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Harris/Gurgaynie information

From: J. Phillip Harris

Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002


There was no such person as Adria Gurgaynie - or Joane Gurgaynie either. The first wife of Thomas Harris was listed as "Adry" in a 1638 land patent. Since Thomas Harris inherited the Edward Gurgaynie property (adjacent to the Harris property) from widow Anne Gurgaynie when she died in 1619, some well intentioned Harris descendant speculated way back there that "Adry" must have been the Gurgaynie daughter. Somehow that idea stuck, got written into countless genealogies, sometimes by really prominent people who should have known better, but it was always fiction. There is not a shred of record evidence to indicate the existence of such a person. One thing that should have caused someone to question it was that Anne Gurgaynie died in 1619 and the person named "Adry" didn't get here until 1621.

To make a long story short, it was determined that the only real person that actually came over on the Marmaduke in 1621 that could be "Adry" was Audrey Hoare. There are actual parish records from Aylesbury, Buckingham documenting her family.

From Jim Hancock, a Harris researcher, we have the following information:

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Lyndon Hart, genealogist for the Jamestowne Society wrote an article dealing with the subject of Adria. [see Mag. of Virginia Gen., Vol 34 Winter 1996 No 1 P51ff].Essentially it argued that Adry, wife of Thomas Harris, was actually Audry Hoare, a maiden who came to Virginia aboard the ship Marmaduke in August 1621. She was born at Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, bp 28 Aug 1604. Her parents were Thomas Hoare and Julyan Tripplett. Genealogist, Paul Reed, has researched this further and says, "This is the ONLY Audry among the list of women to be transported to Virginia on the Marmaduke bound for Virginia in August 1621 [it arrived in November 1621]. Her age matches the age of Adria, wife of Thomas Harris." He went on to conclude that Audry was actually one and the same as Adria. Therefore, there is no direct connection with Edward Gurganey. However, the land patent issued in feb 1638/39 to Thomas Harris still suggests that there was a connection between Gurganey and Harris or Hoare. Note, the key to this is that Gurganey and Hoare families were both in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. And so was the Woodliffe family! So it now is certain that Thomas Harris' wife was Adry aka Adria aka Audry Hoare. [not Gurganey as has long been believed]. We have several more leads to follow in Aylesbury. We might also find more about the Harris line.

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The death date for Audrey (Adria) Harris of "bef 11 Sep 1626" needs to be dropped. That date is based on the old "witchcraft trial" story. The source that is used to apply that story to Thomas Harris is generally listed as Adventures of Purse and Person. Unfortunately, AP&P is a compilation of other works, and as a secondary source, is not sufficient to use as such. AP&P, published in 1956, copied the paragraph on the "witchcraft trial", word for word, from the Ligon Genealogy published in 1947. It notes that in the first footnote in the article. It even copied the sources, although it is obvious those sources were never checked. The ultimate source of the trial is the Minutes of the Council of the General Court of Virginia, page 111. Checking that source yields a completely different version of events, one that shows it occurred down in the Kecoughtan settlement and had nothing to do with Thomas Harris in Henrico. The trial did indeed take place on 11 Sep 1626. It is another case, as with the "Joane Osborne" myth, of the Ligon Genealogy corrupting the Harris family history with deliberately made up "events". With 11 Sep 1626 out of the way, the next available "factual" date in the Thomas Harris records is the 1635 land patent in which he acknowledges his current wife's name to be "Joane". This means we know that by 1635, Audrey Hoare had died and Thomas Harris had remarried. So that is all we know and all we can say about the death of Audrey Hoare - is that she was dead by 1635.

Most likely Audrey Hoare was the mother of BOTH children of Thomas Harris, Mary AND William. The only reason it was ever stated that Joane was the mother of William was because of that bogus date of 11 Sep 1626. Again, it was the Ligon Genealogy that seems to have first made that statement. The birth year of William Harris is unknown but thought to be about 1629. In 1629, Audrey Hoare would be age 27. Joane Vincent was age 47. Due to the record references of the "land of William Vincent, deceased" appearing in the years from 1635 to 1639, it would seem William Vincent probably died closer to 1635 than to 1625. The evidence we have available seems to be more compelling to believe that Audrey Hoare died sometime after the birth of William Harris but before 1635.

It has been stated before that the will of Thomas Harris states that Joane was the mother of William. The will of Thomas Harris has never been located and is thought to have been included in the records of the General Court of Virginia destroyed in 1865. Papers dealing with docking the entails in 1735 were found in the British Colonial Records Office. These papers REFER to a will written in 1649, but a transcript of the papers reveal that they only say what we already know from the land patent record, that 200 acres of Longfield passed to Mary Harris Ligon at the death of Thomas Harris. No one would have any way of knowing what else the will might have stated.

Edward Gurgaynie was from Long Crendon (fact). He did not have to be old enough to be the father of Thomas Harris's wife since he really wasn't. As shown by existing parish records, he was basically only four years older than Thomas Harris. If Thomas Harris was from Aylesbury as we now think, then most likely Anne Gurgaynie left Thomas Harris the property because she was directly related to him, such as being his sister or cousin. This is what we have to now prove. It's still just speculation until we prove it by finding a real record somewhere.

There was no Edward Gurgaynie in Creeksea, Essex (fiction). Again, there are countless submissions on FamilySearch, Ancestry.Com, Rootsweb, FTM World Family Tree, the list goes on, that say he is from all sorts of places in Essex. They are not worth the time to even look at them. The only REAL records are the ones on FamilySearch under the International Genealogical Index page. And then, the only ones even there that are any good are the Extracted Parish Records. These are the batch records that are prefixed with a letter such as "C" for christenings and "M" for marriages. If it doesn't have a prefixed letter, then it's just a submission - probably by someone who has no idea what they are doing. I caution you, if you are going to use the IGI, rely ONLY on the Extracted Parish Records. Consider everything else to be extremely suspect.

As far as Thomas Harris being a son of Sir William Harris of Creeksea, that was actually disproved as long ago as 1910 but again, people just keep copying the same old misinformation. You will still find it written that way in a thousand different places. Until the recent turn towards Aylesbury, Buckingham, everyone was still trying to find Thomas Harris among the Essex Harrises, but obviously you can't find someone who isn't there. Now that we finally have people starting to look in someplace different, and one that shows promise based on facts and not fiction, I think we will soon have some success.

The reference to Thomas Osborne and the fictitious daughter Joane Osborne, was made years ago by a Ligon researcher doing the Thomas Harris thing. It quickly caught on. She quickly retracted it, saying she just made up something to fill the need. Too late. The retraction didn't catch on.

As stated above, the second wife of Thomas Harris was Joane Vincent, the widow of his adjacent neighbor William Vincent. They too were probably from Aylesbury.

As for there being a son named Edward Gurgaynie, the only thing I know you could base this on is the patent in 1645 (not 1648) that refers to the land of Edward "Gurgunye". Since a number of the other names referred to in that patent are already dead, I always felt they were referring to the parcel willed to Thomas Harris. It was common to refer to a piece of land by its original owner's name long after he was dead, particularly if it was currently held by someone who had many different parcels like Thomas Harris did in 1645. It was the only way they could continue to identify a specific parcel. My take has always been that Edward and Anne Gurgaynie had no children, which is why they willed the land to Thomas Harris.

The only fact based Gurgaynie family that I know of is the one in Long Crendon. Given all the Aylesbury, Buckingham connections, I feel pretty certain it's the same family in Henrico in the years 1608 to 1619.

Phil Harris