This interesting surname, with variant spellings Sympson and Simson, has two distinct possible origins, the first and more likely being a patronymic from the medieval male given name "Sim(me)", a short form of the Greek personal name "Simon", substituted for the Hebrew "Shimeon" meaning "he who hearkens". Early recordings of the surname from this source include: Johannes Symmeson, the 1379, Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, John Simpson, the Yorkshire Calverley Charters, and John Sympson (London, 1487).The "p" in the latter two examples is a dialectal intrusion, introduced to make for easier pronunciation. Simpson may also be of locational origin from Simpson, a village north of Fenny Stratford in Buckinghamshire, or from a place thus called in Holsworthy, Devonshire. These places appeared as "Swinestone" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and have as their first element the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Sigewine", plus "tun", a settlement. Thomas Simpson, who embarked from London on the "Paule" bound for Virginia in July 1635, was an early emigrant to the New World. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Symmeson, which was dated 1353, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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