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According to the LDS records, by 1880 there were 106 Esmays in the U. S., and only one elsewhere in the world. There were only 17 Ismays in the US at that time and over 300 in the UK. Immigrants from the UK often went to South Africa and the Southwest Pacific. Over 17 Ismays are listed as having done so by 1880, but no Esmays. Today, according to the MSN white pages there are 103 telephone listings for Esmays and 46 for Ismays in the US. Of course, there are many Ismay telephone listings in the UK, but as yet I have found none for Esmay. Since at all times the Ismays greatly outnumbered the Esmays in the UK, odds are that the early ancestors were all Ismays. The predominant population of Esmays in the world today is in the US and they outnumber the Ismays, almost 2 to 1. It would seem more logical for the Ismays to greatly outnumber the Esmays as they do in the UK. The reversal of population numbers is consistent with a spelling variation occurring within the first generations of immigrants. Whether Ismay or Esmay, the preponderance of evidence from a superficial overview of the LDS records and other online records and expert opinion suggests an English heritage. I agree with those who have done many years of hard research on the Esmay surname, that before we definitely conclude that Thomas Esmay was Thomas Ismay beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt, we need some additional primary source documentation.