Recorded in many forms including Semel, Semmel, Simel, Simelbeck, Simmel, Simmler, Semmelmann, Semler, Zemler, Zimler, Zemelmann (German and Ashkenasic), and Semmola and Simbola (Italian), this is an occupational surname. It described originally in the 14th century a baker of "semmel bread". This was essentially fine white loaves and rolls at a time when most bread was very coarse. It is said that it may also have described in German a merchant, one who dealt specifically in fine flour for the gentry. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created, but they did not usually become hereditary until a son or perhaps a grandson, followed the father into the same line of business or profession. In this case we have some very early examples of recordings taken from authentic surviving German rolls and registers. These include Johan Symelman of Beinheim in the year 1311, Johannes Zempler of Sauldorf in 1399, apparently a lay priest or similar, whilst Counrad Simelbeck of Kepten, appears in the charters of that town in 1415.
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