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…