The surname of NELMES was a locational name 'the dweller at the elms' from residence nearby some trees that would have meant a special landmark, maybe a meeting place or near a town or village. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. The name was derived from the Old English word ELM. There is also a place 'ELM ' a parish in County Somerset. Early records of the name mention Osbert atte Elme, 1273, County Oxford. Richard de Ulmo, ibid. John atte Elme was recorded in 1316 in County Worcestershire, and Stephen ate Nelme was documented in 1317 in County Kent. Semannus atte Nelmes, 1356, County Essex. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Later instances mention Marye, daughter of Jesper Nellmes who was buried at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1639. Charles Byne and Elizabeth Nelms were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1714. Thomas Degory and Eleanor Nelms were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1803. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Elm).
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