Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Anstee, Anstie, Ansty
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
Contact: Mr Gary Anstey
The Anstey One-Name study was started in about 1905 by my great granduncle Thomas John Edmund Anstey (known as 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.
In 2014, I (Gary 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 surname '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.
Research into the 'Anstey' surname is very much a living and ever evolving project, with advances being made all the time. For those so interested, the Project Updates page of the 'Anstey Story' website contains information on the latest 'Anstey' surname related findings and hot research topics.
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, Austy, Austey 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 completely separate and unconnected derivation.
The surname Anstey (and variants Ansty, Anstee and Anstie) only came into being on one occasion, that being in the mid-12th century when a gentleman named Hubert became Lord of the Manor of Anstey in Hertfordshire and took the village name as his family title. All Ansteys pre-1770 and the overwhelming majority of Ansteys living today are descendent from this one family, which means therefore that almost all Ansteys worldwide are related and can trace their surname origin to Anstey, Hertfordshire in England (see 'ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry' Chapter One).
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 (see 'ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry' chapters one and two).
John Ansty esquire (1378 - 1455) Lord of the Manor of Stow-cum-Quy in Cambridgeshire in 1428, was High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire in 1430/1; he also founded Ansty's Chantry in 1450. His son, also John Ansty esquire (c1402-1460), was Knight of the Shire for Cambridgeshire in 1445/6, 1450/1 and 1455/6 and his grandson, also John Ansty esquire (1428-1477), was Knight of the Shire for Cambridgeshire in 1461/2 and 1467/8.
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.
For a chronology of Anstey population numbers in medieval times see 'Medieval Anstey Population Numbers'.
By 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 of them located 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 recent 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 around 8,000 Ansteys (and variant spellings) worldwide today, predominantly in Commonwealth countries. However, Anstey is still only approximately the 78,000th most common surname in the world!
In medieval times, the Ansteys were concentrated in the south of England, particularly Hertfordshire, Essex, the City of London and Middlesex (see 'ANSTEY: Our True Surname Origin and Shared Medieval Ancestry').
By 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 South Gloucestershire; there was also a heavy presence in London and its surrounding counties.
By 2015 there has been evident dispersion around the UK though the basic pattern of 1881 remains. Worldwide in 2015, England still contains 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.
Those interested in participating in Anstey surname research might like to head to https://www.theansteystory.com/ where the 'Anstey Story' project is well under way. See Project Updates for the most recent 'hot of the press' Anstey surname research and findings. The book 'ANSTEY: A Complete History from the Norman Invasion to World War One' is currently being drafted and should be available for purchase in 2024.
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: