Research into the Harvey Family 

Ray Harvey has done most of the work in researching the history of the Harvey family, a considerable feat because Ray lives in Australia, at a place called Underwood near Brisbane, Queensland. In Sept 2002, Ray wrote this about his researches:

‘ When my father was very ill in 1980, I spent a lot of time with him.  Granny and Grandfather Harvey’s picture hung in the hall.  I knew Granny and the stories she told of the Kelly (bushrangers) family and her riding the horse with the golden horse shoes at the goldfields of Victoria. Their daughter Jean Harvey married Martin Farrell, whose mother was Ned Kelly’s mother’s sister. 

Dad knew very little of his father’s family except that one family member was a Sir John Harvey who had invited the Harvey boys in W.W. 1 from Australia to visit.  Dad’s nephew visited and reported that Sir John Harvey was very posh (hob nob), so dad and his brother did not visit.  Other than that, the Harvey family was a total mystery to me.

That started my research and just wanting to know was a long hard struggle. False family trees. Trees done by other Harvey members as far back as 1925 were totally misleading.  No one seemed to know anything about Robert Harvey (Thomas Harvey’s (ship builder) father and my great, great grandfather).

I wrote hundreds of letters and visited Wivenhoe many times from 1986.  I haunted the Chelmsford Record office, and the one in Colchester, while I was there.  I even hired two top brass researchers to find Robert Harvey (b. 1763) in a twenty mile radius of Wivenhoe.  They were a total waste of money.  It seems they read every church record but the record of Robert’s birth was just too hard for them to read so they did not bother to look at the Brightlingsea Church Register.  I found it myself.

Robert’s marriage was at West Mersea, the very last church that I wanted in the twenty mile radius.  These records were then still with the Church and unavailable.  I had arranged for a researcher to go there to search when the registers were given to the Colchester Record Office.’

Ray’s researches produced a wealth of information, much of which is published on his own web site  or published in collaboration with his distant cousin, Chris Goddard, on 

Peter Hill

September 2002

Updated July 2004