Spence History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Spence surname derives from the Old French word "despense," from the Latin "dispendere" meaning "to dispense;" as such, it is thought to have been an metonymic occupational surname for someone in charge of the pantry of a great house or monastery. The Middle English word "spense" means "larder" or "storeroom."

Early Origins of the Spence family

The surname Spence was first found in Yorkshire, where Simon del Spens (or de la Despense) was on record in 1300, in the Charters of Guisburn Priory, Yorkshire. Other early records include Amice ate Spense, listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex of 1327; and William atte Spence listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcester in that same year.

Early History of the Spence family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spence research. Another 243 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1320, 1358, 1365, 1385, 1390, 1426, and 1428 are included under the topic Early Spence History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spence Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Spence, Spens, Spense, Spenceley, Spencley and many more.

Early Notables of the Spence family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Spence Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Spence family to Ireland

Some of the Spence family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 61 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Spence migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spence Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mrs. Spence, who was on record in Virginia in 1623
  • William Spence, his wife, and their child, were listed as living at Jame's Island, Virginia as per the Governor's lists of inhabitants of the colony compiled on February 16th 1623
  • Sara Spence, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [1]
  • Sarah Spence, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [1]
  • Francis Spence, who was in Virginia in 1635
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Spence Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ringin Spence, who landed in Virginia in 1715 [1]
  • Rachel Spence, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1738-1739 [1]
  • Thomas Spence, who landed in New Jersey in 1760 [1]
  • Catherine Spence, who arrived in Virginia in 1760 [1]
  • John Russell Spence, who arrived in New England in 1768 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Spence Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Barbara Spence, aged 24, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [1]
  • Patrick Spence, who landed in South Carolina in 1808 [1]
  • Charles Spence, who arrived in New York in 1815 [1]
  • Joseph Spence, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1818 [1]
  • James Spence, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1830 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Spence migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spence Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Spence U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he became a Freeman in 1785 was a Carpenter [2]
  • Mr. Robert Spence U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]
  • Mr. William Spence U.E. (b. 1747) who settled in Hampton, Kings County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1821 [2]
Spence Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Peter Spence, aged 20, who landed in Canada in 1811
  • Richard Spence, who settled in Trinity, Newfoundland in 1821 [3]
  • Daniel Spence, who was on record in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, in 1822 [3]
  • Thomas Spence, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Thomas Spence, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Protector" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Spence migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Spence Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Helen Spence, aged 14, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839 [4]
  • David Spence a lawyer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839 [4]
  • Helen Brodie Spence, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839 [4]
  • Jessie Spence, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839 [4]
  • John Brodie Spence, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Spence migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Spence Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Dr Spence, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • Alexander Spence, aged 20, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • William Spence, aged 36, a surgeon, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Fifeshire" in 1842
  • George Spence, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Morning Star" in 1861
  • Charles J. Spence, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Spence (post 1700) +

  • Samuel Lloyd Spence (1927-2016), American soundtrack composer, best known for his work with NFL Films
  • Andrew Michael Spence (b. 1943), American economist and co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics
  • Floyd Davidson Spence (1928-2001), American lawyer and politician, U.S. Congressman from South Carolina
  • Edward E. Spence, American politician, Mayor of Beverly Hills, California, 1937 [5]
  • E. L. Spence, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri, 1952 [5]
  • Donald Spence, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1960 [5]
  • David Spence, American Republican politician, Candidate for Governor of Missouri, 2012 [5]
  • Cary F. Spence, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Knoxville, Tennessee, 1911-14 [5]
  • Brent Spence (1874-1967), American Democrat politician, Member of Kentucky State Legislature; U.S. Representative from Kentucky, 1931-63 [5]
  • Betty C. Spence, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1972 [5]
  • ... (Another 51 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Cornwall
  • Noel William Spence (d. 1942), British Ordinary Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [6]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Tristram F Spence (b. 1910), English Lieutenant (E) serving for the Royal Navy from Low Fell, County Durham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [7]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Charles Spence, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [8]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Jos Spence, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [9]
HMS Royal Oak
  • William George Spence (1911-1939), British Leading Signalman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [10]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Merle Joe Spence, American Seaman First Class from Tennessee, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [11]


Suggested Readings for the name Spence +

  • 128 Darnall, Spence, Steers, Spangler, Stuckley, Sill by Erma D. Stuckey, The Spencer Family history by O.M. Richards.

  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PALMYRA 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Palmyra.htm
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 24) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  7. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  8. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  9. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  10. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  11. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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