A helpful note: the surname of the family was never McBarham. Accepted--though with a few caveats--history of the name takes us back to Reynald Fitz Urse (think the French Fils d'Urse, or "son of the bear;" Fitz derives from fils--pronounced "feece" in French)) and his brother Richard, who seems to be the lineal ancestor, making Reynald an umpty-umpth gr-uncle. Fitz Urse was a Norman French family, allied with the Conqueror, that settled in Kent in SE England ca. 1100. The story goes that one of the four knights dispatched to honor Henry II's wish to "rid [him] of this meddlesome priest" Thomas a'Beckett, the then Archbishop of Canterbury who was increasingly at legal odds with his king. The Fitz Urse family held two courts in Kent: one at Barham village, an old Saxon town south of Canterbury, and the other at Teston--pronounced "Tee-son," west of Maidstone, the county town of Kent. One tradition of the family saga alleged that as a consequence of Henry's rage that his knights would actually kill Beckett, Reynald Fitz Urse went into exile, ending up in Ireland, and founding the McMahon family--McMahon meaning in Irish gaelic, "son of the bear." Brother Richard, the lineal ancestor of the modern Barhams, altered the spellling of the name from Fitz Urse, now dishonored, to "De Bereham," taking the name from Barham village (Barham, or Berham, meaning in Saxon "place of the bear," most likely a chieftain with that name in the pre-Norman era). Over time, the name devolved from de Bereham, to Berham, and by around 1550 to Barham in its most commonly found legal usage.
The Berham/Barham family of the Tudor era was known for their iron mongering interests in the Sussex/Kent border area, and operated several important iron forges. By the end of the 1600s, the Kent/Sussex iron business was on its way out, with most successful Barham families involved in farming/landlording or in taking government positions in Maidstone or London.
"Our" Barhams in America largely descend from "Captain" Charles Barham of Surry and James City Counties, VA (a captain of militia, not a sea captain). Charles is first detected in Surry records in 1652, and has an approximate birth year of 1626 (to date, NO parish register entry for him in Kent has been found for Charles), which is based solely on the birth order established by lists of heirs in his lifetime, and the ascension of Charles I of England to the throne in 1625--a rash of boys named Charles were baptised in the year following, no surprise there. What is known is that Charles of VA was probably the fourth son of Robert Barham, Jr., and Katherine Filmer, d/o Sir Edward and Dame Elizabeth Filmer of Kent, who were married in 1620. At this point, Charles' gr-uncle Sir Samuel Argall had already been present in VA, serving as its tenth governor. Major [of militia] Henry Filmer, Charles' uncle (brother of his mother Katherine Filmer Barham, their mother being Elizabeth Argall Filmer--Samuel's sister) was the next member of the immediate family to appear in VA; Henry Filmer served as a Burgess from Mulberry Island, James City County. Another Barham, Anthony, arrived ca. 1620 at Jamestown. This Barham was of the Canterbury branch of the family, and was a distant cousin to Charles. He additionally is often mis-assigned as a much closer relation, when in fact you have to reach back a couple of centuries to find their common ancestor.
It is believed that Charles Barham of Surry Co. married Elizabeth Ridley, related to Peter Ridley of James City Co. The supposition is based on best-guess marriage inferences derived from Surry deeds and wills. Charles is referred to as having a wife Elizabeth by 1665, in both VA and English documents.
Charles and Elizabeth produced four known children, including sons Charles and Robert (I descend from the latter, as do most American Barhams). After Charles Sr.'s death in James City County in 1683, it becomes apparent that son Robert remained in Surry, while Charles Jr.'s line continued in James City, York, New Kent, and then points west. The Barhams of Surry, Sussex, Isle of Wight, Greensville Counties, VA, as well as those of Wake Co., NC, largely descend from Robert, son of Charles & Elizbeth. The given name Benjamin begins to appear in the Barham families of Surry by the early 1700s, and is re-used several times over several generations. My own line continued from Robert Barham (son of Captain Charles) through HIS son Charles, via James, Samuel, George A. C., Theophilus, George P., and my maternal grandmother Myrah Barham Farrell, raised in Sussex Co. near Emporia, though her married life was in Portsmouth, VA. Myrah's daugher Frances Barham Farrell married Richard Fletcher, and they were my parents. Charles Barham of Surry & James City was my 8th gr-grandfather.