Skip to content
  • Start free trial

Origins of the Spencer surname

A collage of historical images including two family portraits and a postcard of people boarding a ship

What does the name Spencer mean?

The Spencer surname is thought to be English, with origins going back to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is believed to be Anglo-Norman, rooted in the word 'espenser' (steward) and the Middle English 'spenser' from the same source. The title would be given to chief tenants of particular areas of land, or stewards and butlers who were part of a noble household. A prominent originator of the name, a 'Robert d'Abbetot', was listed as 'Robert le Dispenser' in the 1086 Domesday book.

Alternative variations of the name Spencer

Spencer, Spenser, Spensar, Spensor, Despencer

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

SS
Stuart
TrustPilot review
1 of 3

Start your family tree

Trace your family back in time. Make new discoveries and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Spencers.

Sign up to get started

Delve deeper into the Spencer family's history

Where do most Spencers live?

In 1921, most Spencers lived in London.


Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Spencers

How common is your surname?

109th most common surname in the UK

We have 287,000 records for the Spencer surname. The oldest one dates back to 1220.

Who were Spencers most likely to marry?

Smiths

&

Johnsons

Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Spencers.

What are the most common Spencer first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Spencer family members

Common jobs for Spencers

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Spencers in 1921
Cotton Weaver

1,193

Dressmaker

1,136

Laundress

630

Domestic Servant

581

General Servant Domestic

557

Common Male occupations for Spencers in 1921
Agricultural Labourer

1,008

General Labourer

901

Farmer

871

Coal Miner

770

Farm Labourer

679

An image of a census transcript and a picture of a dairy farmer holding two milk jugs

Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 420,000 family trees with the Spencer surname

Trace your family back in time and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Spencers.

Search for a relative in our family trees

Share your discoveries

Find out more about your family in our records

or try an advanced search

Start your family history journey

Start free trial

Start free trial