Select Emerson Surname Genealogy

Here are some Emerson stories and accounts over the years:

From Aimeric to Emerson

Philip of Poitou accompanied King Richard I as his clerk to the Holy Land on the Third Crusade and, through this relationship, was appointed Archdeacon of Canterbury.  He was also successful in obtaining a license to operate a mint in Durham and in installing his nephew Aimeric de Taillebois as Archdeacon of Durham. 

This Aimeric left issue, said to be a son (Richard fil Emerie) and two grandsons (Emerie fil Emerie), and is thought to have been the forebear of the Emersons in England.  This
descent is believed to explain the long connection of the Emersons with the Bishopric of Durham, especially as parkers, foresters, and gatekeepers of the park belonging to the Bishopric.

Peter Henry Emerson in his 1898 book The English Emersons concluded the following about the Emerson origins: 

“In county Durham we find several Emerysons before 1400 and they increase rapidly between 1400 and 1500 and more rapidly still subsequently; whereas - with the singular exception of two Yorkshire Emersons - we find no Emerysons (Emersons) in any other county in England until after 1500. 

We may therefore fairly suppose that the Emerysons originated in county Durham; and may also suppose they are all descended from Aimeric, Archdeacon of Durham, the only one of the name of whom we have any early record in Durham."

Emersons in the 1881 English Census

Numbers (000's)

The Emerson name appeared in clusters in this census.  Stanhope in Durham accounted for almost half of the Durham Emersons; and Louth in Lincolnshire more than a quarter of the Lincolnshire Emersons.

Emersons in Stanhope, Durham

Emerson was the fourth most common surname in Stanhope in the 1881 census and accounted for almost half of all the Emersons in Durham. 

Stanhope in Weardale was an area for lead mining.  Its population increased in the 18th century as new technology enabled deeper mines to be sunk.  Miners’ pay was poor and families usually needed to supplement their income by farming small holdings on the hillside.  Fathers and sons would work at the mine while mothers and daughters tended to the animals. 

One Emerson family of lead miners in Stanhope dates from the 1740’s.  Thomas Emerson, a miner, died there in 1818 at the age of seventy eight.  The 1851 census showed the family of Thomas Emerson, lead miner, and his family at Pudding Thorn in Stanhope.

Thomas Emerson, Forebear to Ralph Waldo

Thomas Emerson was born at Bishops Stortford in Durham in 1584.  Tradition has it that he came with his wife and children on the Elizabeth Ann in 1635.  In 1638 he was in Ipswich, Massachusetts where he received a deed of 120 acres from Samuel Greenfield, a weaver.  This was the basis of the Turkey Shore farm which was to remain in the family for generations.  Thomas himself died in 1666 and left a very considerable estate to his family. 

The line ran from Thomas's son Joseph, a Puritan minister who settled in Concord, through five generations of clergymen to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The Emersons Foray into Canada

In the early 1760’s Theodotia Emerson and four of his sons left Massachusetts for Nova Scotia to pursue their dream of acquiring land.  At that time there was an attempt to reinforce the colonies of Nova Scotia, probably because of the French and Indian Wars, so land grants were being offered.  Some 350 people set off from Massachusetts for Nova Scotia to clear the land in an effort to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Following the Revolutionary War, the new settlers of Nova Scotia were asked to pledge allegiance to the King.  The Emersons refused and they were driven out and their homes burned.  Setting sail, hidden by the coves at night to avoid pursuit, they managed to escape Canada. 

Samuel Emerson and his family landed in Mount Desert Island across the bay; while Joseph and Benjamin went back to the Bristol county area of Massachusetts and set up their home in Rehoboth.  It is believed that their father Theodotia had died in Sackville, Nova Scotia, probably around 1780, and was buried there.

Roy Emerson's Family Background

Roy Emerson was an Australian tennis player of the 1960's, the holder of twelve Grand Slam singles titles. 

His grandfather was originally from Durham in England and had emigrated to Australia in the late 1800’s.  Roy himself grew up on his father’s 800 acre dairy farm at Blackbutt in Queensland. 
The farm had one tennis court and 160 cows, which Roy milked almost every day.  The family moved to Brisbane in 1951 for no other reason really than to promote Roy’s tennis ambitions.

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