Thomas Barnes: Who is this guy?

Started by Laura Elizabeth McLean on Thursday, October 28, 2010


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10/28/2010 at 10:00 AM

This Thomas Barnes, of Hartford & Middletown has me totally baffled. Internet records of him I'm finding are all over the place, with different combinations of wives, children, and dates of birth, death, and burial (with many saying he was buried three years before he died??). I'm thinking there were two Thomas Barnes that lived around the same time in the Hartford/Middletown area of Connecticut and they have gotten hopelessly tangled. Can anyone help with this?

10/28/2010 at 10:53 AM

I can, I've done some disambiguation in the area. My first suggestion is to find a good on line reference to use as a source. The Family Associations are good if you can find one. Other clues to good sites are those that cite their data; those that quote or include original material such as wills; and using google books to find the original written genealogies and histories of town settlement (the "planters.") We can also check for "Great Migration" records.

Once you have a good source lined up, post back, and we'll work on getting the various Thomas Barnes sorted out. You are correct: people with similar names and dates get merged together in error. Curators have the tools to break off the incorrect parentage.

Then we can make Master Profiles which can't be merged together and "float a curator note" that shows in merge view. This stops the errors from happening in the future.

10/28/2010 at 2:20 PM

Still looking for a good source, without much luck. I did find this book:

However there's not a copy in Nashville where I can get at it. If anyone who's interested could check and see if there's a copy in a library near to them, maybe someone could check it out.

10/28/2010 at 2:28 PM

I'll work on this some more some this evening. I could *swear* I saw some Thomas Barnes sites when I was chasing up my own ancestor, "Deaf John" Barnes.

10/28/2010 at 2:32 PM

There's some information on these two sites, but neither of them are consisten or well-sourced. They're the best I've found so far.

I'm going to dive into the ancestry forums next.

10/28/2010 at 2:34 PM

Try a search of "The Great Migration" records: they have biographical sketches, including genealogical data, of many "first settlers." It's very high quality.

Careful of trees. Likely the source of the mixups on geni. :)

Private User
10/28/2010 at 2:35 PM

Laura, maybe one of the curators (I am one, but not familiar with this tree) can help you put notes above some of the profiles till they get sorted out?

10/28/2010 at 2:42 PM

Believe me, I learned long ago not to trust ancestry/rootsweb/LDS, etc. trees! There are plenty of those out there for Thomas Barnes, none of them consistent with one another, and none of them sourced. Supposedly his first wife was executed as a witch, so you'd think she and her husband would be of more historical interest!

I'll check the Great Migration records, but I'm not a subscriber, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to see much. There's a reason I like Geni: it starts with "f" and ends with "ree"!

Private User
10/28/2010 at 2:45 PM

I think they will be of interest now, since the Salem Witch Project is going on in some parts of the "Big Tree."

Good luck on your search.

10/28/2010 at 2:47 PM

Yeah Mimi where's YOUR family witch huh huh? So far I have ancestors on both sides - accused and accuser.

I have an subscrip so will search there. I know Thomas Barnes is documented, we just have to dig it out.

10/1/2013 at 6:17 PM

Will data for Thomas Barnes of Hartford (d 1691) is here

And a list of the 19 Thomas Barnes marriages in Colonial New England. I've uploaded to his profile - it can be tagged to multiple profiles as citations.

Cross referencing this discussion

10/1/2013 at 6:36 PM

Tagging Eugene Thomas to this discussion

10/1/2013 at 6:47 PM

Here is the research of Sandra Popiel on Thomas Barnes of Hartford (d 1691)

She noted:

"--Thomas Barnes may not be a son of Thomas who died circa 1689. The author of my source claims that if he belongs here, he is probably a son of Mary Andrews, not the first wife, Mary;--Hartford?/New Haven/Middletown, Ct;--there are two Thomas Barnes which I hope I am not confusing;--"

In other words - there is research out there (based on what source?) that has Thomas Barnes (d 1691) of Hartford as the son of Thomas Barnes, of Farmington

& Mary - a convicted witch.

I know of nothing to support this - the dates do not align.

Anyone else?

10/1/2013 at 8:08 PM

@thomas barnes of Hartford
Born 26 Aug 1623 Barking, Essex, England Find all individuals with events at this location Christened 1620 Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut, United States - See more at:
Interesting to find that he was christened before he was born so the link to England birth may not be correct. The information on more than one site stated he was married to a person with the first name Mary. Mary Elizabeth Andrews b 1622 or 1626 had a son Thomas Barnes b 26 Aug 1653 in New Haven Ct. I think too many sites are falsely showing him to be the husband of the convicted witch. Mary Elizabeth was born in New Haven. The site also showed other children: Mercy, Martha, John, Elizabeth, Abigail, Daniel and Maybe all born in New Haven, Ct. Land ownership showed a Thomas (or more than one) with six acres in Hartford and 50 acres in Farmington. Since Thomas was born in Ct and not England, the most logical lineage would be Mary Elizabeth Andrews as his wife. The only proof could come from researching the marriage bonds in New Haven, Ct. for this time period.

10/1/2013 at 8:18 PM

There are some other ways to keep these guys disambiguated (I hope), and that's to try to imagine "who they were" - and their wives.

There are also a couple of well known issues, the 1st being

"no such thing as middle names in this period of Connecticut history.". The 1st known child born with a middle name in vital records is in Rhode Island in the 1680s. So if you see a record saying "Mary Elizabeth ..." it's an ambiguous record & I consider a clue only.

Thomas Barnes (d 1691) was a successful original proprietor of the Hartford Colony. His wives are obscure - which also means they were unlikely to be convicted witches.

10/1/2013 at 9:00 PM

Tagging Caleb Benjamin Clark to this discussion

10/1/2013 at 10:07 PM

Court records of the marriage bond (like today's certificate) is a promise to marry the individual on a specific date. The bond cost money. If the court house records could be searched for this marriage, I am sure that the puzzle would be solved. has marriage records but they require a fee. The bond on the date of the marriage would reveal the bride and groom, their parents and the minister or individual performing the ceremony. Connecticut does not have a free search site.

10/1/2013 at 11:05 PM

Ashley Odell your knowledge of obtaining marriage bond information in early (very early) New Haven & Hartford Colonies desired to help sort the Mary's, wife of Thomas Barnes of Hartford & Thomas Barnes of Farmington.

10/1/2013 at 11:10 PM

Mary Andrews, 2nd wife of Thomas of Farmington, seems clear - she was the jail keeper's daughter & married Bronson 2nd.

Elizabeth, 2nd wife of Thomas of Hartford, seems barely a foot note unfortunately that I've seen. I would assume she was a widow. No wife is mentioned in his will & she seems to have pre deceased him (1691).

10/1/2013 at 11:39 PM

I'm just going to recap what Torrey felt about the marriages in records. Not sure if the annotated 2nd update (1985) has further comments.

Thomas Barnes of Hartford (d 1691)

+ BARNES, Thomas (-1691) & 1/wf Mary ____ (1676, 1662?) ?Hartford/New Haven/Middletown, CT [Some say the wife was Mary JONES]
+ BARNES, Thomas (-1691) & 2/wf Elizabeth ____ (-1690); New Haven [Thought by Jacobus to be this Thomas]

Thomas Barnes of Farmington (d 1689)

+ BARNES, Thomas & 2/wf Mary ANDREWS (1643-), m/2 Jacob BRONSON; Farmington, CT

And there's this record

BARNES, Thomas & Mary JONES; Farmington, CT

10/2/2013 at 4:43 AM

For the marriage bond, there would be an image record (probably on microfiche) from the courthouse where the marriage was registered. The names of the bride, groom and parents would be listed. Need to review the actual image record for the individuals, not just writings posted by someone in order to reveal the correct information.

10/2/2013 at 8:55 AM

Farmington is my 9th gr-gr. Many genealogies freely confuse this Thomas Barnes (of New Haven County) with a different Thomas Barnes, of Farmington township in adjacent Hartford County, whose wife Mary was hanged as a witch in 1663. Because both men immigrated from England, probably in the 1630s, and lived in colonial Connecticut in adjacent counties, it is quite difficult to keep the facts concerning them separate, but they are indeed unrelated individuals. To add to this confusion, there were two other Thomas Barnes in the nearby Massachusetts Colony who were alive at about the same time (Trescott, 1907, p. 4-5).[1]

10/2/2013 at 9:30 AM

Iona - can you check your tree and see if Ebenezer Barnes had a brother named Maibe/Maybee/Maybe? In my tree, my ancestor (Maibe) has a brother named Ebenezer, but it could just be the trees being scrambled from the confusing records.

10/2/2013 at 10:48 AM

The children of Thomas Barnes of Hartford (d 1691) & his wife Mary were:

Sons: John, Thomas, Daniel and Maibe
daughters: Mercy, Martha, Elizabeth, Abigail

They are listed in his will.

There was an Ebenezer Barnes but of a different family.

10/2/2013 at 11:00 AM

Great blog Iona, beautiful!

What you have for Thomas Barnes of Farmington (d 1689) should still be the case on Geni; his children were:

Sarah, Benjamin and Joseph by his first marriage to Mary, "convicted witch."

Thomas and Ebenezer by his 2nd marriage to Mary Andrews, daughter of John & Mary Andrews of Farmington.

10/4/2013 at 11:28 AM

Thanks, Iona and Erica. I've been busy the past two days, but I'll go delve back into my tree and recheck the descent from Maibe and do some cleanup work in the tree. I have to remove excess siblings from Maibe. I guess the next step after that is determining the ancestry of Thomas Barnes of Hartford (d 1691).

Private User
2/5/2016 at 12:28 PM

Thomas Barnes born 1623 is from Middletown area. Thomas Barnes born 1615 is the pequot war veteran-also he is Thomas Barnes of Hartford and Thomas Barnes of Farmington. His youngest son Ebenezer was the founder of Bristol, Ct. They are my 7th and 6th great grandfathers. Ebenezer had a son Gideon who is my 5th ggrandfather.. his son Job born 1749 lived in Falls Villiage, Ct. his son Job born 1779 lived in N. Cannan, Ct. his son Charles also lived there. his son Edwin moved to Winsted, Ct. (ggrandfather) his son Harry moved to Torrington, Ct. his daughter is my mother.

Private User
2/5/2016 at 12:30 PM

Thomas Barnes of Farmington arrrived in the USA on the William-John in 1635. He is also from Essex, England.

Private User
2/5/2016 at 12:32 PM

Thomas Barnes second wife-Mary Andrews was my 7th great grandmother. Her family were also founders of Hartford, Ct. and her second husband Bronson was also a founder of Hartford. also, they were also veterans of the pequot war in 1637.

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