Show ContentsWagstaff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Wagstaff family

The surname Wagstaff was first found in Derbyshire where the name is generally thought to have been an occupational name for someone who could brandish a "wag" or "staff" with great effect. [1]

Early History of the Wagstaff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wagstaff research. Another 66 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1612, 1618, 1633, 1642, 1645, 1655, 1662, 1677, 1685, 1697, 1712 and 1725 are included under the topic Early Wagstaff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wagstaff 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 Wagstaff 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 Wagstaff include: Wagstaffe, Waggstaffe, Wagstaff and others.

Early Notables of the Wagstaff family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • John Wagstaffe (1633-1677), an English writer on witchcraft who held an estate at Hasland in Derbyshire; and John Wagstaffe (1618-1697), of Ladybellegate House, Longsmith Street, Gloucester, an Englis...
  • Sir Joseph Wagstaffe (fl. 1655), English Royalist, born about 1612, was probably the seventh and youngest son of Richard Wagstaffe of Herberbury in Warwickshire. "Joseph was a soldier of fortune, and...
  • Thomas Wagstaffe (1645-1712), was an English nonjuror, who belonged to a family long settled in the county of Warwick, born on 13 Feb. 1645 at Binley in Warwickshire
  • William Wagstaffe (1685-1725), was an English physician, born at Cublington in Buckinghamshire, of which his father, a younger son of the ancient family of his name, seated at Knightcote in Warwichshi...

Wagstaff Ranking

In the United States, the name Wagstaff is the 8,017th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]


United States Wagstaff migration to the United States +

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 Wagstaff or a variant listed above:

Wagstaff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Wagstaff, who settled in Virginia in 1655 with her husband
  • Mary Wagstaff, who arrived in Virginia in 1655 [3]
Wagstaff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Wagstaff, who settled in Rappahannock in Virginia in 1728
  • James Wagstaff, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1749 [3]
Wagstaff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Wagstaff, aged 25, who landed in Delaware in 1812 [3]
  • William Wagstaff, who landed in New York, NY in 1826 [3]
  • Thomas Wagstaff, who arrived in New York, NY in 1831 [3]
  • George Wagstaff, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1849 [3]
  • Sarah Wagstaff, aged 42, who landed in New York in 1862 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Wagstaff migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wagstaff Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Howard Wagstaff U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1783 was a passenger aboard "Cyrus" on August 21, 1783 from New York to Saint John River, became a Freeman in 1785 was a Silversmith [4]
Wagstaff Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Ada Wagstaff, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907
  • John Wagstaff, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Wagstaff migration to Australia +

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

Wagstaff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Wagstaff, British Convict who was convicted in Westminster, London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 8th April 1821, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • William Wagstaff, English convict from Warwick, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • Mr. Thomas Wagstaff, English convict who was convicted in Worcestershire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mrs. Mary Wagstaff, aged 36, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship "Bolton"
  • Miss Mary Ann Wagstaff, aged 16, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship "Bolton"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Wagstaff migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Wagstaff Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Wagstaff, aged 36 who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Bolton
  • Mr. Charles Wagstaff, (b. 1834), aged 22, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th October 1856 [8]
  • Mr. Henry Wagstaff, (b. 1810), aged 47, British carpenter travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [8]
  • Mrs. Mary Ann Wagstaff, (b. 1814), aged 43, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [8]
  • Miss Mary Ann Wagstaff, (b. 1839), aged 18, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Wagstaff (post 1700) +

  • Patty Wagstaff (b. 1951), née Combs, an American aerobatic national champion aviator
  • Alfred Wagstaff Jr. (1844-1921), American lawyer and politician, President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1906-1921)
  • Samuel S. Wagstaff Jr. (b. 1945), American mathematician and computer scientist, a specialist in cryptography, parallel computation, and analysis of algorithms
  • Sam Wagstaff (1921-1987), American curator and collector
  • Barry Wagstaff (b. 1945), English footballer for Sheffield United, Reading and Rotherham United, brother of Tony Wagstaff
  • Jeremy Wagstaff (b. 1962), English journalist and technology columnist based in Asia
  • Harold Wagstaff (1891-1939), English rugby player, nicknamed the Prince of Centres, captain of the Great Britain national team
  • Anthony "Tony" Wagstaff (b. 1944), English footballer who played for Reading and Sheffield United (1961-1973)
  • Hester Wagstaff (b. 1892), English illustrator and children's book author
  • Scott Wagstaff (b. 1990), English professional footballer
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. George E  Wagstaff (1869-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion (1917) but later died due to injuries [9]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. William Wagstaff (b. 1915), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from St Marylebone, London, England, who sailed into battle and died in the HMS Hood sinking [10]


  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  3. 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)
  4. Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  6. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Andromeda voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1826 with 147 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1826
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  10. H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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