William Harris (1901-1982) – Rediscovered…

William Harris’s   DESCENDENTS and/or   ANCESTORS in the HARRIS family Tree (Click links to view)

William  Harris was the son of Lionel Harris, the brother of Tomas Harris and Enriqueta Harris. He was also my Fathers Father AND  my Grandfather who I never knew.

Lastest changes  highlighted in green (25th Feb 2010) Updates gathered from William Harris’s registered Probate document, and a copy of  his latest will ( written in 1954 ). Copies of these documents were received today from Morlin . Thank you Morlin! yellow (Nov 2010) William was born at 21 Lymington Road, Hampstead  31/5/1901 and died at the *Great Orme Nursing Home, Llandudno on 10th December 1982.

* Having got an accurate date of death, Dad and I finally located  Williams Death certificate from the council offices at Gwynnedd (I had tried back in November without success as his date of death was thought to be anytime between 1980 and 1984 -too vague) . The death certificate provided two new pieces of information 1)  Williams date of birth  and 2) which  Nursing Home William had lived (and died) in .

My grandmother, Anna Bersteinwas his second wife and bore him three boys, Gordon, Ronald and David.

When my father Ronald was 16 years old during world War II, his father William came to visit his mother for the last time, and my father never saw or heard from him again. My father, now in his young 80’s has just this year discovered that not only did his father not die during the war but lived a respectable life in Wales until 1982

After the war William Harris worked at the Hawker Siddeley plant in Broughtonon the outskirts of Chester which is now known as Airbus UK. While working there William met May Evens who became his partner until he died.  He could never have married May Evans, because he was still married to Anna and he never made contact with again after 1942.  It is said, but not believed by all, that he tried to  locate Anna his wife after the war but had been informed that she had  returned to Poland with her three sons, which was not the case.

Anna raised her three sons as a single parent in London and in the Home counties by having a hat business in Bond Street, a refuge for US soldiers during the war and after the war a nursing home in Eton Avenue, Swiss cottage, London. This nursing home was converted into 6 flats after Annas death in the late 1950’s by my father,  Ronald Harris (William and Annas 2nd son), and in 1959 Ronald married my Viennese mother, Hildegard Maresch from Vienna.  My parents were living in one of the converted flats in Eton Avenue when I was born in 1960.

William and May Evans moved to Festiniog in North West Wales after working in Chester,  and lived above a rented shop to start their antiques business below.

From Documents just received (Williams registered probate and a copy of his will),   I am now able to confirm that William had known May Evans  (Miss Hannah Mary Evans) since at least  1946 because his will which was written on 31st May 1954 states that she had helped him build up his business for the last 8 years (ie 1946-1954). William and Mays address in 1954 is stated on his will as Bryn Dewi, St Davids Road a three storey  house in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Wales, and their address at the time of Williams death was stated on his registered probate documents as being at Flat 27 Llys, Maelgwyn, Gloddaeth Avenue, Llandudno, Gwynedd, Wales. William Harris’s date of death is now finally confirmed as  10th December 1982 !

In 1953,  after they had a son who they named David William, who they gave up for adoption (  discovered Nov 2011 – Born as William Maurice Evans in 1944, Adopted in March 1946 at Evesham Magistrates Court, adopted name Martin Goodall ) , they gave up (or sold) their business  and moved to Caenarfon and started another antique business, with a  shop called ‘The Regent Antique Company’ – now in 2009 it is an upmarket gift shop.  Caernarfon is a small Welsh Castle town, and the shop was located inside the castle walls. William Harris was a member at Caernarfon sailing club, for the social life (not the sailing) and became a well respected antiques dealer and salesman, assited by his assistent called Sophia.  During their time in Caernarfon  they had moved from their bungalow to a flat and eventually retired to Llandudno William and May had first moved to Bryn Dewi a three storey house in St Davids Road then to Waterloo Post, again a three storey house, then to a small bungalow on Bangor Road, which was called ‘Casita’ (Small house in Spanish), then to another house called ‘Linton’ in Bethel Road, and from there they then retired to Llandudno.

In the early 1970’2 William and May Evans retired to Llandudno. Morlin recently  found an old address book showing the address : 27 Gloddaeth Flats, Gloddaeth Road, Llandudno In the early 1980’s he became ill and lived out his final years in two nursing homes in Llandudno. His sisters provided some funding to enable him to be transferred from the first nursing home into a private one. He died on December 10th 1982 at the private nursing home and he had his ashes thrown out to sea by a friend of his,  from a boat just off the beaches of Caernarfon.

William had befriended a couple who owned a hotel in Caernafon and had a daughter called Morlin. Morlins parents, Morlin and Sophia (Williams shop assistant) had all known William well. They describe him as a reserved man.  They had met and become aquainted with many of Williams brothers and sisters who were called Enriqueta, Violetta, Conchita, Tomas (see other links on Garbo & MI5), Maurice, and Lional and his two sons, David and Anthony. Sophia became good friends with David when he was a young boy,  and she has not seen him in many years. She does not have any knowledge of where he is today, so if anyone reading this knows him, please contact Anita Harris and all information will be forwarded to Sophia.

Just this year Morlin, while carrying out research for Nigel Glendinning from the London University about the Harris family and their connections to the Art World in England and Spain, discovered my fathers name on the internet on a family tree website. This website connected my father with the unusual names Enriqueta Rodrigues and Spain and a father called William Harris. She contacted him by email asking if he was the Ronald Harris who could possibly be the son of the William Harris she grew up knowing. It was a long shot, because William Harris had not made it public knowledge that he had a past that included a wife and three sons in London.

Morlin, Sophia and Nigel have enabled us to fill in a lot of gaps and create a fuller picture about our family, family stories and our family history of art dealers, artists, MI5 officers .. the list goes on…

There is only one place to put all the information we have been gathering since a most pleasant and memorable dinner with Morlin and Nigel, and since my parents 5 day trip to Caernarfon to meet Sophia.   And that place is HERE …  on the Internet…. on this HARRIS FAMILY website.

This Website and my family tree on the tribalpages together contain all I know at this point in time about my HARRIS FAMILY history. All new information would be greatly appreciated..

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Great news – Yesterday, I finally managed to track down and telephone David Harris – It has been a long journey trying to find him.

Through this website I have made many new contacts, many of them relatives. One contact (and many are newfound relatives)  has lead to another and eventually I received a phone number that was over two years old.  It had been received in Spain, by a ‘second cousin’ of my father,  written on a christmas card that had been sent by David Harris. A contact, in Spain,  made as a direct result of my website, has a sister, who had visited with David many years ago gave me Davids phone number.

So, I tried that number yesterday, wondering if perhaps David had moved house, and the number would be out of date! Well, it was fine. I called, and we had a great chat… We learned about eachother – and discovered that he lives in East Sussex, which neighbours Surrey, where my home is.   So a search that started in the Sunday Times, went to London, Wales, and Spain, ends in East Sussex.

David has a wife called Sarah and 5 great children (Ruth, Naome, Joanne, Johnathon and Rebecca). So, now I have a few more names to add to my family tree .. 🙂  We exchanged great stories, and I even learned a little more about my grandfather William Harris. My father will be so pleased to learn that I finally made contact with a new FIRST cousin! I learned from David that my father has another living  cousin in LA called Anthony Harris (who has four grown up children) and  is the same age (or thereabouts) as my father, who is now 82. I look forward to making contact with Anthony too, some time very soon I hope.

What a result!!! The wonders of the internet – hey!

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