Early Harris Research

Research of Andrew Harris' birthplace focuses on Staplehurst, Kent, very near Tenterden and Ashford. Andrew's daughter Parnell was a passenger on the Ship Hercules. She joined her brothers William and Thomas in New England in 1635. Eventually her sisters Jane and Anne, along with their mother Jane migrated to New England. Many of the passengers on board the ship were close friends and relatives, bound together by a common bond of religious dissent. Research has shown many on board had close ties to John Lathrop (Lothropp), who was admitted in 1609 as the perpetual curate in charge of the Egerton Church, a parish a few miles from Staplehurst and Tenterden. In 1623, he left the Church of England and moved to London to head a dissenter church group meeting in Southwark. He was imprisoned for three years and then quickly left for New England in 1634. Many of his followers traveled with him or joined him in Scituate, MA. Many of the passengers on the Hercules were also connected to the earlier pilgrims who had lived in Holland after leaving England and then ventured forth to New England on the early Mayflower voyages in 1620. These connected families on board the Hercules were from Ashford, Tenterden, Sandwich and surrounding areas in Kent. Since individuals in Sandwich were relatives to those in the Ashford, Tenterden areas, it was very likely that Andrew Harris could have come from that same area before settling in Northbourne. Records show numerous Harris families throughout this central part of Kent.

A tall brick building with a clock on the top of it.
A row of houses on the side of a road.

Henry Harris married Joan Austen

Henry Harris married Johan Austen on 25 Oct 1579 in Staplehurst, Kent. Johan died on 28 Oct 1586.

The Austen’s were prominent in Staplehurst and Joan Austen was Jonas Austen's aunt.  Jonas Austen was on board the Hercules and was close friends to Nathaniel Tilden and many who migrated together to new England on those ships. This relationship of family and friendship explains why Andrew's daughter Parnell, along with her stepbrother James Sayers, would have joined the others on board the Hercules to make the long journey.

Records show Andrew was most likely born to Henry Harris and Johan Austen in Staplehurst. No other records of births are found for an Andrew Harris in all of Kent. 

Transcribed parish records for Staplehurst show "An____ Harris (1 1/2" blank space indicates an incomplete name entry) the ___ (1" blank space) of Henry Harris," which could likely represents Andrew Harris born in 1585. Andrew married in 1603 (at 18?) and died in 1616 in Northbourne.

Their Children

John Harris
14 July 1580 Christened

Sara Harris
26 Apr 1584 Christened

An____ Harris
6 Jun 1585 Christened

Dorytye Harris
27 Apr 1589 Buried


For more information see: Andrew Harris &
Staplehurst connection.