By Douglas H. Shepard, about 2000
The earliest record for Samuel Harris is in the 1860 Federal Population Census for New York City (Manhattan) 5th District, 7th Ward (the page itself is marked in ink 549). His age is given as 40, occupation "Gilder." Born in England. Sarah, 38 his wife, born in England. Elizabeth, 3, born in NY. Arin [i.e. Aaron?]Isaac, 24, born in England. (From Series M653, Roll 493, p.9.)The 1865 N. Y. State Census lists him in Dunkirk, age 42, occupation "clerk." Sarah, 38; Elizabeth, 8, born in En [i.e. Erie County?]; Alice, 3½. The 1870 Federal Census shows him still in Dunkirk, 45, a "Clothier." Sarah, 43; Lizzie, 13; and Alice, 8.
Child's Gazetteer (1873-74) lists in Dunkirk Samuel Harris "dealer in clothing, hats, caps and gents' furnishing goods." Third [i.e. 3rd Street in Dunkirk.]The 1875 N. Y. State Census lists him still in Dunkirk, 49, a Clothier. Sarah, 48; Lizzie, 17; Alice, 13. The 1880 Federal Census does not list him nor does the 1881 Dunkirk Directory.
The British Population Census of 1881 lists him as living in London. He is 56, born in Marylebone, Middlesex, England, Commercial Traveler; Sarah, 56, also born in Marylebone; Lizzie, 20, "British Subject, born in U.S." Elsia [sic], 18, the same. Their Census address is given as 56 Chippenham Rd., London. This is from the Family History Library (Mormon Church) film 1341002. The P. R. O. Reference is RG 11. Piece/folio 0010/63. Page 53
If Elizabeth was born in New York, the family must have been in the U.S. at least by 1857 if not earlier. Since the 1865 Census seems to list her place of birth as Erie County, it is likely they were in Buffalo in 1857, the major city of that county. That might have meant they made their way in from Canada to the nearest large city in the U.S. while Elizabeth was born, then later went on to New York City for a time, then back to Western New York and Dunkirk.