BARNFATHER NEWS AND NOTICES
LIFE ON A SPITFIRE SQUADRON
By Angus Mansfield
For those of you who are interested in Barnfather history, or
Barnfathers who have taken their places in history, or for those of you who are interested in World War II, I can highly recommend
"Barney Barnfather; Life on a Spitfire Squadron," written by Gus Mansfield, grandson of the subject, who was born Riversdale
Robert Barnfather in Kent in 1917.
A review by The History Press says,
Barnfathers previosuly unpublished logbook gives a revealing insight into the life of a Second World War RAF Spitfire pilot.
He flew Spitfires in action almost continuously from november 1941 until the end of the war in Europe and saw action in offensive
sweeps over France,in the desperate air battle for Malta, the fighting in North Africa and the Invasions of Sicily and Italy.
down former colleagues and pilots who flew with Barney, and by compiling a remarkable selection of rare photographs, Mansfield
has produced a superbly informative piece of work.”
I can add that
the format, mostly entries from Barney's log book and from the Operations Record Book, makes for a very interesting read.
Barney's recount of battles fought, losses sustained and victories won bring the events right to the reader. Personal
photos of Barney and his comrades are wonderful. This is a book not to be missed!
This book is available from
The History Press (see link below) and also via Amazon.com.
Order BARNEY BARNFATHER, LIFE ON A SPITFIRE SQUADRON from The History Press
KEEPING IN TOUCH!
BARNFATHERS 90 AND OVER
If you or a member of your family (a Barnfather by birth
or by marriage) is reaching the age of 90 and would like to have birthday greetings from fellow Barnfathers, we have begun
a Barnfather Birthday Card Call system.
If you will send me an email detailing the persons name, age and address (or
an email address to which you would prefer the greetings be sent), those on my Barnfather Email List (over 200 people) will
be notified. We have had several Birthday Card Calls to date and the recipients have been very happy at the responses.
of us are connected by our common interest in family history and these wonderful Barnfather family members who can enrich
our knowledge of family lore so well are surely our common treasures. That we have so many of these birthdays to celebrate
Please remember that I would need notification at least four weeks in advance of the birthday.
Gillian Barnfather is the proprietor of Designer Led Gifts and has created a website where your shopping for exceptional household goods, kitchenware, giftware
- even items for your pets - from designers including Emma Bridgewater and Gisela Graham is easy and enjoyable. Please
visit Designer Led Gifts by clicking on the link above.
Steve Carruthers, who formerly worked for
The Carlisle Conference Group, was of invaluable assistance to us in organizing some of the Barnfather Reunions that were
held in Carlisle. He has now moved on to become Group Business Development Manager at Lake District Hotels. If
you are organizing a group event and would like to take advantage of the wonderful hotels in this group - situated in one
of the most beautiful parts of England - please contact Steve, who will be happy to assist you, at email@example.com
BARNFATHERS GETTING TOGETHER
The next BARNFATHER REUNION will be held from
October 17 - October 20, 2013, in Norwich, Norfolk. We have secured the beautiful Maids Head Hotel for this event
and I encourage you to have a look at their website here: http://www.maidsheadhotel.co.uk/
The hotel is now accepting reservations. Should you wish to book a room,
please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org so that you are provided details of our special rate and so that you will have our unique reference number which must
be used to secure your reservation for Barnfather 2013.
Please note that it is not mandatory that you stay at the hotel - you can certainly
stay elsewhere and join us for the various activities.
The itinerary will be as follows:
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2013
Check-in at the MAIDS HEAD HOTEL commencing at 2:00
p.m. – look for the Barnfather Reception Desk in the hotel lobby
Afternoon at leisure
Welcome Dinner at the hotel (time to be announced)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2013
Breakfast at the hotel
9 a.m. till Noon - Research Morning at the hotel
(room to be announced)
Afternoon at leisure (Note: should you wish to visit either the local Record Office or the Heritage Centre to do some research, please
let us know in advance so that we can be certain there will be space available for you)
· Gala Dinner at SPROWSTON MANOR. Coach
transportation to and from this event will be provided
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2013
Breakfast at the hotel
Morning: Travel by
coach to Horning to board a boat for a tour of the beautiful Norfolk Broads
Tour of Norwich to include places pertinent to our Banfather ancestors in Norwich
Farewell Dinner at the hotel (time to be announced)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2013
Breakfast at the hotel
Check-out by 11:00 a.m.
Note that Norwich is a very significant place to the history of the greater Barnfather
family. Although we find BaRnfathers there as early as the 1620s (and possibly earlier), the name evolved into BaNfather
(no 'r') by the early 1700s. Results of the Viking DNA Study in which we participated showed that the names BaRnfather,
BaNfather and BaIrnSfather all evolved from the same single ancestor. If you wish to read more about this, please visit
the section on DNA on this page.
Our last reunion, held in Beverley, Yorkshire, from 21 to 24 July 2011, was a huge success,
with 32 attendees from Canada, New Zealand, the United States and from all over England and Scotland. We were very pleased
to have several representatives of the Bairnsfather/Baronsfeather family join us.
|BARNFATHER 2011 GALA DINNER AT ROWLEY MANOR
In 2000, a group of about 50 Barnfathers met in Carlisle, Cumbria, to meet each other and
explore the places where the Barnfathers had lived and worked for centuries. Among this group were Barnfathers from Argentina,
Ireland, the US and from all over the UK. We were honored to be invited to visit farms previously occupied by Barnfathers
(in some cases, as far back as the 17th century) and we visited the graveyard at Lanercost Priory where so many of our
|Barnfather Graves at Lanercost Priory - Barnfather 2000
In 2002, we were in the beautiful city of Durham and visited the extraordinary Beamish Open-Air
Museum, depicted in the two photos below, where we were able to see how our mining ancestors lived and worked.
We were delighted to have three members of the BAIRNSFATHER family join us at this reunion.
|Three happy Barnfathers celebrate a successful venture into the mine.
In 2004, we were in the magnificent city of York where our exploration of our probable
Viking heritage was enhanced by a trip to the Jorvik Viking Center. We also toured the beautiful Yorkshire countryside
and visited Rievaulx Abbey. We were joined this time by a descendant of the BANFATHER family.
|The Farewell Dinner in York - Barnfather 2004
And, in August of 2006, we returned to the lovely city of Carlisle in Cumbria. This is a
place that is rich in Barnfather history back as far as the 1500s. We were honored to have the Mayor and Mayoress of Carlisle
join us for our Gala Dinner at Tullie House. Our Coach Tour took us over the border into Scotland, where we visited Gretna
Green (the place where some of our ancestors went to marry) and Langholm, the place to which the Barnfather weavers of Brampton
relocated in the mid-1800s. We were also able to visit the Clan Armstrong Museum and learn about this family that has stong
ties to several Barnfather lines. Once again, we were pleased to have representatives of the BAIRNSFATHER family
|Updating The Barnfather Tree - Barnfather 2006
|Photo Courtesy of J. Troy
23-26 July 2009
|BARNFATHER 2009 Gala Dinner
Barnfather 2009 was held in Carlisle Cumbria with over 50 people, ranging in age
from 7 to 96, attending and quite a few stopping in to discuss their research issues, some from as far away as
Newcastle and Annan in Scotland.
We had a productive Research Morning with discussions about the pitfalls of Internet
research, the possibility of an additional website for specific Barnfather research and more frequent Newsletters. Progress was made in searching the Parish Records for the years that are missing from the IGI as explained
on the RESEARCH ISSUES page of this website.
Video highlights of BARNFATHER 2000 (held in Carlisle, Cumbria, England) and BARNFATHER 2002 (held
in the City of Durham, England) are available via REELTIME PICTURES. Contact KEITH BARNFATHER at the Reeltime link below.
At this time, only DVD format is available.
JUST WHO ARE THE BARNFATHERS?
The results are in! I won't tell you that the results were simple
understand and I can't tell you that I'm completely clear on this
(despite having sought input from an independent
geneticist) two months
after receiving final results, but I can tell you that there were some
very interesting findings.
think a little background concerning this project and how the
Barnfathers, Bairnsfathers, and Banfathers became involved
in it might
be appropriate here.
THE VIKING DNA PROJECT AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
Researchers at University
College London have been conducting a study to
determine the extent to which Viking DNA was contributed to the overall
makeup of the population of the British Isles.
Knowing that there were two groups of Vikings (the Norwegians and the
who invaded in different locations and at different times and
sometimes set up residence within Britain and Ireland, cell
and/or blood samples were collected in Norway and Denmark to establish
what DNA from natives of those countries
should look like. (It is
unfortunate that the DNA of people whose ancestry is Danish is too
similar to that of people
from Northern Germany and from that of the
Angles and Saxons who had already populated Britain to be readily
This will prove important to us as you read on!) They
then set about collecting DNA from eligible participants (i.e., men
fathers' and grandfathers' surnames were the same and who had all
lived in the particular same place throughout their lifetimes)
towns and villages throughout Britain and Ireland where, or near to
where, the Vikings were known to have visited,
so that comparisons could
The project was followed in an excellent BBC production entitled, 'The
of the Vikings.' Should this program air in the future, I urge
you to watch. It is very informative.
earlier in our research that a word very closely
resembling Barnfather or Bairnsfather exists in both the Danish and the
both Keith Barnfather and I felt that we might well qualify
to participate. Keith contacted University College London and
At this point, I think it is necessary to give a brief summary of Viking
in England. Please bear in mind that I am not an historian, but
these facts are very basic and will help with understanding
the rest of
Both the Norwegians and the Danes invaded England during a period
starting in the late-700s.
The Norwegians, after early, very quick 'in
and out' skirmishes in places like Lindisfarne, followed a different
in the 800s. There is evidence of their arrival in the Orkney
and Shetland islands and also evidence that they settled
in there for a
bit. Eventually, they crossed to the western coast of Scotland and
traveled down as far as Ireland, leaving
evidence of their visits in the
Hebrides, the Isle of Man, Anglesey and, especially, Dublin. They were
out of Ireland and made their way to the west coast of
The Danes, on the other hand, seem to have sailed
directly to the
eastern coast of England and arrived in East Anglia around the mid-800s.
From there, they branched out
to places like York and Reading. Even
more than the Norwegians, these people seem to have made the trip to
There is strong evidence of Viking farms and markets
throughout the area to the North of the Wirral. When it comes to the
legacy, there was no Norwegian DNA found in this part of
England, although the Norwegian Vikings did spend time in York.
eventual results of the DNA testing of people throughout Britain and
Ireland showed that Norwegian DNA is present in at
least 30% of the
population of the Orkneys and the Shetland Islands. The Norwegian DNA
contribution lessens if one follows
the path the Norwegian Vikings took
toward Ireland and, eventually, England. However, within England, the
of Norwegian Viking DNA was found in Penrith, which
is a place that has been associated with the Barnfather name at least
as far as the 1600s.
On the other hand, Danish DNA is nearly impossible to identify due to
the fact that the Danish
Vikings came from the same genetic stock as
people from the north of Germany and as the Angles and Saxons who had
Britain hundreds of years before the Vikings arrived. If you
look at that group, Danish, German, Angle and Saxon, as a
higher proportion of people with this same genetic makeup live in the
Northeast of England.
were asked to assemble a group of men who are surnamed BARNFATHER,
BAIRNSFATHER and BANFATHER and whose fathers, grandfathers,
also surnamed BARNFATHER/BAIRNSFATHER/BANFATHER. We were able to
present 23 participants who presently live
in 9 countries throughout the
world. That group included representatives of all three surnames.
Those of you who have
studied the individual names will know that there
are, relatively speaking, few males surnamed Banfather and only slightly
surnamed Bairnsfather throughout the world today. Most of those
are relatively easily linked to one another if one goes
back two or
three generations. We were asked to submit DNA from people who were not
related at least five generations
back if possible. This was easy to do
in the case of BARNFATHER, for which name we were able to submit 13
It was almost impossible to do in the case of BAIRNSFATHER,
for which we found 8 candidates, and BANFATHER, for which we
Participants were asked to provide family tree information going back in
time for five generations
to me. I then assembled it in the prescribed
format and submitted that to University College London.
were sent kits that they used to collect cells from the
insides of their cheeks. Each participant then sent his kit back
University College London where the sample was analyzed and compared to
the other submitted samples.
privacy reasons, neither Keith Barnfather (who co-organized this
project for the Barnfathers) nor I were provided with
participant's results. Further, sharing those results with us was not a
requisite for the participants.
A very few of the total have,
apparently, elected not to do so.
First and, perhaps, foremost, is the finding that
all three names,
BARNFATHER, BAIRNSFATHER and BANFATHER, are, indeed, variants and not
separate and distinct names with
independent ancestries. While the
people conducting the test at University College London did not apprise
me of individual
results, I was sent a letter that included this
statement: "The evidence suggests that the spelling variants are indeed
variants, rather than different names." For this reason, each
participant was thereafter referred to as 'Barnfather, '
which variant name was his.
Further, it was also found that the DNA match was exact, strengthening
point that there was a common ancestor for all the participants with
that result. That genetic type was described by our
"…extremely rare in my database and is only found elsewhere in 1 or 2
individuals in N/E England
and North Germany and Denmark." Further,
"...the Barnfather men who participated in the study share a common
a couple of hundred years ago.'"
That is where it got a bit tricky.
A father passes his y-chromosome DNA on
to his sons - their DNA should
match his exactly. If he has 4 sons, they would pass the same DNA on to
their sons in
the same fashion. However, about every 200 years (and
geneticists agree upon and seem very certain about this time frame),
DNA should mutate very slightly. So - several generations down the line
from the original father, his descendants
would match with some slight
variations. This new strain, close to the original, but not exactly
the same, would then
be passed on for the generations spanning the next
200 years, and so forth.
While a few of our participants can
only trace their roots back a few
generations, we also had participants of all three variant surnames
whose roots extend
much further and can be traced back at least to one
of these locations and dates:
· to 1645 in Durham, England
to 1650 in Cumberland, England
· to 1698 in Lincolnshire, England
· to 1714 in London, England
· to 1735 in East
· to 1750 in Norfolk, England
The common ancestor of these people certainly existed before 1800!
our results matched exactly. The statement presented to
me when I asked for further clarification was, "…the Barnfather
has mainly had a single origin because analysis shows that most of the
Barnfather men who participated in the
study share a common ancestor a
couple of hundred years ago."
This prompted me to turn to an independent geneticist
for help. He
corroborated the 200-year time frame and could not explain the conflict
any further than could the geneticist
at University College London. Our
results seem to be mysterious, to say the least.
So - what have we learned? We
know that the names Barnfather,
Bairnsfather and Banfather have a common ancestry. Our DNA did not
match the Norwegian
DNA found along the route taken by the Norwegian
Vikings, despite the fact that there is and has been a strong Barnfather
in Cumbria - where Norwegian Viking DNA is more prevalent than
in any other place in England. It does match that found
Northeast of England and in Germany and Denmark. While no one has said
to us: you are of Danish descent, it seems
that that conclusion is one
that might be drawn. Danish parish registers often include the word
'barnfader,' used to
describe the father of a child to whom the mother
of that child was not married. The word is too similar to the surname
to be dismissed in this case, I would think.
Several participants have asked whether a more formal Barnfather DNA
along the lines of those presently being done by many family
groups, might be a logical next step. I'm uncertain as to
would learn any more than we have already. The fact that the matching
DNA matched exactly seems to indicate,
to me at least, that nothing
further will be found. On the other hand, our participant pool, which I
believe to be varied
and representative of a wide range of Barnfather,
Bairnsfather and Banfather ancestries, was small. DNA testing is
- tests for one family project with which I am involved cost
between $100 - $200 per person, although people with known
family histories frequently agree to share the costs with other family
members. If you would like to comment
on this matter, please leave a
message on my Guest Book Page or email me at the link below.
Thank you for visiting.
Please come back again.