Recorded in the spellings of Elmore, Elsmore, Elsmoor, Ellsmore and Elsemore, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Elmore in the county of Gloucestershire, famous for being the ancestral home of the 'de Gyse' family since at least the 13th century. The village name and hence the later surname means 'the island where the elms grow' from the Olde English pre 7th century 'elm eg'. This does not necessarily mean an island as such. In the years before drainage in the 15th century onwards, it may have originally described higher land above the meadows, or perhaps an area which flooded in winter before drying out in the summer. The village is recorded as 'Elmour' in 1165 and later as 'Elmoure'. Locational surnames are 'from' names. That is to say that when a person moved to another place perhaps in search of work, the easiest method of identifying him or sometimes her, was to call him by the name of the place from whence they came, even if that was only the next village. Spelling being at best problematical lead to the development of variant forms. In this case early examples of the surname taken from the early surviving church registers of Gloucestershire include: Rychard Elsmore of Kempley, on February 4th 1595, and Joane Elsemore of Westbury on Severn, on November 30th 1595.
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