Harris Ancestry

A history of the Harris family and its roots as Crown Loyalist in the colonies and Canada.


The history of the Harris family can trace its roots back to the loyalists of the English crown on both sides. From the White family on Grace Harris's side to the Bates family on Franks Harris's side, all ended up in Canada after the American Revolution. They helped discover and settle a good portion of what is now New Brunswick, Canada.


Searching For Our Place

main imageThe desire to understand our origins and our roots is a persuasive drive in many of us. We cannot help being curious, and some of us get mildly obsessed with building the picture of our ancestors and their successes and failures. The interest is kindled for want of knowledge or out of curiosity, researching some unknown names from previous generations. It develops into an interest in the social and historical context of their place in the evolution of our modern civilization. This site is intended to provide a knowledge bank for all those that are interested.

To understand the Harris family history, you have to start back at the time of the American Revolution.

The fighting actually continued, in the back country of the South in particular. And it was in regions like that that loyalists still tried to fight for the empire that they believed in. ...

It's a part of the war that we tend to not think too much about or learn about in school. But there was a lot of bloodshed, and particularly in the South. And gangs of revolutionaries, gangs of loyalists, would attack each other, go to each other's plantations. In fact, some of the big battles in the South happened after the surrender at Yorktown.

And so, when the British pulled out in city after city in the United States, up to tens of thousands of loyalists sometimes went with the retreating army to Britain and other parts of the British Empire. ... About half of the loyalists who left the United States ended up going north to Canada, settling in the province of Nova Scotia and also becoming pioneering settlers in the province of New Brunswick.

But who are these people? Not just Crown Loyalists, but who are they as a person, a family and a friend? What were their lives like and how do we relate to them generations later?

Hopefully this site, with it's hundreds of photo's, documents and stories will help tell their stories. Hopefully it will put us closer to those where we came from and how the Harris ancestors were part of a group of people who heavily influenced the politics and culture of what would become Canada.



Loyalist Movement

When their cause was defeated, about 15 percent of the Loyalists (65,000–70,000 people) fled to other parts of the British Empire, to Britain itself, or to British North America (now Canada).

The southern Loyalists moved mostly to Florida, which had remained loyal to the Crown, and to British Caribbean possessions. Northern Loyalists largely migrated to Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. They called themselves United Empire Loyalists. Most were compensated with Canadian land or British cash distributed through formal claims procedures.

Loyalists who left the US received over £3 million or about 37% of their losses from the British government. Loyalists who stayed in the US were generally able to retain their property and become American citizens. Historians have estimated that between 15 and 20% of the 2,000,000 whites in the colonies in 1775 were Loyalists (300,000–400,000).

Our Families

Our Ancestors Were Adventurers
Barton Family
Miriam Barton

Miriam Barton

Born in 1819

Died in 1900

Granddaughter of Loyalist Roger Barton.

Nightingale Family
Jeremiah Nightingale

Jeremiah Nightingale

Born in 1819

Died in 1894

Father of Sarah Elizabeth Nightingale.

Chase Family
Lavinia Jane Chase

Lavinia Jane Chase

Born in 1842

Died in 1921

Mother to Corlinda Adelaide Bailey.

Harris Family
Franklin Harris

Franklin Harris

Born in 1898

Died in 1951

Married Grace Dowling Libby.

Iva Jean Harrisbottom image

The daughter of Frank and Grace Harris. Mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

Early Origins of the Harris family

John C. Cronkhitebottom image

Husband to Catherine Calder. Father to Matilda Cronkhite.

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We strive to document all of our sources in this family tree. If you have something to add, please let us know.