About The Harness Family Website


This web site is an effort to bring together information concerning one branch of the Harness family as it evolved from the days of Colonial America. This branch arrived in the person of Joachim Ernst Kraft Hörner, a German who had lived with his family along the Rhine river in the general vicinity of Heidelberg. He emigrated to this country, along with his three children, over 65 years before the American Revolution. At least one other family group with the name Harness reportedly came to the Colonies from England even before Hörner and his family from Germany, and while the English Harness’ are mentioned in one part of this web site, it is only for general interest purposes and they are not the primary focus of the information here. They were not related to the Harness family branch that evolved from Michael Ernst (Hörner) Harness, Sr., one of Joachim Ernst Kraft Hörner's two sons.

The Harness ancestors from which we originate were not royalty. They were, for the most part, plain and simple dirt farmers looking for a better place to live and raise their families, free of religious or political harassment. Finding out more about these people, some of whom lived as much as 300 years ago, has proven difficult. Nobody carefully maintained their lineage and family heraldry and wrote books about them. As far as we know no one painted their pictures. Photography did not exist until much later. That leaves us with a puzzle to decipher. Certainly we aren't alone as most families face the same problem.Their ancestors also weren't rich and famous. They lived, they died, and people, for the most part, eventually forgot about them.

As it turns out, there are many people over the years who have sought information about our ancestors. Everyone we have contacted has been generous in sharing the information they have. The Internet has proven to be an interesting tool for sharing 'found' information. It allows many more of us to participate in the search for information than would have been possible before. Not everyone lives near the libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries where records are kept that document in various degrees the past lives of family members. The Internet has brought much of that information closer, or at least given us some direction as to where to look.

Unfortunately, you discover early in genealogical research that everything you read or hear on the Internet or that has simply been passed down as family stories isn't necessarily true. There can be many reasons for some of the discrepancies (and some of the stories that have been handed down generation to generation are whoppers), but it makes the search for truth even more elusive, and the finding of credible information even more satisfying. This site was put together primarily to tell our branch of the Harness family story in a linear, cohesive, but easy-to-read manner, and as accurately as possible.

The form we have chosen to present the information on this site, may not completely satisfy professional geneaologists. That does not mean we have not tried very hard to distinguish clearly between what is known fact and what is simply family tradition, stories and other information handed down generation to generation but that has never been documented. We think by careful reading of the information, you will be able to easily distinguish fact versus family tradition.

The files you will find in the History section of this site tell what we know about each generation of our branch of the Harness family, pretty much in the order in which they lived. Some additional supplemental stories describe the times and events that were a part of their lives. Where pictures, letters, or maps were available we have included them so you could see who these people were as well as just read about them. Fortunately, our grandfather, (Roscoe G. Harness) had a lot of old family pictures. We're still trying to figure out who some of them are!

So many people have contributed to the information on this site. We have done our best to acknowledge them, and if we didn't include someone it was by our error and is not intentional.

We hope this site helps you to know more about the generations who came before us and how our branch of the Harness family got to where it is today. Additional information is available by following the links we have included.

Many of our ancestors may also be yours. We may have travelled the same branch for several hundred years. If you have anything you might want us to consider including on this site, or simply have a comment on what is already here, please let us know by sending us e-mail (Click link below).We hope you enjoy this site as much as we have had in putting it together.

One additional note. You will also find some information on this site about members of the Allen family. The maiden name of our mother, Betty Harness, was Allen, and the Allen’s whose stories and photos are contained in some parts of this site are part of her family origins, and thus an integral part of our heritage as well.

Tom and Charles Harness


The Harness Family Website