I saw your posting and wanted to respond to some of the information contained in it.The principal research on the Barnes families of Edgecombe, Nash, Wilson, and Wayne Counties was initially done by the late genealogist Hugh Buckner Johnston of Wilson, NC, who was also former president of the North Carolina Genealogical Society. Some of Mr. Johnston's writings on the Barnes family were later summarized in a narrative compiled by Robert Boykin of Wilson, NC.Joan Howell has also published some of Mr. Johnston's research on the Barnes family for the Wilson County Genealogical Society.
Mr. Johnston established that the earliest ancestor of most of the Barnes families for those eastern NC counties was Thomas Barnes, who devised a will in Isle of Wight County, NC on January 28, 1682 (Proven June 9, 1683).Thomas Barnes' wife was Diana, whom he had evidently married prior to June 9, 1666 when a "Diana Barnes" served as a witness to a deed between George and Ann Dewey to Anthony Fulgham on that date.It has been construed by researchers that Diana was the daughter of James Bragg, based on the fact that Bragg's will left a bequest to "James Barnes, son of Thomas Barnes" (no specific relationship stated).James Bragg's will was devised in Isle of Wight County, VA on April 29, 1670 (Proven September 9, 1670), but only refers to three children named James, Elizabeth, and Ann. Some have speculated that Diana was called Ann in her father's will, though this is mere assumption and probably not correct. James Bragg's three children mentioned in his will were probably minors in 1670.Daughter Elizabeth Bragg was still an orphaned minor on May 1, 1677, when she was placed under Thomas Roberts, who had married James Bragg's widow.Thus, it is questionable whether Diana, the wife of Thomas Barnes, was really a daughter of James Bragg or not.The fact that she had a son named James mentioned in Bragg's will might support the connection, but it is inconclusive.Diana Barnes, widow of Thomas Barnes, subsequently married John Champion before October 4, 1683 when they contracted in marriage.
The late genealogist Hugh B. Johnston in his writings speculated that Thomas Barnes was the son of an Edward Barnes, a merchant of London, and assigned to Edward Barnes sons named Humphrey, Thomas, Jacob, John, and Joshua Barnes. Various researchers have speculated widely on the identity of this alleged Edward Barnes alluded to by Mr. Johnston.In actuality, Mr. Johnston provided no proof at all that Thomas Barnes was the son of any Edward Barnes, nor is there any definitive documentary proof showing that any particular Edward Barnes in London or early Virginia had the specific sons named by Mr. Johnston.A Humphrey Barnes does indeed appear in Isle of Wight County, VA records in the 1660s, and could have been a brother or relative of Thomas Barnes (d. 1683), but there is no explicit documentary proof of this. There are a number of wills for the name Edward Barnes in London during the 17th century, but again none specifically match the Edward Barnes to whom Mr. Johnston alluded.The parish register of St. Botolph Bishopgate in London does contain a baptism for a Thomas Barnes, son of Edward and Margaret Barnes, on March 7, 1647, but whether that entry has any relevance whatsoever to Thomas Barnes of Isle of Wight County, Virginia is completely unknown.Curiously, an Edward Barnes of Wedmore, Somerset, England married a Margaret Morris in 1634, and they did have a son named Humphrey Barnes born in Wedmore in 1642.Whether they could possibly be identical with the couple of that name who had a son Thomas in 1647 in London is anyone's guess. In short, nothing has really been proven conclusively regarding the parentage of Thomas Barnes (d. 1683) of Isle of Wight County, Virginia beyond the speculations and opinions of various genealogical researchers. Most have merely followed Mr. Johnston's suggestion.DNA evidence might possibly one day provide some factual insight.
You should also be aware that it has been shown fairly conclusively that Edward Barnes (will devised December 5, 1761, Proven March, 1762; md. Sarah Pope) of Edgecombe County, NC was NOT the son of James Barnes (will devised March 2, 1719/20, Proven October, 1720) of Isle of Wight County, VA. Researcher Margaret Van Ness Nelson published a well documented article making the case that James' son Edward was actually the Edward Barnes who devised his will in Southampton County, Virginia on July 15, 1761 (Proven March 11, 1762). These two Edward Barneses were different men.See, "Which Edward Barnes was the son of James Barnes, Isle of Wight County, Virginia?" by Margaret Van Ness Nelson, published in "Trees of Wilson: The Newsletter of the Wilson County Genealogical Society", March, 2000, Volume 9, Number 3, pages 4-7.
Edward Barnes (d. 1762) of Edgecombe County, NC's connection to the Barnes family of Isle of Wight and Southampton Counties, VA isn't entirely clear, though he definitely had origins in that area.The Southampton County, VA will of John Pope (Devised February 1, 1748, Proven July 14, 1751) mentioned a daughter Sarah Barnes; and the will of Elizabeth Pope, sister of Sarah (Pope) Barnes, left a bequest to "Elizabeth Barnes, daughter of Edward Barnes of North Carolina" (Devised July 12, 1757, Proven August 11, 1757 Southampton County, VA).
Archivist and Genealogist