Last name for Rayner/Raynor/Reyner/Regner family of the 1600's

+6 votes
I'm looking for advice/2nd opinions on how to list the last name of this family.  I'm working on John Lane-4425 and Susanna Whipple-1095.  They were 2nd cousins, apparently, through the brothers John and Humphrey .... one of those last names I listed in the subject line.  I have seen it all four ways.   I'm hesitant to add any more profiles along either line without settling on the best spelling of the name.  Any thoughts?
WikiTree profile: Anna Lane
in Genealogy Help by Kyle Dane G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
Are you interested in exploring your Rayner lineage using Y-DNA? If so then please consider joining the Rainer (and surname variants) Project at: Note that you need to be a male Rayner to take a FamilyTreeDNA Y-DNA test. If you are not a male Rayner this does not prevent you from participating in the project but you will need to recruit a male Rayner, e.g. brother, father, uncle or cousin, to take a Y-DNA test for you.

Best Regards,

Gavin Rayner

Group Administrator:
I see you have PGM tagged here.

I reviewed The Great Migration Directory by Robert Charles Anderson.  There are two people in his list on p. 279 - both spelled "Raynor."

Edward Raynor - Wikitree ID Raynor-241

Thurston Raynor - Wikitree ID Raynor-19
Aye Anna, I'm a Rayner and the alternative spellings of Raynor, Reynor, Reinor, Rainor, Reiner have all been used when addressing members of my family. The latter four spellings are the exception, the Raynor being the most frequent alternative. In Yorkshire and northern England the Raynor spelling is more frequent, whilst my Rayner spelling is from East Anglia and more frequent in southern England. I live in Scotland and Rayner et al spellings are relatively rare as a family. Michael Lewis's 'Answer' of 2014/03/18 is the advice that I would give as well. Have fun and good health, Bill Rayner

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
I'm working closely with the Raynor line.

It's important in tracing surnames with multiple spellings to work strictly from primary documentation. Spellings were not standardized until well into the 18th century, so surnames will be spelled differently, sometimes within the same document!

The Raynor line begins with the Reynere spelling, and then varies from Raynor to Rayner, sometimes even Reyner.

When in doubt, check ancestors and descendants, and/or put alternate spellings in the "Other Last Name(s)" category on the edit page.
by Michael Lewis G2G6 (9.9k points)
selected by Cathy Carpentier-Alting
My maternal great grandmother is a Raynor or Rayner. Two important documents have Raynor. The problem that I have is that on each census, her birth place is different. One is England, one is Rhode Island, and one is Massachusetts. I wish I could understand how each census would have a different birth place?? My great grandmother was married in New Jersey and lived in Philadelphia with her husband's family who were all born in Philadelphia. She was born about 1866.
Census data can be a problem. Sometimes the census taker gets the information from someone other than the person recorded in the records, resulting in contradictory data, such as with your Great-Grandmother. The only recourse is to find other documents with the corresponding data and see which Census record is confirmed.

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