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My Spencer Ancestry

My maternal grandmother, Evelyn Spencer O'Brien (photo #1), was the 3rd child and first daughter of great-grandparents Walter Alonzo Spencer and Lodema Olive Beach. When my mother Marjorie O'Brien Ward, daughter of Evelyn And Frank Richard O'Brien, started working on her ancestry, she told me that her great-grandfather's father was named Alonzo and that he was an abusive alcoholic. She stated that her grandfather wanted nothing to do with him, turning him away when he tried to visit him and his family. She also stated he was in the lumber business in Saginaw County in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but had no specific dates.

She did get the lumberman/lumberjack part correct, but her grandfather's name was Robert Spencer. He was born in England about 1837 to John and Ann Spencer, according to the 1861 Canadian Census. John, age 47, and Ann, age 46, were farmers and 24-year-old Robert was listed as a laborer. Also listed is Sarah Spencer, age 20 and William Spencer, age 2. Both Sarah and William were born in what appears to be written as UC, Upper Canada. In the Religion column is PM, which, according to this RootsWeb site, means Primitive Methodist.

Here's a link to a description of Primitive Methodism in Canada in the 1800s. "Working class" was one of the descriptions of PMs. Another question is who Sarah Spencer was. Robert's wife or sister? 2-year-old William was probably the child of Sarah, although I cannot discount him being a very late-in-life child for John & Ann.

Sarah was noted as being born in UC, Upper Canada, so at age 20 in 1861, that means that if Sarah and Robert were siblings, then her parents emigrated fom England with 4-year old or younger Robert in the time period between 1837 and before she was born in 1841. John and Ann were born about 1814 and 1815, respectively. One problem is that Robert has 2 different birthplaces noted in censuses 9 years apart, England in the 1861 Canada census and Canada in the 1870 Michigan census. More research. Also, another problem is that Walter Spencer's daughter Lorena and granddaughter (my mother) have stated Walter's father was named Alonzo, which would make sense, given Walter's middle name, but there's no Alonzo Spencer anywhere he was said to have been. YIPES!! Consider this transcription from grand aunt Lorena Spencer Huntoon Lindahl here. It's very confusing!

An incomplete list of grand and great-grandparents. Some links might not work.

The last 3 images can be viewed at full resolution by clicking on "Link" in the caption.

Spencer Family Photo Album
Photograph of Evelyn (Evolyn) Spencer O'Brien.
1 - Evelyn Spencer O'Brien.
Photograph of Walter Alonzo Spencer.
2 - Walter Alonzo Spencer.
Photograph of Walter A and Lodema Olive Beach Spencer.
3 - Newlyweds Walter A and Lodema Olive Beach Spencer.
Photograph of Lodema Olive Beach Spencer and her children.
4 - L to R - Lodema holding Lorena, Burrell Beach, Frank Gales and Evelyn, dated 1912.
Photograph of Walter A. Spencer.
5 - A young Walter Spencer.
Photograph of Burrell B. Spencer.
6 - Burrell Beach Spencer in WW1 uniform.

More Spencers
Photograph of Spencer kids in the 1950s.
7 - Frank Gales, Evelyn (O'Brien), Burrell Beach and Lorena Spencer (Huntoon), 1950s.
Photograph of Lorena Spencer and Marjorie O'Brien.
8 - Lorena Spencer (Huntoon) holding Marjorie O'Brien (Ward) in about May 1923.
Photograph of John Smith.
9 - Twelve Spencers in 1934.
Evelyn Spencer O'Brien obit.
10 - Obit of Evelyn Spencer O'Brien.Link
Robert Spencer 1870 Census.
11- Robert Spencer & family, 1870 census. Link
Photograph of John Smith.
12 - John & Anna Spencer 1861 Canada Census. Link