This name, with variant spellings Sims, Simes, Sym(m)s and Symes, derives from the medieval given name "Sim(me)", a short form of the Greek personal name Simon, substituted for the Hebrew "Shimeon", meaning "he who hears". In English versions of the Old Testament the name appears both as Shimeon and Simeon, but in the New Testament it generally takes the form Simon. The first recording of Simon in England is in the 1134 Records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk. One Ralph Simme appears in the 1317 Assize Court Rolls of Kent, and a John Symme appears in the 1345 Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester. The patronymic form of the name is first recorded in Yorkshire (see below); the final "s" indicates the genitive and is a reduced form of "son of". In 1593, one Ellen Simms, of Warrington, appeared in the Cheshire Wills Records, and in 1594, Christopher Sims, of Berkshire, was entered in the Oxford University Register. The name has been well known in Ulster since the early 17th Century; though more numerous in County Antrim than elsewhere, it also has a close association with east Donegal. Several namebearers were prominent United Irishmen: Robert and William Simms of Belfast were two of the founders of the Society. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Symmes, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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