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Peel the onion and cut into half, and place one half into a large pot. Set the other onion half aside for later.
Add the ham hocks or bone into the pot and cover with enough water to cover the bones.
Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a slow simmer and allow to simmer until the ham hocks have started to seperate, about 1 to 2 hours.
Remove the bones and onion from the broth and allow to cool before removing meat from the bones if using.
Continue simmering the remaining broth.
Sort and rinse the navy beans and add to the pot.
Add enough water to cover the beans by at least 2 inches.
Peel the carrots and finely dice. Add to the ham broth broth.
Finely dice the remaining onion half and add to the broth.
Bring the beans to a boil while stirring occasionally.
Once the beans come to a full boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Continue simmering beans, stirring occasionally until the beans are completely cooked, about 2 to 3 hours.
Add additional water as necessary to keep the beans just covered during cooking.
Serve hot with a side of buttermilk cornbread.