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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

My paternal grandmother was a Goslett. Work done in Victorian times tried to link our line from Essex to those in Marshfield, Gloucestershire. Given the rarity of the name, I started a one-name study in the 1970's and joined the Guild in 1984. Since the birth of the internet, I have made contact and been helped by cousins in Australia, Canada and USA and other contacts in Australia and South Africa.

Variant names

Almost all modern references use the spelling Goslett. Earlier variants include Goslet, Gooslet, Gorslet, Gostlet, Goslit with the letter T either once or twice at the end. Other variants are Gaslett, Goselet and Goslette.

Name origin

The name appears to be an occupational one for somebody working with geese, goslet being a diminutive. The name occurs in both East Anglia and in the West Country in the 16th century.

Historical occurrences of the name

Arthur Goslett was hanged at Pentonville, London in 1920 for murdering his wife.
John Gostlett of Marshfield who died in 1692 gave the town a building for a parish meeting room. It is now a public toilet.
Helena Gostlett married John Harrington and a descendant is Capt. Mark Phillips.
Goslett Yard, off Charing Cross Road in London, is named after Alfred Goslett who founded a plate glass and sanitary ware company there in 1835.

Name frequency

In UK 1881 census there are only 43 holders of the Goslett surname and 5 with the surname Gaslett.
According to an ONS database there are 45 Gosletts in UK as of September 2002; no other variants.
Currently the largest number holding the name is probably in South Africa with about 50 in the phone book.

Distribution of the name

There are several dozen holders of the name in UK, Australia and South Africa. There are a few holders in Canada, USA and New Zealand. My own family from Essex, England are still largely in southern England, but a member who was in Ireland for a time produced one of the Australian families. The other Australian families originated from Wiltshire, England and South Africa. The origin of the South African families is unknown - a suggestion of eastern European origins has been mentioned in one case; also the earliest South African holder of the surname had the forename Arthur which occurs in the Wiltshire family. The earliest Canadian family may be of French origin.


All BMD index entries for England & Wales from 1837 to 2012, plus Scotland from 1855 to 2013.
All UK Probate index entries from 1858 to 2013, with extracts from most of them.
All PCC wills and some others pre-1858.
All UK census entries.
Parish Registers on Ancestry, FMP and NBI3 in UK.
USA and Canadian census entries from the indexes.
IGI world-wide.
Web pages and telephone books world-wide.