Explore the Family Name Elmer

The meaning of Elmer

1. English: variant of Elmore. 2. English: habitational name from Elmer in Middleton (Sussex), probably named with Old English ǣl ‘eel’ + mere ‘pool’. 3. German: topographic name for someone living near elm trees, from Middle High German elm ‘elm tree’. 4. Swiss German: habitational name from a village so named in Glarus canton. 5. North German: from an ancient Germanic personal name composed of agil ‘point, edge (of a sword)’ + mar ‘well known, famous’. History: Edward Elmer was one of the founders of Hartford, CT (coming from Cambridge, MA with Thomas Hooker), in 1635.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Elmer in the United States?

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Elmer saw slight shifts between 2000 and 2010. The rank of the name fell slightly from 5432 in 2000 to 5671 in 2010, a change of -4.4%. In terms of absolute counts, however, the number of individuals with the surname Elmer increased by 3.78%, from 5896 to 6119. This resulted in a minor dip of -5.48% in the proportion per 100,000 people, moving from 2.19 in 2000 to 2.07 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k2.192.07-5.48%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Elmer

In terms of ethnicity, the Decennial U.S. Census data shows interesting changes for the surname Elmer. The percentage identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander showed a significant increase of 67.39%, though the total percentage remains under 1%. Those identifying as having two or more ethnic identities also increased by 60.22%. Despite a minor decline of -2.21%, the majority of Elmers still identify as White, making up 92.09% in 2010. Meanwhile, the percent identifying as Hispanic rose by 45.98%, and those identifying as Black saw an increase of 11.19%. The American Indian and Alaskan Native category saw a modest increase of 4.65%.

Two or More Races0.93%1.49%60.22%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.86%0.9%4.65%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.46%0.77%67.39%

Elmer ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Elmer is British & Irish, which comprises 47.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (29.4%) and Scandinavian (6.8%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Spanish & Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, Indigenous American, and Italian.

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British & Irish47.8%
French & German29.4%

Possible origins of the surname Elmer

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Elmer have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
West Midlands, United Kingdom84.40%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.40%
Lancashire, United Kingdom84.40%
Greater London, United Kingdom84.40%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom83.70%

What Elmer haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Elmer is R-DF95, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-DF95 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include I-M170 and R-M405, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Olds, Snead, Lunsford, Sneed, Damron, Pipkin, Knowlton, Hooten, Zorn, Bouchard.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Elmer surname are: H1, J1c, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

elmerPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to King Louis XVI

The rule of France by men of the House of Bourbon began with King Henri IV in 1589 C.E. and continued until the beheading of his direct paternal descendant King Louis XVI in 1793. Several years ago, researchers analyzed a mummified head and a blood-soaked cloth that they believed might belong to the two kings, and concluded that the royal paternal line belonged to haplogroup G. In a more recent study, however, a different set of researchers tested three living men who are direct descendants of the Bourbon kings. Their efforts revealed that the male lineage of the House of Bourbon is actually a branch of haplogroup R-M405.

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Elmer have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Elmer" Surname 36.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Elmer" Surname 40.6%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Elmer" Surname 25.5%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Elmer" Surname 17.9%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Elmer?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Elmer are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%