The London, Ontario Ansties

by Gary. M. Ansteychief researcher of the Anstey story project.

Overview of the London, Ontario Ansties

The London, Ontario Ansties of Canada are a sub-branch of the Devizes Ansties of Wiltshire, headed by Paul Anstie (b 1824).

Paul Anstie (b 1824 Devizes)

Paul Anstie was born in Devizes in 1824 to parents Paul Anstie and Jane Kingdon. He married Mary Ann Cox in Paris, France in 1849 and they moved to first Pietermaritzburg in Natal, South Africa, and then London, Ontario, Canada, having children:

  • Paul Anstie (b 1851 Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa – see below);
  • Francis Lawton Anstie (b 1852 South Africa – see below);
  • William K. Anstie (b 1852 South Africa, he was a “cabinet maker” in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family. He died in 1878, buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Crematorium, London, Ontario with inscription “In Loving Memory of William Anstie who died Feb 15 1878 aged 25 yrs 5 months & 10 days“);
  • Mary Jennie Anstie (b 1855 South Africa, she was in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with her family. She married Albert Burne in 1877 in Ontario, Canada);
  • Fannie F. Anstie (b 1857 Ontario, she was in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with her family. She married Robert Sloane Gourlay at Talbot, London, Ontario, Canada in 1877);
  • Henry James Anstie (b 1859 Ontario – see below);

In the 1861 Census the family were living at East Williams, Middlesex, Ontario where Paul Anstie was a “tanner and baptist aged 37“. Paul Anstie was an Anstey Hero, signing up to fight in the American Civil War. He enlisted as a Private on 5 August 1863 at Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts on the side of the Union, attached to the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry (‘A’ Company). At the time of his enlistment he gave his occupation as “clerk“, living in Canada (West).

On 23 March 1864, he ended military service with the 15th Massachusetts by transfer to the 47th Company, 2nd Battalion of the Veteran Reserve Corps. Paul Anstie died on 13 February 1865; the ‘Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette‘ on 16 March 1865 reported “DIED: February 13, aged 40, after two days illness, Mr Paul Anstie Jnr, of Nairn, Canada West, of congestion of the lungs“.

Summing up the above, it is not clear at all whether Paul Anstie died as a result of injuries incurred during the American Civil War. The fact that he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps does suggest that he was injured during the conflict (the Veteran Reserve Corps was originally called the Invalid Corps created to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirm soldiers to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines). Anybody who can enlighten us in this matter please contact us at

In June 1865 Mary Ann Anstie received a pension “to surviving family member” based on Paul‘s service in the military. Mary Ann Anstie (now a widow) was living with her family in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census. She died on 20 Mar 1907 at York County, Ontario, Canada, aged 79.

Paul Anstie (b 1851 Pietermaritzburg, Natal)

Paul Anstie was born in 1851 in Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa to parents Paul Anstie and Mary Ann Cox. He was a student at Woodstock, Oxford, Ontario in the 1861 Census and a ‘clerk’ in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family. Paul Anstie married Georgina Theresa Sexton of Ireland in 1875 in Newark, Essex, New Jersey, America, and they had moved back to Devizes by 1879 and in the 1881 Census he was a “tobacco manufacturer“ in Devizes. They had children:

  • Paul William Edmond Anstie (b 1878, died 20 April 1879 buried at Devizes Cemetery gravestone inscription “Paul William Edmond Son of Paul and Georgina Theresa Anstie Fell asleep in Jesus April 20. 1879 Aged One Year, One Month, Seventeen Days “……. Lambs with his arms and carry them in his bosom
  • Herbert Ernest Anstie (b 7 January 1880 Devizes, he moved permanently to America in 1890 and became a naturalised American citizen in 1901, at which time he was living at 66 East 121st Street, New York City with his mother and sister, his profession was ‘stenographer’. In 1905 Herbert married Gertrude Gardner Abrahams in New Jersey; they were living in Manhattan, New York in the 1905 Census – we do not find any children of this marriage. In the 1910 American Census they were living at Manhattan Ward 12 New York. In the September 1918 Draft Registration For World War One, Herbert indicated that he was an “official stenographer for the New York Supreme Court“, living at “465 W 157 New York“. In 1922 Herbert Ernest Anstie applied for a passport in America – the details he gave confirm the above. He died a year later in 1923 in Manhattan); and
  • Lillian Florence Kate Anstie (b 1880 Devizes, travelled frequently between England and America and appears never to have married. Lillian was naturalised as an American citizen in 1916 and she lived for a long period in New York City with her mother, where she was an accountant in the 1930 Census living at Fort Washington Avenue and still there in 1940 (though we cannot locate her in the 1910 American Census). Lillian Anstie died in 1971, an obituary reporting “Lillian was born on December 24, 1880 and passed away in January 1971. Lillian was a resident of Saint Petersburg, Florida.“).

In 1884, Paul Anstiea gentleman” returned to America, however he had troubles brewing back in England for in 1885 in Bristol he was charged with fraudulent bankruptcy, in a case which went to trial and resulted in a hung jury, so he was acquitted. The ‘Bristol Mercury‘ newspaper reported on 16 May 1885 “CHARGE OF FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTCY IN BRISTOL: At the Police Court yesterday Paul Anstie and James Charles Cross, lately carrying on business in Redcliff Street as provision merchants, were charged on remand for having within four months of the presentation of a bankruptcy petition against them unlawfully and with intent to defraud obtained certain property on credit and further with having pledged pawned and disposed of other than by ordinary way of trade, property thus obtained on credit, together with other offences against the Bankruptcy Act… the partnership between the defendants commenced in December 1882. Before that time Mr Anstie had been in business in America and he failed there. He returned from America and entered into some business connection with certain gentlemen of the same name [Anstie] trading at Devizes. He afterwards came down to Bristol, and some time before entering into partnership with Mr Cross he carried on business alone and he styled himself as a wholesale provision merchant and dealt chiefly in American produce…the defendants carried on business together down to the time of their bankruptcy, which was on the 12th January last…

The family moved permanently to America in 1890 and then in 1898 Paul Anstie committed suicide, at the time he was living in New York City with his family. The ‘Bristol Mercury‘ on 28 January 1898 reported “SUICIDE OF MR PAUL ANSTIE. A sensation has been caused in New York by the suicide of Mr Paul Anstie in a room at the Grand Union Hotel on the 7th inst. Mr Anstie, who was a bookkeeper at the New York Yacht Club, applied at the hotel for a room in the afternoon, giving his address as Montreal. Soon afterwards a chambermaid, passing the room, heard groans inside and called a waiter. The door was forced open and Mr Anstie was found inside dying from carbolic acid poisoning. A physician was called but it was too late to save life. When the police were called they discovered a note, addressed to the deceased’s wife, in which he asked her forgiveness for the act, but assigned no reason for it. On Mrs Anstie‘s arriving, she expressed the opinion that her husband had become temporarily insane in consequence of asthma and liver trouble. She had however noticed that he had acted strangely at times. Mr Anstie’s accounts at the Yacht club were in good order. Much sympathy is felt with the bereaved widow and family. Mr Paul Anstie was formerly well known in Bristol and Devizes. At the latter place he was connected for a time with the firm of Messrs E. and W. Anstie tobacconists. Whilst he was in Bristol Mr Paul Anstie was in the provision trade, carrying on business in Redcliff Street in partnership with a Mr Cross. In 1885 the firm became insolvent and Mr Anstie and his partner were prosecuted on charges connected with the bankruptcy. The case was remitted to the Quarter Sessions held in June 1885 but the jury failed to agree. At the assize the Treasury abandoned the prosecution and the accused were discharged

The ‘New York Tribune‘ newspaper 8 January 1898 edition added “Paul Anstie, fifty four years old, a steward [of the New York Yacht Club] living at Nbr 156 East 55th Street [New York] committed suicide yesterday afternoon at the Grand Union Hotel by drinking a quantity of Carbolic Acid

By 1900, Georgina Anstie (now a widow) together with her two children, were living at Nbr 66 East 121st Street in New York City, America. We cannot locate her in the 1910 American Census but by the 1930 Census, Georgina was living with her daughter Lillian at Fort Washington Avenue, New York.

Francis Lawton Anstie (b 1852 South Africa)

Francis Lawton Anstie, known as Frank, was born in 1852 in South Africa to parents Paul Anstie and Mary Ann Cox. He was a “cabinet maker” in London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family and he was a “cabinet maker” in London, Ontario in the 1881 Census, married to Mary Ann Harriet North (known as Minnie) who he married in 1878 in Richmond, Middlesex, Ontario. They had children:

  • Frank Albert Anstie (b 1884 – an Anstey Hero);
  • Frederick Kingdon Anstie (b 12 September 1888 London, Ontario, married Myrtle Irene, he died in 1956 – see below for gravestone inscription); and
  • Edwin [Edward] Harrison Anstie (b 1895, married Dorothy Thelma Katherine Schmidt in 1927 in London, Ontario at which time he was a Customs Officer).

In the 1901 Census the family were living in London, Ontario. Francis Lawton Anstie died in 1920 in Ontario, buried in Woodland Cemetery, London, Ontario. The gravestone reads “ANSTIE Francis Lawton died 1920 his beloved wife Minnie North died 1926 Myrtle Irene died 1956 beloved wife of Frederick Kingdon died 1956“. Probate for Francis was in 1921 to Charles Victor Booth; Mary Annie Harriet Anstie (his widow); and Frederick Kingdon Anstie (his son).

Henry James Anstie (b 1859 Ontario)

Henry James Anstie was born on 24 July 1859 in Ontario to parents Paul Anstie and Mary Ann Cox. He was in East Williams, Middlesex, Ontario in the 1861 Census and London, Ontario in the 1871 Census with his family. He married Katie Agnes Walsh, known as Kathleen, on 19 May 1881 in Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada and they had children:

  • William Albert Anstie (b 29 December 1881 Toronto, York, Ontario. He married Dora Anderson in 1910 and they had at least one child Susan Desmond Anstie (b 1919 Manitoba, died 4 June 1922 Point Grey, British Columbia). William was living in London, England in 1916. In July 1920 he sailed from Liverpool to Quebec in a First Class cabin on the ship ‘Empress of France‘, intending to reside once again in Canada – he was a “manufacturer“. William Albert Anstie died in 1955 in Vancouver. ‘Northern who’s who; a biographical dictionary of men and women‘ by C. W. Parker written in 1916 has the following listing for him “ANSTIE, William Allbert. — Secretary- treasurer Mountain Lumber Manufacturers Association, Elma Block, Calgary; secretary-treasurer British Columbia Lumber and Logging and Forestry Association. Born Toronto, December 29, 1881, son of H. J. and Kathleen Anstie. Educated public and high schools, Vancouver. Accountant Thomson Stationery Co., Ltd., Vancouver, 1898-1901; engaged lumber business, British Columbia, 1901- 1905. Served with militia, Vancouver, 1898-1901. Member Calgary Board of Trade; member Nelson, British Columbia, Board of Trade. Married Dora Anderson, daughter of Edward Anderson, K. C, Winnipeg, 1910. Clubs: Terminal City (Vancouver); Nelson (Nelson). Recreation: hunting, fishing. Conservative; Anglican. Address: Mount Royal. Calgary, Alta. .);
  • Jane Kathleen Anstie (b 2 November 1884 Winnipeg, Manitoba, known as both Jennie and Kathleen – appears never to have married and died 26 August 1967 in Vancouver);
  • Henry Kingdon Anstie (b 8 November 1886 Winnipeg, Manitoba. He married Kathleen Marie MacDonald and they had children Katherine Flora Avril Anstie (b 1919, died 1995); John Kingdon Anstie (b 1921, died 2010); and Mary Elizabeth Anstie (b 1923, died 1986). Henry Kingdon Anstie died on 10 December 1960 in Vancouver, buried at Mountain View Cemetery – “Of Vancouver, BC. Machinery Salesman. Died at St. Paul’s Hospital of an Upper GI Hemorrhage due to Liver Cirrhosis.”);
  • Frances Marguerite Anstie (b 1889 Winnipeg, Manitoba, married Milton Kerr Ney in 1913 in Vancouver – she was still living in Vancouver in 1945);
  • Elizabeth Anstie (b 1891 Vancouver, British Columbia, married William Donald McRae in 1915 in Vancouver – she was still living in Vancouver in 1945); and
  • Charles Edward Anstie (b 1894 Vancouver – an Anstey Hero)

In 1882 the family were in St Andrew’s Manitoba according to the Tax Assessments – Henry Anstie was a jeweller at Morrison Street West Side. By the 1891 Census the family were living in Vancouver City, British Columbia where Henry was a jeweller. By the 1911 Canadian Census the family were living in Vancouver Sub-Districts 1-18, British Columbia where Henry James Anstie was still a jeweller. The family home in the years from c1916 to 1924 (and probably longer) was 1146 Comox Street in Vancouver.

Henry James Anstie died on 2 December 1926 in Vancouver, British Columbia “aged 67“. He was buried at Pacific Heritage Cemetery Burnaby, Greater Vancouver, British Columbia Plot number ‘338-02-D

Further Details on the London, Ontario Ansties

We are actively on the lookout for London, Ontario Anstie experts alive today who are willing to add their findings and knowledge to this project. We are particularly interested in research regarding London, Ontario Ansties who fought in World War One, preferably with personal souvenirs such as letters sent by the soldiers or military photos etc. Anybody who has such expertise and inclination, please contact us at

We have already uploaded bits of information and documentation about the London, Ontario Ansties, and continue to upload more all the time (see Project Updates), however it is spread over various segments of the website.

The best way to find said information is to enter ‘London, Ontario’ in the search box at the bottom of this page and a list of relevant pages will appear.

Anybody who finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at and we will correct it.

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