Hi Dave, I wish I had a primary source. The LDS records at familysearch.org which in effect identify Thomas Esmay as Thomas Ismay and which state that his parents were Robert and Margaret Ismay from England were submitted after 1991 by an unknown submitter. The source of that information was not stated. Ancestry.com cites the Dictionary of American Family Names for the proposition that Esmay is simply a variant of Ismay. Of course, that also is a secondary source. On the other hand, if the LDS record is correct, and Thomas Esmay was really Thomas Ismay as stated, we will never find a primary source for Thomas Esmay and his Esmay parents, because such a primary source does not exist and never would have existed. The LDS records are also interesting for what they do not provide. If you search for the surname "Esmay", there are only three in the UK. That is not typical of a surname acquired eight hundred years ago or so. By contrast, the "Ismay" surname has an extensive history as further documented by the One Name Study compiled by Dave Nixon.
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