The Ames Family
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski, B.F.A.

The name Ames is derived from the French word Amie, meaning "a friend" or "beloved." It could also comes from the Hebrew, Amos, meaning "burden." In this case Ames is an English family name meaning "the son of Ame or Amis (friend), descendant of Ame, a pet form of Amery (work, rule);" a varient of Eames or "the son of the uncle."


Dr. William Ames (1567-1633) was known and quoted in the colonies of the New World. He was born, in 1567, in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, in an area known as Anglia. His own father was of the merchant class and his mother was related to many of the Pilgrims of Plymouth, Massachusetts. William went to Cambridge University, where the doctrines of William Cartwright (1535-1603), William Perkins (1558-1502), and John Preston (1587-1628) were taught. William Ames and William Perkins became good friends.

Ames received his A.B. degree in 1607, and became a professor at Christ's College. He was even one of the picks for the leadership (master) as successor to Edmund Barwell, in 1609. However his Puritan views nixed this. Ames then went to Holland to begin a new life, in 1610.

IN Holland, Ames became friends with John Burgess and courted Burgess' daughter and married her. She died and no issue came from their union. William married a second time and this wife and his son did make it to the Massachusetts Colony. William Ames was not to achieve success until he became a professor of theiology at Franeker University in 1622. William was to sail to the New World as a pastor, teacher, and school administrator. In 1632, William Ames was in Rotterdam. Holland. The River Maas overflowed its banks and the town and his home was flooded. During the flood Ames was exposed to the cold water and cold air and developed a high fever. Ames already had a weak heart and the chill took his life. Had Ames made it to the New World he might have been the first president of Harvard. However, his books made it to the Harvard Library. These books were written when he was a professor of divinity at Franeker. The Marrow of Theology was one of his most famous books. Cotton Mather said ...Marrow .... and the Bible were important to their divinity students in Massachusetts.


William Ames, of Cambridge, came on the "Mary Ann" of Great Yarmouth, in 1637, with his mother, Joane, widow of Rev. William Ames, D.D. William was born in Somerset, England on October 6, 1605, and died in Braintree, Massachusetts, January 11, 1653.

Sarah Washburn was born in 1675 and died in 1746. She married John Ames (1672-1766), son of William Ames of Cambridge. in 1697.

William Ames (Rev. William Ames) died July 21, 1689 in Wrentham, England. He came to Cambridge in 1637, moved in 1647 to Wrentham, Massachusetts, and retired to England in 1646.

Ruth Ames was age 18 in 1637. She married Edmund Angier of Cambridge.

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