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This research team is exploring the lives and times, ancestry and descendants of all early colonial American Harris families. English ancestors were quite influential, while American descendants have played prominent roles in colonial and revolutionary America. Various Harris families are among the earliest American colonists. Many Harris families migrated to the New World in search of wealth, following the dramatic success of the East India Company.

Based on research at the CrispinCousins group, we know that many Harris cousins descend from the Normans and are named for locations in the regions of Avranches, Pays de Caux and elsewhere in Normandy. Locations of interest include the fief of Herissiere near Avranches and locations named Hericourt in northern France. Early family name variations appear to include de Harcourt, de Hericourt, de Heriz and de Heris, among other variations. Heris and Harris derive from Har/Her-hris, a composite of two Old Norse words. Har means "bristling with sharp pointed projections" and Hris means "heather, thorny hedge."

Ultimate ancestry is open to speculation, but many Harris families appear to descend from the early lords of Hericourt-en-Caux. A holding of this family was Herils near Bayeux, also called Heriz in medieval times, which name was carried to England.

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