Emmaternal

Complete short article
How girls' first names worked like surnames in the female line. This article is a family tree of Emmas.
The name Emma had a surge of popularity around 1800, which may have been partly because of the fame of Emma, Lady Hamilton, mistress of Horatio Nelson. But her given name was actually Amy, which may have been a variant of the same name, as there were Amey, Amie, Emy, Em, Emm, Emme, and Emmea all found in baptisms at Covent Garden 1660-1740. Even with these variants the name was almost extinct in London in the mid-eighteenth century, though it survived (sometimes spelt Emma) in a small way in various rural districts. It began creeping back in London from the late 1770s. Perhaps Matthew Prior's 1708 poem Henry & Emma, set in the Middle Ages, had something to do with it, or a greater appreciation of the Saxon Queen Emma's importance in history. But towards the end of the eighteenth century the name got quite popular for well-born characters in plays and novels who were usually wayward or tragic or both, and the future Lady Hamilton adopted it around that time. However it had also persisted throughout the eighteenth century in some wealthy families as what I would call a female surname. In the tree below I have only capitalised EMMA when mentioning a new Emma, there were 27 of them across two centuries and though I haven't thoroughly traced all other female descendants I think that was a clear majority of the female descendants of Robert Charlton of Whitton, who married EMMA Harby of Adston, Northants.
Their son Sir Job Charlton 1614-1697 had four children, Sir Francis Charlton 1651-1729, Dorothy Charlton who married Sir Edward Leighton, EMMA Charlton who married Thomas Cornwallis of Albemarles, Carmarthen, and Gilbert Charlton. Sir Francis Charlton had a son Sir Blunden Charlton whose daughter EMMA Charlton lived from 1706-1782, and a daughter EMMA Charlton who married John Lloyd of Aston, Salop in 1739. Dorothy Leighton had a granddaughter EMMA Leighton born 1718, a grandson Baldwyn Leighton whose daughter EMMA Leighton lived from 1755 to 1832, and a grandson Sir Charlton Leighton who married his cousin EMMA Maude and their daughter EMMA Elizabeth Leighton married John Corbet in 1774. Emma Cornwallis had a daughter EMMA Cornwallis and a daughter Eleanor Cornwallis who married Sir Robert Maude, their daughter Emma married her cousin Sir Charlton Leighton (as above) and their son Cornwallis Maude, Viscount Hawarden, had a daughter EMMA Mary Maude who married Ralph John Cartwright of Aynho, Northants in 1794. Gilbert Charlton had a daughter EMMA Charlton who married George Loddington of Bracebridge Lincs, and a daughter Ann Charlton who married Richard Brough of Thorston, Notts and had a granddaughter EMMA Brough who married Rev Charles Fynes in 1779.
EMMA Charlton (sister of Sir Job Charlton 1614-1697) married Sir Henry Barnard, and their daughter EMMA Barnard married firstly Francis Willoughby, and their son Thomas Willoughby, 1st Baron Middleton, had a son Francis Willoughby whose daughter EMMA Willoughby died young, and a son Thomas Willoughby whose daughter EMMA Willoughby married the Rev Nathaniel Hodgson. Emma Barnard married secondly Josiah Child, and their son Richard Child, Earl Tylney had a daughter EMMA Child who married Sir Robert Long in 1735, and had a son Sir James Tilney-Long who had a daughter EMMA Tilney-Long. Sir Robert & Emma Long also had a daughter EMMA Long 1742-1786 and a son Charles Long whose daughter EMMA Long married William Scroope in 1794 and had a daughter EMMA Scrope who married George Poulett Thomson. Another daughter of Sir Henry Barnard and Emma, sister of Sir Job Charlton, was Elizabeth Barnard who married Sir James Brydges, their daughter Mary Brydges married Theophilus Leigh and had a daughter EMMA Leigh who married Peter Waldo and had a daughter EMMA Waldo who married Henry Arnold. Another daughter of Sir James & Elizabeth Brydges was Anne Brydges who married Charles Walcot and had a daughter EMMA Walcot, and another daughter of Sir James & Elizabeth Brydges was EMMA Brydges who married Edmund Chamberlain and as well as a daughter EMMA Chamberlain had a son Edmund Chamberlain who had a daughter EMMA Elizabeth Chamberlain who married Thomas Gowland.