This French surname of CAMBRIO was an occupational name for someone who was employed in the private living quarters of his master, rather than in the public halls of the manor. The name was rendered in Latin documents in the form CAMERA, and is synonymous in origin with the name CHAMBERLAIN, but as that office rose in the social scale this term remained reserved for more humble servants of the bed-chambers. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization. The name was brought into Scotland from France during the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Hugh de Camera appears as a charter witness circa, 1200, and appears to be the first of the name on record. Robert de la Chaumbre was recorded in 1296. Willmus de Camera was a councillor in Aberdeen in 1399. Thomas Chamer was the burgess of Aberdeen in 1521. A particate of land was sold to John Chalmyr in Glasgow in 1555.
Sir William Chambers (1726-1796) was a Scottish architect, born of Scottish ancestry in Stockholm. He studied in Italy and France, and practised in England. He designed Somerset House and the pagoda in Kew Gardens.
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