This is a very unusual variant of the popular surname usually found in English as Simmons, Simmonds etc.. The derivation is in any case from the original Hebrew personal name 'Shimon', itself derived from 'Sham'a' - meaning 'to hearken'. The name in any form was rare in Europe before the 11th Century Crusades, but rapidly developed as the popular personal name 'Simon' and by the 13th Century had become established as a surname. Today there are over two hundred and fifty recorded variant spellings including many patronymic or diminutives i.e., son of Simon. In this case the name is an anglicized variant either of the French Simonett (little Simon) or the German Simand, which has the same meaning. The name had three periods of arrival in England, the Crusades, the Flemish weavers (14th Century) and the Huguenots (17th Century). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Simonett, which was dated July 13th 1699, a witness at Christchurch, Greyfriars, London, during the reign of King William III of Orange and England, 1689 - 1702. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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