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Scope of Project

To build a single, validated and documented shared family tree for the Barnes families, from earliest origins to near modern times.

How to Participate

  • Send a request to collaborate on this project and I'll add you as a collaborator. If the profile is a public profile you have edit rights to, then navigate to the profile and under "More Actions" choose "Add to project" or click the "Actions" button on this page, then "Add profiles" and type Barnes in the search window to find and add your Barneses.
  • Free free to edit this page. Click here for instructions about using Wiki markup language.

Name origins

As well as folk etymology and the most obvious location origin (a man living by a barn) there are other origins for the surname that historical records and/or genetics have revealed:

  • Berners - with the execution of Sir James Berners by the Merciless Parliament a number of his children (and possibly more distant relatives) changed their name to Barnes. The Berners surname goes back to Norman lords originating from Bernières-d'Ailly.
  • Burns/Byrnes - there is a cluster of Burns/Byrnes/Byrne/Barnes under the Y DNA haplogroup of R-L21 > BY239 (Group 9 in the Barnes Project at FTDNA), which suggests it is one of the anglicisations of the original Gaelic surname Ó Broin (son of Bran, which means "raven").
  • Barron - the Gaelic surname Ó Bearáin/Ó Bioráin can be anglicised as Barnes, as well as Barron, Barrington, Byron, Byrne and Burns. The Barron DNA Project have a couple of people with the ancestral surname Barnes grouped into their Clan 1, which falls under R-U106 > Y86269, suggesting a more Germanic origin than a Celtic one.

Line Starters

Please add the earliest known ancestor to this list.

  • Brinsley Barnes (1715-1796), of the Quaker faith, who emigrated from Ulster County, Ireland to Chester County, Pennsylvania, approximately 1740. Although there has been debate about the identity of his parents, genetic evidence suggests that he is descended from Sir John Barne (1410-1434) whose descendants are part of London society for the next few centuries and include a number of Lord Mayors of London and knights
  • Charles Barnes (1799-1876), born in Staffordshire and moved to Utah
  • Dennis Barnes (1766-1855), born in South Carolina and died in Tennesee. He is a member of the Barnes/Burns/Byrnes group
  • Edward Barnes (b 1614), born in London and died in Isle of Wight, Virginia
  • George Barnes (1756-1838), born in County Armagh and moved to Kentucky
  • Gideon Barnes (1791-1871), one of four Barnes brothers born in the US to an unknown father. Gideon was the founder of Barnesville, Georgia
  • Henry Barnes (c. 1817-1865), father of John Gorell Barnes, 1st Baron Gorell (who was born in 1848). There is potential to push this line back
  • James Barnes (1652-1720), lived and died in Isle of Wight, Virginia
  • James Barnes Sr (1681-1726), possibly born in England and died in Maryland
  • John Barnes Sr (1624-1720), born in Jamestown, VA
  • John Barnes (b. 1668), born in Sussex, England
  • John Barnes (1783-1866), died in Ontario, Canada
  • John Barnes (b. c. 1783), lived in Newlyn, Cornwall. Y DNA testing places this line under R-U106.
  • Joseph Barnes (b. 1715)
  • Joseph Barnes (c. 1739 - June 15, 1790), lived in Virginia
  • Leonard Barnes (1740-1810), born and died in Stafford County, Virginia
  • Miles Barne, father of Miles Barne MP (who was born in 1718)
  • Ralph Barnes (b. 1781), lived in Devon, England
  • Richard Barnes (1390-1447), born in Devon, England
  • Richard Barnes (1532-1587), born in Lancashire. There is potential to push this line back
  • Richard Barnes (c. 1640-1701), from Cornwall, England
  • Rowland Barnes (c. 1585-1672), from Norfolk, England
  • Thomas Bernys Barnes (d. c. 1505), lived in Cambridgeshire, England
  • Thomas Barnes (b. c. 1360), born in Essex and died in Surrey. His father's surname was Berners and they are ultimately descended from Hugh de Berners (Hugo de Bernières, from Bernières-d'Ailly, Normandy) who came over with the Norman invasion of 1066. Thomas' brother Sir James Berners also seems to have been known as James Barnes
  • Thomas Barnes (1636-1679), born in Barking, Essex, England and died in Middlesex, MA
  • Thomas Barnes (1615-1688), born in Essex and died in Hartford, CT
  • Thomas Barnes (b. c. 1741), born in Wiltshire, England
  • Thomas Barnes (1623-1691), born in Barking, Essex, England and died in Middlesex, CT, he was one of the founders of Hartford, CT. The descendants on his male line have tested their DNA and fall into the haplogroup I-M253.
  • William Barnes (b 1640), son of another William Barnes who was, apparently, born in England in 1610. His line merged with the above family when his descendant, Phoebe Barnes (1712-1793), married Thomas' descendant, Timothy Barnes (1710-1750)
  • William Barnes (b. c. 1710), married in Hampshire
  • William Barnes (1778-1838), born in Delaware, settled in Pennsylvania
  • William Barnes (c. 1769), lived in Duplin County, North Carolina


See: Wikipedia


Notable places named after Barneses:



Suggested Reading

Please insert in alphabetical order by last name of author, and provide URL link if available online

  • Barnes, Mick Warren E. Descendants of Brinsley Barnes 1713-1795 & Elizabeth Lindey along the lineage of Williard Howard Barnes 1907-1974 & Ethel Garnell Davis 1907-1946. Publisher: [S.l.] : Mick Warren E. Barnes, 1998. Find in a library

Contributions welcome.