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About us

The Payne Surname Project has several goals. From its inception, the primary goal of the Payne Surname Project was to determine, once and for all, if there is a genealogical relationship between the earliest Payne settlers in British America. From the current data, it appears that there are many unrelated Payne families from at least 8 major haplogroups. 

We are still interested in better understanding the origins of these early settlers. To accomplish this, we are locating and testing descendants from the earliest Paynes (or often Paine) who settled in the British American colonies in the seventeenth century.

We are particularly interested in descendants of the following early Payne/Paine settlers. The group in parentheses refers to the group in the Project DNA Results that we believe are descended from that individual. If there is no group listed, it means we do not have any confirmed descendants in the project. 

  • Daniel Paine (ca.1630-1677): We do not know where Daniel is from. He died in Northampton/Accomack County, Colony of Virginia. He was a prominent farmer. WikiTree Paine-5332 (Group 03a1)
  • John Payne (ca.1615-1690): John is believed to be from Kent County, England. He is often referred to as “The Immigrant of Virginia.” In 1662, he was granted land in Rappahannock, Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia. He is believed to be buried at Cedar Hill in Rappahannock. He was a ship owner and carpenter. Several branches of this family moved to Kentucky.   WikiTree Payne-1119 (Group 06a5)
  • John Payne (1623-1669): John is believed to be from Sussex County, England. He settled in Rappahannock, Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, which is where he died. WikiTree Payne 7970. (Group 04b)
  • Moses Paine (1581-1643): Moses is believed to be from Frittenden, Kent County, England. He sailed to New England in 1638 aboard the Castle with his three surviving children (Elizabeth, Moses, and Stephen). He settled in Braintree, Massachusetts Bay Colony, where he died. WikiTree Paine-783
  • Stephen Paine (bef.1602-ca.1679): Stephen is believed to be from Norfolk County, England. He sailed to New England in 1638 aboard the Diligent with his wife Rose and four children (Stephen, Nathaniel, John, and Rebecca). He settled in Hingham, Plymouth County, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He helped form a new settlement called Rehoboth and is the ancestor of the Rehoboth Branch of the Payne family. WikiTree Paine-269 (Group 5)
  • Thomas Paine (1586-bef. 1640): Thomas was probably born in Suffolk County, England. He sailed to New England aboard the Mary Anne in 1637 with his wife Elizabeth and six of his eight children (Thomas, John, Marey, Elizabeth, Dorothey, and Sarah). It is believed that his other two sons Peter and John traveled separately. He is the founder of the Southold Branch of Paynes. He died in Salem, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He was a weaver. WikiTree Paine-137 (Group 06a3d)
  • Thomas Paine (bef.1612-1706): Thomas was probably born in Kent County, England. He settled in Eastham, Barnstable, Plymouth Colony, New England, which is where he died. He is the founder of the Eastham branch of Paynes. His father may have been the Thomas Paine who was a Deputy in Yarmouth (Cape Cod) but there is no evidence connecting them. WikiTree Payne-84
  • William Paine (ca.1596-1660): Often known as “William Paine of Ipswich” since he founded the city of Ipswich along with his brother Richard. We believe he was born in the Parish of Nowton in Suffolk, England. He died in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1635, he sailed to New England aboard the Increase with his wife Anne and four children (Susan, Hannah, John, and Daniel). He is the ancestor of the Ipswich Branch of Paynes. As of March 2024, none of his known descendants are in the project. WikiTree Paine-340

We are also researching the histories of larger Payne families, particularly Haplogroup R-M269 (R1b), to better understand how the various subgroups may connect historically.

Another goal is to gain a better understanding of the Payns who settled in the Isle of Jersey. Col. J. Bertrand Payen-Payne conducted extensive research into an ancient family of Payns from its origin in Normandy to the Isle of Jersey and on to England. He traces this family in a direct line from Odo Paganus, living in 1029, to his generation in the 19th century. (See Jerripedia for more information on the Payns from Jersey)

We are also interested in learning more about the Paynes who settled in St. Mary’s, Maryland, and Goochland County, Virginia, and the various Payne families who migrated to North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia in the 18th century.

Our final goal is to provide researchers with a scientific tool to help them overcome their "brick walls" by grouping our participant matches together into lineages. These lineages form separate and distinct branches on the Payne family tree.

Assuming that you are a male with the Payne surname (or you seek to have one that you know tested), the project can help you in a variety of ways. Your results may match with one of the Lineages defined on our DNA Results chart. This can help you concentrate your research on a specific Payne lineage and avoid wasting time researching an unrelated branch of the Payne family. We do our best to place matching Y-DNA results in groups that denote a family line within a genealogical frame, but it’s not always clear-cut.

It can also help you determine who your ancestor is not. For example, if you’re trying to determine which John Payne is your 4th great grandfather, you can use the DNA Results to rule out the many John Paynes that are ancestors of project members who are not in your group. Please note that this is not an exact science. If you think you are placed in the wrong group, please email Beth Payne at bethpindc@gmail.com.

To get the most out of the project, consider doing the following:

  • Update your Earliest Known Ancestor. In addition to entering your paternal ancestor’s name and dates of birth and death, please also add where they lived if you have space. This will help us better distinguish between the many Paynes who share the same names. Examples: John Payne 1615-1690 Rappahannock VA and Daniel Paine ca.1630-1677 Northampton VA
  • Upgrade your test. If you haven’t already taken a Big Y-700 test, consider upgrading. The additional markers and SNPs may help better identify your Payne family group and potential ancestors. This would be particularly helpful for project members who are currently in Group 11.
  • Upload a gedcom file. If you haven’t already, please upload a gedcom file with your family tree to your profile. This will help us better identify the family group you probably belong to.