Welcome to my Harris Family Website and HARRIS Family Tree which at last count contains 321 Relationships - ( View FULL List of Names )
I am documenting all new discoveries as I find them on this website.
My Research (and this website) began when my father, by chance, read the Sunday Times one rainy Sunday afternoon. The obituary page which he happened to scan, had a name on it that just jumped out at him. A very unusual name, Enriquetta Harris, which he remembered was the same name as a great aunt he had met when he was a boy.
Readers have provided so much information and this continues to this day. We were just a small Harris family of four and I now have a family tree of over 300 people. I have found cousins and other relatives from all over the world. The most important discovery to date resulted in my father meeting with an adopted half brother he never knew existed.
Unfortunately, we were never able to discover what my fathers father actually did during the war - so if anyone knows what William Harris did during the war after he abandoned his wife and three boys, please Send me a Message .
To avoid overloading this website with information from readers about the famous, wealthy, and very intersting man, Tomas Harris (my grandfathers brother), I developed a new, seperate website www.tomasharris.com just about him. He had been  an MI5 controller for double agent Garbo in the war, a famous artist in his own right, and a Francisco Goya specialist. He died under suspicious circumstances in a car crash in Mallorca.

This website has just enabled me to make contact with a new member of the Harris family who was up until today unknown to me.

Firstly, just a few days ago, I was contacted by David Moore,  who came across my website The Harris Family while surfing the net for information about Tomas Harris (my grandfathers brother).  David had recently developed a keen interest in Tomas and his Art andhe  informed me that he went to an exhibition of Tomas’s Art in Majorca in August just this year (2009).  He informed me that the organiser was  of Lumen Publishing and that he knew an incredible amount about Tomas, that his family live in the house that Tomas owned in Mallorca at Camp de Mar, and that he  is writing a biograhpy about Tomas Harris.  He also told me that there was a speaker at the exhibition whose name he did not remember, but that he knew that this speaker was related to Tomas (and is therefore also related to me) and that  he gave a very moving and emotional speech about Tomas and his life of Art.

I decided I needed to spend time trying to locate both the organiser and this relative of Tomas who gave the speech. I searched the internet for hours without luck, contact details are impossible to find.. so i added some text to Tomas’s post on my site requesting that anyone who him, that  they try to get him to contact me – so I waited.

David Moore also sent me some lovely pictures of some of Tomas’s Paintings which I have added to my photo gallery called Tomas Harris’s Art Gallery on this website. David also sent me an interesting link for Tomas’s Art exhibition in Mallorca – Andratx segon Harris (pdf).

My waiting paid off , incredibly quickly. Just  today, the organiser contacted me through my website.  He introduced himself as the being the one I was looking for in my posting. I was delighted. Oh the wonders of the internet!  He explained that he has been researching the life of Tomas Harris (and his family) for many years and is writing his biography . He says Tomas Harris was a fascinating character: an art dealer, a scholar, a collector, a spy…organiser lives in Barcelona, but  was born in Majorca where his family now owns ‘El Estudio Harris’ in Camp de Mar, the wonderful house of Tomas Harris and his wife Hilda Harris.  Tomas lived there from 1948 until his death in 1964, but he had a house in London too: Garden Lodge in Logan Place (London), which many years later became the home of the singer Freddy Mercuri (Queen). Andreu tells me you can feel Tomas in the House in  Majorca and can feel his shadow wandering in the garden. The  grandparents and his mother and his sister? were  very good friends with Tomas, so when he died in a car accident they decided to buy the estate. He grew up with the legend of Tommy Harris by his side. Five years ago he decided to put together all the information he had been gathering and is writing a biography about a man quite unknown to the world, and to whom we all are indebted to, for his work during the Second World War. Eissenhower himself met Tomas to thank him personally for his brilliant job in MI5 (See posts below about Tomas and Garbo the double spy in World War II).  Andreu also told  me he had the honor to meet Enriqueta (my Great Aunt, Tomas’s sister, also my grandfathers sister) at her home in South Kensington. He says she was a very clever, cultivated and charming old lady whom he worshipped. Also that Tomas had a wonderful relationship with his three sisters (Enriqueta, Conchita and Violetta) but not so good with his brothers (Lionel, William and Maurice). He was not on speaking terms with Lionel, for instance.

The exhibition of Tomas’ paintings which was held in Camp de Mar, this August (2009)  in Majorca and it was successful. Andreu  had  invited José  to speak at the exhibition. Andreu has given me Jose’s email address and we are in emailing daily. Jose is supplying me with a mountain of information and photographs for which I am very grateful. This information has enabled me to determine that Jose’s mother a Rodriguez was a cousin of Tomas Harris and also a niece of my great grandmother Enriqueta (Esther)  Rodriguez Leon.   This makes Jose my fathers second cousin.  I have just today (19/12/09) added plenty of NEW people and additional details to my ever growing family tree… Please click here to view -> Descendents of Leon now includes my father- Ronald Harris . It was suggested that  Tomas and Jose were very close, like brothers and Jose has the archive of Tomas and Enriqueta.  Jose knows everything about the family. Andreu informed me that he knew that Jose had  gone to meet William Harris, my grandfather, at his antique shop in North Wales in the seventies.

Andreu also sent me some photos that I also have already added to Tomas’s art gallery on this website.

Now best of all, is, that Andreu copied Jose  on his email to me. Jose being the man who Andreu had speaking at the exhibition of Tomas’s art in Majorca, the man who went to Wales to visit William Harris my grandfather in the seventies (who my father had  thought had died during the war until a few months ago), the man who knew Tomas Harris like a brother, and  also the man who is a son ‘of a spanish cousin of my grandfather’.  I have so many qeustions…

And to top it all…. as a direct result of Andreu copying Jose on his email to me, I received my first email from Jose with lots of photos of members of the HARRIS family I never knew existed until today. I have just also added them to  Tomas’s art gallery …

The story will continue… but for now… thats it..  Actually, thats not all it. Today is the 12december2009, and as a result of emailing with Jose, I have discovered that he has a sister who also knew my grandfather and that a best friend of his, David Davies, who lives in London, also knew my grandfather,  Enriqueta Harris, and also Tomas Harris. This world is getting smaller, and my family albums and family tree are getting bigger. My family tree today has 111 people..  Thank you.. for all your information.. There is so much more out there to learn…

View the HARRIS FAMILY TREE

View My Family Tree

 

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The Harris Family Tree 

Search or select a name from the dropdown and view Acestors and Descendents

 

 

FYI: Getting Around the HARRIS FAMILY TREE on Tribal Pages:-

There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.

And Check out the Relationships tool.

MR TOMAS HARRIS – SPANISH ART

In 1964, Sir Anthony Blunt wrote :-

Mr. Tomas Harris, who was killed in a road accident in Majorca on Monday(27th January 1964), was well known to evryone in the art world in London and Madrid. His father Lionel Harris, founded the Spanish Art Galleries more than half a century ago and although Tomas himself wanted to become a painter,  and won a scholarship to the Slade at the age of 16, he abandoned this career in order to join the firm and help his father.

Almost every important work of art to come from Spain to England during the half-century went through the hands of either the father or the son and one could be certain at any time of seeing in the galleries, masterpieces by El Greco or the other great Spanish painters, as well as carpets and other objects of art of the particlualr kinds in which Spain was so rich. Tomas had an uncanny instinct for discovering works of art in unexpected places, and one of his most important acquisitions a series of fifteenth-century  German panels which had once been in the National Gallery – were bought among the contents of an outhouse at a country sale. To his energy and acumen were added the most rigid integrity in all matters of business and the greatest generosity in questions of scholarship: his pictures and his great knowledge were available to the humblest student as well as to the expert or potential buyer.

During the war he ws attached to the War office (in MI5) where his special qualifications and his astonishing imagination enabled him to do work of the highest value to the Allied cause, which won him great commendation from those in high places who were in a position to judge it.

After the war instead of returning to the art trade he devoted himself to painting and held successful exhibitions in London, New York, Madrid and Barcelona. For his last 10 years he lived mainly in Majorca and devoted much time to the scholarship of art history. He lived long enough to witness the triumpant success of the exhibition of etchings by Goya which he organized at the British Museum, almost entirely from the resources of his own collection and to see the first rough copy of his complete catalogue of these etchings which is due to be published in the near future and which will revolutionize our idea of Goya’s acheivment as an engraver.

 

Lional Harris (Born 1862 – my Great Grandfather) – Married Enriqueta Rodriquez and they had 7 children

  1.  Violetta Harris (1898-1989), Followed Tomas into MI5 as a Spanish Speaking officer serving in B1(a)
  2. Maurice Harris (1900-?)
  3. William Harris (31/5/1901-10/12/1982), Had 4 children (Gordon, David, Ronald (my Father) and David)
  4. Lionel Harris (1903-?)
  5. Conchita Harris (1904-?)
  6. Tomas Harris (10/4/1908-27/1/1964), MI5 controller of double agent code named GARBO, named after the best actor in the world…
  7. Enriqueta Harris (17/5/1910-22/4/2006), Worked in MOI (Ministry of Information), who sparked off an idea for the Harris-Garbo collaboration, of a non-existent senior source (J3) in the Spanish Section of the MOI..

I recently discovered my family tree. All I knew until last year was the name of my grandfather. Now I know so much more. Check out the Harris family tree  on Tribalpages website, and see my family connections  to Artists, Art Dealers, MI5, Garbo, Double Spies in World War II. OBE’s and books and Art Historians, and Antique Dealers, Diamond Dealers ..and the list goes on….

I have just been reading two books “Garb0” and the “Spy who Saved D-day”.   The first written by MI5’s double agent spy, Garbo himself, and the second written by my fathers Uncle, Tomas Harris who was Garbo’s MI5 Case officer/Controller during World War II.  Together these books tell the true story of how they came to work together for Britain and began the beginning of the end of the War.

The first Book, the one called ‘GARBO’– was written mostly MI5’s double Agent called Juan Pujol (codenamed GARBO) along with an author called Nigel West, who found him in hiding in Venezuela, and encouraged him to come back safely back to Britain for the 40th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings, to meet old colleagues from MI5 and be introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh . The book tells the personal story of the most successful double agent EVER and his MI5 controller/case officer who directed, channelled, encouraged and sustained the agents remarkable talents.

This case officer was Tomas Harris – my Great Uncle.

The second book I am reading is called ‘ The Spy who saved D-Day – (view large chunks of this book online here) ’ and was mostly written by Tomas Harris.

Both books describe  how GARBO and Tomas came to work together at MI5, and their three years of scheming and planning together during World War II. They tell a detailed story of their efforts which were supported by various agencies of British intelligence and of how they contributed to a huge reduction of casualties among tens of thousands of allied servicemen who landed in Normandy in France on D-Day to fight to hold the Normandy Beachheads. Many, many more would have perished had their plan failed. They devised a plan to build a network (The GARBO Network) which was eventually composed of 27 imaginary characters, to mislead the Germans into expecting the landings to occur in Calais and maintain all their forces there, instead of moving them to Normandy. Their other activities in MI5 also embraced campaigns in North Africa and the V-weapon offensives.

On this site are other posts that I have written, in Note form, which are facts from the two books and contain details about some individuals mentioned in the two book, Mostly Garbo and Thomas Harris. These posts contain notes which I want to share with the rest of my immediate family and are relevant to expanding their knowledge about our Harris family which we knew absolutely nothing about until about a year ago.

—————— LINKS —————–

(D-Day 6/6/1944)  – (view Link)

Marks the start of Europe invasion in Normandy, France – during World War II

MI5 (view Link)

was responsible for counter-espionage intelligence within the UK

MI6/SIS (view Link)

Secret Intelligence service for counter-espionage intelligence in foreign countries.

Garbo (view Post)

Spanish Agent Worked as a Double Spy for MI5 in Britain, when the Germans were so convinced he was a German spy, that they awarded him the Iron Cross

Tomas Harris (view Post)

MI5 Case Officer/Controller who worked with GARBO to create the GARBO network of 27 imaginary spies who mislead the Germans into thinking the invasion would occur in Calais instead of on the Normandy beachheads.

Anthony Blunt (view Post)

 at MI5 B1(b)- An Art historian workedduring the war, who was knighted then suspected of being a Soviet spy Agent which resulted in his knighthood being annulled.

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