Can I add my vote to Norfolk being the origin of the Ellinghams. This is based upon a lot of assumptions and a few facts - hopefully we will be able to add some more definitive data to substantiate peoples views. Assumption 1:- the name Ellingham relates to a village of that name - commonplace for English names. Assumption 2:- Ellingham the name equates to Ellingham the place(s) - If you search available records there are many spellings of the name which vary over time. One interesting fact is that there are about the same number of Allinghams as Ellinghams but the Ordnance Survey map finder does not have anywhere called Allingham Assumption 3:- If the family names equates to the place, one would expect the oldest usages to be relatively close to the places of origin. Fact(?) 1:- The oldest record I have found isRad. De Elyngham born 1353, Shelfhanger, Norfolk. Fact 2:- Virtually all of the 'old' (pre 1650) references to Ellinghams are in East Anglian counties notably Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire. Fact 3:- there very few Ellinghams in Hampshire or Northumberland (in old records) fact 4:- There are a lot of Allinghams from Hampshire in the 1500's.
So this is my theory :-
Ellinghams originated in Norfolk, they then spread to Northants, Lincoln and notably South Bedfordshire.
Allinghams orginated in Hampshire, later spreading to Surrey and Kent.
Some Allinghams were originally Ellinghams for whom the spelling was altered. This may apply to a group from North Bedfordshire and possibly some of the early Londoners.
Just a theory, but based upon a download of about 3400 records of Ellinghams / Allinghams and lookalikes. My download information is clearly incomplete as some of the people mentioned on other forum messages are not in my list. I would be very grateful for electronic information about family members. I am holding my data in Excel at the moment but I'm thinking of switching to Access. If you have electronic data could you let me know. I will gladly send what I have to anybody who would like it. If anybody has a better theory then lets hear it.