I am new to the Townsend Society and have really enjoyed the details. I am descended through Henry Townsend (Oyster Bay Townsends). I know that the official line is that the Oyster Bay Townsends are not related to the Thomas of Lynn Townsends because of DNA.
I want to toss out a couple of things for discussion for those of you who are far more knowledgeable about this stuff than I am.
1. If there is no link between the Lynn Townsends and the Oyster Bay Townsends, why did the house on Oyster Bay become named for the Lynn Townsend's family estate in Norfolk, England if there was no relationship?
2. Are there any other potential explanations like out of wedlock birth, adoption, or were the Oyster Bay brothers trading off a name for their own benefit?
Again, I don't want to cause problems but am just really curious. And yes, I was one of those "why" children that drive parents crazy.
In the Townsend Memorial, one of the 18th century Townsends, I think it was George, thought the family came from near Norwich in the county of Norfolk [where Raynham Hall is located]. Extensive searching was done by several people in the registers around and in that city as well as county-wide and there is no sign of them.
A lot of different Townsends have tried to connect to the family now living at Raynham Hall over the years. The CastleTownshend family which is also different YDNA even added an 'h' to its name. By the 1700s, the Raynham Hall family were just the famous Townsends and even more so in the colonies after the Townshend Act of 1767.
I grew up in England about 60 miles from Raynham Hall and people in Peterborough frequently teased my American father and asked him if he was related to those posh Townsends over in Norfolk.
A lot of early immigrants who were neighbors of the Townsends in both NY and up in RI were from Norfolk and Suffolk, so it was not a bad guess.
One other point: the estate of the grandparents of Thomas of Lynn was NOT Raynham Hall. They lived at Mergate Hall in Bracon Ash, Norfolk. This Thomas Townsend was probably wealthier than the part of the family who had a small manor house and farm at Raynham. In 1621, Sir Roger Townshend started to build the large house at Raynham. The rest of the family lived out at Ludlow in Shropshire, western England. The Townsends/Townshends were a very large family.
Thomas of Lynn's father actually lived at Gedding in Suffolk.