Olmestead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Olmestead is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived near or at a hermit's cell. The surname Olmestead is derived from the Old French word ermite, which means hermit, and the Old English word stede, which means place. [1] [2]

The name may also be an Anglicized form of the German surname Darmstädter, which is derived from the settlement of Darmstadt in Hesse, a former landgraviate of Germany.

Early Origins of the Olmestead family

The surname Olmestead was first found in Yorkshire where the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include some of the first listings of the family: Laurencius del Armetsted; Johannes de Armetstede who both held lands there at that time. [3] [2]

"This has been a Yorkshire surname for five centuries at least." [3]

Later in Norfolk we found William Armistead, was vicar of Berwick Parva, Norfolk in 1587. [4]

Early History of the Olmestead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Olmestead research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1527, 1618, 1645, 1726, 1676, 1680, 1693, 1696, 1699, 1783, 1845, 1780, 1818, 1812, 1817, 1863 and 1863 are included under the topic Early Olmestead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Olmestead 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 Olmestead 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 Olmestead include: Armistead, Armitstead, Armystead, Armstead, Olmstead, Ormstead, Ampstead and many more.

Early Notables of the Olmestead family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Captain Anthony Armistead (1645-1726), British Justice of the Peace in the British Colony and Dominion of Virginia. He was born in Elizabeth City County, Virginia, the son of William Armistead. He assisted Sir William Berkeley's courts-martial in 1676 to try the Bacon insurgents and was a justice of the peace and Captain of Horse in 1680. He was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1693, 1696, 1699. He married Hannah Ellyson and had five children; the...
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Olmestead Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Olmestead family

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Olmestead or a variant listed above: Joseph Armistead who settled in Savannah, Georgia in 1775; Charity Armstead settled in Maryland in 1774; Hannah Armstead came to New England in 1780; James Olmstead settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1632.



The Olmestead Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ever ready
Motto Translation: Always prepared


  1. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print


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