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About the study
The Anstey One-Name study was started in about 1905 by my great granduncle Thomas John Edmund Anstey (Tom, whose picture sits atop this page). He produced copious quantities of high quality 'Anstey' surname research and we are very fortunate that much of it has survived and remains in the family today; providing an excellent foundation on which to build.
In 2014 I (Gary Mark Anstey) took up the challenge of continuing and expanding his work in the internet age, which had already been advanced by other researchers interested in the Anstey surname in the interim. The name Anstey was registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in 2015 and Tom has been posthumously awarded the title of Honorary President of this particular study in recognition of his work.
In 2016 I began to collate my research and merge it with that of Tom's and in March 2017 we together published the first of hopefully five books on our Anstey findings; all net proceeds of which are being donated to the Guild of One Name Studies. The book is entitled:
'ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry'.
and it is available for purchase on CreateSpace, Amazon UK and Amazon USA (see links below)
The book description is as follows:
Surprising as it may sound, all Ansteys alive today are connected to each other, sharing a common Anstey ancestor who originated the Anstey surname in the 12th century! This is proved beyond doubt by authors G.M. Anstey and T.J. Anstey in the authoritative and comprehensive:
"ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry"
together with its sister publication "ANSTEY: We Are One Family. The Proof!".
This first book lays the groundwork for the authors' proof, documenting the true origin of Anstey as a surname and telling for the first time the complete and fascinating story of the medieval Ansteys from their 12th century origin to the end of the 14th century. The ancestors whose stories are told in this book are shared not only by all Ansteys alive today, but by anybody who has an Anstey appear anywhere in their family tree.
Designed to appeal to both casual reader and ardent genealogical enthusiast alike, two alternative titles could plausibly be:
"Your 'great x 30' Grandfather Owned a Medieval Castle" (if an Anstey appears anywhere in your family tree) or
"Researching in Medieval Times: Focusing (far too much) on ANSTEY as a Case Study" (if you are interested in what can be learnt about medieval ancestors from the extraordinary array of available medieval documentation).
The registered variants of the name Anstey are Ansty, Anstee and Anstie. However early spellings of the name combined with mistranscriptions of original documents mean Anestie, Anesty, Anstye, Ansti and Anestia (not an exhaustive list) are all worthy of further investigation. Those researching medieval Ansteys should add 'de Anesty', 'de Anestie', 'de Ansty', 'de Anestia', 'd'Anstey', 'de Anstye', as well as a multitude of other spelling variants!
Anstey is by far the most common spelling today (about 70%), followed by Anstee (about 25%), with Anstie and Ansty making up the balance.
The surnames 'Annesley', 'Ansley', 'Asty', 'Astry', 'Anesye', 'Anestan', 'Auste' and 'Aust' are not related to 'Anstey', neither is 'Anstice' (or 'Anstiss'/'Anstis') which has a separate and unconnected derivation.
Almost all 'Surname Origin' reference books state that the surname 'Anstey' originated in the 16th century from numerous of the nine Anstey villages in England mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. However, as we prove in Chapter One of our book
'ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry',
this is completely incorrect!
In fact the surname Anstey only came into being on one occasion, that being in the mid-12th century when a gentleman became Lord of the Manor of Anstey in Hertfordshire and took the village name as his family title. All Ansteys living today are descendent from this one family, which means therefore that all Ansteys worldwide are related and can trace their surname origin to Anstey, Hertfordshire in England.
History of the name
Richard de Anstey (c1127 - 1194/95) son of Hubert the Chamberlain and Agnes de Sackville, best known as the claimant in the famous Anstey Case of the mid-1100s about which Richard wrote a detailed account much treasured by historians.
John Ansty esquire (1378 - c1457) of Stow-cum-Quy, Cambridgeshire was MP for Cambridgeshire in 1445. His son, also John Ansty esquire (c1400-1460), was MP for Cambridgeshire in 1450 and 1455 and his grandson, also John Ansty esquire (1428-1477), was MP for Cambridgeshire in 1461 and 1467.
Christopher Anstey (1724 - 1805) Poet and author of the 'New Bath Guide' which took the literary world by storm in 1766. Has a memorial tablet in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey
Thomas Chisholm Anstey (1816 - 1873) English lawyer and Parliamentarian in the 19th Century. He penned numerous works including a 'Guide to the Laws of England affecting Roman Catholics'.
Francis Edmund Anstie (1833 - 1874) English doctor and medical author. He was the first editor of the medical journal 'The Practitioner' and was notable for proposing 'Anstie's Limit', an amount of alcohol that could be consumed daily without ill effects.
Rev Martin Anstey M.A B.D (1860-1921) Author of ‘The Romance of Bible Chronology. An Exposition of the meaning and a Demonstration of the Truth of every Chronological statement contained in the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament’ and Anstey genealogist.
Ann Jane Anstey (nee Williams 1876 - 1949) Labour Candidate in the 1931 UK General Election for the seat of Lambeth, Norwood, Justice of the Peace and a long serving Labour Councillor for the Borough of Lambeth.
George James Anstey (1882 - 1958) Labour Candidate in the 1924 UK General Election for the seat of Lambeth, Norwood and a long serving Labour Councillor for the Borough of Lambeth.
In 1600, according to both computer models and a detailed analysis of early parish registers, the population of Ansteys worldwide was about 600 (practically speaking all in England).
By the time of the 1881 UK Census there were just over 1,000 Ansteys (and variant spellings) in the UK, making it approximately the 4,000th most common surname. Currently there are just over 2,000 people in the UK with the surname Anstey (and variant spellings) which is still about the 4,000th most common surname, so the growth of the surname Anstey has been in line with the growth in the general population in the UK.
Worldwide growth has been more spectacular, with over 7,000 Ansteys (and variant spellings) worldwide today, predominantly in Commonwealth countries. However, worldwide Anstey is only around the 78,000th most common surname!
Distribution of the name
In 1600, nearly half of the worldwide population of Ansteys lived in Sussex, with much smaller sub-branches dispersed throughout many southern counties of England.
By the time of the 1881 UK Census the distribution of Ansteys was heavily concentrated in the South West of England, particularly Devon and Gloucestershire. There was also a heavy presence in London and its surrounding counties.
The two above facts provide proof that the traditional theory as to the origin of the surname Anstey cannot be true (as discussed in the introduction to our book 'ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry').
By 2015 there has been evident dispersion around the UK though the basic pattern of 1881 remains. Worldwide in 2015, England still remains the largest concentration of Ansteys (but only just), closely followed by Canada, with the USA, Australia and South Africa all containing solidly growing Anstey populations.
Anstey enthusiasts are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org