DNA, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

DNAnigma, no. 15: Barnes?

Barnes is far and away the most common surname in Wilson County. It is the “Smith” of Wilson, so common that two Barneses who meet, without further reason, will not wonder if they are kin. It would not occur to them that they might be. My cousin has a Barnes maternal line, and a Barnes paternal line, and married a Barnes. None are connected. My Wilson County roots are neither wide nor deep, so I only have one Barnes line, and it’s a little iffy. Nonetheless, 23andme has matched my and my father’s chromosomes with W.B. and estimates that they are 3rd to 5th cousins, .58% share. (W.B. doesn’t match my cousin, despite her many Barnes lines.)

W.B.’s patrilineal line is traceable to John Barnes, born about 1860, probably in Wilson County. Shortly before 1880, John married Harriet Batts, daughter of Orange and Mary Batts. I have not found a death certificate for John, but census records indicate that he died before 1920. Is he the connection? If he is, the tie is in an earlier generation, as there is no John Barnes in my files.

W.B. also has an ancestor named Nancy Barnes Horne, daughter of Gray and Bunny Barnes and wife of Simon Horne Jr. Is she the connection? Is the connection a Barnes at all?

W.B. is a 3rd to 5th cousin to my father. I know all kinds of 3rd to 5th cousins. In real life. How can I have NO CLUE what our relationship is this one? 23andme and Ancestry DNA are wonderful tools that have been invaluable in confirming connections, but their deeper impact has been to drive home just how little I know.


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