This interesting surname is a patronymic from the English name "Amery", itself deriving from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements "amal", bravery, vigour, and "ric", power, introduced into England by the Normans. The first recording of "Amery" as a surname dates from circa 1182, when a Roger Hemeri was listed in the Cartulary of St. Mary, Clerkenwell (Essex). Thus, "Emerson", i.e., "the son of Amery or Emery", is first formed as a surname in records in the early 14th Century. William Emerson is mentioned in 1411, in the Charter of the Priory of Finchale.A Cuthbert Emerson is listed in the Register of the Freemen of the city of York, in 1498. The surname is recorded as Emerson, Emberson and Emmerson in the modern idiom. The marriage of Anthony Emmerson and Margarett Myles was recorded on November 1st 1584 at St. Giles', Cripplegate, London, and one John Emmerson was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the "Abigall" in July 1635, bound for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Emryson, which was dated circa 1300, Yorkshire Records, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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