finding your roots

Cornwall, England William and Elizabeth B Harper

Elizabeth H Ray May 4, 2012

My story begins with my father Richard B Harper telling my sister and I about his Grandfatherfrom Cornwall , England. His name is capt. Richard B Harper . The stroy goes that Richard and his brother William are sent to South American to work in mines. When the get to Cape Horn they just ship and walk to New Mexico. THrew my reach. I cannot fine a William Harper who was Richard Brother. Richard took a steamer from Cape Horn to San Francisco,Ca. Cap Richard B Harper an mining engineer. Capt Richard B Harper lived and married and was a mining engineer in Santa Clara,California. He lived there 57 yrs. In The historial Presevation of Santa Clara,Cal online talks anout him and his life. Capt Richard B Harper had three children . A son and two daughter. The son William Harper also a mining engineer was emplyed in Yuma,AZ. He married Maria Denton and they had William, Jr , Richard(which is our father),Emma, Margaret, Ben,JamesHarper. My father as passed on. Questions are William and Jr are they the same people or is it William jr and my father told me that William did not come from Yuma,AZ. Our father Richard was born in Yuma,Az 1915. I have tried to fine a record of William. I did fine a record of a baby names Johnnie who did in 1917 in Yuma,AZ.
I think the story my father told us was something that was told to him. Why I do not know. May Capt Richard B Harper did have a brother but I cannot fine any accounts of that and nor can I find William my father brother. Why they would leave him behine.
I loved your show on PBS. I have watched all of them. My father was a machinac auto and his father also moved from Yuma,Az to Pacific Grove,Cal and was an auto Machinac. My sister and I grew up in Pacific Grove,Ca. Thanks very much Elizabeth Harper-Ray

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  • garth tuttle

    May 4, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    There are paaenger records; also, people sometimes confuse the names of two relatives – I found that a “Henry” was, in fact, a John … there are also parish rercords in Cornwall … there are also hidden records – books, magazines, even other people’s diaries.
    The Sutro Library in San FRancisco, the Bancroft at U.C. Berkeley & maybe the mormon historical library can help …

  • Shari Hodges

    May 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I may be able to help you connect the Harpers with New Mexico. My family are Harpers, who ended up in New Mexico too.

    The first dates are 1916. My grandmother was a Harper – they lived in Las Vegas NM after her husband was killed in a railroad accident. Then she married this guy named Smith.

    She died in Los Angeles in the 1950s – I never knew anything until a long time after.

    I ran a geneology check about 10 years ago, and found out she was a Harper – the original Harper was Mary Harper from pre-revolution North Carolina –

    The Harpers go way back to County Wexford Ireland – and before that, to Norman France – Our ancestor Harper was the bagpiper to Strongbow – you gotta google that guy

    After they conquered Ireland – Cromwell stepped in – and everybody took off

    The Harpers were very famous musicians – there’s a castle in Ireland – There’s so many Harpers, who can keep track. It defies the imagination really.

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The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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