One of the biggest mistakes that genealogists often make is believing oral family traditions without finding the facts that prove them.My mother's side had several romantic stories, all of which turned out to be false (to my disappointment).I think that Marilyn's story about the Barneycastle name probably falls under this category, and I'd like to offer my observations as to why I believe this.
A brief & sloppy history of surnames:The use of surnames didn't become established until the Renaissance, when ordinary people began taking the name of their occupation (Smith), their relationship (John's son), or a place name.Castles were plentiful, so people who lived near, worked in, or were associated somehow with a particular castle took it as their name.
The name Barnicastle came into being sometime in the Renaissance, probably around the 1500's, since the first recorded instance of it (as found in records so far) was noted in 1599 (Barnecastle). This particular person came from Barnard Castle.Since many Barneycastles claim Irish descent, it's not known whether the Irish branch originated in England and moved to Ireland, or whether they came from an Irish place name such as Barnecaschel.
English registers show many typical variations of this name: Barneycastle, Barnacastle, Barnicastle, Barnecastle- from the 1600's through present.There are well established branches of Barneycastles (etc) throughout England (try looking up just the name in the internet LDS files).
Thus, it's most likely that our ancestors who first came here were English or Irish.Edmond Barnecastle received a land grant from the governor (technically from King George II) on March 29, 1747.Only free Englishmen could receive such grants.
His name is spelled as above, and in other documents it's spelled Barnicastle.He lived in Craven Co, as did John and James Barnicastle.
Here is my problem with the Native Am. theory of the name:how could this name have been established so much later than when names were generally created, why would Edmond get a land grant if not British, and why are there hundreds if not thousands of Barnicastles (etc) living in England and so on?It just doesn't make sense.
Also, why did James and John fight in the French Indian war against the Indians (see NC militia lists)?
I have researched this family for many years, and never have seen Barnscastle used as a variation (I've found 37 variations so far).
Also, John Barnecastle, who married Catherine Little, was Moravian (see Barbara Newham's entry in Feb).He was born in PA and came down the great wagon trail and married Catherine in NC.I'm almost positive he was the brother of Frederick, my ancestor.Frederick's family was closely associated with the Moravians and children married into that religion.The Moravians didn't get along with Indians as is noted in their very detailed volumes of records.
John and Caty are the originating ancestors of most of the Davie Co. family, and Frederick began the Rowan>Stokes>Forsyth branch (my branch).
I'm sure that Marilyn's family has Native American ancestors, but there is no basis in fact to assume that the Rowan/Davie co orignal ancestors have any such ancestry.
Also, one last issue - when someone is listed as a bondsman in legal documents, that means that he has put up a bond for whatever legal transaction is taking place, such as a marriage bond.This does not mean that the person was in bondage, quite the contrary.He was a man of some means to be able to put up money to insure some legal transaction.
I hope I didn't step on any toes, I just wanted to put forth my own research on the name.Thanks.