The St. John Genealogy Project

Origin and Ancestry DNA Database & Electronic Archive


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[Last Updated 2 September 2022 by Suzanne St. John - profile.]

Due to car accident injuries, I am no longer able to respond to emails and website changes immediately. Please feel free to send emails and website updates and edits but be patient with me to respond when I can. Thank you, Suzanne

Mythealogy: 'Mythology + Genealogy' 1) the use of myths to perpetuate ridiculous genealogical claims that continue more to fulfill an emotional need than to reconstruct factual and historical information. 2) the refusal to update genealogical information by holding onto outdated or mythical claims. 3) the illegal and unethical scraping of data from a website and pasting it into a publicly available site and making it appear to be your data. 4) cutting the copyright and back-link information off of images produced by this project, rather than linking back to this site, so others cannot find our updated work. Usage Don't be a Mythealogist!

(Yes, I made it up ✍ It's better than using other derogatory terms that come to mind. I don't care if you share or use information from this site. I care that it is correct or links back here so someone else can find updated information. Let's work together to end Mythealogy. The St. John family deserves your cooperation as we struggle enough already to claim our rightful history! We want to research not police the internet.)

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St. John Origin & Ancestry

The St. John Genealogy Newsletter Est. 2018


This Ancestry and DNA project was initiated by the descendants of Thomas St. John (1564-1625) of Highlight Abbey, Glamorgan, Wales beginning in 2001. Following King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries, in the 16th century, Highlight Abbey had been shut down and the village gradually depopulated. Highlight Abbey had been a Knights Hospitaller Abbey of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem. Depopulation of Highlight can be seen in various records that have survived into today. As part of this depopulation event the St. Johns and their nearest kin moved to London to join Parliamentary affairs and ultimately following the first Anglo-Spanish War, where in June 1605 a peace treaty was signed, Colonial America. The financial gains, the British acquired from this war, financed the expeditions of the Virginia Company of London (Jamestown) and of Plymouth (Popham). The sons of Christopher St. John, Esquire of Highlight (1547-1616) provide the most information for how the St. Johns, descendants of Knights Hospitallers, founded and relocated to what has become America. Acreage acquired by these Adventurers were passed down to their descendants following the hereditary customs of being from an aristocratic and gentry social class of St. Johns in Normandy, England, Wales, and Ireland. These descendants, of Thomas St. John, who later helped found the Connecticut Colony were classified as freemen, who had citizenship and land ownership rights based on their birthright. Thomas was the Master on the Popham Colony's ship, The Richard, that was taken captive by the Spanish off the coast of Florida. He bribed a guard for his freedom and returned to London a year later. His brother, Sir William St. John, Knight was a founder of the Jamestown Colony, 1st English Governor of the African Colony, and a Vice Admiral in the English Royal Navy. Two other brothers, Captain Nicholas St. John and Lt. Alexander St. John were killed at St. Lucia Island while trying to colonize it for England. These brothers were direct male descendants of Sir John St. John, Knight and 1st Baron St. John of Lageham, who descended from the first St. John, Ralph, of St. John at the end of the sea in Normandy.

2020 Major Discovery: Identity of Ralph of St. John

In 2020, the identity and origin of Ralph of St. John (c. 1036-1122) was discovered. Ralph descends paternally from the nephew of Rollo the Viking. Descendants of Mathias St. John 1601-1669 and his uncle Mathew St. John 1590-1671 have primary records for every generation proving their descent from Ralph of St. John by way of the St. John family of Highlight, Glamorgan, Wales. Historians have merged the St. John family of Highlight with the de Port-St. John family of Fonmon and corrupted their ancestry.

Ralph, son of Wimund II, Seigneur de Haye-Pensel (Paynel) assumed the St. John surname by 1054. Ralph became the 'man' of St.John at the end of the sea near Mont St. Michel in Normandy, France but he is more prominently known as Ralph de Brehal and Ralph Paynel, the Domesday Tenant, [a merge with his son Ralph Paynel, Jr.]. Another son, Thomas of St. John, is remembered in the renaming of the village to St. Jean-le-Thomas. Ralph St. John-Paynel married the sister of Gilbert d'Lacy of Stantone in Domesday, Emma de Lacy.

Early St. John Family Tree

One of Ralph's younger sons, John St. John, I of Stanton-St. John married the daughter of Hugh Plugenet of Headington and founded the St. John family of Stanton-St. John, Lageham, Instow, Barton, Godstow, and Swallowfield in England. He is the ancestor of the St. Johns of Uchel-olau (High-light), Glamorgan, Wales, Weobley Castle in Swansea and the American Immigrants: (brothers) Mathias St. John (1601-1669), Thomas St. John (1613-1698), and Nicholas St. John (1617-1689) and their paternal uncle, Mathew St. John (1590-1671). He is also the ancestor of the descendants of James St. John and Thomas St. John from St. Johnstown, Tipperary, Ireland.

Wait! What about the Dutch Santken Family?

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The St. John Genealogy & DNA Project Rules


St. John

Pronounced /ˈsɪndʒɨn/ or /ˈsɪnʒən/ , as if written Sinjin or Sinjun -

is an English polygenetic surname: a surname that has more than one source or origin. Our St. John surname, however, comes from a village in Normandy formerly known as “Saint John at the end of the sea,” making it a toponymical surname because it is a surname derived from a place name. These surnames originated as non-hereditary personal by-names, and only subsequently came to be family names. For the nobility of St. John, it became a marker of their social status. St. John originally included the article, ‘de,’ in French, to mean ‘of’ [the village] Saint John [at the end of the sea].

Even Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) has trouble pronouncing St. John

James Bond as James St. John Smith (James Sinjin Smythe)

Spelling Conventions

  • All phonetic variations of confirmed St. John who descend paternally from Ralph St. John are in this database as St. John or St. John-[surname]
  • All phonetic variations of confirmed St. John who descend paternally from Adam de Port are in this database as de Port-St. John

  • Known Phonetic Spellings of St. John click here

Secondary St. John Surnames

Several secondary St. John surnames have been created through the years including: St. John-Paynel, de Port-St. John, Mewes-St. John, Poynings-St. John, Mildmay-St. John, and possibly others. While this project's main goal focuses on the original St. John lineage, it does include those other paternal families that share the St. John surname.


There are many false claims regarding persons of the St. John surname. Historians have confounded specific individuals with others. Articles and books often describe confusing and conflicting claims. Unsubstantiated theories have been added to research sites as legitimate records. This site attempts to fix these issues with primary records and DNA testing by identifying as many living descendants and their direct lineages as possible.

Check Out - Debunked Claims

Genetic Genealogy

We have two DNA projects at FTDNA
1) The St. John DNA project:
2) The Glamorgan Wales DNA project:

We can also review your AncestryDNA results if you share them with member 'thepoetz'
We are currently seeking any St. John males to test for our Y-DNA study of the various paternal lines. Other tests for female St. Johns are also proving helpful such as mtDNA and autosomal DNA for both male and female descendants.

Heraldry Genealogy

According to the College of Arms, any person who descends from a legitimate male descendant of Sir John St. John, 1st Baron St. John of Lageham inherit the right to his arms.

Family Reunion Planning

Tentative: Summer 2025 in Post Falls, Idaho 83854

Contact Us

email imageIf you have any questions or comments about the information on this site, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.

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