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Combs &c. Research Families The Combs &c. Research Group
Proudly Presents the First Electronic Edition of
"Combs, a Study in
Comparative Philology and Genealogy"
by Josiah H. Combs, Ph.D., University of Paris
Copyright 1976 by Norris K. Combs, Published by Norris K. Combs, Pensacola, Florida, 1976, reprinted 1979, Electronically reprinted by the Combs &c. Research Group in 1999, including Introduction, Full Index, Footnotes, Search Engine and (ultimately) Gedcoms (See also Special Copyright Restrictions)

In Memoriam
Barbara Jones
Our Much Beloved Cousin
-- 28 Jun 2000
Without whom, this work might never have been completed


About the Author: Dr. Josiah Henry COMBS (s/o John Wesley and Clementina CODY Combs), A.B., Transylvania University, 1911; Ph D., University of Paris, 1925; College professor and author; was born Jan. 2, 1886, Hazard, Perry Co, KY; died 28 Jun 1960, Fort Worth, Tarrant Co, TX (buried Fort Sam Houston Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas); m 12 Jul 1920, Charlotte BENARD, b. Mar. 27, 1900, Laroche-Migennes (Yonne), Burgundy, France; dau. of Paul Amedee Bernard and Louise-Marie MIMARD Benard. No issue.

Over a number of decades, Dr. Combs researched the ancestry of many Combs Families of Eastern Kentucky, tracing them back to Stafford County, Virginia and beyond (Although The Combes Genealogy includes a few "stray" Combs Lines, concentration is primarily on the ancestry of Dr. Combs' own Combs Families of Eastern Kentucky, secondarily on all Combs who were ever in Stafford County, Virginia). During the course of his research, he collected not only records, but numerous oral and written family histories, as well as a years-long correspondence with numerous other Combs researchers from around the world.

Dr. Combs died prior to the publication of his manuscript (inherited by his nephew, Norris K. Combs), but following his death, a team of Eastern Kentucky Combs researchers worked to finish his book, and in 1976, the first edition was published as "Combs, A Study in Comparative Philology and Genealogy" (copyright 1976 by Norris K. Combs, Library of Congress Card Number: 76-023567, Published by Norris K. Combs, Pensacola, Florida in 1976). Following heavy sales, a second printing resulted in 1979; however, the book has now been out of print for two decades with no plans for a third printing, and Mr. Norris K. Combs (a wonderful man!) has authorized the Combs &c. Research Group to publish an electronic edition, provided it's use is strictly for non-commercial purposes (Please Read Copyright Restrictions prior to copying any part of this report, the manuscript, index or annotations).

Dr. Combs' book has been invaluable to hundreds of researchers over the years; however, as was common practice by many early researchers of his time, he did not place the same level of importance on documentation as we do today; i.e., his book includes very little in the way of source references. Moreover, certain sections of the book were the work of other researchers; i.e., it appears that much of his information in regard to English Combs may have been the work of the late researchers Fred Coombs and George D. A. Combes. Other segments of the book, such as the chapters for the Combs of Carroll & Russell Counties, Virginia, and the descendants of Joseph Combs of Stafford County, Virginia, were also primarily furnished him by other researchers, either wholly or in part (See also the James Logan Kendall Manuscript of 1943). In the course of his efforts to "untangle" the many Combs of Stafford Co, VA (and their ancestors and descendants), Dr. Combs developed certain theories as to relationships which were (self-admittedly) undocumented; and while some of these have been subsequently proven factual, others have been proven incorrect. Yet more are still unproved, and continue to be actively and intensively researched by our Combs &c. Research Group. Despite the lack of documentation, however, most of this manuscript has been found accurate - particularly in respect to later generations, in good part because both Dr. Combs and most of his correspondent researchers were born in the late 1800s themselves, and in many instances either knew the family members personally or had interviewed closely related descendants.

Members of the Combs &c. Research Group have transcribed, proofed, and converted the original manuscript and graphics for this electronic edition; and added both Footnotes and a Full Name and Location Index. The Footnotes include numerous additions and corrections, the most significant in respect to the ancestry and descendants of John & Nancy HARDING Combs (parents of "the eight" and son of Mason COMBS, Sr.) as well as documentation of other lines, identification of still-missing sources; and information and clarification in regard to "conflicts'' within the manuscript; i.e., when statements in one chapter conflict with those in another (probably partly the result of research spanning decades, but also possibly due to the posthumous editing since we remain uncertain as to how much and which parts of his book were actually authored after his death).

Our Footnotes are still far from complete. We have attempted to provide links to on-line sources insofar as possible, but are still missing significant segments, particularly the oral interviews and/or correspondence listed under "Acknowledgments," which includes the names of scores of individuals, many of whom were elderly, and thus sources themselves. Most of these on-line sources (hot links) are to our Combs Counties of Record, Combs Bible Records, Combs Military Records, Miscellaneous Sources (includes biographies, letters, and Dickey Diary Interviews) and applicable Combs Families (this latter includes Combs &c. Research Reports for all early Stafford Co, VA Families and all later East Kentucky Combs Families as well as the English Archdale-Combs Families).

Also note that Dr. Combs generally converted the names of counties from the "county of record" (the name of the county at the time the event took place) to the present-day county (as determined by his research or that of others). Example: Where it is stated that John Combs' name appears on the 1715 Rent Roll of Caroline Co, VA (pp. 27-8), what was actually meant by the author was that John Combs' name appears on the 1715 Rent Roll of Essex Co, VA, the land in question having been in that part of Essex that became part of Caroline County upon its formation in 1728. Where that has occurred, the name of the County of Record has been added in [brackets]. Important! All [bracketed] words or phrases are those of the Combs &c. Research Group, and all (parenthetical) words and phrases those of the author.

Our new Full Name and Location Index consists of almost 3,500 entries with locations listed under state and county. The Index is a long-needed, important addition to this work, but although we expect it to be extremely valuable as a research tool (finding aid), Researchers are strongly encouraged to also read both the Original Manuscript and the New Footnotes.

This 1st Electronic Edition of The Combes Genealogy is but a first step toward the long-range goal of the Combs &c. Research Group to fully annotate this work. Ultimately, a number of gedcoms will also be made available, but in the meantime, we ask that our readers please email additions and/or corrections to:

Special Thanks go to the Combs &c. Research Group Members without whose diligence, patience and thousands of hours of hard work, this project would not have been possible:

Coordinator Marilyn Hansen and Members Bob Combs, Brenda DeHart, Charles Harber, Debi Houser Kendrick, Leslie Owens, Barbara Rivas, Sandy Short and, especially, Barbara and Paula M. Jones.

Combs &c. Research Group


A Study in Comparative Philology and Genealogy

by Josiah H. Combs
Ph.D., University of Paris



"If any doe vaunt of their names, let them
looke to it, lest they have inania nomina.
-W. Camden, Remaines (1605)

Published by
Norris K. Combs
Pensacola, Florida


©Library of Congress Card Number: 76-023567
Copyright 1976 Norris K. Combs
Printed by Rose Printing Co. Tallahassee Florida
Designed by Douglas M. Eason
Second Printing, 1979


Table of Contents

List of PhotographsXXX
I:Shakespere and the Combses1
II:In the New World6
III:John Coombes, of Jamestown14
IV:Archdale Combs, of old Rappahannock20
V:John Combs, of Richmond and Essex27
VI:Mason Combs, of Stafford34
VII:John Combs, Sire of the "Eight Brothers"42
VIII:Nicholas ("Danger Nick") Combs47
IX:The Saga of the "Eight Brothers"53
X:The Eight Brothers Settle Down63
XI:Jeremiah ("Long Jerry") Combs77
XII:William Lorenzo ("Carnegie Bill") Combs79
XIII:John W. Combs81
XIV:Children of John W. and Clementina85
XV:John, Nicholases, Jeremiahs, Birams88
XVI:Some Unidentified Combses90
XVII:Joseph Combs of Stafford and His Descendents94
XVIII:Joseph Combs and His Family98
XIX:Children of John Combs103
XX:William Combs of Russell County, Virginia108
XXI:Ned Combs Line, of Carroll County, Virginia118
XXII:General Table122
XXIII:Philology, Remote Origins169
XXIV:Combs of the Valley, Old World Families184
1. Abijah ("Bige") Benjamin Combs191
2. Bert T. Combs193
3. Earle Bryan Combs195
4. Leslie Combs197
Full Name and Location IndexIndex
Combes Genealogy Search EngineSearch
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Combs' Forward
Forward to
Preface, p. iv