The Eliza Starbuck Barney Genealogical Record

The most reliable genealogy for Nantucket’s families for the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, the Barney Record contains vital information on more than 40,000 Nantucketers.

Click here to access the genealogy database

In the nineteenth century, Eliza Starbuck Barney (1802-1889) created a genealogical record that contained the births, deaths, and marriages of more than 40,000 Nantucketers over two and a half centuries The original genealogical record comprises 1,702 ledger pages in six volumes. Her record was based on data compiled by Benjamin Franklin Folger, who passed his records on to her at his death, and, no doubt, information gleaned from newspapers, public records, and family and friends. NHA staff consider the Barney Record to be its most reliable and comprehensive—although not infallible—genealogical resource. After Eliza Barney’s death in 1889, her niece continued with her work for more than a decade, although her entries were sparser and less complete. The database incorporates genealogical data for the island’s first European settlers, who arrived in 1659, to islanders of the first decade of the twentieth century.

The Eliza S. Barney Genealogical Record contains data only on individuals who were born on Nantucket and some information on those who married Nantucketers. If a name does not appear in the database, it is almost certain that the person was not a Nantucketer or married to one. Information on families that left Nantucket is scanty: no doubt Eliza lost track of those who emigrated from the island.


Creation of the database:
This nineteenth-century manuscript comprising almost two thousand pages has been entered into a searchable database in a project led by Betsy Tyler, and with data entry by Tanya Bresinsky, Patti Hanley, and Joan Elrick Clarke. The work was funded by several generous grants from the Tupancy-Harris Foundation and a small grant from the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati for the purchase of a printer for the database and the creation of a user's guide. The database is now presented online.


Eliza Starbuck Barney

Read more about the Eliza Barney Genealogical Record in these articles from the Historic Nantucket vol. 1, no. 1 (Winter 1998):

The Eliza Starbuck Barney Genealogical Record by Joan Elrick Clarke

"A Walking Genealogical Tree": Benjamin Franklin Folger, Nantucket's First Genealogist by Nathaniel Philbrick

Who Was Eliza Barney? by Kate Stout

"So you say your great-great-great grandfather is Tristam Coffin":
Using the Barney Genealogical Record by Georgen Charnes