Show ContentsElmer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Strongbownian invaders added their Norman conventions for surnames to the previously established Irish system for hereditary surnames. One of the most frequent forms of surnames for both cultures was the patronymic surname, which was formed from the name of the bearer's father or grandfather. The Norman tradition that the followers of Strongbow brought with them created such a surname through diminutive suffixes such as -ot, -et, -un, -in, or -el. Occasionally, two suffixes were combined to form a double diminutive, as in the combinations of -el-in, -el-ot, -in-ot, and -et-in. The Normans also formed patronymic surnames in a manner very similar to the Irish: they added a prefix to their father's name. These Anglo-Norman people, however, used the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word fils, and ultimately from the Latin filius, which both mean son. Although this prefix probably originated in Flanders or Normandy, it can now only be found in Ireland. The surname Elmer is derived from the Anglo-Saxon personal name Ædelmær, which literally means "noble, famous." The Gaelic form of the surname Elmer is Aighlmear.

Early Origins of the Elmer family

The surname Elmer was first found in Essex, where they were tenants in chief and Lords of the manor of Aylmer.

"This family trace their name and descent from Ailmer or Athelmare, Earl of Cornwall, in the time of King Ethelred. Allmor, in Welsh, signifies a valley or dale." [1]

"This Anglo-Saxon name came to Ireland after the Norman invasion and, settling in Leinster, families so called became hibernicized." [2]

Early History of the Elmer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Elmer research. Another 82 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1650, 1678 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Elmer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Elmer Spelling Variations

It was found during an investigation of the origins of the name Elmer that church officials and medieval scribes often spelled the name as it sounded. This practice lead to a single person's being documented under many spelling variations. The name Elmer has existed in the various shapes: Ailmer, Aylmer, Elmer, Elmore, Ellmore, Ellmer and others.

Early Notables of the Elmer family

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Matthew Aylmer (c.1650-1720), Lord Aylmer, Admiral and Commander-in-Chief, the second son of Sir Christopher Aylmer of Balrath, County Meath. "He entered the navy under the protection of the Duke of Buckingham, as...
Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Elmer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Elmer Ranking

In the United States, the name Elmer is the 5,625th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [3]

United States Elmer migration to the United States +

In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Elmer:

Elmer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Elmer, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1632 [4]
Elmer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Elmer and his wife Hannah, who landed in America in 1836
  • Charles Elmer, aged 22, who arrived in America in 1836 [4]
  • Jacob Elmer, who arrived in Mississippi in 1844 [4]
  • M E Elmer, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • Michael Elmer, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Elmer migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Elmer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Elmer, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Emperor Alexander"on 6th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Thomas Elmer, English convict from Bedford, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Elmer (post 1700) +

  • Charles Elmer Jr. (b. 1930), birth name of Rip Taylor, American comedian and actor
  • Charles Wesley Elmer (1872-1954), American amateur astronomer and court reporter
  • William Elmer (1869-1945), American actor of the silent era
  • Ebenezer Elmer (1752-1843), American physician
  • Jonathan Elmer (1745-1817), American politician, of the Pro-Administration (Federalist ) Party
  • Lucius Quintius Cincinnatus Elmer (1793-1883), American Democratic Party politician
  • Eli Elmer, American politician, Delegate to New Jersey convention to ratify U.S. constitution from Cumberland County, 1787 [7]
  • Edward Elmer, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 28th District, 1998; Candidate for Texas State House of Representatives 35th District, 2006 [7]
  • Ebenezer Elmer (1752-1843), American Democratic Party politician, Member of New Jersey State Legislature; U.S. Representative from New Jersey, 1801-07 [7]
  • E. T. Elmer, American politician, Mayor of Milwaukie, Oregon, 1913-15 [7]
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th April 2022).
  6. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Agincourt voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 226 passengers. Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from on Facebook