French and English surname, Armistead comes from the Old French term ‘ermite’ and the Old English term ‘stede’ which refer to a hermit’s place. Variations in spelling for Armistead include Armstead, Armitstead, Olmstead, Armystead, Ormstead and Ampstead. In Cheshire, England is where the early Armistead families originated. From there they had been concentrated in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northumberland, Durham and Cumberland counties. In Scotland most live in Kirkcudbrightshire and Midlothian counties. Within the United States Armistead families centered in Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Mississippi. Famous: Lewis Addison Armistead (a Brigadier General of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, killed in 1863), George Armistead (the military commander of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812) and Rex Armistead (a director in the 20th century working to cut organized crime in the U. S. southern states which were known as the Dixie Mafia).