Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): metonymic occupational name from Yiddish emer ‘pail’, ‘bucket’.
Another source has this explanation:
This unusual surname has two origins.
Firstly, it may be from the Anglo-Saxon personal name Ermhar
, meaning "large army."
Secondly, it may have originated as one of the forms of Aylmer
, from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Aethelmaer
", meaning "famous noble." The spellings were "fused" in the medieval period, making it impossible to decide the origin of a particular surname.
Early examples of the surname recordings include: the christening of Elizabeth Emere
on June 15th 1541, at Christ Church, Greyfriars, Newgate, London; the christening of Agness 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.
Sir John Eamer, became Lord Mayor of London in 1801 and 1802. His coat of arms has the blazon 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
This was dated 1180, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Henry XI, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.