Genealogy Surprises

The other night Sue and I were talking and for some reason the origin of our daughter's name came up. Her name is Harper, which in the past couple of years seems to be very popular with celebrities like David Beckham and Neil Patrick Harris.  We picked the name for two reasons.  First, we like it because it is very unique.  Secondly, the name Harper is actually a family name and this is where I was surprised.  I knew that Harper was a family name and could trace that to my grandmother and her mother my great-grandmother.

I was curious after our conversation so I went and grabbed "The Book."  The book I am referring to is a pale green book that was researched and published by a distant relative that maps a portion of my genealogy.  It provides the details, including biographies of each member of the family.  I knew all of this existed but never really thought much of it since the book has been around.  I guess I just took it for granted.  The book is called The Harpers of Virginia, West Virginia, and Mississippi and includes a nice fold out of the family tree.  It was published in 1982 and unfortunately none of this information is in electronic form.  Oh well, at least the information is all in one place.

So the surprises, what are the surprises...

There are a couple surprises.  As I started reading through the book it clearly outlines that I come from the "landed gentry and nobility of the British Isles."  There are some knights and whatnot in there too.  Pretty cool stuff right.  The book then continues on and describes that I am a direct descendent of Captain John Harper.  The name really meant nothing to me on the surface but with some quick googling, I discovered he is pretty well known and contributed quite a bit to the Alexandria, Virginia landscape during the 1700s.  I think when the kids are a little older we will go check out the homes on Prince Street.  All of this stems from my paternal grandmother.

Harper's middle name is also a family name so I contacted my mom to see what I could dig up.  Well, it turns out my uncle Barry has all of this all documented from his dad's side of the tree.  It turns out that I am related (distant) to royalty.  This was the second surprise.  It turns out that this side hails from Yorkshire, England.  The distant relative is King Edward VI, which is my 5th cousin 12 times removed.  King Edward VI is the son of King Henry VIII and his wife Jane Seymore.  Looks like I need to contact the queen to see when I can go visit.

All of this was really cool to discover and I now love Harper's names more than ever.

Posted in , , , , , , .

Leave a Reply


© John Carenbauer and Pavé Photography. All Rights Reserved.