Not another William Spence...

One of three siblings to live at Springhill Farm in the mid 20th century was William Spence (b 1927), son of William Spence (b 1886) , son of William Spence (b 1860 Torside, Yorkshire). So when I found another William Spence (b 1812, Bolton By Bowland, Yorkshire), born in a similar part of the county, my first thought was that he must be part of the same family, possibly grandparent or great-uncle.

Except he wasn't, or at least not for at least two previous generations.
  • William (b 1860) was the son of Richard (b 1827) , son of Barnard, son of Richard.
  • William (b 1812) was the son of Christopher, son of William.

So that gets us back to the mid 18th century North Yorkshire. There is no apparent connection between the two families, they were certainly not siblings.

William (b 1812) moved to Rossendale sometime between 1841 and 1848. William (b 1860) moved to Rossendale sometime between 1885 and 1891. Was it coincidence that two families.

So let's make this more complex.

  • William (b 1860) moved to Springhill Farm in 1901 from the adjacent farm, Chapel Hill.
  • William (b 1812) lived in Springhill Farm in 1881 when his occupation was described as chapel keeper. That's perfectly possible as the chapel is just across the lane, but farmers have been enumerated there before and after.


  • William (b 1860) had son William and grandson William as described above.
  • William (b 1812) had son Richard who had son William (b 1878). By 1891 they were living in Brierfield Road, Burnley, about 8 miles north of Springhill where he was working as a cotton weaver. In 1901 Richard had died and William (b 1878) was still living with his mother and unmarried siblings in Burnley where he duly married and remained.

This has left me still wondering if it is just coincidence that two families with similar names (and a preponderance of Williams) moved from roughly the same area and lived in the same house.

A quick and dirty tree for William (b1927) and family is
here.