The AMSDEN Family

The data presented here is compiled from many sources, the main three being: Some Descendants of Isaac Amsden of Cambridge, Mass., compiled, edited, typed and published by Murray M. Brown, copyright 1934; Ancestors and Descendants of Jonathan Nichols Amsden and Amelia Jane Smith 1636-1977 and their Related Families of Colonial America, copyright 1978 by Bernice Amsden Warnick and The History of the Amsden Family by Peter C. Amsden.

Patricia Lynn Roth supplied me with most of the printed data from numerous sources and copies of letters written by Bernice Amsden Warnick. Lynn also gave me copies of pictures of three Amsden men who served in the Union Army during the Civil War as well as transcriptions and copies of letters, documents and other pictures that I present below. Without Lynn's help and guidance this project would not and could not have been undertaken.

Peter C. Amsden (amsden@btinternet.com) has not only provided his book but has given me much help, direction and encouragement in the completion and continuance of this project. If you are an Amsden researcher it would be well worth your while to visit his Amsden website in Scotland.   Peter has done extensive research in England and is considered the authority on the Amsdens before America.  Recent inquiries have led him to offer the following in order to help other Amsden researchers.

Jan. 29 2000 -  ISAAC AMSDEN - The Facts and the Assumptions

Fact - An ISAAC AMSDEN arrived in the Americas prior to 1654.  Since he is 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.


Christine Amsden (camsden@escape.ca) started this whole project by inquiring about the Amsden line on my main website, The Pumpkin's Roots. Christine gave me quotes from Peter's book that aroused my interest so much that I immediately began searching for more. Christine has a web-site devoted to her Spensley family that contains more Amsden data.

References to Lewis represent the data I received much earlier in my research from Michael Dalley Lewis (Mike_Lewis_3@compuserve.com).

Lyman Simms (lymans38@comcast.net), supplied not only his database but pictures of the John Steven and Cynthia M. (Amsden) Lewis family.   

Many others contributed their data and help to this site.   Their work is invaluable. Please see the main site's List of Contributors for information on all the Amsden contributors and their sources.

You will note a number after some of the individual entries. This number is the one assigned by Murray M. Brown in his book. I have taken the liberty to add Sr., Jr., I, II, etc. to some entries in an attempt to make it easier to follow the lineage between grandfathers, fathers and sons. These designations usually do not appear in the source documentation.

As with all the data that I present I make no personal claims upon it. Please be ethical and do not misuse the goodwill of others. The data presented here may be used by non-commercial entities as long as the source contributor for each piece of data is cited along with that contributor's submitter information. The data presented and the web pages herein cannot be used, copied or reproduced in any format for profit or any presentation meant to gain profit.

Jill E. McLeester


Table of Contents

Surnames Persons Inquiries Obituaries Miscellaneous Data

Photos and Scanned Documents from William Bombard

Photos and Scanned Documents from Lynn Roth

Photos and Scanned Documents from Lyman Lewis Simms

Other Sites with Amsden Data

Ancestors of Jill Marie Syers 
  Boyd Information Page and Quarterly Newsletter
William W. Copeland's Family File Linda Schwartz's Genealogy Project


Please visit my main web-site, The Pumpkin's Roots, to see what other surnames and families I am researching.


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Jill E. McLeester
P. O. Box 219
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This website and all electronic pages contained herein 1998-2005 by Jill E. McLeester.

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