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Y-DNA: Y-chromosome mutations trace paternal lineages through history (Y is the male chromosome). The Y-DNA test is a scientific method used to establish genealogical kinship4. Genetic Haplotypes identify geographic regions to where our forebears may have migrated, or settled (it is like a genetic surname that is traceable beyond paper records). Y-DNA tests are used to determine, scientifically, if male individuals with a similar family surname, are indeed related. The epitomy of genealogy!
DNA testing can be far more cost effective than traditional paper-trail genealogy. Employing a genealogy researcher, or buying copies of ancient documents can be quite expensive, and at times unrewarding.
DNA testing can confirm the validity of paper records and family anecdotal evidence.
Compare your genealogy data with other individuals through online databases, and for
this group, the Edmonds / Edmunds Genealogy Project - Results page.
Genetic Genealogy avoids problems of spelling, name mismatches, 'errors of fact' on official documents, mistakes in records, gaps through missing records, also, events such as - emigration, adoption, remarriage, paternity, name changes, slavery, natural disasters, kidnapping, shipwreck, transportation, imprisonment, vague family anecdotes, etc.
Surnames were not commonly used in England until after 1066. The ruling Norman Barons passed laws in England after that time, to apply the same custom used in continental Europe, of issuing two or more names. Prior to this the name Edmund may have been the full name of a person. The suffix '-son' as in the surnames Edmondson, Edmonson, Edmundson, Edmenson, Edmison, &c., are all thought to mean 'Son of Edmund'. The 'son' was added to 'Edmund' to differentiate the son from the father, e.g. if they were living in the same area before 1066. Therefore, the surname still means 'rich protector', and the name of a son, was passed down at some stage to his descendants. The 's' on the end of Edmonds (or Edmunds) is also thought to represent the 'son of Edmond'.
The Edmonds derivatives with the prefix 'Mac': MacEdmond2, MacEamoinn2, MacEamuinn2, MacEmuin3, MacEomhain3, MacEmuin3, &c. are all Irish3. These are thought to have been anglicised to MacEdmond, and then to Edmonds3. The prefix 'Mac' also means 'Son of ...' There were also migrations to, and invasions of Ireland from England, which involved people with the English surname Edmonds. Thus the Irish Edmonds may not always be related to the English Edmonds, although some will be. There are claims that the name Edmondstone, Edmundstone, Edmonstone, and Edmunstone are from near Edinburgh Scotland (perhaps named after 'Edmund's town', which anectodes suggest was a town near Edinburgh, engulfed as Edinburgh developed). However I have not yet seen firm documenatry information on this (please forward any information to the email below). The surname 'de Edmundsville' will also relate to a town (and is probably a locative byname that means 'from Bury St Edmunds'). The name Edmund was held by two Anglo-Saxon Kings of England. Edmund I (r. 939-946) (Edmund the Deed-doer)9 and Edmund II (r. Apr-Nov 1016) (Edmund Ironside)10. There was also a King Edmund who ruled the kingdom of East Anglia (r. 855-870) (Edmund the Martyr)11. He was captured by the invading Vikings, but refused to renounce Christianity, or his Kingdom8,11,12. For this the Vikings whipped him, tied him to a tree, shot him until he bristled with arrows (apparently like a hedgehog), beheaded him, and threw his head into the bramble thickets (so that his body could not be buried in one piece)12. His followers searched for and found his head, said to be guarded by a wolf calling 'here, here, here'. His martyrdom led to him being named Saint Edmund. His body was eventually buried at Beadoricesworth, which is now known as Bury St. Edmunds, in West Suffolk11.
These heroic, and legendary figures perhaps contributed to the popularity of the given name Edmund. Also people living around Bury St Edmunds may have kept the name Edmunds as a surname (e.g. Tom the farmer from St. Edmunds, may have been called 'Tom de St. Edmunds' [i.e. locative byname, de = from], then 'Tom Edmunds' over time [see the Patriach's Page for more examples of this]). References:
1. Bardsley CW, 1901, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames with Special American Instances, Henry Frowde, London (p. 266)
2. Woulfe P, 1923, Irish Names and Surnames, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin (p.79 & supplement)
3. O’Hart J, 1923, Irish Pedigrees or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation, Volume 1, Murphy & McCarthy, New York (p. 438)
4. Institute of Legal Medicine, Charité - University Medicine Berlin, 2005, About the "YHRD - Y Chromosome Haplotype Reference Database"
[available online]: www.yhrd.org/index.html, 2005 July 31
5. Readers Digest Association, 1965, Readers Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary, Volume 3, Griffin Press, Adelaide (p. 1640)
6. Reany PH, Wilson RM, 1996, A Dictionary of English Surnames, Oxford University Press, Oxford (p. 151)
7. Hanks P, Hodges F, 1996, A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford University Press, Oxford ('Edmund')
8. Noble WTS, 2003, Names From Here And Far: The New Holland Dictionary Of Names, New Holland Publishers, Sydney (p. 184-185 'Edmund')
9. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2005, Encyclopedia Britannica Online: Edmund I, [available online]: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9032011, 2005 September 23
10. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2005, Encyclopedia Britannica Online: Edmund II, [available online]: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9032012, 2005 September 23
11. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2005, Encyclopedia Britannica Online: Edmund, [available online]: http://search.eb.com/eb/article-9032010, 2005September 23
12. Whitelock D, 1969, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archealogy: Fact and Fiction in the Legend of St. Edmund, Issue 31 (1969) (p.217-233)
[available online]: http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/research/rawl/edmund/whitelock.html, 2005 September 23
Edmonds Edmunds Genealogy Project - Results page - For the results of edmonds genealogy and dna comparison so far.
For more information on the relationship between DNA testing and traditional genealogy, please visit the World Families Network.
Website Author (now retired): Bruce Edmonds & Darren Edmonds