Before we all became literate, and before we started worrying about spelling, a person's name was written more or less as it sounded. PAIN and PAYNE sound the same so it depended on who was writing it down how our family name was spelt.
When we moved from Somerset to Australia, we decided to standardize the spelling of our family name and it became PAYNE. We have not found any other spelling used in Australia.
For some reason given names, unless unusual, were consistently spelt the same way. However, we Paynes tend to use and re-use the same given names both over the generations, within the same generation and within the same family. One family had 3 living Mary Anns in it - mother and 2 daughters!! All, we have found, had "pet" names to distinguish one from the other.
Often also, we Paynes gave our children 3 given names and in everyday
life used the 3rd or even a "pet" name - an example is Mary
Ann Matilda, called Polly, Payne who married Matthew McGann.
The explanations of the origin or history of our family name are many and varied. They range from "it is a patronymic, derived originally from Hugh de Payen, first Grand Master of the Knights Templar in about 1100" to "The source of the name can be traced to the Old English word "paien", which was derived from the Latin word "paganus" meaning "rustic or countryman". It
Later paganus also came to mean "heathen". The surname was often given to children whose baptism was delayed or, indeed, to adults whose religious zeal was not what people thought it should have been.
© Claire M. Hughes 2006, major research Debby Dolgner-De L'Eyre, website assistance Lindsay Brown