Onstead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Onstead dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived near or at a hermit's cell. The surname Onstead 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 Onstead family

The surname Onstead 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 Onstead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Onstead 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 Onstead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Onstead Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Onstead have been found, including Armistead, Armitstead, Armystead, Armstead, Olmstead, Ormstead, Ampstead and many more.

Early Notables of the Onstead 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 Onstead Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Onstead family

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Onstead, 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 Onstead 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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