Researching the Barnes Surname at the North Carolina State Archives

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Photograph taken by Maryann Barnes

This spring I decided to finally take a trip to the North Carolina State Archives, in Raleigh, to research my husband’s Barnes line. I had one main objective – to find something new about Jacob Barnes (1759-1840). He died in Johnston County, NC in May 1840, after having lived in Wayne County for many years. His estate was settled in Johnston County in 1842. I had previously posted about Jacob’s estate here.

First, I looked at the books about Wayne and Johnston counties.  In a book called, Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, I found an intriguing entry with the surnames Barnes and Simms. Since you are allowed to take a camera (without flash) into the archives I took a photograph.

Source: Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, page 3. Book accessed at the North Carolina State Archives.

Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, page 3. North Carolina State Archives.

From information at the Johnston County Heritage Center, Smithfield, NC, in the Barnes surname file, I had previously seen records that had been copied from the Johnston County, NC Deeds – T2, Page 289-290, that showed Garry Sims had been appointed the guardian of the children of Mary Sims Burnnum, after her death. Heirs of Joseph Simms, Feb. 1842, was registered in Johnston County on 28 March, 1842. Garry Sims was from Greene County, Alabama. From researching the family, I found that Mary Sims Burnham had died in that county in 1836, and her husband, Louis Burnham had remarried in 1837 to Catherine Sumrel. Johnston County records for Jacob Barnes’ estate had listed Simms heirs, through his granddaughter, Mary, and I had thought they were the only Simms heirs.

Looking through the Wayne County  book under the surname Simms, I found another reference listing Martha Simms and James Pope, two new names. This had the added information that Martha Simms Pope was the granddaughter of Jacob Barnes, and that she had lived in Houston County, Georgia.

Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, page 41. North Carolina State Archives.

Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, page 41. North Carolina State Archives.

Cross-referencing the page with the Pope surname confirmed that all three entries were in the Wayne County Record of Deeds, Volume 19, page 57.

Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, page 36. North Carolina State Archives.

Marriage, Cohabitation, Divorce, Bastardy Records of Wayne Co, NC, page 36. North Carolina State Archives.

After that find, I took the book up to the reference desk to make copies, and asked how to locate the deed book. One of the staff took me over to the microfilm room, and pulled Wayne County Record of Deeds, C.103.40008, 1838-1848, Vols 18, 19, 20. She said to forward the microfilm to Volume 19, and then to start looking for page 57.

Pages 57 and 58 showed that James Cook, a planter from Houston County, Georgia, was asking to be included in the estate of Jacob Barnes of Johnston County, through his wife, Martha, who was a granddaughter. He applied the 6th day of December 1841. James Cook wanted an advance of $528.78. Printing off of the machine, I couldn’t get a good copy of page 57 even with the staff helping. Page 58 came out much nicer. You can click on the images to enlarge them.

Wayne County Record of Deeds, C.103.40008, 1838-1848, Vols 18, 19, 20.  Volume 19, page 57. NC State Archives.

Wayne County Record of Deeds, C.103.40008, 1838-1848, Vols 18, 19, 20. Microfilm – Volume 19, page 57.  North Carolina State Archives.

Wayne County Record of Deeds, C.103.40008, 1838-1848, Vols 18, 19, 20. Microfilm - Volume 19, page 58.  North Carolina State Archives.

Wayne County Record of Deeds, C.103.40008, 1838-1848, Vols 18, 19, 20. Microfilm – Volume 19, page 58. North Carolina State Archives.

With this new information it shows that there were at least two grandchildren from Jacob Barnes’ daughter (first name unknown), who married a Simms or Sims, most likely in Wayne County, NC. It is possible that his name was Joseph Simms. From researching census, marriage, and death records for Houston County, Georgia, Martha Simms Pope had died on 23 July 1848, after the birth of her last child, Josephine, who had been born on the 20th of July. James Pope had remarried to Nancy Wimberly on 27 December 1848 in Houston County, Georgia [Source: Dodd, Jordan. Georgia Marriages to 1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1997].

From the Find A Grave website, James Pope died in 1853 and was buried in the Wimberly Cemetery in Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia. [Source; http://www.findagrave.com Find A Grave Memorial# 116865177]. It is probable that Martha (Simms) Pope was also buried there, but it looks like her dates on the gravestone must have been hard to read, because the date of her death is listed as 1818, instead of 1848. This could also have been a different Martha Pope. Only six internments are known in this cemetery [Source; http://www.findagrave.com – Find A Grave Memorial# 116865261].

Photograph taken by Maryann Barnes

Photograph taken by Maryann Barnes

This research has hopefully given the Simms/Sims and Pope families some needed information about their ancestry, through Jacob Barnes. It is sometimes so hard to research female lines in family trees, when maiden names are unknown.

I’m looking forward to going back to the archives to spend more time in the both the search room and the library. I went on a Saturday, and it was only open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Giving thanks that so many records for genealogy have been stored in this great building for the public to use. Good luck researching your family names!

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About Maryann Barnes

I live in Virginia and enjoy meandering walks back into the past. I also enjoy old photographs and sharing family research.
This entry was posted in Barnes, Family History, North Carolina, Pope, Raleigh, Research, Simms, Surnames and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Researching the Barnes Surname at the North Carolina State Archives

  1. Estelle BARNES says:

    My Parks Barnes born Jan, year 1863 came from Richmond, Va he also lived in Mecklinburg Va w/ the Cumbys would you be able to help me please Thanks

    • Estelle, I’m happy to try a quick search. Do you know his parents names? Did he die in Mecklenburg County, Virginia? And do you have an estimate as to when he died? Barnes is a very common surname in Mecklenburg County, VA.

  2. Ellen Goss says:

    I am researching Garry Sims, who was born about 1810 in North Carolina, but moved to Green County, Alabama. He was married to Martha C. I wonder if this is the same Garry Sims? If so, do you have any information on him?

    • Yes, I’m sure it is the same Garry Sims. Our connection comes from Jacob Barnes. When he died in 1840 his estate in Johnston County, NC was settled on his family. He had had a daughter that had married Joseph Sims. She died before 1840. They had two daughters – Martha and Mary Sims. Mary had married Louis Burnham and lived in Greene County, Alabama when she died in 1836. Her four children: Wilson, Edith, Garry, and Benjamin, were included in the estate settlement through the guardianship of Garry Sims. We can only think that Joseph and Garry may have been brothers. We also think they came from Wayne County, North Carolina. The last trace I can find of Garry Sims was in the 1880 Federal Census and he was a Saloon Keeper in Union, Greene County and his wife had already died. Before that he had been a Planter in Springfield, Green County. Are you directly descended from Garry Sims?

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