Elmsay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Elmsay is an old Anglo-Saxon name. It comes from when a family lived in Yorkshire, where they derived the family name from Helmsley. It was in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but has been lost to modern maps. The place-name was probably derived from the Old English personal name Helm, and ley or leah, which were Old English words for "a clearing in the woods." The translation of the place-name was "clearing belonging to Helm." 
Early Origins of the Elmsay family
The surname Elmsay was first found in Yorkshire at Helmsley, a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the wapentake of Ryedale. The town dates back to the time of Richard I.  The Domesday Book of 1086 lists the town as Elmeslac.  Helmsley Castle (also known anciently as Hamlake) is a medieval castle originally constructed in wood around 1120 by Walter l'Espec (died 1153.)
Early History of the Elmsay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Elmsay research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Elmsay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Elmsay Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Elmsay were recorded, including Elmslie, Elmsley, Emsley, Elmesley, Helmsley, Emesley, Emesly, Ernele and many more.
Early Notables of the Elmsay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Elmsay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Elmsay family
To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Elmsay family emigrate to North America: Joseph Emsley, who settled in Philadelphia in 1864; John Emsley, who settled in Delaware in 1850; J.J. Emslie, who settled in San Francisco in 1853; Alexander Elmslie, who settled in Philadelphia in 1802.
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The Elmsay Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Prenez garde
Motto Translation: Take care.
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)