From a medieval form of the Latin name Aemilia, the feminine version of the old Roman family name Aemilius (probably from aemulus ‘rival’). It was not common in the Middle Ages, but was revived in the 19th century and is extremely popular throughout the English-speaking world today. Its best-known 19th‐century bearer was probably the novelist and poet Emily Brontë (1818–48).
English: habitational name from places so named in Staffordshire and Sussex. The former was named in Old English as ‘open country (feld) where madder (mæddre) grows’, while the latter was named as ‘open country where mayweed (mægðe) grows’. The surname is now most common in Nottinghamshire.