Helping hands helping one another with our family history & genealogy research.
It took me 10 years, but I'm fairly certain that I have finally found a birthplace in England for my husband's elusive great grandfather. I was stumped by his frustratingly common name of William HARRIS and that he simply wrote England as his place of birth on records, and that he arrived late in Ontario, Canada, married late (48) years and died young (60 years) ... even his parents' names (James and Mary) were rather common!
It looks now like William HARRIS b. 1826, the son of James HARRIS and Mary SPICER, was born in Buckingham, Buckinghamshire. Between that time and his 1874 marriage to Maria Ann PIERCE in Fitzroy Twp., Carleton County, Ontario, Canada, not much is known. He does not appear on the 1871 Ontario census. He only appears on the 1881 census. By 1891, he has died.
So where was he? I have a slight idea, but have not found a way to be sure yet. The answer may be Quebec. I say that for several reasons. William's son, William John HARRIS (1879 - 1952) had a cabin in an isolated hamlet in Quebec not too far from the Ontario border, called Grove Creek (near Otter Lake). In the latter years of his life he was nearly a hermit there. Wondering who the original owner of this property was? Could it have been his father? I found a passenger record for a William HARRIS of the right age of his father, arriving in Quebec aboard the St. Ann in 1844 from Buckinghamshire, and this passenger was a stone mason which the elder William HARRIS was. My theory is that William HARRIS had work on the Ontario side between 1871 - 1874 and met Maria Ann PIERCE at that time and ended up staying in Ontario, but keeping the property in Grove Creek.
What I'm hoping to find: Any trace of William HARRIS in Quebec, particularly in Grove Creek area - an original land owner registry would be great.
Mary Fletcher Harris
Have you eliminated this?
Name: William Harris
Death Date: 2 Sep 1886
Death County or District: Carleton
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1826
Birth Location: England
Source Citation: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS935; Reel: 43.
theres this one?
1871 Census of Canada about William Harris
Name: William Harris
Birth Year: abt 1827
Birth Place: England
Marital Status: Married
Religion: Baptist Closed Communion
District Number: 21
Subdistrict: St Catharines
Subdistrict Number: b
Neighbors: View others on page
William Harris 44
Anne Harris 42
William Harris 19
Alexander Wilson 22
ource Citation: Year: 1871; Census Place: St Catharines, Lincoln, Ontario; Roll: C-9922; Page: 73; Family No: 265.
Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1871 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
are there other children besides William?
and have you tried to get a copy of the Lisc:
Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928 about William Harris
Name: William Harris
Spouse Name: Maria Pierce
Marriage Date: 19 Mar 1874
Marriage Location: Fitzroy Township
Registration number: 55416
Source Citation: Archives of Ontario; Series: MS932; Reel: 13.
Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada). Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Thanks very much! The first William HARRIS (the 1886 death) and the third William HARRIS (the 1874 marriage) that you gave me are both the same man - my husband's great grandfather. The second fellow, the one in St. Catharines, is a new one to me. I'm surprised I haven't come across him before. Some years ago, we found a William HARRIS with the right age, profession etc. living in Belleville, ON, Hastings Co., on the 1871 census. It took a bit of time, but we eliminated him by finding a death/burial for him there. Even though our William HARRIS' 1874 marriage record shows him as a bachelor, I often wonder if that was true as he was 48 years old at the time. I would not be surprised to find another family somewhere. I must investigate the St. Catharines man.
Hi bcrick & Toni My story is similar to yours,bcrick,My husbands great-grandfather & great-grandmother were married at the Anglican Cathedrale
in Quebec City in 1857, no parents names on the Marriage license,only that he was born in England,I do know he was Methodist
and she was Anglican.I have also found his name in the 1851 Census of Quebec & N.B working as a servant.I do feel it is the same
Henry,birth date is right,born in England.
That is interesting. I wish I knew more about our HARRISes. Our William HARRIS (1826 - 1886) was very strong Anglican (disowned 1 daughter for marrying a Catholic) and one of his sons was a a long time member at a Methodist church in rural eastern Ontario. Also, William HARRIS and his wife Maria PIERCE had twins Hannah and William Henry, Sarah Jane, James and William John. I must get my husband to do the DNA test to sort out which of the many, many HARRISes in the world he connects to.