Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Welcome Adrian, and Other Updates

Note that Adrian Murdock has signed the guestbook--the first non-editor to do so. Wish we had a prize to reward him. Instead, go to his website (under Favorite Sites).

Tweaking the maps a bit--discovered that you can vary the "placemark" symbol.

Doing some work on the migration from the Cahans to Stillwater, NY which included a "Harshaw", who dropped the "w" along with accepting some other variant spellings. It will be a while before it's ready for any presentation. Lots of assumptions involved in the early years. However, one William Harsha was, for a while, associated with a Presbyterian seminary in Omaha, perhaps a bit early for grandfather William to have known him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Changes July 23

I found two places in Ulster possibley related to the Sparta Rosboroughs and added them to the Irish map.

Went back to the Robert Anderson family tree on ancestry.com, downloaded the Gedcom to my PC, imported the file into Legacy, created a descendant tree from Legacy, uploaded it to Google Docs & Spreadsheets, and then published it, after linking to "Branches". We'll see if the process works.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Genes for Harry Potter

Inquiring minds want to know--what are the odds that two Harshaw descendants, Jean Louise Harshaw and Marjorie Harshaw Robie, are both reading the last Harry Potter this weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Changes and Projects

Making some progress--yesterday we got a "guestbook" running (under the related pages--at the right of the table) and I started a Google Map for Ulster--finding Ringbane Road. It's under "maps". Marjorie is trying her best to get me to Ireland, but until she succeeds anyone who has a better understanding of the area can and should take a crack at putting placemarks on the map.

I also published Jean's extracts of the material on Sarah Harshaw (Michael's mother) and his brother David's will.

Marjorie has asked that I try researching the South Carolina Harshaws, which is looking complicated.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mac and Photos

I've added a picture of Harold McCloskey Harshaw to the Picasa photo album (I'm afraid I still don't fully understand Picasa--he ended up in a separate "album". I like the picture, a little bit more of his personality seems to come through than is often the case with photographs 80+ years old.

I also added Jean Harshaw's extracts of Michael Harshaw's land transactions to the "Family Records" page. I think now each of the "related records" pages has some content.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


My father, Harold McCloskey Harshaw, was the youngest son of William R. Harshaw and his wife Ada Rippey. No one ever called him Harold that I know of. He was always "Mac." He was born in New York City and spent his earliest years in what is now Harlem. Despite his city birth, he was a country boy at heart. The Harshaw farming heritage burned deep in him, and he wished to spend his life farming as well.

Like his father before him, he had a great interest in guns. When I was a child, we lived in a house surrounded by woods, not on a farm. Still, he seemed content to substitute flower gardens for fields of hay. Small creatures who lived in our woods seemed to find our garden quite tasty. This was all the justification that father needed for acquiring something most farmers owned. He bought a shot gun which he put out of reach on the wall above his work bench in our basement.

I was very curious about the gun, but my father would never let me touch it. And I certainly knew better than to defy my father.

One hot summer afternoon, I was trying to keep cool on the screened porch at the back of our house when father came rushing onto the porch and disappeared into the house. He was back quickly, this time with his gun at the ready.

He left the porch very quietly making sure the screened door didn't slam behind him as it usually did. Silently he walked down the stairs, using the tulip tree at the bottom for cover. He was clearly stalking something I couldn't see. He moved a bit closer to the garden and then raised the gun into shooting position. Though I could clearly see what he was doing, the sound of the gun actually firing startled me.

I looked to see what he was shooting at. To my great horror, there was a small rabbit flopping about on the grass, blood visible on his white belly. Father hurried up to him and fired again. The flapping stopped. For a few moments, I stared at the dead rabbit, unable to get my feet moving. Finally, I was able to turn around and flee to the sanctuary of my room.

Never again did I have the slightest interest in that gun or any other.



I was always somewhat different as a child. Painful shyness, a vivid imagination, a strange ability to analyze situations, combined with odd deep-set eyes and a very square jawline are not attributes of anyone who would be either popular or successful. Still there was much to learn about life in the small town just outside Washington DC where I spent much of my childhood.

When I was 13 my family moved to Andover MA, and my life has been focused in Massachusetts most of the time ever since. It was there I met my husband, and began a very ordinary life as wife, parent and teacher.

It was only after this part of my life was complete that my life got strange. A very new adventure resulted from a growing interest in family history, generated by a TV program, the monumental series Roots. First I began a search for my family history. It turned out that my strange last name was Irish. I had never liked my name, as I was endlessly required to spell it for people. Now I'm very happy my mother told me to keep it as part of my name. I also discovered that I had many interesting and important relatives in Ireland, a search that resulted in a book on Irish history. I'm sure my parents would find this turn of events almost as unbelievable as I do myself.

The story of the Harshaw family is the story of America. For most Americans, our ancestors arrived with a sad heritage of loss, as most immigrants left home and family forever. But these incomers changed our country. I am very proud that members of the Harshaw family and the families with whom they married share this record of accomplishment .

Bill and I intend this blog to be a place for various branches of our family to come together, and document the contribution of Irish immigrants to our country. We hope you find your visits both informative and enjoyable.

Marjorie Harshaw Robie

Friday, July 13, 2007

Today's Progress

When I first got involved in web sites, a convention was to note the recent changes in the site. A blog, being organized by time, doesn't need that. But because this blog is the front end for the related pages, it may make sense to something similar here:
As a record of the changes made in the site, and related sites:
  • I got information from Ed Cole of Indiana relating to the early Harshaws which I've added to the Ancestry Tree for the Harshaw family. (I hope shortly to link from the related pages to that site.)
  • Modified and updated the "branches" page to allow a column for the townland in Ireland where the branch came from--Marjorie says that's key in Irish genealogy.
Planning tomorrow to open the blog to the public (unless Marjorie objects).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What I Am Doing Here?

That always struck me as a good question to ask, even when Ross Perot's running mate was ridiculed for asking it.

My profile gives a bit of my background, but to amplify: I'm the son of John Rippey Harshaw, grandson of William Roseborough Harshaw, cousin of Marjorie Harshaw Robie. What my profile doesn't say is I originally hoped to be a historian, but dropped out of the University of Rochester. Since retiring from USDA I've found some pleasure in researching my ancestors--seeing in their varied histories reflections of the larger history of the U.S.

Marjorie is the storyteller, I'm the faux historian. Or maybe I'm the antiquarian, because I like to collect bits and pieces but have problems in organizing them into the larger picture. Anyway, I hope this blog, and the associated web pages, help to organize the materials we've collected for whatever benefit others may find in them.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New York Adventure

This passage is copied from a partial autobiography that William wrote after he retired from active ministry.

"One rather notable incident took place during my pastorate in the First Union Church. One Saturday afternoon, a negro man came to see me in the church office. He explained that he came from Tuskeegee Institute. He had come north in the attempt to introduce Booker T. Washington to the Presbyterian churches of New York City, along with a negro quartet which he was beginning to train. He had tramped all over New York, interviewing pastors and attempting to interest them in his protegee. Every body had some excuse and no one had encouraged. He was just about worn out in the attempt and he looked very tired and dusty. I knew nothing about the Institute and nothing about its head, Booker T. Washington. He interested me and I was sympathetic with him because of the experience he had had. I finally agreed to arrange a meeting for the quartet and he in our chapel on a Wednesday. When the evening came it was raining as if the clouds had burst. Nevertheless a full chapel greeted the singers and the speaker. And that was the first introduction of Washington to a New York City audience and the beginning of his work in the Institute and in New York, which lead to fame and fortune."

(Picture is of William during his pastorate in New York.)