Amsden History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Amsden family

The surname Amsden was first found in Buckinghamshire at Great Hampden, a parish, in the union of Wycombe, hundred of Aylesbury. "This place was anciently the property of the Hampden family, of whom Griffith Hampden entertained Queen Elizabeth here, and, to pay Her Majesty the more honour, cut an avenue through his woods for her more convenient approach to the mansion. A gallery has been erected in the church, and 100 free sittings provided: among the monuments is one to the memory of the celebrated John Hampden (c. 1595-1643), ornamented with a medallion, on which is a tree with the arms of the family and of their alliances; and having at the foot, in bas-relief, a representation of the action of Chalgrove, in which he received a wound, causing his death about three weeks afterwards." [1]

We need to take a moment to discuss more John Hampden. Born in London, he was the eldest son of William Hampden, (1570-1597), and Elizabeth Cromwell, (1574-1664.) John rose to become an important English landowner and politician, whose opposition to arbitrary taxes imposed by Charles I made him a national figure. To complicate things, he was a cousin to Oliver Cromwell on his mother's side. In January 1642, an arrest warrant was issued for John and four others. This sparked the First English Civil War.

Little Hampden is not far away. Both parishes collectively date back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where they were known as Hamdena. [2]

At that time, the lands of Hampden, were held by William FitzAnsculf of Picquigni in Picardy near Amiens who held a Castle there dating back to the 8th century. [3]

By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, a listing of the family was found in Oxfordshire: Alexander de Hamden; and the family continued to hold lands in Buckinghamshire: Alexander de Hampeden. [4]

The Feet of Fines for Oxfordshire listed Alexander de Hamden, de Hampeden in 1274 and later Simon de Hamden was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Kent in 1334-1335. [5]

From this Oxfordshire branch the Amsden variant arose. They descended from Ambrosden in Oxfordshire (Ambrose's valley.) [6]

Early History of the Amsden family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Amsden research. Another 163 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1581, 1591, 1510, 1600, 1102, 1595, 1643, 1653, 1696, 1679, 1681, 1681, 1685, 1689, 1690, 1631, 1695, 1776, 1696, 1754, 1653 and 1696 are included under the topic Early Amsden History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Amsden Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Hampden, Hamden and others.

Early Notables of the Amsden family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Hampden (c.1595-1643), English politician and Roundhead in the English Civil War; John Hampden (1653-1696), English politician, Member for Buckinghamshire (1679-1681), Wendover (1681-1685) and (1689-1690), pamphleteer, and opponent of Charles II and James II, convicted of treason after the Monmouth Rebellion; and Richard Hampden (1631-1695), English Whig politician, Privy Counsellor, and Chancellor of the Exchequer for William III of England. The...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Amsden Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Amsden migration to the United States +

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Amsden or a variant listed above:

Amsden Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Isaac Amsden, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1654 [7]
  • John Amsden, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1696 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Amsden (post 1700) +

  • Ralph Osburn Amsden Jr. (1917-1988), American professional basketball player for the Sheboygan Red Skins (1940-1942)
  • Captain Frederick J. Amsden (d. 1906), American Civil War officer and architect from Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Elizabeth Amsden (1881-1966), American operatic soprano and actress from Boston who made 35 appearances in early Hollywood films between 1923 and 1946;
  • C. S. Amsden (1856-1943), American politician, President pro tempore of the South Dakota Senate and Speaker pro tempore of the South Dakota House of Representatives
  • Alice Hoffenberg Amsden (1943-2012), American political economist and scholar, Barton L. Weller Professor of Political Economy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Benjamin C. Amsden, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Navy, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • Janet Amsden, British actress, known for her roles in EastEnders as Margaret Wilson and was in Family Affairs, playing Marie Taylor
  • John Amsden Starkweather (1925-2001), American Professor of Medical Psychology at University of California, San Francisco


The Amsden 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: Vestigia nulla retrorsum
Motto Translation: No steps backwards.


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  7. ^ 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)


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