Umstead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Umstead family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found near or at a hermit's cell. The surname Umstead 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 Umstead family

The surname Umstead 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 Umstead family

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

Umstead Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Umstead include Armistead, Armitstead, Armystead, Armstead, Olmstead, Ormstead, Ampstead and many more.

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

Umstead Ranking

In the United States, the name Umstead is the 15,316th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]


United States Umstead migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Umstead or a variant listed above:

Umstead Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • C Umstead, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Umstead (post 1700) +

  • Danelle D’Aquanni Umstead (b. 1972), American alpine skier and Paralympian
  • William Bradley Umstead (1895-1954), American Senator, the 63rd Governor of North Carolina (1953 to 1954), eponym of William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • William Bradley Umstead (1895-1954), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from North Carolina 6th District, 1933-39; North Carolina Democratic State Chair, 1945; U.S. Senator from North Carolina, 1946-48 [7]
  • L. E. Umstead, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Allegheny County 1st District, 1908 [7]
  • John Wesley Umstead (1844-1926), American politician, Member of North Carolina State Legislature [7]
  • J. H. Umstead, American politician, Member of Nebraska State Senate, 1903 [7]
  • George H. Umstead, American politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates 2nd District, 1897-98 [7]
  • Fred Umstead, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for U.S. Representative from Missouri 2nd District, 1940, 1944 [7]


The Umstead 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
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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