This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from one of three places. The first two places are named Elmley, one in Kent, recorded in the Charter Rolls as "Elmele" in 1275, and another in Worcestershire, registered as "Aemeleia" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name is a compound of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "elm" meaning elm, and "leah" a wood. It may also be from Helmsley, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, recorded as "Hamelsec" in the Domesday Book, and derived from the personal name "Helm" and "leah", a wood.The surname is mainly found in Scotland, especially in the Aberdeen region, as in the first recording in the late 13th Century (see below). On March 30th 1650, Agnes Emslie married Charles Ross, in Old Machar, Aberdeen, and Sara, daughter of John Emslie, was christened there on December 11th 1659. James Emslie, was christened there, on December 11th 1659. James Emslie was christened there on December 11th 1659. James Emslie of Loanhead, first systematically quarried the famous Aberdeen granite between 1715 and 1745. In the modern idiom the name has many spelling variations, including Elmslie, Elmsl(e)y and Emsley. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Elmeley, which was dated 1296, rendered homage in Aberdeenshire, during the reign of King John Balliol, King of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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