This interesting and long-established surname is of medieval English origin, and derives from the Old French given name (or nickname) "Amis", the oblique case of "Ami", Friend, ultimately from the Latin "amicus", a derivative of "amare", to love. The name was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the forms "Amicia" (feminine) and "Amisius" (masculine) are recorded respectively in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1189, and in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire, dated 1211. One Rogerus filius (son of) Ami was noted in the Chartulary of Ramsey Abbey, Norfolk, circa 1250, and a Robert Amys appears in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. On January 18th 1573, William, son of Richard Ames, was christened in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Notable bearers of the name were William Ames (1576 - 1633), the Arminian minister at Rotterdam in 1613, and professor of theology, Franeker (1622), and Joseph Ames (1689 - 1759), bibliographer and antiquary, who became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1743. On May 11th 1637, Joane Ames, of Yarmouth, a widow, aged 50 yrs., with her three children Ruth, William and John, were listed in a register of those "desirous to passe for New England and there to inhabitt and remaine". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Amis, which was dated 1221, in "Medieval Records of Suffolk", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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