Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: "In Search of Barnabas Horton," by Jacqueline Diman

Reader Linda Johnson reviewed this book and wanted to share it with my Genea-Musings readers:


For descendants of Barnabas Horton of Southold, Long Island, 2015 is a banner year - in July  "In  Search of Barnabas Horton, from English Baker to Long Island Proprietor, 1600-1680" by  Jacqueline Dinan was published.

While there are books detailing early Southold;  books, of varying accuracy, detailing the  descendants of Barnabas Horton, there has not been detailed research and information on Barnabas himself - some history, a few stories and myths.

Dinan, whose husband is a direct descendant, asked herself one question: "Who was Barnabas Horton of Southold, Long Island?"

The result of her question - two years of intensive research and "nose to the grindstone" writing, is a masterful history of Barnabas Horton.

The author started briefly, in the 1300-1400's, detailing historical events in England and leading up to conditions in the late 1500's and early 1600's which affected the Leicestershire area; the  circumstances around Mowsley, and other towns influencing the Horton family and Barnabas  himself - and it was not just religion.

With meticulous research in England and the United States, Dinan paints a detailed and fascinating picture of the Horton family in England and America, Barnabas himself, his wives and his nine children, including their relationships - with each other, with neighbors and the civil authorities.

While history books, even of your ancestor, can be a fairly boring read - this book, even with its  exacting detail and history, is a very easy, interesting  even compelling reading experience.  But take note: "Traditional myths collapse under historical evidence........".  Barnabas becomes a different person with Dinan's research.  A hardworking and tolerant man of moderate means whose main goal was to provide for his children.

This book is a tour de force and the author's detailed notes, facsimiles, documentation and sourcing, even the typeface she chose, make this a unique history which every descendant of Barnabas Horton should have in their library.  I would even include anyone who is descended from the early settlers of Southold, Long Island as there is a lot of detail about the other early settlers of Southold, particularly the various political upheavals they lived through.

The only place to order the book (other than Southold Historical Society's gift shop) is the author's website:

The book is not inexpensive and Dinan does not provide any detail, so I will: The price is $45.00 plus S&H. The book is 6 X 9 inches 

The first half of 421 pages, is the history portion (216 pages); the second half  contains extensive primary source citations, Facsimiles, Historical Documents, and index.  At this time the book is not on Amazon, and is not available as an ebook.

I also like the fact that this book, a classy paperback, was printed in the United States.  I would be interested in hearing other reader's impressions of this book.  You can contact me at

Note: Dinan has just launched a blog, for "updates and tidbits", which you can find at:


My thanks to Linda for the book review.  I do have two Horton lines in New England, but I don't claim Barnabas Horton of Southold as an ancestor.  

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at


John said...

Sounds interesting. Barnabas is my ancestor, though at that price I may wait on ordering.

John said...

Note: There will soon be a copy of the book at the St. Louis County Library in the National Genealogical Society collection. Their website catalog indicates it's on the way to the binder.

I believe it will be available at other libraries through Inter-Library Loan

There also appears to be a copy at the NEHGS library

Rebecca DeMarino said...

I'm sorry I missed this post! Barnabas Horton is my 9th great-grandfather (my mom was born Helen Jean Horton) and I took her back in 1999 to visit the lighthouse named after him on Long Island. I was overwhelmed by all of the information about him but went home wondering about my 9th great-grandmother, Mary Langton Horton! I was inspired to write a novel that became A Place In His Heart and sold it as a three book series titled The Southold Chronicles. Book 2, To Capture Heart released last July. I appreciate Ms. Diman's work so very much! Great review of a great book! And btw, Randy Seaver , my dad being a career pilot in the Navy, we lived in Chula Vista when I was a child - I attended Hazel Goes Cook School for kindergarten thru 4th grade. Always loved that name!

Michael said...

That big family get together brought a lot of family from around the world. I was there and photo graphed all I could of maps and documents. The history of how and why general Washington honored the lighthouse Horton's Point. Hubert Horton was my grandfather w/ Betty Horton his wife. I believe he is Barnabas Horton's 8th great-grandfather if I'm not mistaken. He had several brothers in the country music business, Johnny Horton was one of his brothers sons. I met Roy Horton Hubert's brother Roy Horton in the mid 70's he was still handling several musicians. This book sound really nice, Everyone's written about Barnabas showing up but not really about before or why he choose to leave.