Thanks for your reply.In Sevier Co TN, there were a couple of tombstones in our family in the early years that had"Partain."In the family that I posted for John Parton/Partain/Partin/Partin/etc.,descendants of his sons Eli and Gabriel used the "Partain" spelling.Eli went from Greene Co TN to Hamilton Co TN.He had no sons, but descendants of his daughters use the "Partain" spelling when writing of their family.Gabriel's descendants use the "Partain" spelling and they spread over Arkansas and the western states.John's son John went to Nodaway Co MO.His descendants mostly use the "Partin" spelling.If James was one of John's sons, his descendants in Layfayette, Walker Co., GA, use "Partin," I believe.
Moses and Benjamin, brothers of Gabriel, John, Eli, and probably James,have descendants who settled in on the use of "Parton" as a spelling.I believe most of the descendants of William, Candace, Randall, and Irene use the "Parton" spelling either for their last names or in recounting their ancestors.This is all out of one family.
John born ca mid 1770s VA.His son Benjamin above had a son Benjamin Chris born 1832 in Cocke Co TN.Benjamin Chris was in the Civil War for a very short while, Union, deserted.He tried for a pension late in life.In the pension, he was asked how to spell his name "Parton" or "Partain" (because they had some of both in his records). He replied that he didn't know, that he was not a scholar.
Benjamin Chris Parton had a brother Elisha Wilburn Parton who has descendants in East TN.One ofhis descendants owns Pardon's Jewelers in Knoxville.His papers were messed up when he was in the military, checks kept coming to "Pardon" instead of "Parton," and he just kept that spelling officially.
In this particular family, all descendants of John, we have "Parton", "Partain", "Partin," and "Pardon" and possibly other variations that I don't even know about.
I understand what you mean about people pronouncing your name.We have the same variations in pronunciations here except for the Par-tain like train.We get Par-ton and Part-un, Par-tin/Par-ten and Part-en or Part-in, and Par-don and Pard-on, etc.pronunciations.
Jack Parton who is Superintendent of Schools in Sevier County, TN, always jokes that there will be no Partons in heaven.He says that is because there will be no partings in heaven!
I don't know that I have ever seen a family of Partons/Partins/Partens/Partains/etc./etc. that goes for decades back through the 1800s and 1700s without finding almost every conceivable variation on records.Often one will find a marriage or death record with one spelling for the father and one for the child or different spellings for the same person on one document.I have found spelling to have not been very standard in early colonial times.I have found this with many other surnames.Look at the Hulsey family which Gabriel Partain's descendants married into.They have a zillion variations for how that name is spelled, and I honestly believe that Moses Parton's wife, the Hasley, and John (son of John)'s mother-in-law, the Hostley, come out of that same Hulsey family.I honestly don't think that the different spellings necessarily reflect upon the countries or languages of the origins of the names.
I do think that nowadays, one can take families of Partons/Partains/Partens/Partins/Pardons/etc. and they will be consistent in spellings back until perhaps some time in the 1800s. From there on back, it has been my experience to deal with spelling in more of a soundex mode than a literal mode.
It is true that the Partain spelling was often found in areas that had some French influence, but wouldn't it have been expected that the French or the family itself would spell it the way that it would be in French?Actually here in East TN we had little French influence, and that perhaps explains why "Parton" would have seemed preferable here to "Partain." The families that I have seen in AL, GA, etc., and even SC appear to be traced back into VA.It is my honest belief that most, if not all, of the Southern branches stem from people who came into the Jamestown colony.I am quite open to changing that view should facts prove me wrong.There are some descendants in MO and elsewhere who descend from a line that came into PA.That line came from England.
It is not safe to even label the immigrant James with a certain spelling.I have never seen a record with with his name spelled "Partain."I believe that there were original records on him that had "Parton" and "Partin".I believe that he was "Partin" on the ship's list coming over, but his family had variations in records.I just don't put a great stock in worrying about variations in spellings.
Try this experiment.Put about 20 people in a room, all strangers from different areas.Have each person get up and say his/her name, first and last.Have everyone write it down.You will be amazed at the variations that you will get.
I am glad for the forums.I have gained much information from them.I don't ever want anyone to think that I am trying to be a showoff or think that my views are the right views.As facts show me a different trail, I will take it.In the absence of facts, I take as many records as possible, the routes of migrations, the records of associated families, etc. and make the best conculusions possible on the facts as they exist at that time. That's really all any of us can do.