A Brief History of the Society
The Townsend Society of America (TSA) was conceived during a Tea held in the summer of 1962 at the Raynham Hall Museum (a Townsend family home) in Oyster Bay, New York. Then Oyster Bay Town Historian Herbert Hale suggested to the Townsend family members attending this meeting the idea of a permanent society. It was immediately approved. Mr. Hale proceeded with its organization as an historical, genealogical and memorial group on October 28, 1962.
A bequest in 1980 from Helen Hart Townsend made possible the purchase of a Victorian home at 109 East Main St., Oyster Bay, NY to establish an office and museum honoring her ancestors Samuel and Rebecca Purdy Townsend. Additional funds established an endowment.
Regular newsletters, generally quarterly, were published beginning in October 1963. From 1963 to 1976 the publication was known as the Townsend Topics and from 1976 to 2001 The Townsend Newsletter. Both evolved into the Townsend Society’s current Townsend Genealogical Journal.
The first TSA website was established in 1999. CDs were developed in 2001, and one, Townsend Families in America contains over 3600 surnames listed with over 49,000 citations. Also included are images of the original documents, their digitized transcriptions, and an index of localities. These transcriptions represent a text version of the scanned documents and are fully searchable.
In 2007 the museum was disbanded and the house sold.
Presidents of the Townsend Society of America:
Lewis A. Townsend Virginia 2000-
George P. Townsend Connecticut 1994-2000
Frank B. Townsend New York 1982-1994
Joseph L. Townsend, III New York 1972-1982
Rev. John H. Townsend Texas 1965-1972
Charles C. Townsend Jr. New York 1963-1965