Hemslay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Hemslay surname 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 Hemslay family
The surname Hemslay 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 Hemslay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hemslay research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hemslay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Hemslay Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Hemslay are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Hemslay include: Elmslie, Elmsley, Emsley, Elmesley, Helmsley, Emesley, Emesly, Ernele and many more.
Early Notables of the Hemslay family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Hemslay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Hemslay family
Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Hemslay 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.
Related Stories +
The Hemslay 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)