I’m moving along on the supposition that Ed Elmer was probably a solidly middle-class guy, but maybe at the lower end of wealth from Ed Elmer Regular Guy and also following up on my post about the surprising number of Elmers in Essex (although a decided lack of Ed Elmers in available records there) that leaves open the possibility that he was a resident in Braintree or Bocking but that his paperwork is missing.
Of course not all the puritans were from Essex and neither were all the passengers on the Lyon (using this comparison of varying accounts from the Whipple family site as a reference). The source of all knowledge Wikipedia says that nearly half of all puritans came broadly from East Anglia. This random British travel site seems to agree. The Whipple passenger lists have people from Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, Surrey, Hertfordshire, and Northamptonshire. Although fewer in number than the Essex passengers they are not insignificant. Edward ends up settling in Hartford which is named after Hertfordshire after all.
When I was looking at Essex I cast a pretty broad net to get a feeling for how many Elmer families lived there in the early 1600s. Looking at counties like Norfolk, I can afford to be a bit pickier. Where possible I’ve looked up hearth tax records online and I found a great search site at https://www.freereg.org.uk/ that has tons of parish records. My focus for those parish records has been on Edward Elmers.
I’m not from Britain so I may be grouping these towns wrong, but for the sake of some sort of order, I’m going to try to cluster these a bit for context. I’ll bold the Hearth Tax Records which will be roughly 50 to 70 years later (1670’s) than the vital records I can find between 1590 and 1620.
The hearth tax records are meant to provide some idea of the general state of Elmers in the area after Edward’s departure. Following the theory that Edward’s remaining family in England would have had some means, we’d be looking at a yeoman class person up to a wealthy craftsman so roughly 2 to 7 hearths.
Elmers from Norfolk
Norfolk is the home county for Bishop John Aylmer. It’s also home to a large amount of Elmers, Ailmers, Elmores and other name variants. It is thick with Elmers. The family and court records I dug up in the past are overwhelming, to the point that I got tired of copying them. If you had to guess where Ed Elmer was from, then I think Norfolk would be the safest guess based on surname alone.
In my record search from 1590 to 1620 there are 138 Elmer records (baptism, burial, marriage) in Norfolk. Compare that to the 22 records I find in Essex or the 14 records I find in Suffolk for the same period and you get an idea of how dense the Elmer population is there.
Because of that, I’ve gotten pretty picky with Norfolk. I’m only looking at birth, burial or marriage records related to Edward Elmers. The hearth tax records are there for the general flavor to show the means of Elmer families in the area after Edward had migrated to America.
Norfolk hearth taxes found at: https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/204870-norfolk-hearth-tax-assessment-michaelmas-1664-vol-15?offset=1
King’s Lynn Area
You can see the vital records at the top of Norfolk as a red pin near Brancaster. I don’t know if the Edward Elmer buried in 1610 represents the child born around 1605, or his father also named Edward who was married to Isabell just the year before the birth, in 1604, or if the 1610 Edward Elmer is unrelated. All I’ve seen are the indexes. I can see that Edward and Isabell have a son named Edward in 1605, a son named John around 1607, a son Oliver in 1608 and then Isabell is oddly listed alone as the mother of Bridget Elmer in 1616. I couldn’t find any birth records for Edward Elmers born in Norfolk between 1500 and 1612. I suspect that Edward the younger is the death in 1610, but I can’t be sure. I can’t find the death of Edward senior.
Isabell FOULL Edward ELMER Marriage 25 Jan 1604/5 – St Mary the Virgin : Parish Register
Edward? ELMER Baptism 29 Sep 1605 – St Mary the Virgin : Parish Register
Edward ELMER Burial 10 Jun 1610 – St Mary the Virgin : Parish Register
Thomas Elmore 4 hearths
Rich Elmore 2 Hearths
Wiggenhall St Germans
Mr Ailmer 3 hearths.
There are several records for Almer births in Scoulton (Red pin on the map by the Hingham star) with what appear to be a couple of generations in my 1590 to 1620 range. Edward Almer is the son of William Almer who appears to have multiple children in the 1590 and early 1600s. There are also multiple records for Aylmers who may be the same family with a different spelling. Almer seems to be the older record set with Aylmers becoming dominant later. I looked for records of Edward Almer later from 1620 to 1700 in Scoulton to see if he married or died there but I found none.
Edward ALMER Baptism 25 Jan 1608/9 – Holy Trinity : Archdeacon’s Transcript
Edward Almer really caught my attention so I looked to see if Scoulton had puritan activity and found this passage that makes it sound like there was some current of puritanism there. From the google book “Faith, Hope and Charity: English Neighbourhoods, 1500–1640” By Andy Wood
Hockwold cum Wilton
Millicent Aylmer – 2 hearths
Robt Aylmer – 3 hearths
Sam Aylmer – 3 hearths
Robt Aylmer – 2 hearths
Chr (Christopher? Charles?) Aylmer – 2 hearths
Richard Elmer – 6 hearths
I found no Elmers in Hingham in the 1590 to 1620 range. I have a star on Hingham because it’s history with the Puritans is interesting. A large portion of the town left for America in the 1630’s including the ancestors of Abraham Lincoln. Hingham Massachusetts was settled by people transplanted from Hingham Norfolk. According to sources quoted on Wikipedia “The parishioners who left Hingham had been so prominent in the Hingham community that the town was forced to petition British Parliament, saying their town had been devastated by the emigration. They told the House of Commons that “most of the able Inhabitants have forsaken their dwellings and have gone severall ways for their peace and quiett and the town is now left and like in the misery by reason of the meanness of the [remaining] Inhabitants.”
Hingham is 3 miles from Scoulton.
St Margaret Parish Norwich
This Edward Elmer (Red pin above) is at the top end for birth date I would think. Being born in 1617 would have made him only 15 when he traveled on the Lyon in 1632. I don’t know if that is likely or not. It seems awfully young and it seems odd that he would be traveling alone in 1632. He’s the son of Nathaniell Elmer. I’ve found no record of his marriage or death in Norfolk, although I can see that Nathaniell dies in 1649/1650 in Norwich. Nathaniell was a Worsted Weaver. Nathaniell’s death is recorded at St. Peter Mancroft where there is a tapestry hanging that was created by Dutch and Flemish weavers who came to Norwich according to this article on the 1000 plus Dutch and Flemish strangers. Several of the Elmers with burials at St. Peter Mancroft appear to be weavers or related to Elmer weavers.
Edward ELMER Baptism 14 Aug 1617 – St Margaret : Parish Register
John Elmer – 1 hearth
John Elmer – 2 hearths
Robt Elmer – 4 hearths
Pullham (Market) St Marie
John Elmer – 1 hearth
Wortwell; hamlett of aldeburgh
Isaac Elmer – 2 hearths
Elmers from Suffolk
There are fewer Elmer records in Suffolk from 1590 to 1620 (roughly 14) than I find in Norfolk, although plenty of hearth tax records from 1674. When I extend my vital record searches to 1690 I see more literal “Elmers” showing up in records in the 1660s and 1670s (as opposed to Almers who dominate in 1590 to 1620). It may be that the Elmer hearth records are showing new Elmer families moving into Suffolk…while the low level of “Elmer” vital records (really just the one family from Bury St. Edmunds seem trustworthy) may show a transient Elmer family with the residents from the hearth tax records representing newer families in Suffolk.
Suffolk hearth taxes found at: https://archive.org/details/suffolkin1674bei00shah/page/142/mode/2up
West Side Bury, Sudbury…Cowlinge
Bury St. Edmunds
From the records in Bury St. Edmunds there is at least one Elmer family. Robert has sons Edward in 1595 and Nicholas in 1594 one record is spelled Ellmer and the other Elmer. I found no other records for the family. I don’t see them in my Suffolk searches, even when I extend it out to 1690.
Edward ELLMER Baptism 9 Nov 1595 – St James : Other Transcript
Robert Elmer – 3 hearths
Sudbury Babergh St. Peters
Step. Ellmer – 3 hearths
Cowlinge in Risbridge
The bulk of the Almer records from 1590 to 1620 are in the general vicinity of Cowlinge. Most are from Lidgate roughly 3 miles away with a few popping up in Wickhambrook about 4 miles to the east. The Almer families show up in vital records in Lidgate until the 1660s.
William Almer – 2 hearths
North and East
Hepworth (north of Stanton on the west side of the map)
Jo Elmor – 2 hearths
Grig Ellmer – 3 hearths
Jo Elmer – 4 hearths
widow Elmer – 1 hearth
Ashfield Thredling (to the west of Bruisyard and Sweffling)
Rich. Elmer, Stannard – 2 hearths (not sure what Stannard represents here)
Swefling in Plomesgate
Thomas Elmore – 3 hearths
Thomas Elmer – 2 hearths
South and East
Henry Elmer – 2 hearths
… Almer – 2 hearths
A sort of dodgy record for an Elinore family came up in my searches from 1590 to 1620 in Woodbridge. I’m not sure what to make of them. It could be a transcription error.
Widow Almer – 2 hearths
Elmers from Sussex
There are 45 vital records for Aylmers (of various spellings) and 8 vital records for Elmers in Sussex between 1590 and 1620. The Aylmers were active in Sidlesham and Boxgrove. I couldn’t find a good source for Sussex hearth taxes online, although it appears there is a book I could order. Here’s a walking map from Sidlesham to Boxgrove roughly 8 miles away.
Edward Aylmer is born to John Aylmer in Sidlesham but dies as an infant.
Edward AYLMER Baptism 28 Feb 1606/7 St Mary Our Lady : Parish Register
Edward AYLMER Burial 09 Mar 1606/7 St Mary Our Lady : Parish Register
Elmers in London
The St. Mary Le Bow Edward Elmores show in my vital records searches from 1590 to 1620. As we found out Edward Elmore senior, a fishmonger, had two sons named Edward who did not survive childhood. He then also died in 1620. The Elmore family maintains a presence in the area, but that particular set of Edward Elmores was a dead end. We have more on the roads we followed trying to tie up loose ends for Ed Elmer here:
The end of the Edward Elmers
That marks the end of my Edward Elmer teasers in England between 1590 and 1620. There are Elmers, Almers, Aylmers, etc. that are active in many counties. These searchable records are amazing but also incomplete. I can’t negate the idea that Ed Elmer is from Northhamptonshire, for instance, but I couldn’t find Ed Elmer records there.
I found the Ed Almer record from Scoulton to be pretty interesting because of timing and proximity to Hingham. Hingham’s exodus happens a few years after Ed leaves for the new world with the Braintree company. It would make Ed roughly 36 when he was married and 60 when he’s relieved of watching and warding and roughly 68 when he is killed.
I suspect Ed Elmer from Brancaster dies in 1610, but I have no way to confirm that. Born in 1605 this Edward would be 27 when the Lyon departed. 39 when he was first married (a bit on the older side). 62 when he was freed from watching and 71 when he was killed.
Ed Elmer from Norwich born in 1617 seems young at first but then fits better later. He would be 15 when the Lyon set sail, but I’ve suspected in the past that Ed was an unmarried young man, possibly under the watchful eye of another family on the journey. Ed is married in 1644 which would make him 27. The average age for a man to marry in Puritan society is about 26 according to womens history blog. That doesn’t seem too unreasonable. He would have been 51 when relieved of watching and 59 when he died. The average life expectancy seems to be around 70 for men in New England at the time and Ed didn’t die from natural causes.
Edward from Bury St. Edmunds seems to be pretty long in the tooth. He would have been in his late 30’s for the trip and almost 50 when he was first married and 81 when he was killed. This Ed Elmer just seems unlikely.
Just for Fun
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see where the other two close Y DNA families might be in England at the time of Edward’s birth.
Lunsfords, Lunsfords in England
The Lunsfords are the second closest family roughly 700 or 800 AD for a common ancestor. Doing the SNP trick with two new big Y results I get 15 * 83 for us and 13 * 83 for them. That’s 1245 + 1079/2 = 1162. 1950 – 1162 = roughly 788 AD for a common Y ancestor with the Lunsfords. Here are the Lunsfords from 1590 to 1620. I dropped back to 1500 with them as a kind of survey and they still seem clustered around Sussex and Kent.
Lunsfords in Hastings
William LUNSFORD Baptism 07 Jun 1590 Sussex Hastings : All Saints : Parish Register
William LUNSFORD Baptism 7 Jun 1590 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
Joan LUNSFORD Burial 2 Mar 1593/4 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
William LUNSFORD Burial 10 Jan 1594/5 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
Agnes LUNSFORD Baptism 23 Nov 1595 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
Elizabeth LUNSFORD Baptism 14 Dec 1606 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
Bridgett LUNSFORD Burial 2 Nov 1609 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
….LUNSFORD Burial 18 Nov 1609 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
Joane ROGERS Thomas LUNSFORD Marriage 05 Sep 1610 Sussex Hastings : St Clement Old Town : Parish Register
John LUNSFORD Burial 24 Jan 1617/18 Sussex Hastings : All Saints : Parish Register
Lunsfords in Kent
John LUNSFORD Burial 02 Nov 1593 Kent Benenden : St George : Other Transcript
Sarah LUNSFORD John KNIGHT Marriage 10 Aug 1620 Kent Tenterden : St Mildred : Parish Register
Knowltons, Knowltons in England
Currently our closest non-Elmer Y DNA relatives, the Knowltons are still far enough back that we likely don not have a common male line ancestor in the time of the common use of surnames in England. Testing shows our families diverged 7 Y SNPs before Edward Elmer was born. Most estimates have shown a shared ancestor around the time of the Norman invasion. When I do the trick of using SNP calculations I get 12 Big Y SNPs for the Elmers back to the common Y SNP. So 12 * 83 years. Then 5 SNPs for our Knowlton tester with old Big Y: 5 * 125 years. That’s 996 + 625 = 1621. 1621/2 = 810.5 years. 1950 – 810 years is roughly 1140 AD for the common ancestor with the Knowltons.
Here are some vital records in the range of 1590 to 1620 for Knowltons (and spelling variants). I’m limiting them here to just 1590 to 1620 but it’s worth noting that there are many Knowltons of various spellings in Kent and Middlesex between 1500 and 1600. These are Knowltons who would be roughly the same age as Ed Elmer.
Knowltons in Essex
Allis NOWLTON Baptism 30 Apr 1592 Essex West Bergholt : St Mary the Virgin : Parish Register
Knowltons in Norfolk
Elizabeth NULTON? Baptism 02 Apr 1609 Norfolk Hevingham : St Botolph : Archdeacon’s Transcript
Margaret KNOULTON Burial 23 Apr 1597 Norfolk Halvergate : St Peter and St Paul : Parish Register
Knowltons in Yorkshire
Tho. WOLTON (OR NOLTON) Baptism 30 Jan 1609/10 Yorkshire, West Riding Leeds : St Peter : Other Transcript
Knowltons in Hampshire
Richard KNOWLTON Baptism 12 Oct 1600 Hampshire Church Oakley : St Leonard : Parish Register
Margerys KNOWLTON Baptism 22 Jan 1603/4 Hampshire Church Oakley : St Leonard : Parish Register
Knowltons in Surrey
Susan KNOWLDEN Baptism 26 Dec 1610 Surrey Bletchingley : St Mary the Virgin : Parish Register
James KNOWLDIN Baptism 27 Sep 1618 Surrey Bletchingley : St Mary the Virgin : Parish Register
I to have found that the Elmer name is pretty common in east anglia, I’m in the North of England but my 2x great grandfather arthur Elmer born 1860 pulham st mary norfolk, came north I assume for work.
Good to meet you Darren.
I say I couldn’t find records of Ed Elmer in Northamptonshire but that is not actually the case. In 2017 I gathered an index from the national archives that references an Edward Elmer in Quinton.
My name is Eric Arthur Elmer. I love in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am the son of George Edward Elmer who was born in Portsmouth, Hants, England in 1901.
I have easily traced my family tree to Jonathan Elmer, born 1818 in Great Oakley, Essex. He lived in Westminster, London and St George Hanover Square, London. He and his wife Elizabeth had a number of children (including George Jonathan Elmer my great-grandfather). Jonathan died near London in the early 1900’s.
This is Jeff Elmer, I am part of the Elmer group too. I ran across it after using Ancestry.com and doing DNA testing. Mike Thompson is a resident expert among a couple of others who keep our interest burning and validating our link to the past through their extensive research and investigation. One of the key elements is the DNA testing and it’s link in our family tree. Each person’s test helps to make connections. Have you done any DNA testing? If yes have you shared your results? Right now we have good connections back to the Edward Elmer that first came to the colonies, but nothing solid and concrete earlier than that. I hope you and your family are well and wish you all the best.
I would appreciate any additional information concerning Jonathan Elmer and/or his family who were originally from Great Oakley, Essex, England.