So why are the dates for the ancestors so obviously wrong? Most people living in the same period died at around thirty-five to forty years of age though there are always a few exceptions of course.

Historians argue and squabble and one reads an old manuscript and says it states John married Mary and had six children and another historian will say it doesn't because Mary wasn't born until fifty years later and she didn't have six children anyway she had ten...when it comes to the actual dates of births,marriages and deaths you have to allow a five year spread on either side...and you have to acknowledge that sometimes the historians have it wrong...and sometimes those original scholars who wrote down the histories of the old families of England got it wrong as well...
And the people researching their trees read a record and misinterpret the facts...so it is neccessary to be aware and to sprinkle every date with the magic abbrevitation, abt.

'About' is useful...the old church was built abt.1100CE....if someone proves later that it was actually built in 1180 CE...then your estimate was close enough and this is what historians, whether professional or amateur, do all the time.

So we know the dates for T's people are wildly inaccurate but it is all there is to go on for the present until I find a record elsewhere which can clarify them more clearly. I rather think that the further back one travels the least the actual date matters...maybe it's enough to know it was an awful long time ago.

The records kept from the family who travelled to America are much more accurate...they'd virtually stopped using Latin and French and were speaking and writing in Old English which isn't too far removed from the words we use today. They'd also almost stopped marrying their first cousins and were no longer marrying for political reasons...one of the problems with the 1300's and 1400's is that first cousin married first cousin in order to keep land owned by the family or, for an as yet unknown to us, polictical or religious allegience.

And they were mostly Knights. This gets the Americans who are tracing their English heritage all over excited and they'll often put little side notes to state they've found a 'Sir'...practically every big landowner in those days was a Sir of somewhere or another...rather like the myriad Saints one comes across...the Saints were early Christians...the Knights were landowners.

I was amused to come across one record of a Robert Spencer, who in spite of living in a large house with much land, had a string of lawsuits against him for non-payment of debts. He hadn't paid his Goldsmith or his Tailor and had ordered an expensive sword from a Swordsmith and had never collected it...they all took him to court but unfortunately the record didn't say what had happened.

Another American had happily put one of the William Spencers down on his tree as being William the Conquerer...he was two hundred years too early though. It always sounds as though I'm being mean about the Americans who are finding their roots...and I suppose I am actually. I just wish they'd check and check again before they include a record which simply doesn't 'fit'...it's the first people in the Americas which truly winds me up tight...some people had put those born in the 1300's as having been born in America...and they put Jnr behind a son with the same given name as his Father....this is sooo wrong! It's an Americanism which is simply not ever used in English history and most especially in Mediaeval English history.

But in the scheme of things it doesn't much matter...but it still makes me kick my desk and swear.

Whether Galfridus de Spencer 1190-1242 is really T's 25th Gt Grandfather remains to be seen. Ancestry assures me it is so...they'll give you the actual connections you see...way back to the person who is alive and kicking now. It did take three pages of A4 paper...but it certainly appears to be accurate. I have to admit to having a severe case of the green-eyed monster over this tree...I've managed to get back to the fifteen hundreds with the English side of my family but am now stuck...and the Irish side is hopeless...we've managed to struggle back to 1841 with a huge amount of effort and little hope of getting any further.

I've been much wiser this time with T's tree....you remember I traced myself way back to Irish kings and there was a hundred year gap? Now I look at each and every record before I include it so as not to make the same mistake again...though having just written that, I do know there is a connection with the Royal Court of the 1500's...it's just a case of finding it.

You probably already know, but just in case you don't...the 'de' or 'De' in front of a name just means child of...it usually applies to the son but can also apply to a daughter.