Barnes – Surname Saturday

Roberts-Barnes
Surname Saturday

Barnes Name Origin & Meaning

Until we discover an immigrant Barnes ancestor, how the name was derived and its meaning is still elusive. If it is English, it probably relates to someone who lived by or worked at a barn. However, I could also come from “Barnes,” which is on the Thames in London. Likewise, it could refer to the son or the servant of a barne.

If the name derives from Old Norse or Irish the potential meanings are entirely different – ‘young warrior,’ ‘descendant of Bearán’ or possibly ‘spear.’

Once we discover the immigrant ancestor, we will have a better idea of the meaning of the surname in our case.

Geographical

Map showing location of St. Barthélémy.
Map showing St. Barthélémy by I. Hanhil.

Worldwide there are approximately 414,310 people who bear the Barnes surname.

It is most prevalent in the United States where over half of the people with the Barnes surname live. In little Saint-Barthélemy,  in the Caribbean, it is the 27th most common surname with one in 189 people with the surname of Barnes.

My Earliest Barnes Ancestors

I don’t know where or when my third great-grandfather, Joel Barnes, was born. However, my second great-grandfather, Nelson Barnes, was born in 1816, in Broome, Schoharie County, New York. This is in keeping with Barnes migration patterns. In 1840, 19% of the Barnes families in the United States lived in New York. About 1845 Nelson Barnes headed west to Indiana to settle the land there. Nelson had seven children born in Indiana before his death in 1884.

My great-grandfather, Joel Clinton Barnes, had 11 children, all born in Sullivan County, Indiana. I have not traced my Barnes family to any living male Barnes, yet. That said, Joel Clinton Barnes only had one son, Raye Barnes, who lived to adulthood. So, if you know a descendant of Raye, I would love to hear from you.

Joel Clinton Barnes had three brothers that lived to adulthood:

  • Theodore E. Barnes (1847-1919)
  • Abraham Barnes (1852-1921)
  • Cyrus John Barnes (1855-1879)

Any of their male descendants would also carry Nelson Barnes’ Y-DNA.

My Direct Barnes Ancestors

5.    Grandmother: Essie Pansy Barnes (1903-1982) – Family Search
10.  Great-grandfather: Joel Clinton Barnes(1857-1921) – Family Search
20.  2nd Great-grandfather: Nelson Barnes (1816-1884) – Family Search
40.  3rd Great-grandfather: Joel Barnes (____-____) – Family Search[i]

Joel Barnes Descendants

My records include 30 individuals with the Barnes surname and 177 direct-line descendants of Joel Barnes (the elder).

Sources:

Endnotes:


[i] Although Family Search indicates a birthdate and birthplace for Joel Barnes (the elder), I have not confirmed that information, so I am not using it here.

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