Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

I started collecting references to the surname many years ago and registered with the Guild in 1984.

Variant names

The registered variants are Anstes, Anstess, Anstiss and Anstice but there are many other spellings which I do include. Sometimes the name is confused with the more common surname Anstey but I do not treat that surname as part of my study. I also exclude Antwis, Austice, Eustace, Hanstead, Hanstis and Instance

Name origin

The name appears in the Cornish parish registers as a female Christian name and this is likely to be its origin - certainly in Cornwall.

Historical occurrences of the name

Undoubtedly the most distinguished bearer of the name is JOHN ANSTIS who was Garter King of Arms from 1718 to 1744. He was succeeded by his son JOHN ANSTIS the younger who died without issue.

Other people with the name have been: -

  • THOMAS ANSTIS the Pirate who was shot by his fellow pirates in the West Indies in 1723
  • NICHOLAS ANSTIS who was chief mate on the Lady Penrhyn which sailed to Botany Bay in the First Fleet in 1788. He returned to Australia as master of the convict transport Surprize in the infamous Second Fleet in 1790.
  • RICHARD ANSTICE was a partner in the pottery company of Anstice, Horton and Rose of Coalport.
  • WILLIAM ANSTICE his grandson was a prosperous ironmaster in Madeley and when he died the Anstice Memorial Hall was built in his memory.

Name frequency

The three most common variants occur in almost equal numbers in the 1881 Census: -




In each case this represents about 5 persons per million

Distribution of the name

The name is now widely dispersed but the surname in its different spellings stems from three separate areas:-
ANSTIS Devon & Cornwall
ANSTICE Somerset
ANSTISS High Wycombe and then London


Data held includes lists from the General Register Office indexes for births, marriages and deaths in england and Wales from 1837 to 1987. Many birth, marriage and burial entries from the parish registers, mainly in Cornwall and Devon. IGI and Census entries. A considerable number of trees and lists of names resulting from correspondence over the years.