Wednesday, December 25, 2019

William the Pound Master

I conjectured William Harbison Jr. existed as the third son of William Harbison b. 1780. Until recently, the sole tangible evidence was a third-hand report of a letter he wrote from Vincennes, Knox Co., Indiana in 1841. I've now located him.

There were dozens of Harbisons in SW Indiana in 1840. But they were almost all migrants from Kentucky and South Carolina. And I can find no record of William there, other than the letter. What seems to have happened was he went north to Illinois, and on September 1, 1845, bought 40 acres in McHenry County, very near the Illinois-Wisconsin state line.It's the far top left quarter of the deeper orange box on the map. It's close to the modern intersection of Thayer Road and Illinois Hightway 27. It looks like typical midwestern farmland; but 40 acres (a quarter of a quarter section) is not much. Most of his neighbors, according to the 1850 census, were Irish.

William married Bridget Foley from Dublin, Ireland, who was considerably younger than him, and by the 1850 census had three children. Then he disappeared from the census in 1860, and appears on the census with his two sons as Wm Harrison in 1870. He is listed in the 1880 census as a pound master, a common 19th century occupation that involved caring for all the county’s stray livestock until its owners picked it up. He does not appear in any of the historical accounts of Woodstock or McHenry County, and so may have been considered a person of little consequence. He and his wife were definitely Catholic; they were buried in Calvary Cemetery, in McHenry County, in 1890 and 1892 respectively. His gravestone would suggest he was born on March 14, 1812; years of birth inferred from the two censuses are 1811 and 1815. Bridget, from hers, was apparently born in February 1825.

Henry was according to the 1850 census, born in 1844 in Illinois, but his death record says Jan 10,1847. He worked as a coachman in Milwaukee, and was married in a Methodist Episcopal Church on Biddle St in Milwaukee on December 2, 1885 to Louise Hoffman, daughter of Peter Hoffmann and Katherine Schmidt, from Bavaria. On his death certificate he was listed as a toolmaker or machinist in a watch factory, and died on Mar 31, 1927 in Elgin, Kane Co., Illinois, where he had lived 32 years. His father is listed as being from Belfast, Northern Ireland; his mother from Dublin. He and Louise had no children.

William J Harbison's death certificate lists him as being born on April 12, 1844, but given the 1850 census record and the date, it's likely to have been 1849, and Mary Elizabeth was his twin sister. He mustered into Company K of the 153rd Illinois Infantry on Feb 11 1865, apparently guarding the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad and out on Sep 21 1865. He is listed as divorced and living with his parents in 1880. Divorce would be unusual for a second-generation Catholic immigrant. There is no record of any children. I can't find him in 1900 or 1910; in 1920 he was living in the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors home in Riverside, Adams Co. Illinois.

Finally, Mary Elizabeth Harbison, b. April 12, 1849, married William Lindsey, from New York, on July 4 1867, and had five children I can trace: Mary (b. 1868); Ebenezer (b. 1869); Dora (b. 1873); Ira W (b. 1874) and Raymond (b. 1877). By 1900 she and her husband had moved to Elgin, Kane Co. Illinois, which is now a suburb of Chicago. Raymond, a printer, and Ira died in 1905 and 1917 respectively, causes unknown. I can find out very little about them, and less about Ebenezer and Mary, who disappear after the 1880 census. Dora married a man named Hubert H Loomer, from Wisonsin, and had a child Alfred. She still has a living descendent. Mary Elizabeth died 27 April 1933; her husband died in 1917.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Birth order 1: the children of John Harbison, b. c. 1740

I've previously listed William and his siblings. In the light of the rules for given names I discussed in the last post, I'm going to revise that slightly.

William seems to be the unquestioned oldest son, and would therefore have been named after his grandfather. The second and third sons on my original chart had fishy birthdates. John's birth year of 1785 is based solely on his death cerificate, and he died a very old man. Sampson's is based on entries on the 1850 and 1860 census, which give wildly discordant birthdates (1790 from the 1850 census; 1782 from the 1860 census). Previously I just averaged them. Looking again at the 1850 census, which got his name incorrect in any case, it's plausible his age was entered as 66, rather than 60. That would give birth years of 1782 and 1784, averaging to 1783, making him older than John.

If Sampson were the second son, he would have been named after his maternal grandfather. This makes a certain amount of sense, since his name is unique among the Harbisons to himself and his descendants. That would then made John the third son, named after his father. It is notable that the first sons of most if not all of William's siblings were also named John. So this tends to bolster the hitherto rather weakly-proven conjecture that William's father was the Catholic John Harbison resident in Ballyneill during the 1766 religious census.

The fourth son would then appear to be Henry. He would have been named after his grandfather William's eldest brother. And, sure enough, the two Harbisons mentioned in the Protestant Householders census of 1740 for the parish of Ardtrea in the barony of Loughinsholin are William and Henry! There is an entry in the will index at PRONI for Henry Harbison, d. 1765, so he never made it to the religious census. It is also possible that William and Henry were Catholics, since Bill Macafee noticed that apparently the census for Loughinsholin seemed to include some Catholics. Or William Harbison in the 1740 Householders List may have been the legendary Wild Billy Harbison.

Wild Billy Harbison married a Catholic servant girl
When all his Loyal family passed on:
We danced round him shouting 'To Hell with King Billy'
And dodged from the arc of his flailing blackthorn
Forsaken by both creeds, he showed little concern
Until the Orange drums banged past in the summer
And bowler and sash aggressively shone
-- Like dolmens round my childhood, the old people, from Poisoned Lands, and other poems, John Montague, 1961.

In all honesty, I'd have to admit I have no clue about the birth order of the final three sons, though I suspect Edward was the youngest. Likewise about the three daughters, although, I suspect, Eleanor was the third.

Given name birth order

I was brought up in Ireland. I thought I was pretty much familiar with Irish popular culture, particularly the aspects of it absorbed into my own family. But I didn't know this.

Angus Baxter in "In Search of Your British and Irish Roots" describes a pattern that was popular in England in the 1700-1875 period:
  • The first son was named after the father's father
  • The second son was named after the mother's father
  • The third son was named after the father
  • The fourth son was named after the father's eldest brother
  • The first daughter after the mother's mother
  • The second daughter after the father's mother
  • The third daughter after the mother
  • The fourth daughter after the mother's eldest sister
In fact, several other sources have suggested that it was also obeyed in Ireland. It certainly seems to have been obeyed in my family. Consider the order of first born sons from 1740 through 1885.

  • John Harbison, (b. c. 1740)
  • William Harbison (b. 1780)
  • John Harbison (b. 1809)
  • William John Harbison (b. 1854)
  • John Henry Harbison (b. 1885)

The rule predicts alternation in given names along this line. You see this, for example, also in the kings of Denmark, all the way from 1534 up to the present day.

John b. 1809 had 7 daughters before he had a son, and so William John might have been an effort to cram 2 names into 1, because he was running out of time. In fact, most of my ancestors did not have middle names until the mid-19th century.

Anyway, as is obvious, we can predict the grandfather of William (b. 1780) was also William, and I have a candidate. More of this anon.

Friday, December 6, 2019

A new son of William (b. 1780), from an old list post

Chris Harbison back in 1999 referred to two letters, one of which I'd heard of previously, originally discovered by Edith Harbison Hinkle.
Mrs Edith Hinkle copied two letters when she visited Ireland back in the 1920/30s: May(??) 26, 1860, from Henry Harbison near Williamsburg, Huntingdon Co.,PA to John Harbison, Moneymore, Co. Derry, Ireland, and Jan 23, 1841: From son Wm Harbison at Vincennes, Knox Co., Indiana; to Wm & Mary Harbison (parents). He had lived in Washington for a time, speaks of brothers John, Francis & Michael.

By my reckoning, the first was Henry writing to his brother John in Ballyneil, near Moneymore. It could have been his nephew John, of course, but the nephew had been in Cookstown since the 1830s.

The second is clearer and more informative. William and Mary Harbison were obviously William b. 1780 and his wife.

John, Francis and Michael were all sons of William. Previously I wondered why there was no William Jr.. Now we know -- he went to America, as his uncles Henry and Sampson did! The most probable American records are an arrival in Philadelphia from Liverpool in 1840; and a death in Philadelphia in 1845. But I'll do more research on this. He was likely in Washington or Knox County Indiana only briefly. William is given as 30 in 1840, which would make him the next sibling (younger, or perhaps older) to my second great grandfather John.

I would dearly like to get hold of these letters. They really should be preserved.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Names, Protestant and Catholic

Inspired by the late Chris Harbison, and as an attempt to flesh out sparse data from the 18th century, I used Bill Macafee's data from the 1766 Religiou Census of the baronies of Loughinsholin and Keenaght (basically East Co. Londonderry, minus the barony of Coleraine) to ascertain if some given names were predominantly Protestant or predominantly Catholic. Caveats: these data are transcriptions of transcriptions, the originals having been lost in the 1922 Four Courts fire in Dublin. I've made obvious substitutions, mostly expanding abbreviations. (John from Jno., William from Wm., etc.) I've combined variant spellings (e.g. Brian, Bryan), and expanded obvious familiar versions (Daniel from Dan). I've tried to be careful with all of these; since, for example, I don't know if Ar is Arthur or Archibald, I haven't used it. There were a total of 3424 entries on the census, of which 68.5% were Protestant (I haven't broken down Protestant into Established Church and Dissenter, though that would be possible). I used any name that occurred 6 or more times, which accounted for 2965 of the 3424 names. Only three names were female, because the census counted heads of household, and because many of the women were simply listed as 'widow'. Here are the results.

The red line gives the percentage one would expect if there were no religious bias in naming. There is a clear break around that point, indicating that indeed some names were predominantly Protestant or Catholic. Those that are very heavily Catholic include clear transliterations of Irish (Gaelic) names: -- Phelomy, Brian, Owen, Shane and Cormac. Names that are not obviously associated with saints, either Old Testament (Benjamin, Samuel, Adam) or secular (Alexander) are heavily Protestant. But many differences are inexplicable (why is Matthew Protestant and Paul Catholic?).

Also a little surprising is the absence of influence of politics. Approximately 75 years after the Williamite war, William and James are almost equally favored by Protestants. My parents used to claim Catholics did not take the names of English kings, but that's obviously false (Edward, Charles, Henry, Richard). My suspicion is that this is because names were simply passed down through families, somewhat like hereditary diseases. My own family heavily used William, Henry, John, James and Thomas. Perhaps this really reflects some early conversion from Protetantism.

And finally, Patrick is intriguing. It is of course of Irish origin, but more recently than this census the Church of Ireland embraced St. Patrick. However, at the time of the census it was clearly not much used by Protestants.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What's in a name?

I discovered yesterday that is back up, and with it the archived contents of the Harbison genealogy list. This invaluable resource frequently featured Chris Harbison of Mt. Macedon, Victoria, Australia, now unfortunately deceased, possibly the best family genealogist of the last generation.

Chris was no medievalist, but he knew medievalists, and he had some unorthodox ideas about the origin of the Harbison name. While the standard theory (expounded earlier) is that Harbison was a corruption of Herbertson (Her- = war, warrior -bert- = bright + son), in fact there's no real evidence the Herbertson form preceded the Harbison form; they appear virtually contemporaneously in Scotland. My data for early Scottish christenings bear this out; in fact, if anything, there were far more Harbison or variant christenings in early 17th century Scotland than there were Herbertson. He suggests the origin might be innkeeper-son. Her- still means war in Old English; but herbourg was a refuge from war, and became an inn or hostel, thence herberger. The word still exists in German, and is cognate with modern French auberge and modern English harbour. Harbour is precedent for dropping the terminal g.

And there are several Harbisons and Herbertsons well-scattered around England (northern Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Kent) about the same time. Chris suggests there might have been some eccleasiatical connection that explained the mobility. Chris was wedded to the idea of a single surname origin; the DNA simply does not support that. So there might have been bright warriors, and innkeepers, all mixed in together.

I must say I like the 'innkeeper' theory, if only because my family, from my 4th great grandfather down to my grandmother, were tavern-keepers or liquor sellers.

Anyway, more gleanings from the list, anon.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The missing Cargans

I discovered an Eleanor Harbison, married to a 'Peter Kergan', in the tiny (1000 acre) townland of Tintagh, on the slopes of the Sperrin mountains, a few miles northwest of Moneymore. Most of the townland is mountain, and settlement was clustered in the southeastern corner. The names are misspelled repeatedly in the Lissan parish register. There are three Cargans in the 1827 Tintagh tithe applotment book, and more in the 1831 census, along with a Cargin; two Kerrigans, John and Patrick, in the Griffith's valuation for about 1860; and Carrigan and Carigan families in the 1901 census. This was obviously a result of illiteracy, but it makes the names difficult to search.

It looks like a desperate place to live; how they survived the famine is a mystery.

Eleanor was most likely one of the previously unidentified daughters of Francis Harbison (1795-1837), since two of the three witnesses, Lucy and Jane, were either Francis' spouse or his daughter.

And then...nothing. No further baptisms. Peter doesn't appear in the circa 1860 Griffith's valuation; there are no plausible Irish death records for him or Eleanor; nor Irish marriage or death records for the kids. Most probably they emigrated, but because of the organization of digitized immigration records, and the plethora of Cargans, Cargins, Carrigans, Corrigans, and Kerrigans among Irish immigration records to the US and Australia (to say nothing of Scotland and England), so far I haven't tracked them down.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Harbison's, Ltd.

I'm repatriating the blog for the while. This is barely genealogy, since it's the recent past.

One of the legends of my childhood was that my family owned a bar in Belfast, that it was run by a manager who embezzled the profits, and upon the death of my grandmother it was sold in a vicious fight over her will. I think most of this is true.

The bar was at 19 Ann Street, in Central Belfast, now part of the pedestrianized part of the city. Another bar, nearby in Crown Alley, was supposedly the place the United Irishmen were formed in 1798. But the Ann Street bar dated to before 1852; in 1843 it was a hattery. By 1852 it had become the premises of a 'grocer and spirit dealer' Robert Gilmore. Between 1868 and 1877 it passed into the hands of Patrick Clarke, 'spirit dealer'; by 1890, it had become the 'Royal Hotel' and was owned by Joseph Muldoon, my great uncle.

When Muldoon died, in 1895, he in turn bequethed it to his sister, Mrs. William John Harbison, née Matilda Muldoon. Her husband already operated a 'wine and spirit dealership' and less respectably, a shebeen, in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. Matilda held it until her death in 1925; she was apparently intestate, and it went to her husband, who died, a rich man, in 1933. Apparently that was the occasion of the first fight over a will. I gather that evenually the bar came into the possession of my grandmother, Mary Harbison née Phillips, who owned it until her death in 1966; it was certainly operating as Harbison Ltd. in 1960. At this point another big will dispute started, of which I don't know the details, except that it estranged my father from some of his siblings and cousins. And the bar was sold.

Ann Street was bombed by the IRA in 1992. The premises are now occupied by a yogurt shop. I'm still looking for a picture of the old Royal Hotel; the yogurt shop is too depressing to show.

It's a shame, really. As the eldest son of one of May's four surviving sons, in a different universe I could be a barkeep. That's a job I could love.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Sampson Harbison and his children

Using the collection of Philadephia City Directories on the Internet Archive, I found out a little more about Sampson Harbison, b.c. 1786. He's recorded at Philip above Master St. between 1849 and 1851, straddling the 1850 census. The location is shown on this section from Smedley's Atlas of the City of Philadelphia, 1862. Note it's only a block east (up, on the map) of St Michael's Church at Second St. below Jefferson, which seems to have been a focus for recent Irish immigrants. He then disappears until the 1860 census; it's possible he moved out to Blair County, to join his brother Henry, in 1852 or so. He was there in 1860, but returned to Philadelphia later, possibly because his wife Sarah died.

John was age 36 according to the 1850 census, and therefore born c. 1814. His wife, Mary McQuillen, was 26, and they had three children, Sampson (6), William James (4) and Rosanna (1). Subsequently Mary Jane Jorgenson née Harbison was born on October 1 1853. Both William James and Sampson Jr. served in the army, the latter in the civil war; William James is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. A previous child named Rosanna died on July 15 1845 and was buried at St. Michaels, aged 9 months. That would likely push Sampson Jr's birth back to 1843, and would mean John named his first two children after his parents. There are burial records for two other, unnamed children on March 1 1852 and September 7 1855, both at St. Michael's. Though I can find no record, John and Mary presumably married between 1840 (when the McQuillens immigrated; more anon) and 1843. John is listed as a weaver, but almost every immigrant from Ulster was; in the early 19th century, people farmed for subsistence and wove linen for cash. In his naturalization petition (August 8, 1842) John is listed as 25 years old. His naturalization in court was on October 5 1844, witnessed by Charles McQuillen states he had been resident in the United States 5 years, but it's not clear how seriously this was taken. We can therefore place his immigration between 1839 and 1842; I have been unable to find records of his passage.

John first appears in the Philadelphia Directories in 1844, on Hancock St. below Master St., in what was then Kensington. He remained at that address, with a single missing year, until 1856. In 1857 and 1858, after street numbering had been introduced in Philadelphia, he is listed at 1346 Hancock, which is immediately below Master and is therefore likely the same address. He disappears in 1859, and despite considerable effort I cannot find him or his family in the 1860 census. James McQuillen occupied 1346 Hancock in 1859.

John died on May 3 1862, and was buried at St. Michael's on May 5 1862, with the expense paid by Thomas McQuillen. In 1863, Mary and Sampson (likely Sampson Sr.; John's son was in the army) were living at 1346 Hancock, with James McQuillin, coffee roaster. After that, Mary McQuillen Harbison disappears. I can find no further trace of her.

Bridget was born in approximately 1819 ± 3 (mean, range of US census entries for 1850, 1860 and 1870). There is no record of her immigration. Her first appearance is as Bridget McQuillen in a Philadelphia Savings Fund entry for March 20, 1848. In fact, her maiden name only appears once in the records, in the death certificate for her son John. She was probably married shortly before that, to Thomas McQuillen (born 1818), the brother of Mary, John Harbison's wife; her first two children, Thomas and Joseph, twins, are listed as two months old in the 1850 census, dated August 14. Both died shortly thereafter. Thomas was already a man of means, a coffee-roaster, who owned $7,000 worth of real estate. In 1850 they lived on Second Street above Master, a house that was occupied by Thomas's father William from 1843 onward. By 1860 they had two more children, John (8) and Mary (5), and Thomas was listed as a wine and liquor dealer at 427 Poplar Street; little had changed in 1870. Bridget died on May 3, 1871, and was buried on May 6, in St Michael's cemetery.

Henry K was born in 1825 in Ireland (median of 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 census entries). He first appears in Woodbury Township, Pennsylvania in 1850, married to Matilda Emerson, b. 1824, Pennsylvania, with a son Henry, age 2. Other than the appearance at Woodberry and the association with James in the 1863 draft registration, there is little to link him to Sampson, though he clearly was born on the wrong continent to be Henry's son. But in principle he might have been the child of John b.c. 1785.

Above is a listing of Henry K's children. The most intriguing is Aleen, who was named Allen and is listed as male in the 1860 and 1870 censuses, but subsequently as female and variously named Aleen or Allene. Aleen worked as a housemaid with a family in Germantown, and, having applied for a passport, seems to have traveled abroad. Contrary to what one might expect for a transgender person in the 19th century, she seems to have maintained good relations with her family. It is possible she was intersex; assigned as male at birth, but inescapably female at puberty.

Henry's family moved from Blair Co. to Montgomery Co., near Philadelphia, between 1863 and 1870, and apparently owned a homestead in Upper Dublin. A Vincent Emerson, aged 69, likely Matida's brother, appears on the 1880 census. But after that, I can find out very little. The 1890 census is missing, and I can't locate death records for either Henry or Matilda.

James has already been discussed.

Francis is a mystery. We know his approximate age from the 1860 US Census (age 30; birth therefore 1830) but I can find no baptismal record in Moneymore or the neighboring parishes. But if the birth date holds up, he was likely Rosanna Donnolly's last child. Francis married Mary A Costello, age 28 in 1860. We know her maiden name from New Jersey birth records; she was supposedly from the Isle of Man. There are 3 children listed on the 1860 census: Mary Elizabeth (7); Annabelle (4) and James (1). Since Mary Elizabeth is listed as having been born in New Jersey, it is likely that Francis lived in Trenton from before 1853, and he is listed in the Street Directory of 1859 as a laborer, living on Centre north of Lalor. I have no immigration records for him. A Francis C Harbison, born in New Jersey in 1861 and died in Philadelphia in 1881, is likely Francis's son; many online genealogies attribute this death to Francis his father, but this would entail the age of death being recorded wrongly in several places. Finally, there is Margaret, who is listed with James in the 1870 and 1880 censuses and was apparently born in 1863, but then disappeared; and possibly a Katherine, born in 1868; Katherine appears in online trees but I can find no record linking her with Francis, and all the records I've seen are unlikely to be her. We have birth records for Margaret and James.

Then something happened. James was 'at school' in Upper Dublin, PA in the 1870 census. Upper Dublin was where Henry K Harbison lived. Mary Elizabeth was listed with Sarah Harbison McCarty on the first enumeration of the 1870 census, while Annabella was listed in the same household in the second enumeration, about 3 months later. Sarah's husband Cornelius had died in the interim. (Most people attribute a census record in Lancaster Co. PA to Annabella, but she has the wrong age and there is no connection.) Francis was living with his aunt, Ellen Smith née Harbison (see below), along with his cousin Sampson Jr., on Hancock St in Philadelphia.

James and Maggie were listed together in the 1880 census, James being listed as a dyer, not a healthy occupation in 1880. They were living with their sister Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie), who had married and was now Donnelly. Frank was a laborer in Upper Dublin PA. I can't find Annabella in 1880.

What happened between 1863 and 1870? Possibly they both died in some tragedy. Francis could have conceivably been killed in the Civil War. None of the descendants seem to know. Some trees associate Mary Ann Costello with a Mary Ann Harbison who died in 1903, but I find this implausible. I think she died and Frank abandoned his family. The family of James, his brother, also seemed to fragment on the death of his wife; James, in fact moved back with his kids at various times, going from a provider to a dependent.

Mary Elizabeth married Charles Donnelly in 1872, had seven children, and lived to the age of 87. Annabella married Michael Bowers, apparently went west to Boulder, Colorado, for a while, but returned before 1910, and died in Philadelphia in 1911. Her husband remarried shortly thereafter, or possibly even before. James J. married Mary J Walters in 1882, had a large family, and died in 1915. His widow moved to Atlantic City New Jersey and died some time after 1940. Frank Jr. died in 1881; his death is better documented than his life was. I can find no trace of Margaret after 1880, but if she married soon after, that might not mean much. And Katherine is a ghost. But at least two of the ill-fated Francis's kids had descendants that still live today.

The principal mystery about Ellen is her age. An Ellen Harbison was baptized in Moneymore in 1833, parents Sampson and Sarah Devlin. She was with her parents on Philip St., above Master, in 1850, but she's listed at 14. That's a big discrepancy for a teenager. It's possible Ellen died, and another child was named Ellen; but I'm also looking into the possibility the years in the Moneymore baptismal registry were added post hoc and are wrong. I can't find Ellen in 1860, but then I can't find her uncle John either. By 1870 she had married John Smith, b. 1842, and was living in Philadelphia Ward 17 District 50, with her date of birth moved forward further to 1839. In 1880 she and her husband were living on Hancock St., with three Harbisons listed as 'boarders', John 22, Mary 15 and Sarah 13. Mary and Sarah were clearly the children of James, b. 1829, whose family fragmented on his wife's death. I have a theory about John, or which more anon. Unlike Mary and Sarah, he was born in Pennsylvania, not New Jersey.

I havent traced Ellen between 1880, when the couple was living on Hancock St., and 1907, but that may just be the sheer terror of having to screen every couple named John and Ellen Smith in Philadelphia. She died on Dec 17 1907, birth date indefatigably moved forward to 1844, and apparently childless, though she'd served as adoptive mother to several of her nephews and nieces. Her husband was apparently still alive.

Mary was christened in Moneymore in 1839, but there is no further record of her. She probably died in infancy or early childhood.

I almost missed Sarah ; I only found out about her from a DNA relative. She was born around 1836, probably in the short period where Moneymore christening records are missing. In 1850 she was living with her sister Bridget and Bridget's husband Thomas McQuillen in Kensington Ward 3, at 2nd Above master. Like her uncle John and sister Ellen, I can't find her in 1860. By 1870 she had married Cornelius McCarty, a shoemaker, and had two children, John (b. c. 1865) and Sarah (b.c. 1866). Cornelius died on October 18, 1870, in the three month period between the first and second 1870 census enumerations, and Sarah thereafter operated a boarding house. Eventually her daughter married a William Degnan, and Sarah moved in with them. She seems to have died between 1910 and 1920. I can't trace Sarah's son John, but Sarah Degnan had a family of seven.

And finally, Charles or William Charles was (according to census records) born in 1840 in Ireland, though I can't find a baptismal record. He was living with his parents in 1850, and working as a laborer with the Hamond family in Williamsburg, PA, in 1860, near his cousin William. He married Hannah Houp of Blair County some time between 1860 and 1862, and had nine children by 1880; he died on Spe 8, 1884, and is buried in the New Cathedral Cemetery in Philadelphia.

There's lots more to examine: the relationship between the Harbisons and McQuillens, the demographics, but this, I think, will do for now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

James Harberson, b. 1819, Alabama

The Harbison surname is associated with several Y-chromosome haplogroups. The largest is the E-L117 haplogroup; we currently have 18 sets of DNA data for this group. The group seems to be associated with two large clusters, with a common ancestor in medieval Scotland; one group consists of descendants of the (probable) brothers John and James Harbison, who were in Chester Pennsylvania in the 1730s and 1740s, and migrated to Kentucky, dying there in around 1780-1790. Their origin seems to be with the Harbisons -- Adam and Hugh -- who settled on the Ballymena estate in Northern Ireland between 1660 and 1670. The other large cluster is associated with Alexander Harbison, who was born in Ireland in 1747 and migrated to North Carolina; there are a few other E-L117 individuals with more distant genetic connections, but all the American representatives are associated with the Scots-Irish migration from Northern Ireland to the American colonies, mostly between 1717 and 1776.

The other haplogroup is mine, I-M223, associated with the Ballyneill Harbisons and a James Harbison, b. 1745 from nearby Donaghenry, Co. Tyrone. Until last year, we thought all of the members of this cluster were Catholics.

But then a Harbison currently living in Arkansas turned up, with haplogroup I-M223 (and quite close to the other members of the group), whose earliest traceable ancestor was James Harberson, b. 1819 in northern Alabama. I was so surprised by this I rechecked his genealogy myself. There were no Catholics in northern Alabama in 1819, and James' descendant from Arkansas certainly wasn't Catholic. Moreover this part of Alabama had only recently (1816) been ceded but he Chickasaw tribe. So his family came from somewhere else.

Northern Alabama, it turns out, was filling up with Harbisons. A Samuel Harbison, descended from Alexander, had come down from Virginia via Kentucky and Tennessee. So had George Erwin Harbison, another descendant of Alexander. But both would have been E-L117. I was also taken by the spelling of the name, and was inclined to believe that instead James was born of someone who had migrated from South Carolina.

And sure enough, there was a James Harberson on the Pennsylvania Farmer, one of five ships the Reverend William Martin used to bring Ulstermen to Charleston South Carolina in 1772. Martin was an interesting character, a Covenanter clergyman who was recruited as pastor by the various dissident Presbytherian sects in the Carolinas. He was ordained in 1857 in the townland of Vow, on the Antrim side of the River Bann, a little south of Ballymoney, and about 20 miles north of Ballyneill. And he brought 1200 settler families with him, all from the approximate neighborhood of Ballymoney, Co. Antrim, and driven out by high rents and low linen prices. Most of them were Prebyterians and Covenanters, like himself; but some were Established Church, some were Baptists, and a few were Catholics. One was supposed to swear one's protestantism to get off the ship, but who knows?

James Harberson crossed the Atlantic with a wife but no children, and was probably newly married. He settled in the Presbyterian colony near Chester, Chester Co., in the northern part of South Carolina. However, settlers from that county migrated south as soon as Northern Alabama opened up after 1816. I can find plausible census records for him in Chester in 1790 (1 child) and 1810 (10 children). I suspect one of the children was the person who settled in Alabama and begat James, b. 1819.

It is perhaps significant the two earliest Harbisons in Ireland (William Harbison of Lislea, and John Herbertson of Moyknock, both in Londonderry) also lived near the Bann, a few miles upstream from Vow. It seems unlikely they came over with the major Presbyterian migration from Scotland, but may have been in Ireland earlier, perhaps much earlier. Might their descendants have moved south to Ballyneil, Moneymore, and Donaghenry, while James left with Rev. Martin? My father, interestingly, told me the family lore was that our family had originally lived near Ballymoney.

So it's speculative, but this might be the common origin of James Herberson, of Walker Co., Alabama, and the rest of the I-M223 Harbisons.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Benjamin Harbeson and America's Original Sin

Any American genealogist sooner or later encounters slavery. Several of the Harbisons who emigrated to the southern states were slaveholders. But what is not generally realized is that slavery was quite common in the northern states around the time of the revolution. After independence, most abolished it, although Pennsylvania merely heavily restricted it, and did not end it until 1848.

This came somewhat brutally to my attention when doing a standard search of 18th century Philadelphia newspapers turned up the following advertisement, in the Pennsylvania Packet of Tuesday, January 29, 1782. What I find particularly disturbing is its callousness. The girl's pregnancy was actually a selling point, and Harbeson's adding he also had borax for sale adds to the ad's inhumanity.

It turns out Benjamin Harbeson was one of Philadelphia's best-known citizens, a copper- and silver-smith. His metalware is highly prized to this day. He was, reportedly, born in Philadelphia in 1727, and his ancestor therefore likely came to America at the very beginning of the major Ulster-Scots migration, or even possibly before it.

DNA suggests the Protestant Harbisons are unrelated to the Catholic Harbisons who came to Philadelphia later, and who often fought for the Union. Still, I wish I hadn't seen this.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Rosanna Harbeson: more

Here is a section of Simons' Map of Philadelphia, 1831, Delaware River to the bottom, and therefore north to the right, showing South Alley, at the far bottom right, where Rosanna Harbeson is reported to have lived. It's a block and a half north (right) of Independence Hall (the building on the right side of Independence Square). The alley has long since been demolished to make way for the Independence Hall Visitor Center. But judging from the contemporary directories, it was a busy commercial center, an odd place to live, except there was a boarding house at 2 South Alley. One deduces, therefore, that Rosanna was a transient, possibly newly arrived from Ireland, when she died. There is no evidence of other members of her family in the neighborhood.

The Holy Trinity church and cemetery, where she was buried, is on the top right corner of Sixth and Spruce. It was of course normal for Catholics to live a few blocks from a church.

So, still a mystery. She was almost certainly from Ireland, but did she arrive alone? And what killed her at age 30?

Edit: oh dear. The widow Brown's boarding house at South Alley was apparently a bordello. Philadelphia in 1825 was a notoriously libertine city, with an active seaport and a red light area called 'Hell Town', although Mrs Brown's establishment was not in Hell Town and was apparetly a cut above the usual knocking-shop.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Rosanna Harbeson 1796-1826...Philadelphia?

I've been slowly working through the plethora of Philadelphia street directories, trying to make coherent sense of the family of Sampson Harbison. And I was making headway. There are two John Harbisons in what was Kensington Ward 3 in 1850 and became Philadelphia Ward 17 in 1860, near St. Michael's Church, which was a nucleus for Catholic Harbisons. Both were listed as weavers. This means little; virtually every poor person who came from Northern Ireland was a weaver. Ulstermen subsistence-farmed for food, and wove flax into linen for cash.

One John lived on Cadwaller above Master; the other on Hancock below Master, a few blocks away. I found a death certificate for the Cadwaller John's wife, Rosanna, which gave her street address; and a marriage record for their son James, in a Presbyterian church. This confirmed what I already believed; Sampson's son John lived on Hancock.

Unwilling to leave well enough alone, though, I casually looked at the other Rosannas. And there I found a Rosanna Harbeson, buried at Holy Trinity Catholic Church on July 15, 1826, aged 30. The spelling is probably insignificant; the name was always spelled Harbeson in Philadelphia before 1850. But I have no idea who this woman was, and I can find no other records of her. There are two Harbesons in the Philadelphia Street Directory for 1825, Hugh and Samuel. In fact, there were several Harbisons in Philly in the 18th century, most descended from Benjamin Harbison, b. 1725. Benjamin was undoubtedly Protestant (Methodist).

I don't even know if Harbeson was a married or a maiden name. But there's a mystery here; there were Catholic Harbisons in Philly almost two decades before I suspected. Were she or her husband descended from the Ballyneill branch, or the Portmore branch? Could she have been sister or sister-in-law to William?

One more point; look at the names. Early Catholic Philadelphians were mostly not Irish.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

James J Harbison, April 4 1829 - February 12 1912

James was christened in the parish of Ardtrea nad Desertlyn (Moneymore) on April 19, 1829. based on his later declared birthday, he was likely born April 4, to Sampson Harbison and Rose née Donnolly. Residence was indicated as 'Ballyneal'. He is likely one of the 6 male inhabitants claimed on Sampson's census return of 1831. We know nothing of his childhood; simply that he emigrated to America. The most plausible immigration record for James is on the Sir John Campbell, arrived New York July 7 1846, from Liverpool. He is listed as age 18, and a laborer.

In the 1860 US census (August 28), James is listed as a laborer at the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum (pictured above) in Ewing Township, NJ. On the return, there is also a Mary Warrington (age 27), who is designated neither an employee nor an inmate. She immigrated through New York in 1852; she was born to Thomas Warrington and Catherine Gillick in Cavan in 1833.

James' marriage to Mary Warrington on May 30, 1861 in Trenton, NJ, records his parents as Sampson and Rose Harbeson. This might be a transcription error, or a result of illiteracy. By the 1870 census (dwelling 280; Trenton 3rd ward), the couple had had five children -- Charles (age 8), Mary (age 6), Sarah J. (June 10 1865-April 15 1917), John (age 2; born February 8 1869) and Thomas (age 5 months; born January 1870). Mary and Sarah J. are recorded as Pennsylvania births, while the others are New Jersey. All five children married and had issue. James' draft registration in June 1863 is in Woodbury, PA, alongside Henry K Harbison, two years older (who was likely a brother) and on the same page as Henry Harbison's son William. So apparently James was temporarily in Blair Co. from 1863 to the end of the Civil War.

mary Warrington Harbisopn died in 1871. James married again, to Eliza Cronin (b. c 1841; Ireland) on April 11, 1875, again in Trenton, NJ, but she died a little more than a year later, likely in childbirth. James lived in Trenton, according to the city directories, until 1876. James was living with his son Thomas in Philadelphia, on 2213 Palethorp St., in 1900, according to the census, and with his widowed daughter Mary Harbison Fennen in 1910, at 2151 N 34d St., a boarding house; this census lists his year of immigration as 1846.

James died on February 12, 1912, of myocarditis. His address was given as 2110 N 2nd St, 19th ward, which was the address of his daughter Sarah J McClernan; occupation was watchman.

James was buried in New Cathedral Cemetery, Philadelphia, in the same plot as Charles Harbison, a nephew. The year of his death is misstated on both death certificate and headstone; as I've often remarked, 19th century people knew their birthday, but not always the year they were born. His father is also misstated as 'Henry'. Since James was a widower, it's possible his uncle was mistaken for his father.