There are two possible sources of this interesting name of medieval origin, the first being that it derives from an Old English pre 7th Century personal name "Aethelmaer" meaning, noble, famous, and is one of the variant given names recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. However, it may also be a dialectal variant of a locational name Elmore, from a place so called in Gloucestershire, recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1176, as "Elmour" and in the Pipe Rolls of 1195, and the Charter Rolls of 1227 as "Elmoure", and derives from the Old English "elm", for the tree, and "ofer" river bank, thus "shore where elms grew".Amongst the recordings in Gloucester is the marriage of Katherin Elmer and Thomas Goslinge on August 19th 1577 at Charlton Kings, and the christening of Lawes Elmer, on March 22nd 1625, at Bitton. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Ailmer, which was dated 1208, in the "Curia Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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