James Anstey (BI 20)

See ‘Anstey: A Complete History From the Norman Invasion to World War One‘ for much more on the Birmingham Ansteys. In addition to biographies of various Anstey individuals who make up this sub-branch, the book contains a plethora of Anstey research and statistics, including an analysis of how the Birmingham Ansteys fit into the pedigree descendent from Hubert de Anesti, the 12th century originator of the ‘Anstey’ surname.

BI 20. James Anstey: He was born in c1823, probably in Birmingham and certainly to father Thomas Anstey (BI 8).

[Note: We are still trying to find definitive evidence to confirm his precise position in the Birmingham pedigree. He was Catholic (referred to as Jacobi Anstey), which was quite unusual for Ansteys at this time. The fact he called an elder son ‘Samuel’ and his father was ‘Thomas’ gives us a great deal of confidence that he is indeed a Birmingham Anstey (Samuel being a somewhat unusual name for Ansteys north of London outside of this sub-branch). It is highly likely that his father Thomas (BI 8) was brother of George Anstey (BI 7) – our reasoning being that George (BI 7) was a shoemaker and also had a son called James (b 1823 – BI 19). Given that our ‘James’ (BI 20) was a shoemaker by the time he was 18, he was likely following in his father Thomas (BI 8) or uncle George (BI 7) footsteps]

In the 1841 Census he was a shoemaker and a patient at the Birmingham General Hospital. In August 1849 at St Mary’s Church, Handsworth, Staffordshire, he was a “bootmaker abode Handsworth son of Thomas Anstey“ when he married Emma Brown, also of Handsworth (daughter of James Brown, copper engraver). They had children:

  • Edwin Henry Anstey (BI 32 – b 1850);
  • Samuel James Anstey (b 1851, baptised in Birmingham St Chad’s Cathedral (Catholic) as “Samuel Jacobus Anstey, son of Jacobi Anstey and Emma Brown“, died in 1853);
  • Selina Jane Anstey (b 1852 to mother ‘Brown’, married Alfred James Clark in 1878 in Aston. In the 1901 Census she was living in Birmingham with her family and her father);
  • Ellen Rebecca Anstey (b 1855 to mother ‘Brown’ died 1856);
  • Esther Sarah Anstey (b 1858, the mother’s maiden name is incorrectly given as ‘Blackhurst’, but Esther appears with her family in the 1861 Census. She married John Simpson in 1878 in Birmingham, her father confirmed as James Anstey); and
  • Eliza Agnes Anstey (BI 33 – b 1862).

The ‘Birmingham Journal‘ 19 January 1856 reported “ACCIDENT.— On Thursday morning last, a man James Anstey, residing in Hall Street, met with a rather singular accident at the Old Railway Station, Vauxhall. He had been sent to the station to fetch some cattle, and whilst waiting there, very foolishly ran across the line and under some trucks, when he was struck by the buffer of an engine which, unperceived by him, was passing on the other side, One of his arms was very severely crushed, therefore removed to the General Hospital. He now lies in a precarious condition, and it is not unlikely that it will eventually become necessary to amputate the limb.”. In the 1861 Census the family were living at Clement Street Birmingham, James Anstey was a button maker. By the 1871 Census James was a cattle driver living at Wilton Street, Aston with his family.

By the 1881 Census, he was a gardener in Aston, living with his wife and daughter Eliza Anstey (BI 33), and her two children Nellie May Anstey (b 1876) and Francis Albert Anstey (BI 48). In the 1891 Census he was a widower and a cattle drover, living with his grandson Francis Anstey (BI 48) in Wilton Street, Aston. In the 1901 Census, he was living with his daughter Selina Jane Clark in Birmingham.

Anybody who can add anything to this account, or finds any mistakes on this page, please contact us at research@theansteystory.com.

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