I've dealt with this in my family history posting on George Amlaw's website:
No one has ever offered anything in the way of addition or corrections. I'd be eager to entertain them, but for now this is the best I can do:
"The family is believed to trace to the town of Hameln (spelled with no "I") in Germany, where in 1284, according to legend, a "pied piper" led the rats from the town, was refused payment for his services, and returned to spirit away all the children. The town is both old and real, and the piper was probably real -- more likely, a military recruiter or a medieval cult leader whose activities were embellished in the retelling. From Hameln, across the millennia, "Hamelins" have spread in all directions.
"One, Jacques-Felix-Emmanuel, was an admiral in the French Navy and explored the west coast of Australia in 1803. One, Ferdinand-Alphonse, (1796-1864), was an admiral who played an important role in the Crimean War.
"Another, Marc-Andre Hamelin, is recognized by many as the world's finest concert pianist. Yet another, Bob "Hammer" Hamelin, played big-league baseball.
"And there was freedom fighter Francois-Xavier Hamelin, hung by the British.
"Surnames, which came into use about 1,000 AD, often reflected one's hometown. Do all "Hamelins" trace to Hameln? Possibly. Are all related? Certainly not. There was a Swedish king in the 800s named Hamelin (could he have traced back to Hameln?) - and Vikings later sailed up France's Loire River to raid Anjou, birthplace of the Hamelin brothers. Could Hamelins have Viking blood? Who knows? The Paris phone book is filled with Hamelins. Do all have a common ancestor? Probably not.
"Most of America's 400-odd families trace to the Hamelin brothers -- but not all. Jacques Hamelin of Normandy, for one, settled in L'Assomption with his father Nicolas in the 1740s -- marrying Marie-Barbe Suliere and founding his own line of Hamelins. Was he related to the three brothers? That's unknown.
"A royal connection is another possibility, through a French/British noble named Hamelin Plantagenet (1129-1202). Born in Angers ( today a city of only 140,000) in the west-central province of Anjou, he was England's Earl of Surrey at a time when Norman France held the British throne. His children were all British-born. He was buried at Sussex.
"His father was Geoffrey V Plantagenet, the "Count of Anjou," a French title that dated to the 900s. Geoffrey was born in Anjou, an area that included Angers and Le Mans. So was Henry II, Hamelin's brother, the king of England (1154-1189) whose knights slew Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Hamelin and Henry's maternal grandfather was England's King Henry I, who ruled from 1100 to 1135 -- and he was the son of the Norman invader of England, William the Conqueror!
"Henry II is buried in Anjou. So is his son Richard the Lionheart.
"And from that same, relatively obscure place four centuries later, people named Hamelin emerged to sail the ocean and colonize the New World.
"Could that have been mere coincidence? Did our Hamelins trace to Normandy, like the L'Assomption Hamelins, as one scholar suggests - or do the Hamelins trace to blue-bloods like Hamelin Plantagenet, Henry II and William the Conqueror?
"Certainly, it's fun to think so."
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