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. Early recordings of the surname include: Ralph Simme, who appears in the 1317 Assize Court Rolls of Kent, and a John Symme, recorded 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". One Margaret Symes, an immigrant into America, is recorded in the 1624, Dead list for Virginia. In 1635, another namebearer, Alexander Symes, aged 19 yrs., departed from London aboard the "Abraham", bound for Virginia. 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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