Such was the case back in 2009 when I was trying to learn more about my maternal HARRIS roots. Luck was with me and I connected with a researcher in England through genesreunited.org. At that time I knew very little about my great-great-grandmother Elizabeth HARRIS except that she was born and baptized in 1828 in a quaint Cotswold village in Gloucester England with the rather unfortunate name of Lower Slaughter. I also knew that Elizabeth married Henry Proctor RICHARDSON II on 15 Mar 1853 in St Mary’s Chapel, Lambeth, Surrey, England. Their marriage certificate also provided the name of her father: James Harris, carpenter. One of the witnesses was Martha Harris (whom I now believe was Elizabeth’s younger sister). Other online trees had suggested her mother was named Lucy but no sources or other details were provided. Of course I wanted to know much more, but with a common name like HARRIS, I didn’t think it would be easy.
While this census information assisted greatly in building James' family, baptism records were also located for their two oldest children John (1825) and Elizabeth (1828), but not for the younger six children. John was not listed in the census, having moved out of his parent’s home prior to the earliest census in 1841. I wonder if there was an even older child born between 1821 and 1824 who we haven’t found yet? James was baptized on 20 Jan 1799 in Bourton-On-The-Water, Gloucester (the rectory associated with Lower Slaughter), the son of Thomas and Mary HARRIS, so his birth likely occurred late in 1798.
Our HARRIS collaboration didn’t stop with James. We were able to push the HARRIS line back another two generations, learning in the process that James had seven siblings and his mother was born a SMITH (groan). We also found additional information about Lucy RANDALL’s parents and 9 siblings, and the names of her paternal grandparents. Lots of potential for future stories here!
I still haven’t finished researching James and Lucy or their descendants and ancestors (is that even possible?), but networking and sharing with my new cousin in England certainly made it much easier and a lot more fun!