This is an old and rare name from the far north of England, and often confused with "Cartmell" with which it shares a Norse-Viking ancestry. The name is topographical and derives from "kartr" meaning rocky or stony, plus "mere" a pool or possibly "mor" - a morass. The modern village of Cartermoor in Northumberland may be the original location. However unlike "Cartmell", a surname now found in most U.K. localities, "Cartmer" remains rare suggesting that the original location was probably "cleared" in the pre 17th Century, either by plague, war or agricultural enclosure, and the few inhabitants dispersed, taking the name of their hamlet with them. The earliest recording is in Lancashire as shown below, other recordings include the variant form of Carthmers, one James Carthmers being recorded at Stow Chapel, Mile End Road, London, on July 5th 1810, whilst later on May 1st 1860, William Cartmer was recorded at St. Peters church, Liverpool at the christening of his daughter, Grace. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Cartmer, which was dated February 7th 1619, at the christening of his son (also James) at Ormskirk church, Lancashire, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1587-1625. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.