But for those who prefer to read and share e-mails with a larger group, there is still the Harris-L list and Harris-Hunters-L lists on Rootsweb. The sites listed here are lists that I am manager for:
HARRIS-AB list (Alberta, Canada)
HARRIS-AK list (Alaska)
HARRIS-AL list (Alabama)
HARRIS-AR list (Arkansas)
HARRIS-AUS list (Australia)
HARRIS-AZ list (Arizona)
HARRIS-BC list (British Columbia, Canada)
HARRIS-CA list (California)
HARRIS-CO list (Colorado)
HARRIS-COLONIALVA list (Colonial Virginia)
HARRIS-CT list (Connecticut)
HARRIS-DC list (District of Columbia)
HARRIS-DE list (Delaware)
HARRIS-FL list (Florida)
HARRIS-GA list (Georgia)
HARRIS-HI list (Hawaii)
HARRIS-IA list (Iowa)
HARRIS-ID list (Idaho)
HARRIS-IL list (Illinois)
HARRIS-IN list (Indiana)
HARRIS-KS list (Kansas)
HARRIS-KY list (Kentucky)
HARRIS-LA list (Louisiana)
HARRIS-MA list (Massachusetts)
HARRIS-MD list (Maryland)
HARRIS-ME list (Maine)
HARRIS-MI list (Michigan)
HARRIS-MN list (Minnesota)
HARRIS-MO list (Missouri)
HARRIS-MS list (Mississippi)
HARRIS-MT list (Montana)
HARRIS-NC list (North Carolina)
HARRIS-ND list (North Dakota)
HARRIS-NE list (Nebraska)
HARRIS-NH list (New Hampshire)
HARRIS-NJ list (New Jersey)
HARRIS-NM list (New Mexico)
HARRIS-NS list (Nova Scotia, Canada)
HARRIS-NV list (Nevada)
HARRIS-NY list (New York)
HARRIS-NZ list (New Zealand)
HARRIS-OH list (Ohio)
HARRIS-OK list (Oklahoma)
HARRIS-ON list (Ontario, Canada)
HARRIS-OR list (Oregon)
HARRIS-PA list (Pennsylvania)
HARRIS-QC list (Quebec, Canada)
HARRIS-RI list (Rhode Island)
HARRIS-SC list (South Carolina)
HARRIS-SD list (South Dakota)
HARRIS-TN list (Tennessee)
HARRIS-TX list (Texas)
HARRIS-UK list (United Kingdom)
HARRIS-UK-ESSEX list (United Kingdom, County Essex)
HARRIS-UT list (Utah)
HARRIS-VA list (Virginia)
HARRIS-VT list (Vermont)
HARRIS-WA list (Washington)
HARRIS-WI list (Wisconsin)
HARRIS-WV list (West Virginia)
HARRIS-WY list (Wyoming)
These lists can be located by going to: http://www.rootsweb.com
Then click on the link for SURNAME LISTS. Then locate the surname list above. Rootsweb will explain how to subscribe to each of these lists.
Another new Harris list is the HARRIS-DNA list which is a mailing list is for participants in the Harris DNA Study. Additional information can be found on the Harris Surname Project website at:
To subscribe send "subscribe" to
email@example.com (mail mode) or
firstname.lastname@example.org (digest mode)
An online genealogy forum for posting queries has also been set up specifically for the HARRIS family on GenForum. It can be found at the following address:
***Note***During the Fall of 1998, GenForum combined with Family Tree Maker, which means that all queries and information posted to that site becomes the property of Family Tree Maker. This is still a good site to look up information and get contact names for the HARRIS lines you are searching, but be advised that if you now post a new query or a response to something on that site, chances are that sometime in the future Family Tree Maker will include that information on a CD-ROM which they will sell for profit to anyone who is interested. I do not like the idea of someone else using my hard researched information and ideas and selling them for a profit without my knowledge. This same practice is evident on all of the Family Tree Maker pages which are found on the internet, if you will read the disclaimer notices on those pages. I recommend the Family Tree Maker pages as good look up pages, but I don't recommend posting information there. Similar things can be said for Ancestry.com and MyFamily.com which are connected to each other and seek to make a profit from genealogical materials on the internet.
Some other Harris researchers and web sites include:
The Harris and Boetler Families of Essex, 1600 which has descendants of Sir William Harris of Crixse, Co. Essex who married Alice Smythe (but lots of errors are shown on this page). This page is managed by Kevin Cole and information was supplied by Vaughn Baker.
Also see Amy's Harris surname listing at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Bluffs/7708/familytree/idxh.htm#harris which traces her lineage back to William Harris, b. 1815 South Carolina who married Rachel ____, b. Mar. 1823 SC and had children, Edmond, Savannah, Alice, Laura, Monroe, and Judge Harris.
The Harris Legacy maintained by Vance C. Harris who descends from John Harris, son of Sir William Harris of Creeksea, Essex. The will of John Harris of Prittwell, father of William Harris of Southminster, is now translated from Latin and is online. He has other early Harris wills on line as well
The web master of the above 3 sites is Duane Hall.
These sites include his ancestors back to Sir William HARRIS of Essex County, England and all descendants; also documenting related branches. The line comes down through Serjeant John HARRIS, born about 1588 in Creeksea Manor, Essex, England and died before Oct 1638 in Charles City Co., VA. Descendants of this line are included on the various web pages. The site also includes compiled information by researchers about West HARRIS who entered Montgomery County, North Carolina before the Revolutionary War.
Send comments to Glenn Gohr
Glenn Gohr's Harris DNA Page Harris DNA—Group 1 Harris DNA—Group 2 Harris DNA—Group 3 Harris DNA—Group 4 Harris DNA—Group 5 Harris DNA—Group 6 Harris DNA—Group 7 Harris DNA—Group 8 Harris DNA—Group 9 Harris DNA—Group 10 Harris DNA—Group 11 Harris DNA—Group 12 Harris DNA—Group 13 Harris DNA—Group 14 Harris DNA—Group 15 Harris DNA—Group 16 Harris DNA—Group 17 Harris DNA—Group 18 Harris DNA—Group 19 Harris DNA—Group 20 Harris DNA—Group 21 Harris DNA—Group 22 Harris DNA—Group 23 Harris DNA—Group 24 Harris DNA—Group 25 Harris DNA—Group 26 Harris DNA—Group 27 Harris DNA—Group 28 Harris DNA—Group 29 Harris DNA—Unmatched Kits Harris DNA—Ybase Kits Harris DNA—Y-DNA Kits Go to Family Tree DNA Go to the Harris DNA Study Go to an Introduction to the Harris Y-DNA Project Go to the HARRIS Y-DNA RESULTS Page Go to “Some Early Harrises And Possible DNA Connections” on WorldConnect Go to “Harris Genealogy from Henrico Co. and Prince Edward Co., VA and Marshall Co. and McNairy Co., TN to TX, OK, CO, etc.” Database on WorldConnect Glenn Gohr's HARRIS/HARRIES/HERRIES/HARRISS GENEALOGY Page The Harris Miscellany Page The Harris Family Reunions Page The Will of Thomas Harris of Creeksea, County Essex, England, 1617 Glenn Gohr's Genealogy Page
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