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In Search Of William Harper's Family Circa 1700s

SMHarperBurns's picture

My direct Irish Ancestor, William Harper, was born (we believe) in Antrim about 1750.  He married Mary (unknown but possibly Ferguson) about 1780-1784.  Their first known son, Robert Harper,  was born in Ireland 1785.  We do know from US Census records that William, Mary, and Robert all stated they were born in Ireland.  That much is clearly documented. 

William moved his family to Pennsylvania, USA, around 1786-1788, then settled in Fleming County, Kentucky, USA, probably by the mid 1790s.  He and Mary resided there the rest of their lives. 

We also have heard random rumors that there may have been two other sons born in Ireland.  William Harper would supposedly have been the eldest son and Alrick Harper would have been born either shortly before or after Robert.  There is no mention whatsoever of either of these sons in any known recorded document to date, they are strictly mentioned in third party accounts of the family history (as in Auntie Jane told me that there was another son... etc. )

William and Mary's other known children were born between 1789 and 1798, by most accounts in VA and KY (At the time, Kentucky was still part of Virginia, we believe only the border lines changed and that all of the children were likely born in what is now Kentucky) :  Sarah (Sallie), John , Mary (Polly), Margaret (Peggy), Jane (Jenny), Letty, and Alexander.  All except perhaps Letty (who disappeared from the record after 1815) survived to adulthood and all but John and Letty married and had families; many of those families migrated farther west and today can be found in many US states, including KY, OH, IL, KS, OK, CO, and MO.

Associated family surnames (married William's offspring) are:  McAtinney, Sousley, Price, Callahan, and Beck.

William and Mary were of the Presbyterian faith. 

Aside from that, we do have DNA on the paternal line through my father, the third Great Grandson of William Harper.  (Haplogroup G2A)  Any clues or nudges in the right direction would be wonderful and greatly appreciated.


fwharper's picture
Joined: 14 Dec 2013
G2a Harper

My GGG Grandfather is a William Harper and we are also G2a. My father always believed that we came from county Antrim. However, the research led to Drumgooland county Down and a wedding in 1855. The groom was William Harper and his father was also William and a shoemaker.  I cannot find anything further back in that parish, so it is possible they came from Antrim. The did seem to move around quite a bit. We are still in Ireland. The fact that your line is also G2a suggests that there is a relationship. Has any of your line tested in Family finder?

SMHarperBurns's picture
Joined: 27 Oct 2013
Re G2a Harper

That's quite interesting, and gives me yet another place to look.  Thanks for that!  We haven't done DNA through family finder, but have through Ancestry. 

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