Emlay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The ancestry of the name Emlay dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the 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 Emlay family
The surname Emlay 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 Emlay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Emlay research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Emlay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Emlay Spelling Variations
Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Emlay have been found, including Elmslie, Elmsley, Emsley, Elmesley, Helmsley, Emesley, Emesly, Ernele and many more.
Early Notables of the Emlay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Emlay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Emlay family
Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Emlay, or a variant listed above: 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 Emlay 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)