Townsend Society of America
Established in 1962
Oyster Bay, NY 11771
(516) 558-7092

Townsend Family Groups

Over the years, a number of distinct Townsend Family groups has been identified through traditional research or Y-DNA testing, or both.  Some of these groups have been identified only within the United States and do not have documentation or DNA results that link them back to England. A few have documentation or DNA evidence that connects them not only to England but to Canada and Australia.
Several groups have a clearly DNA defined sub-group but there is no traditional documentation for the relationship.
The genetic yDNA Haplogroups into which the various Townsend families fall includes the most common Western European type R1b.  Others reflect the migrations across Europe several thousand years ago and confirm that not all Townsends are related as they have different Haplogroups.  The names we assigned the various groups reflects the earliest known ancestor of the group and/or an early location.  When sub-groups cannot identify a single ancestor or location, multiple locations are used for the group name.
Some examples:
The origin of the three brothers who emigrated to the Oyster Bay area of Long Island has not been identified.  But since descendants have both traditional documentation and YDNA tests to prove their relationship, we identify them as Oyster Bay.

Bucklebury, Berkshire, England is the documented ancestral home of a Townsend family whose first emigrant arrived with William Penn on the Welcome; some years later, his brother as well as a niece and nephew came to Pennsylvania. Descendants of Benedictus Townsend spread throughout the U.S. South. Genetically these two families share a common ancestor but there is no documentation as to how they link.
The CastleTownshend group has subgroups or members in England, the United States, and Australia; they are only linked by DNA test results.

There is downloadable information on many Townsend family groups within the Download Section under "Members Only".  They can also be found in the Archives catalog on this website.

If you access the Townsend DNA Project at, you see all the various groupings as well as Townsends who do not yet fit a family group. 
A haplogroup is a major branch on the tree of humankind. Haplogroups are assigned to Y-DNA results and today these groups can be associated with major human migrations and to the corresponding geographical areas.