by Gary. M. Anstey, chief researcher of the Anstey story project.
Tom (SG 30 – Thomas John Edmund Anstey) is one of the chief researchers of this Anstey project. During his ‘Anstey’, Ansty’, ‘Anstee’ and ‘Anstie’ surname and family research between c1905 and early 1914, he wrote well over a hundred letters to various genealogical correspondents. Much of that correspondence has survived to the present day and some of it is genealogical gold in terms of its contents.
Tom‘s basic strategy for initiating contact with fellow Ansteys in the early 20th century was to send an ‘introductory letter’ to pretty much any and every ‘Anstey’, Ansty’, ‘Anstee’ and ‘Anstie’ whose address he could find, regardless of where they resided in the world (some of the introductory letters appear in the detailed listing of Tom‘s correspondence below). Some of these letters were returned unopened (presumably said ‘Anstey’ no longer resided at said address); a few were answered by skeptical Ansteys suspicious as to the purpose of the enquiries; more than one Anstey thought they were in for a financial windfall (and were disappointed when this turned out not to be the case); and over half of the Ansteys began two way correspondence with Tom, with some fascinating results.
Tom kept copies of the letters he wrote from May 1911 onwards in a Red Book of Correspondence, which is currently held by me (Tom‘s great grand nephew Gary). This genealogical gem was passed down to me by my father, who in turn received it from his grandfather George James Anstey, Tom‘s brother. Somewhat unusually, the replies that Tom received to his letters were separately handed down to family members descendent from another of Tom‘s brothers, Ted (Edward Archibald Anstey), hence Tom‘s letters and their replies became increasingly detached from each other as time passed following his death in 1915. Tom‘s correspondence in its entirety was not reunified until 2016 after I (Gary) had commenced my own genealogical studies and successfully managed to track down the current guardian of Tom‘s replies.
[Note: For letters written pre-May 1911, we do not possess Tom‘s original letter (as he had not yet purchased the Red Book of Correspondence), though we do have notes that he made on the replies that he received, which has been a great help in piecing together the correspondence threads.]
Over time we intend to upload all of Tom‘s correspondence onto this website project. We would also like to upload any genealogical correspondence between other Anstey enthusiasts in times past, so if you possess any and are willing to share it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details of Tom’s Correspondence:
[Note: Some of the letters which appear in the list below are quite hard to read, not only because of the style of writing, but also because many of the letters are in a somewhat degraded condition and thus have been quite difficult to photograph. Despite these obstacles, we have succeeded in fully transcribing all of the below letters; if anybody would like the transcriptions to any correspondence in particular please contact us at email@example.com.]
(Click the gold envelopes to view each original letter in a new tab)
- 11 July 1908: Letter from Harry Anstey of the Bampton Ansteys to Tom 
- 13 Jan 1911: Letter from Mrs Ettle (DO 27) of the Doynton Anstees to Tom 
- 24 Jan 1911: Letter from Mrs Ettle (DO 27) of the Doynton Anstees to Tom 
- 31 Jan 1911: Letter from Mrs Ettle (DO 27) of the Doynton Anstees to Tom 
- 27 June 1911: Letter from Tom to George Anstey of Berlin, Nebraska 
- 20 Feb 1912: Letter from Tom to Archibald Francis Anstey (BI 37) of the Birmingham Ansteys