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Status as of September 2015:

As of mid-September, 2015 we have 48 participants with surname Towne/Towns/Tune/variants.  These are grouped on the results page according to which of William's sons they claim to be descended from. If test results indicate they are NOT descended from William, they are grouped separately. 

The recent results have been posted and indicate:

William and his descendants belong to the general Haplogroup R1b1a2 (the most common haplogroup in European populations.  It is believed to have expanded throughout Europe as humans re-colonized after the last glacial maximum 10-12 thousand years ago.) (See our Results page for the table of values.)  This haplogroup was formerly called R1b1b2, but the nomenclature changes over time as additional haplogroups are discovered.  This does not mean the results have changed - only how they're designated.

We continue to learn more details about William Towne’s deep roots, thanks to single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) testing done by one of our participants.  These results should apply to all William’s male Towne descendants.  The most recent SNP mutation in our line is called Z216.  This represents a distant ancestor who may have lived as recently as 850BC.  Each test taken with positive results brings us closer to the present.  More and more is being learned about where these mutations may have occurred in Europe, within which culture, and approximately when they may have happened.

We  have enough participants to be confident of all 67 of William's marker values.  We are beginning to see where marker mutations occured in each of his descendant lines as more participants are tested. Our hope is to develop a mutational "road-map" which will validate specific lines up to the present, and allow the few participants who are not sure of their lines to match their mutations against known lines.

A few participants with documentation connecting them to William do not in fact appear to be related to him.  We are locating more participants from those lines to try and determine where the "disconnect" occurred (adoption, name-change,  weak paper link, or non-paternal event). These include, for example:

William -> Edmund -> Joseph -> Nathan -> Nathan descendents
William -> Joseph -> Joseph -> Elisha -> Thomas -> Eli descendents

I.e. somewhere in Nathan's or Elisha's lines these genetic disconnects occurred. We KNOW that the earlier links were validated (i.e. were descended from William) based on the marker similarities we found from other descendents in those lines.


“Southern Towns” and descendency from John:

One of our original goals was to determine whether various Towns from the south (primarily VA and NC) were in fact related to William.  Some families claim they  descended from William’s son John, who remained behind in England and about whom little is known.  One such line is: William (b 1599), John (b 1623), James (b 1660), William (b 1711 in VA).

In 2010 we had two participants whose lines came from Virginia.  They don’t have records back further than about 1800, nor can they find their common ancestor, but their results clearly show they are closely related to each other, and neither to William.

In 2013 we located another participant whose family came from Virginia and who had some indication his line went back through John to William Towne.  His results also showed he was not related to William.  Nor was he related to the other two Virginia lines.

We continue to be interested in exploring these other Town/Towns lines both in America and in England, and will update our findings here as we learn more. If anyone has further knowledge of the Southern Towns and possible test candidates, please contact us.



It would be great to try and determine Joanna Blessing’s haplogroup. We can do this if any descendant comes forward who descended from an exclusively maternal line from one of William and Joanna’s daughters. By definition you would have a different surname in every single generation. Contact us if you think you might qualify!


  • Feel free to discuss this project on the Towne Family Forum
  • Click here to place an order for a DNA test at Family Tree DNA

Participating in a Surname DNA Project provides:

  • A report on the participant's genetic DNA, which is very close (and sometimes identical) to the earliest known ancestor
  • A classification of the participant's "deep" ancestry, which gives insight into the prehistoric origins of your surname ancestors
  • A sense of camaraderie with all who participate in the Family Project, which is particularly strong for those who share a genetic ancestry
  • Stimulation to family research and sharing of information
  • A wider sense of identity and relationship, as we begin to realize how much we are a World Family.
  • A chance to compare your genetic ancestry with those of the Surname and the Variant Spellings
  • Locates the genetic matches that do not share your common surname

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