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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Jewish

Where did the English Simmons family come from? What is the English Simmons family crest and coat of arms? When did the Simmons family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Simmons family history?

The notable Simmons family arose among the Cornish People, a race with a rich Celtic heritage and an indomitable fighting spirit who inhabited the southwest of England. While surnames were well-known during the English medieval period, Cornish People originally used only a single name. The way in which hereditary surnames came into common use is interesting. As the population of medieval Europe multiplied, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Patronymic surnames were derived from given names and were the predominant type of surname among the Celtic peoples of Britain. However, the people of Cornwall provide a surprising exception to this rule, and patronymic surnames are less common among them than other people of Celtic stock, such as their Welsh neighbors. This is due to the greater influence of English bureaucracy and naming practices in Cornwall at the time that surnames first arose. This type of surname blended perfectly with the prevailing Feudal System. One feature that is occasionally found in Cornish surnames of this type is the suffix -oe or -ow; this is derived from the Cornish plural suffix -ow. is a patronymic surname that came from the ancient Hebrew personal name Shimon, meaning to hearken.

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Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Symons, Symonds, Symond, Simmins, Simins, Simmonds, Simonds, Simond, Simmons, Simon, Simmon, Simmen, Symon and many more.

First found in Devon and in Cornwall, where the family held a family seat since ancient times.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Simmons research. Another 225 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1178, 1273, 1379, 1388, 1623, 1665, 1640, 1687, 1617, 1692, 1623, 1665, 1617 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Simmons History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 161 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Simmons Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Simmons family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 111 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Simmons:

Simmons Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Moses Simmons, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621
  • Abram Simmons, who arrived in Maryland in 1634
  • Oliver Simmons, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Thomas Simmons, who arrived in Maryland in 1639
  • Robert Simmons, who arrived in Maryland in 1662


Simmons Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Balthazer Simmons, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1750
  • Catherin Simmons, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1792
  • Frederick Simmons, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1792
  • Melchoir Simmons, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1792
  • Ludwig Simmons, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1792


Simmons Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Simmons, who landed in America in 1806
  • James L Simmons, aged 27, arrived in Connecticut in 1812
  • Wm Simmons, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • Francis Simmons, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1825
  • John, Simmons Jr., who arrived in New York in 1842


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  • Adelma Simmons (1903-1997), American author and herbalist
  • Al Simmons (1902-1956), American baseball player
  • Matthew R. Simmons (1943-2010), chairman and CEO of Simmons & Company International
  • Edward Emerson Simmons (1852-1931), American impressionist painter
  • Roy Franklin Simmons (1956-2014), American football player who played for the National Football League
  • Jean Simmons (b. 1929), English actress
  • Allan Simmons (b. 1959), British scrabble player and author
  • Charles Simmons (1893-1975), British Lord of the Treasury and later Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions, Labour Government 1945-1951
  • Norman Simmons (1915-2004), Nobel Prize nominee and DNA research pioneer
  • Mr. John Simmons (d. 1912), aged 39, Third Class passenger who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking


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  1. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  6. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Simmons Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Simmons Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 31 August 2014 at 17:35.

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