Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Emtage, Hemptage
Category: 2 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way, but currently in some countries only.
Contact: Ms Susan Morris
To those of us researching the Emptage family, it seemed that it is an uncommon name but we needed proof.
In January 2014, searching the database at http://www.taliesin-arlein.net/names/search.php offered the opportunity to enter a name and discover how it ranked according to an extract of the Office of National Statistics containing names in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Man in September 2002. The list contains 270,000 surnames, shared by 54.4 million people and excludes those names which are shared by fewer than five people.
Entering the name Emptage resulted in a count of 508 people who shared the name and a ranking of 11,239 in the list of 270,000 names. Just 508 people, give or take any level of duplication on the list. 508 people out of 54.4 million people. That seemed to indicate that Emptage is indeed an uncommon name.
At the time of the 1841 census in England, there were 122 people in England named Emptage:
Kent: 98 lived on the Isle of Thanet, 13 on the Isle of Sheppey, and 6 others elsewhere in Kent. Hampshire: 2 lived in Portsea, having originated on Sheppey Yorkshire: a widowed woman whose husband originated on Sheppey and her two children.
There were also 10 people named Emtage, 5 in Thanet and 5 in Grimsby. We know that the Emtage/Emptage branch arrived in Grimsby from the Isle of Sheppey.
There were two people named Hemptage who were living in London, born out of county. The 1851 census shows the couple as Emptage, born in Margate. At various times Hemptage rather than Emptage has appeared in the parish registers in Thanet but it seems likely that the vicar mis-heard the name rather than there being two different families named Emptage and Hemptage.
And so there were a total of 134 people with the Emptage or Emtage surname in England in 1842.
From the census and from subsequent research, it seems to us that not only is the name an uncommon one but also there is a very strong possibility that the name and the Emptage/Emtage family originated in Kent, specifically in the Isle of Thanet.
And so the idea of conducting a worldwide one-name study began to take root.
Our website was named before we began developing our research into a one-name study and reflects the fact that the six founding members of our group could trace our ancestors back to Thanet. However, we have since been joined by those descended from the Isle of Sheppey, from Barbados and the USA. Through two trees on ancestry.com, we are in touch with other family historians with Emptage or Emtage ancestors somewhere in their tree and we would like to hear from anyone else with the Emptage or Emtage surname.
Name Origins and Variants
Whilst spelling variations between Emptage, Emtage and Hemptage simply reflect non standardised spelling in parish registers or censuses, it is possible that Empton and Empty may also be variants of the name, though originating from other parts of the country.
Parish registers show that, although there were only 2 Empton in the country in 1841, both in Margate, Thanet, there were other Emptons around the country before 1841 and since then. And there were also 11 people with the surname Empty in England in 1841.
Our current theory is that the name originates from Anglo-Saxon times. The Anglo-Saxon dictionary, published in 1921, gives the words:
"æmettig, æmetig, æmtig: of space, empty, void, vacant"
'æmettig' appears to be pronounced in the way we pronounce our name and from æmitig to Emtige or Emptage is not a great leap, especially when considering Norman influences on the language. Nor does it seem unlikley that the names Empton and Empty may have the same origins though not necessarily connected to the Emptages.
We are currently transcribing a large number of Emptage wills and probate accounts held by the Kent History and Library Centre at Maidstone. They are dated between 1489 and 1732, all from Kent, most from Thanet including the earliest, with spelling of the surname varying from Emptrach, Emptiach, Empthyach and Emptiage before settling down as Emptage in 1557.
We have established a DNA Study and, as at January 2019, several direct male Emptage or Emtage descendants whose origins were in Thanet, Sheppey, Barbados or the USA have been shown to have had the same common ancestor, perhaps some 400 years ago. We live in hope of determining who that ancestor was. And we welcome any other male Emptage or Emtages who would like to join the study.
To discover the origins of all those with the surname Emptage and Emtage and any variant, worldwide.
To establish how many of those people can claim their origins in a small part of England called the Isle of Thanet.
To build and maintain databases of all those we come across.
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: