Recorded in over one hundred surname spellings throughout Europe, this interesting surname is of ancient origins, predating the birth of Christ by many centuries. Introduced into the different Christian countries by, in the main, the Knights Templar (Crusaders) of the 12th century on their return from their many attempts to free the Holy Land from the Muslims, the name has two possible origins. It may derive from the biblical and hebrew personal name "Shimeon", meaning "one who harkens", or it could be from the Ancient Greek "Simon", an nickname which means the snub nosed one! The Crusaders used Greece as their base for the crusades, so either or both origins are quite likely. The many surname forms include Simon, Simmon, (English and Scottish), Simeon, Siomon, Schimon (Jewish), Simeoni (Italian), Si, Sias, and Simao (German and Polish), Schimann (Czech), Zieme, Ziemen (Prussian), and the national diminutives and patronymics such as Simmons, Simmonds, Simonson (England), Simonett (France), Simonetti (Italy), Siaspinski and Siaskowski (Polish-German), Ziemke, Ziemecki (Slavonic), and many others. The first European recording is probably that of "Simonus", a monk, in the Register of St. Benets, at Holme Abbey, in Norfolk, England, in 1134. Other early recordings include Pieter Ziemke, of Hamburg, Germany, in 1289, William Simon in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London in 1291, and Ernst Symers of Bremen, Germany, in 1262. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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