Show ContentsHolstead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Holstead is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in Halstead, a place name found in Essex, Kent, and Leicestershire. The place name is derived from the Old English terms heald, which meant refuge or shelter, and stede, which meant place. The name as a whole means "place of shelter," and probably refers to a place which was well sheltered from the elements. The family name would have meant "dweller at a place of refuge." There is a second origin for this name, making it a polygenetic surname. It may also be occupational, referring to a "worker at the hall buildings," or a person who took care of livestock.

Early Origins of the Holstead family

The surname Holstead was first found in Essex where town and civil parish located in Braintree District. The Domesday Book offers two listing for the place Halstead. The first was listed as Haltesteda [1] in Essex, land held by William de Warenne and part of the Hundred of Hinckford. The land held 2 hides (land enough for two households) less 4 acres where 30 free men lived before the Conquest. Over in Leicestershire, the village Elstede [1] was listed in the same reference as land held by the King, part of Allexton and was 3 carucates of land, less 2 bovates; in other words much smaller than the Essex village. [2] To complicate things more, Halstead is a village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent, but this village is not listed in the Domesday Book.

Early History of the Holstead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holstead research. Another 94 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1181, 1794 and 1878 are included under the topic Early Holstead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Holstead Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Holstead are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Holstead include: Halstead, Halsted and others.

Early Notables of the Holstead family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Holstead Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia Holstead migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Holstead Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Holstead, (b. 1805), aged 29, English soldier who was convicted in Hulme, Manchester, England for 14 years for insubordination, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Holstead (post 1700) +

  • Willis S. Holstead, American politician, Mayor of Columbus, Georgia, 1851-52, 1861 [4]
  • John Holstead, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Oneida County 3rd District, 1857 [4]

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from on Facebook