This interesting name is one of the metronymic forms of the female given name "Emma", which is ultimately of Old Germanic origin, as "Emma" or "Imma", short forms of various women's names with the first element "Ermin", meaning "entire, universal, whole". The name was adopted by the Normans, and became extremely popular among them as "Emma". The Normans also introduced the name into England; unusually, this was before the Conquest of 1066, and occurred when Emma, daughter of Richard, Duke of Normandy, married, first, King Ethelred the Unready in 1002, and later, King Canute, in 1017. In England the personal name was popular from the 11th Century on, in the form "Em" or "Emm". The surnames Emms, Emson, Empson and Emmison are all metronymics from "Em(m)", unusual in that the surname has developed from the name of the first bearer's mother; most European surnames are patronymic. The marriage of Richard Emson and Jane Thornell was recorded on May 12th 1575, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Emms, which was dated 1274, in the "Shropshire Hundred Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "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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