This interesting and unusual surname has two possible sources.
Firstly, it may be of Old French origin, as a variant of "Emmer
", which comes from an Old Germanic personal name composed of the elements "erm", a short form of "ermin", meaning large, and "har", from "hari", an army. This was probably introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066.
Secondly, the surname may have originated as one of the variant forms of "Aylmer
", which is an Anglo-Saxon name, from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Aethelmaer
", Middle English "Ailmar
", composed of the elements "aethel", noble, and "maer", famous. Early examples of the surname include: the christening of Elizabeth Emere
on June 15th 1541, at Christ Church, Greyfriars, Newgate, London; the christening of Agness
, daughter of Marcell
and Barbara Emer
, on March 14th 1596, at Pfalz, Bayern, Germany; and the christening of Thomas
, son of John Eamer
, on August 2nd 1685, at Rose Ash, Devonshire.
The surname is more regularly recorded in Church Registers of Gloucestershire and Lancashire than any other county. Sir John Eamer, knighted in 1794, became Lord Mayor of London in 1801, and 1802, and was granted a Coat of Arms. This consists of a shield divided quarterly with two gold lions passant in pale in the first and fourth azure quarters, and three azure lions' heads erased on a silver chief in the second and third black quarter. The Motto is "Strenue et prospere", (Earnestly and successfully).
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip Aimer
, which was dated 1180, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Henry IX, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.