There are more than one bunch of us Amlaws. To the best of my knowledge there are ultimately three separate families. All three originate in Upstate NY, in Clinton Co. along the banks of Lake Champlain. There is the possibility of more groups, since we (I) haven't been able to verify the parentage of all the persons back there in the early days.
The name Amlaw is, of course, a phonetic spelling of the French name Hamelin, and the Amlaws / Hamelins are originally from French Canada. Because Clinton Co. NY is located right on the border, the French Canadian population there maintained close contact with the folks north of the border. Many of them maintained French as their primary language up until the beginning of the 20th century. You may occasionally come across a few "stray" Amlaws in other parts but until after 1880 these would not neccesarily be related directly to the families in Clinton Co. Any illiterate Frenchman who came to America was likely to be referred to occasionally as Amlaw, Amlow, Emlaw, Amlah, etc. etc. in the records. Never the less, I have never found any other families that maintained this spelling by choice except in Clinton Co. Even there, I know a few descendants that have returned to ( or "retained") the original spelling of Hamelin.( well, OK they out number us! Hi Joe!) My father and I discussed this at some length, but I insisted, and still do, that a name is what people "CALL" you, not how it is written ! The purpose of the symbols we use in writing is to get others to "CALL" us by our proper name. If I ever get to France, I'll use the French spelling, and if I find myself in China, I guess I'll use Chinese letters. As long as it gets the people there to pronounce the name correctly, and as any Frenchman can tell you, it's "PRONOUNCED" Amlaw ! Or at least something that sounds vaguely like Amlaw, Emlaw Omlaw, Amlew, Amlou, etc etc, crazy French! I have enough trouble getting people to spell it correctly as it is, I can't imagine telling people that my name is Hamelin but it's pronounced Amlaw. Maybe I will switch one day, after I make the name Amlaw too hot, always good to have good alias handy. (I'm kidding,I'm kidding!)
But enough on that !!! I know I'm excusing my forefathers illiteracy! ( let's not forget the barbarian English who couldn't speak proper French, damn English.)
There are, as I said, three different Amlaw families that originate in Clinton Co. NY.
(click on red letters to go to the "Family Group Sheets")
The Descendants of Charles Amlaw, who came to the area after serving in the Revolutionary war. If I (and some others) are correct then he would be my ancestor. Proofs of anything in that time and place are HARD to find. The search continues.......
The Descendants of Alexander C. Amlaw, who arrived sometime about 1837, as a result of the Patriot War in Quebec.. One of his descendants has generously contributed a wealth of information on this family, so even though their not my kin,(unless there is a connection back in France) I now have more on them then any other "Amlaws", I believe they all retain the original spelling of "Hamelin" today, but the researcher will most often find them under Amlaw in the 1800's, at least in the Government records. The priests in the Churchs seem to have had the spelling of French names right. I list everyone after the move from Quebec as "Amlaw" to eliminate confusion in the indexing and cross referencing (and because I just like the sound of it !).
The Descendants of Antoine Amlaw, who came sometime around 1860,he was the son of a Joseph Hamelin but beyond that I have no idea where he came from, if any of his descendants are reading this please send me some info.
I have never found any connection between these families and since I am a descendant of Charles Amlaw ( I better be !!), my own efforts ,and this site, will be giving that line priority (I hope), but I have over the years accumulated some data on the other 2 families and will post what I have and would welcome any contributions for them. (Don't ask me why, I like this hobby I guess!)