This interesting and long-established surname is of French origin. It derives from the given name or nickname "Amis", meaning friend, and ultimately from the Latin "amicus", to love. The name was introduced into England at the Norman Conquest of 1066, and the forms "Amicia" (feminine) and "Amisius" (masculine) are recorded respectively in documents relating to the Danelaw in Lincolnshire, dated 1189, and in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire, dated 1211. Early examples of the surname recording showning the development over the centuries include Rogerus Ami in the Chartulary of Ramsey Abbey, Norfolk, circa 1250, and Robert Amys in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1273. On January 18th 1573, William, son of Richard Ames, was christened in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. A notable bearer of the name was William Ames (1576 - 1633), the Arminian minister at Rotterdam in 1613. On May 11th 1637, Joane Ames, of Yarmouth, a widow, aged 50 years, 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. This was dated 1221, in the Medieval Records of Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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