This surname HEEMS was both a locational and baptismal name 'the son of Emma' from the nickname Emm, and also perhaps a topographic name for someone who lived in a house situated at a border of some sort. The name was originally derived from the Old English HEMM (border) and HUS (house). It was perhaps a regional name for someone who lived on the border country between England and Wales, or a habitation name from The Hem, a village near Montgomery. Local names usually denoted where a man held land. Early records of the name mention Thomas Ealmes and Catherine Lambarte, who were married in London in 1567. Reverend Charles Wragg married Catherine Emes at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1732. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream.
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