This extraordinary surname is Anglo-Saxon origin, although its use and recording are late medieval. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "eme", meaning a natural uncle, but it translates more literally as "the legal guardian of a young orphan", and is perhaps the originator of the wicked uncle syndrome, who was out to grab the children's inheritance. Be that as it may, the surname has some popularity and is found in the variant forms Ymm(s), Yem(es), and Yemm(e), whilst the early recordings include John Ymms, a witness at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, on January 7th 1571. The Yemm(e) versions would seem to be West Country as shown below, and in the following recordings: Thomas Yemm, who married Margaret Pitcher at Pencoyd, Herefordshire, on January 1st 1634, whilst on September 2nd 1801 Willia Yemm married Elizabeth Edwards at Walford by Ross, also in Herefordshire, in the reign of King George 111 (1760 - 1820). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ric Yeme, which was dated July 17th 1586, christened at Withington, Herefordshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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