Tom’s Correspondence

Tom (Thomas John Edmund Anstey) is one of the chief researchers of this Anstey project. During his ‘Anstey’ 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 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 his fellow researcher and great grand nephew Gary. This genealogical gem was passed down to Gary by his 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 Gary had commenced his 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 research@theansteystory.com (see also How Can You Help? where we appeal for other types of documentation).

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 research@theansteystory.com.]

(Click the gold envelopes to view each original letter in a new tab)

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