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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
The ancestors of the Spencer family migrated to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname Spencer is for a butler or steward. The surname Spencer was originally derived from the Old French word despensier, of the same meaning.
Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Spencer family name include Spencer, Spenser, Spensor and others.
First found in Leicestershire where "in the eighteenth year of William the Conqueror lived Robertus Dispensator, otherwise called Le Despencer, because he was steward to the king. In the reign of of Henry I. there were a William le Despencer and a Thurston Dispencer, but these last were only successors in office, or actual descendants of Robert is not known, and the like uncertainty prevails as to subsequent bearers of the name. "  Later, a branch of the family was found at Yarnton, or Yarington in Oxfordshire. "The church is ancient, with a tower built in 1612, by Sir Thomas Spencer. He also erected the aisle in which he is interred, as a sepulchral chapel for his family, who resided in the old manor-house near the church, the remains of which are now occupied as a farmhouse. In a recess in the aisle is an altar-tomb, with recumbent effigies of Sir William Spencer and his lady; and the churchyard contains a cross embellished with figures in full length, now much mutilated." 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spencer research. Another 289 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1259, 1342, 1402, 1593, 1661, 1621, 1629, 1661, 1570, 1627, 1591, 1636, 1594, 1656, 1621, 1648, 1620, 1643, 1617, 1684, 1601, 1671, 1630 and 1693 are included under the topic Early Spencer History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 323 words (23 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Spencer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Spencer family to immigrate North America:
Spencer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- Thomas Spencer settled in Virginia in 1623
- Kathren Spencer, who landed in Virginia in 1623
- William Spencer settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1630
- Thomas Spencer settled in Maine in 1630
- Gerard Spencer, who landed in New England in 1632
Spencer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- Mary Hilles Spencer, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
- Wm Spencer, who landed in Virginia in 1701
- Mottrom Spencer, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
- Eliza Spencer, who landed in Virginia in 1711
- Peter Spencer, who landed in Virginia in 1714
Spencer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
- James Spencer, who arrived in America in 1807
- John Spencer, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
- Henry Spencer, aged 26, arrived in New York in 1812
- Houghton Spencer, aged 34, landed in Connecticut in 1812
- Benjamin Spencer, aged 39, landed in West Indies in 1812
Spencer Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Richard Oliver Spencer, who arrived in Michigan in 1904
Spencer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Mathew Spencer settled in Bay de Verde, Newfoundland, in 1709
- William Spencer settled in Newfoundland in 1730
- Edward Spencer, who arrived in Quebec in 1784
Spencer Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
- Caleb Spencer, who landed in Canada in 1831
- Chester Spencer, who arrived in Canada in 1832
- Dorastus Spencer, who arrived in Canada in 1839
- Albert Spencer, who landed in Canada in 1840
- Isborn Spencer, who arrived in Canada in 1840
Spencer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- Joseph Spencer, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 29, 1828, settling in New South Wales, Australia
- Jane Spencer arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Katherine Stewart Forbes" in 1837
- Sarah Spencer arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1839
- Harriet Spencer arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1839
- Maria Spencer arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince Regent" in 1839
Spencer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- J Spencer landed in Bluff Harbour, New Zealand in 1824
- S Spencer landed in Taranaki, New Zealand in 1840
- Abel Spencer, aged 27, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
- Grace Spencer, aged 23, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
- Sarah Spencer, aged 17, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1850
- Mrs. Marie Eugenie Spencer, aged 45, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 6
- Mr. William Augustus Spencer (d. 1912), aged 57, American First Class passenger from New York City, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
- John Spencer (1946-2005), American Emmy Award winning actor, best known for his role as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the NBC political drama series The West Wing
- Octavia Lenora Spencer (b. 1972), American Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award winning actress
- Percy LeBaron Spencer (1894-1970), American engineer and inventor of the microwave oven
- Joel Spencer (b. 1946), American mathematician
- Emerson Lane "Bud" Spencer (1906-1985), American athlete, winner of gold medal in 4x400 m relay at the 1928 Summer Olympics
- Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer KCMG (1860-1929), English-born, Australian biologist and anthropologist
- John Spencer (1935-2006), English professional snooker player, 1972 World Champion
- Herbert Spencer (1820-1903), English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist and sociologist, best known for coining the expression "survival of the fittest"
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Dieu defend le droit
Motto Translation: God defends the right.
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
- Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
- Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
- Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
- Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
- Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
- Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
- Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
- Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
- Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
The Spencer Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Spencer Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 16 April 2016 at 10:14.
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