Show ContentsAmes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Ames goes back, perhaps as far as 1066, when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. Soon after this event, the name would have been given to a good friend or beloved one. The name was originally derived from the Old French given name or nickname Amis or Ami, which means friend. Alternatively the name could have been derived from the "descendant of Amos (burden-bearer.)" [1]

Early Origins of the Ames family

The surname Ames was first found in the county of Northumberland, where they were granted lands by King William after the Norman Conquest in 1066. They originated from Exmes, a town in the department of Orne, in Normandy.

"Amos, like Amias or Amyas, represents popular forms of the Norman-French Aimee, or Amys. " [2] Kirby's Quest had the first listing for the family: Thomas Amys, Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [3]

Another sources notes: "the present family of Amos, established in the Faversham district, [in Kent] probably can claim an ancestor in Thomas Amos, a well - to - do yeoman of Ospringe, who in 1769 bequeathed £100 for the poor of Molash." [4]

Early History of the Ames family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ames research. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1889, 1640, 1692, 1721, 1576, 1633, 1619, 1695, 1689, 1759, 1641, 1721 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Ames History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ames Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was institutionalized a couple of hundred years back, spelling varieties of names were a typical event. Components of Latin, Norman French and different dialects ended up noticeably fused into English all through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the proficient. The varieties of the surname Ames include Ames, Amess, Amies, Amis, Amiss, Amos, Hames, Haymes, Eames, Emmes and many more.

Early Notables of the Ames family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Ames (Latin: Guilielmus Amesius) (1576-1633), an English Protestant divine, philosopher, and controversialist; Henry Metcalfe Ames, of Lynden, Northumberland; Joseph Ames (1619-1695), an English naval commander from Norfolk who commanded several ships of war, and made repeated voyages to...
Another 46 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ames Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ames Ranking

In the United States, the name Ames is the 1,286th most popular surname with an estimated 24,870 people with that name. [5]

United States Ames migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Amess to arrive on North American shores:

Ames Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Anthony Ames, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1634 [6]
  • Mrs. William Ames, who arrived in New England in 1634 [6]
  • Edward Ames, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [6]
  • Joan Ames, who settled in Boston, in 1637
  • William Ames, who settled in Boston in 1637
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ames Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Ralph Ames, who arrived in South Carolina in 1704 [6]
  • Daniel Ames, who arrived in New Hampshire in 1714 [6]
  • Valentine Ames, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1765 [6]
  • Almon Ames, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1776 [6]
Ames Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francis Ames, aged 37, who landed in New York in 1812 [6]
  • Diego Ames, who landed in Nombre de Dios, Panama in 1838 [6]
  • F Ames, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • C S Ames, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • Mr. Ames, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Ames migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ames Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Ames, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Ames migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Ames Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Ames, (Hames), English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Elizabeth" in May 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Robert Flower Ames, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Henry Ames, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Lord Raglan" [9]
  • James Ames, aged 30, a carpenter, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Stamboul"

New Zealand Ames migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Ames Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Ames, who landed in Kapiti, New Zealand in 1839 aboard the ship Star of China
  • James Ames, who landed in America, New Zealand in 1840

Contemporary Notables of the name Ames (post 1700) +

  • Leon Kessling "Red" Ames (1882-1936), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Rachel Ames (b. 1929), Emmy Award Winning American actress
  • Oliver Ames Jr. (1807-1877), American president of Union Pacific Railroad, responsible for completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in North America
  • Oliver Ames (1831-1895), American politician and financier, the 35th Governor of Massachusetts (1887 to 1890)
  • Oakes Ames (1874-1950), American botanist specializing in orchids
  • Oakes Ames (1804-1873), American businessman and politician, member of the United States House of Representatives from Massachusetts (1863 to 1873)
  • Leon Ames (1902-1993), American film and television actor
  • Fisher Ames (1758-1808), American Representative in the United States Congress from the 1st Congressional District of Massachusetts
  • Ed Ames (1927-1950), born Edmund Dantes Urick, an American popular singer and actor, member of the 1950s singing group The Ames Brothers
  • Cheney Ames (1808-1892), American politician from New York
  • ... (Another 64 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Ames Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fama candida rosa dulcior
Motto Translation: Fame is sweeter than the white rose.

Suggested Readings for the name Ames +

  • Ames Ancestry: Europe to Maine by Agnes H. Ames.
  • Descendants of Benjamin and Dorcas Ames of Connecticut, 1786-1979: A Genealogy by Kathy L. DeLong.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st March 2022). Retrieved from
  8. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1824 with 9 passengers. Retrieved from
  9. South Australian Register Friday February 7th, 1856. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Lord Raglan 1856. Retrieved on Facebook