This interesting and curious surname is of early medieval English origin, deriving from the Middle English given name "Sim(me)", which is a pet or short form of "Simon". Simon itself ultimately comes from either the Hebrew personal name "Shim'on", from "sham'a", to hearken; or from a pre-existing Greek byname "Simon", from "simos", snub-nosed. The former was far more popular, because of its associations with the apostle Simon Peter. The surname is chiefly found in Scotland and the north of England, where it may be found as Sim, Simm, Simms, Symms, Sime, and Symes. The surname first appears in records in the early 14th Century (see below), while other early examples include: John Symme, in the Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester in 1345; and Robert Symmes, in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Records of 1379. One John Sym de Banchry is recorded in 1503 in Scotland, in the Records of the Monastery of Cambuskenneth, and Andrew Sym was vicar of Cumry (Comrie) in 1530. John Syme (Stamp-Office Johnnie) was a friend of Robert Burns, and James Syme (1799 - 1870), the eminent surgeon was born in Fife. A Coat of Arms granted to a family so called in Dumfries in 1766 depicts on a silver chevron three ravens proper, between two gold spur-rowels in chief and a gold halbert in base, on a red shield. The Motto is "Fortuna et labore", (By good fortune and exertion). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Simme, which was dated 1317, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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