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This is a place holder for this One-Name Study profile page.

Variant names

Amsdon; Amesden; Armsden; Amysden; Amsdean; Armysden. The apparent variant Emsden, whilst being found in old records is unlikely to be a true variant - the Emsden name is found mainly in Essex.

Name origin

First known use of name:-

Baptism of Ralphe Amsden, son of Thomas. Wing, Buckinghamshire. 10th Dec. 1547.

First known incidence in London:-

Marriage of William Amsden to Elizabeth Richardson at, St Bartolphs, Bishopsgate. 17th Oct. 1583.

First known incidence in U.S.A.:-

Isacke Amsden mentioned in the inventory of the estate of:- Nathaniel Sparhawk of Massachusetts. June 1647. For further information on the Amsdens arriving the the Americas see The American Connection

Origination of Name:-

Appears to stem from Ambrosden in Oxfordshire. It is not of Dutch origin, as recent research in the Dutch Archives has shown.

Research has shown a concentration of Amsdens around the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire & Southern parts of Warwickshire areas during the 16th and 17th centuries. Berkshire during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Amsden and Amsdon at one time appear to have been synonymous - uncertain at this time when the complete division took place, but they were certainly confused around 1800 in Berkshire.

Distribution of the name

Three present known UK branches. The heads of these are as follows:-

  1. 1. John Amsden (b.1753) a Chemist & Druggist of 65, Wood St, London, E.C. Married Rebecca Coleman 18th May,1779 at St Johns, Hackney, London.
    Descendants remained in the London area until recent years. Living in the Hoxton area where they were surgeons and doctors and later moving further North to Edmonton and Enfield. One emigrated to Canada, giving rise to an extended family there. In recent years members of this branch have moved to Norfolk, Cumbria and Scotland.
  2. 2. William Amsden (b.c1735) in London, later moving to Tring. A Baptist and possibly a Draper by trade. His son, Thomas was a Brewer & Straw Plait Dealer of Market St., Tring, Herts.
    Known descendants moved to the London area, and later to other areas.
    The firm of Olney-Amsden trading in the City as Haberdashers belong to this branch. (Olney-Amsden are no longer trading).
    Other know descendants became Coal Merchants in Tring and later moved to Yorkshire where they took up Farming, one of these has now emigrated to Canada.
  3. 3. Richard Amsden (b.?) A Toothbrush Maker of London. His son William Richard was born 1852 at St.Pancras, London.
    Descendants remained in London until, at a later date, one family moved to Warwickshire. Only descendants known now live in Hertfordshire. There are no known male descendendts in this line.

No actual connection between these branches has yet been made. Difficulties have been experienced because the two earlier branches (1 & 2) appear to have been Baptists, and records of their births and parents have not come to light.


Over the years I have seen many statements relating to the first Amsden to arrive in the Americas, generally thought to have been Isaac. Some of these have been based on broadly known facts, others have been based on a great deal of conjecture and frequently stated as fact. In order to put this into some perspective, here is the truth as understood at this time, i.e the start of 2000.


The Facts and the Assumptions

Fact - An ISAAC AMSDEN arrived in the Americas prior to 1654.
Since he in mentioned in the estates of Nathaniel Sparhawk in 1647 it has been assumed that he must have arrived there prior to that date. However, the AMSDEN's and the SPARHAWK's lived in close proximity to each other in Oxfordshire prior to 1600, so there is no guarantee that they did not know each other before either of them went to the Americas.

Fact - ISAAC AMSDEN married FRANCES PERRIMAN 8 Jun 1654 in MA

Fact - These two had children ISAAC and JACOB

Fact - A JOHN AMSDEN appears in MA at around the same time as ISAAC AMSDEN.

Fact - JOHN AMSDEN married ELIZABETH (? ) and they had two children JOHN and ISAAC.

Fact - An ISAAC AMSDEN was baptised at St Nicholas church, Colchester, England, 24 Aug 1620. Father - WILLIAM Mother - REBECCA

Conjecture - That the ISAAC born in Colchester, England is the same ISAAC that turns up in the Americas. Other than the coincidence of this Isaac's birth date being about right for the Isaac in the Americas, there is no proof that these are one and the same person. No evidence has been found relating to sailing dates from England or for arrival in the Americas.

Conjecture - That JOHN AMSDEN is the son of ISAAC AMSDEN (who married Frances Perriman) by an earlier marriage to a person unknown. It has been assumed that ISAAC married whilst still in England and that this wife and his son JOHN went to the Americas. That his wife died there and he later married Frances. No evidence has been found to support this assumption.

If this Amsden family had been resident in Colchester for any length of time then one would expect evidence that Isaac had married, and that a son (John) had been born there.

There is evidence that a JOHN AMSDEN was baptised at St Nicholas, Colchester on 8 Feb 1623. Father- WILLIAM. Mother - KATHREN. It is possible, therefore, that the father of ISAAC is the same as that of JOHN. REBECCA dying and WILLIAM remarrying. This would make JOHN, ISAAC's half brother, not his son. JOHN's age at the time of his death would then be 73 and not 46 as usually stated. This is perfectly feasible.

Another aspect of this story should also be borne in mind. The surname AMSDEN was unusual in the area around Colchester at that time., but the surname EMSDEN was less so. It would seem that the AMSDEN's in Colchester came from somewhere else in the country, unless EMSDEN had been corrupted to AMSDEN. If this is the case then the AMSDEN's in the Americas are actually members of the EMSDEN family and not the AMSDEN family. Whilst EMSDEN and AMSDEN would seem to be obvious variations of the same name, (and there is evidence that this did happen), there is only scant proof that they are one and the same family.

The conclusion is that the history of ISAAC and JOHN AMSDEN in England is, at best, conjecture and should be treated as such until such time as factual evidence comes to light.