Spencer/Despencer family connection to the Global Reunion Project

+12 votes
1.3k views

Thomas Spencer was one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut and is connected to the Global Family Reunion in the following way:

Thomas Spencer -> his son, Thomas Spencer -> his son, Samuel Spencer - > his son, Thomas Spencer -> his daughter, Elizabeth Spencer Austin - > her son, Samuel Austin -> his son, Cyrenius Austin -> his son Hiram Austin -> his son, Duane Austin -> his son, Lloyd Austin -> his daughter, Gertrude Austin English -> her husband, James English -> his father, John Royal English -> his mother, Alice Parker Finnell -> her husband, Ashford Bartlett Finnell -> his sister, Nora Finnell Ayers -> her husband, Frank C. Ayers -> his father, George Ayers -> his wife, Nancy Morrison Ayers -> her daughter, Nellie Crowley Kuntz -> her husband, Edward Kuntz -> his sister, Emma Kuntz Ferrell -> her daughter, Georgia Ferrell Hirsch Takacs -> her husband, Irwin Hirsch -> his mother, Harriet Friedenheit Hirsch -> her sister, Sophie Friedenheit Kingsbacher (AJ's 2nd great grandmother). 

Thomas's paternal line goes back to the year 960, if all the connections are correct. There are a lot of notable and prominent people in the Spencer/Despencer/Despenser/Spenser connection (especially British aristocracy and Puritan Great Migration/Early American families), so this means a lot of you may be connected to the Global Reunion! Take a look, and post here if you are.

WikiTree profile: Thomas Spencer
in Genealogy Help by Erin Breen G2G6 Pilot (258k points)
retagged by Erin Breen
Awesome work, Erin! Thank you!!
Nice!  This line may not be royal, but the Spencers have married in with royalty at various times in history, including most recently Princess Diana.  I have a Hugh Le Despencer in my family tree file who married the granddaughter of King Edward I of England as well.

Regardless of royalty and aristocracy with Thomas comes connections to a long list of founder families thanks to his numerous descendants.

Keep it up!
One simple DNA test is all we need to end the ancient Spencer discussion forever.  I've done my part. It seems that the Spencer's of Althorp would have an intrest in this as well. ;)

5 Answers

+10 votes
 
Best answer

My understanding is that the medieval Spencer lineage has been proven false -- a deliberate fabrication by a corrupt herald in the 16th or 17th century, creating a fantasy connection to the Despencers.  The evidence for this is mentioned right here at wikitree, in the profile of Henry G. Spencer at http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Spencer-210  I'd like to suggest that Henry's "ancestors" be detached unless somebody knows of an answer to the disproof of this lineage.

And with that said, Henry G. Spencer, tied to the families of Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, and George W. Bush, deserves the best profile that wikitree can give him, so I'll do my part to get that profile into better shape.  There is actually an image of the false pedigree on his false father's page; that could be added to Henry's page with an explanation.  It's actually an interesting story, how newly successful people were motivated to "buy" a pedigree.  The same thing happened with the Herbert family; my family tree is full of discarded make-believe ancestors :-(

A couple months ago I "discovered" that my ancestor John Spencer of Spencercombe was the son of Henry G. Spencer, and I momentarily got excited about the Despencer connection, until I read Henry's profile and realized that it just wasn't true.  And then I quickly discovered that my John Spencer wasn't Henry's son after all, so I forgot about the mess on Henry's page until now.

Here's a link with a lot of quotes that could be used on Henry's profile: 

Fact and Fiction in Family History
http://www.sole.org.uk/factand.htm

And The Complete Peerage condemned the false  Spencer pedigree as "an elaborate imposture" which was "incapable of deceiving the most credulous": https://archive.org/stream/completepeerageo04coka#page/258/mode/2up

The November 1902 edition of "The Ancestor" had some fun with the Spencer family's fake pedigree, describing them as "that pushful house of shepherd kings" -- referring to the well-known true origin of the family's wealth.  See https://archive.org/stream/ancestorquarterl02londuoft#page/188/mode/2up

Sounding a more gentle tone, Don Steel in the March 1996 edition of Soul Search, noted sadly that the pedigree forgery "obscures the real achievement of the Spencers of Althorpe. Alone, perhaps among the English nobility, the Spencers owed their riches and their rise not to the favour of a king or to the spoils of monasteries, nor even to a fortune made in trade, but to successful farming."  See http://www.sole.org.uk/factand.htm
 

by Anonymous Schmeeckle G2G6 Mach 9 (95.6k points)
selected by Keith Mann Spencer
I also saw and read this same info about Lady Di.
Thank you for cleaning up those profiles, John. That said, this connection still opens a lot of doors for cousin connections for the GFR!
Thanks for sorting the Spencers out, John. I really appreciate when people have an eye out for false genealogies.
Hah!  This is why I stay out of the Medieval profiles!  I'm happy to have others cover that territory and deal with pitfalls like these.
+7 votes
Wow ! This is really, really something !
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (890k points)
+5 votes

The more I look into this Spencer ancestry in England, the fishier it gets.  This website is well worth examining carefully: http://ntgen.tripod.com/bw/sp_engl.html

First of all, as far as I can tell, there is no primary source documentation linking Princess Dianna (and Winston Churchill) to the colonial Connecticut Spencers.  It seems that some but not all researchers make the blind-faith assumption that Henry Spencer and Isabella Lincoln had a son John who was Diana's ancestor.  (Gee, if we can get rid of that John, that means I can pretend that MY ancestor John Spencer of Spencercombe was the son of Henry.  Just kidding, but that seems to be the level of sloppiness with some of these Spencer genealogies.)

From the disussion on that website, it seems that there is a 60-to-90-year stretch in the generations if we try to fit the Diana ancestry together with the colonial Connecticut ancestry.   But maybe they are following genealogical assumptions that conflict with other plausible genealogical assumptions, and with the right assumptions and a bit of faith, we can make it all work out right.

Please don't get me wrong: there is a place for plausible assumptions in medieval genealogy, if they are documented as such.  But as far as I can tell, there is no primary source documentation linking Henry and Isabella to their alleged grandchildren.  These early Spencer profiles here at wikitree are rather chaotic -- it appears that many of these families should be de-linked from each other.

by Anonymous Schmeeckle G2G6 Mach 9 (95.6k points)
You may wish to look into Catherine Middleton Ancestry Book, which was edited by Christopher Child, eminent genealogist with the New England Historic Genealogical Society. He met with Kate and Will when they were here in this country last year.

Cathe
+5 votes

Do not fret if you were looking for a connection to Diana Spencer. Please see my G2G post regarding the connection to the current Royal Family:

http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/71560/perhaps-should-change-location-global-reunion-buckingham

by Ron Norman G2G6 Mach 4 (41.3k points)
+4 votes

Can anyone help sort out (or verify) which family Robert Spencer of Spencer Combe (m. Eleanor Beaufort) belongs to? It's been noted that he doesn't belong to this family, but he's been connected somehow.

by Unknown Unknown G2G6 Mach 2 (29.5k points)
Looks like Robert Spencer-1826 is another strong candidate for a parent-ectomy.

Is Sir John Cope-50 for real?  I'm seeing ancestors of Ann-tinomian Hutchinson everywhere I look this week.

Not too optimistic considering Jane Spencer-204 seems to have married a father and his son and a dead guy.  And her mother Empson-1 seems to have outdone her by marrying into 3 different generations.

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