The Music Gene (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks)

February 17, 2014 in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, Barnard

The Barnard family is musical. My mother was born Myrna Loy Barnard in Pontiac in 1934. Her father, James Spencer Barnard, played many instruments, including the “fiddle”


James and his brothers also had a band: The Barnard Evangelistic Team

Barnard Evangelistic Team

Many members of the Barnard family were/are musical. Two of my mother’s brothers played instruments, and one, my uncle Bill, taught my brother Jimmy to play guitar. Their sister Barbara has the voice of an angel and sang at my wedding in 1976.

Jimmy and guitar

My oldest brother, Randy, who died in 1989, played the piano and sang his entire life. There wasn’t a keyboard of any type that he couldn’t play, and play exceedingly well. My brother Alan also plays guitar beautifully and writes songs. His son, Derrick, plays as well and has a band: The Dash Between.

My own children are all musical. Jason learned to play the harmonica from my dad, and he has an excellent singing voice. Joshua has been in many small bands, plays guitar and taught himself piano. Christopher, my youngest son, is the musical worship leader at his church, has a wonderful singing voice, and also taught himself piano. His daughter Grace is learning the piano as well.

Me? I sing well enough to win karaoke contests (once winning over a thousand dollars), and won a full scholarship to community college where I studied nursing and got my Practical Nursing certificate.

Other Barnard cousins of mine are musical as well.

James Spencer Barnard’s grandfather, George Washington Barnard, was a fiddler. His fiddle was listed in his estate, probated after he was murdered after playing at a country dance in Hardin County, Illinois in 1893:

5 Feb 1894. George W. BARNARD, deceased, Inventory of Real Estate: The S 1/2 NE 1/4 Sec. 29; W 1/2 SW NW, Sec.28, T11S R9E lying in Hardin Co., Ill., 100 acres. Title fee simple believed to be perfect but to mortgage of the deceased in favor of J. N. Ledbetter dated Nov. 21, 1892 for $209.00 with interest at 7% per annum. Also 3 acres off of the SW corner of NE 1/4 of NE 1/4 of Sec. 29 T11S R9E lying in Hardin Co., Ill. 3 acres title fee simple believed to be good. Inventory of Personal Estate: 1 bay mare; 1 mans saddle; 28 bus. corn; 9 head hogs; 1 watch; 1 set harnesses; 1 scythe & cradle; 2 bridles; 1 pair check lines; 1 set harness; 2 shovel plows; 1 one-horse diamond plows; 1 double shovel plow; 1 lot lumber; 1 pitchfork; 1 corn drill; 1 lot clover hay; 1 Cabell sulkey; 1 two-horse plow; 1 harrow; 1 pair hames & singletree; 1 wheat drill; 1 old two-horse plow; 1 bar & 2 barrels; 13 acres growing wheat; 1 VIOLIN; 1 grindstone; 1 long handle shovel; 1 hoe; 1 broad axe; 1 Flabert rifle; 1 double tree & single tree; 1 log chain. John A. Oxford, Administrator. Approved 7 Feb 1894.

27 Jul 1894. “Local News: John Howell the nineteen year old lad, who was sent to Pontiac some months ago for the murder of George BARNARD, has been pardoned.” (Independent)

If there is such a thing as a “musical gene”, my family got it.