Welcome to the wonderful odyssey of Harley family research.
For several years I've fielded inquiries based on the persistent oral history tradition in our family that we were indeed related to Lord Harley.To the best of my ability I trace this to an Arkansas newspaper story from the 1950's which was xeroxed and circulated widely at a family reunion in the 1970's.The many attendees at that summer picnic in Arkansas have since distributed it to THEIR descendents, including me.
My own persistent skilled research for over a year has yielded nothing which makes this within the realm of common sense.Unfortunately in the day in which this story was circulated originally journalism was largely a vanity undertaking and there was little of the scrutiny or research that journalists today (of which I am one) employ as a matter of habit.
That said, one of our clan has actually planned to engage a peerage expert when she visits London this summer and I suspect I would have heard something from her if they found anything.
The nature of Lord Harley's very limited male line and no published connection to Ireland makes the connection, if it does exist, a very dilute one.Perhaps if it exists it's that the Irish line and his line connect SEVERAL generations back.I searched myself for the three or four preceding generations and found nothing.
The only way now that I can see that we connect to Lord Harley is if our John Harley was NOT an immigrant via Ireland and that part of our family tradition is an error.
The path is fairly cold now due to all of the many records in Ireland that were lost in the famines.The line beyond our mysterious and elusive John Harley remains a passionate interest of mine, although I rarely have time to search these days.
I'm happy to share what limited family data I have, although I've found most researchers are connected to that summer picnic full of document exchange in the 70's and we all seem to have the same things.