Semple History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Semple family

The surname Semple was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Semple family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Semple research. Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1315, 1489, 1558, 1621, 1643, 1741, 1566, 1625, 1591, 1600, 1595, 1663, 1640, 1616, 1682, 1667, 1596, 1654, 1566, 1625, 1564, 1545, 1577, 1644, 1680, 1666, 1677, 1700, 1782, 1749, 1749, 1757 and are included under the topic Early Semple History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Semple Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Semple, Simple, Sempill, Sempell, Symple, Sympell and many more.

Early Notables of the Semple family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Lord George Sempill; and Sir James Sempill (1566-1625), Scottish Ambassador to England (1591-1600); Robert Sempill, the Younger (1595?-1663?), Scottish poet, best known for his ballad, "The Life and Death of Habbie Simpson, Piper of Kilbarchan" (c. 1640); and Francis Sempill (1616?-1682), Deputy Sheriff of Renfrewshire (1667.) [1] Hugh Sempill or Semple (1596-1654), was a Scottish mathematician, born at Craigevar and was was nephew of Colonel William Sempill. Sir James Sempill (1566-1625) of Beltrees, called by Knox 'the dancer,' was eldest son of John Sempill. His father and mother were special favourites of the queen...
Another 126 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Semple Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Semple family to Ireland

Some of the Semple family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Semple migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Semple Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Semple, who arrived in New York in 1739 [2]
  • John Semple, who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1772
  • James Semple, who landed in America in 1774 [2]
  • Thomas Semple, who arrived in America in 1782 [2]
  • William Semple, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1799 [2]
Semple Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Semple, who arrived in Key West, Fla in 1838 [2]
  • Alexander, Francis, Hugh, James, John, Joseph, Lewis, Mathew, Robert, Samuel, and William Semple all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870
  • Samuel Semple, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1849 [2]
  • John Semple, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [2]
  • R H Semple, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1868 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Semple migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Semple Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Semple, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
Semple Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Robert Semple, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1842

Australia Semple migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Semple Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Adam Semple, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bute" in 1839 [3]
  • Isabella Semple, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bute" in 1839 [3]
  • Hugh Semple, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lady Bute" in 1839 [3]
  • Thomas Semple, aged 37, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sultana" [4]
  • John Semple, aged 34, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Flora" [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Semple migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Semple Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Martha J. Semple, aged 22, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1879

Contemporary Notables of the name Semple (post 1700) +

  • Robert Semple (1777-1816), American-born, Canadian Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company (1815-1815), son of British parents, who were made prisoners during the American War of Independence, he was born at Boston, Massachusetts
  • Maria Keogh Semple (b. 1964), American novelist and screenwriter
  • Eugene Semple (1840-1908), American politician, 13th Governor of Washington Territory (1887-1889)
  • James Semple (1798-1866), American politician, United States Senator from Illinois (1843-1847)
  • Robert Semple (1887-1943), American Lieutenant Commander, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Robert B. Semple Jr. (b. 1936), American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and associate editor of The New York Times editorial page
  • Lorenzo Semple Jr. (b. 1923), American Edgar Allan Poe Award winning and New York Film Critics Circle Award winning screenwriter and sometime playwright, known for his work on the Batman television series and the movies The Parallax View (1974) and Three Days of the Condor (1975)
  • Frederick Humphrey Semple (1872-1927), American silver Olympic golfer at the 1904 Summer Olympics
  • Carol Semple (b. 1948), American amateur golfer
  • James George Semple (b. 1799), alias Semple-Lisle, a Scottish adventurer, born at Irvine, who also passed under the names Maxwell, Harrod, and Grant; he was serving in America in 1776, where he was taken prisoner, but was released in 1777, and returned to England
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Alexander Semple, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [6]
RMS Lusitania
  • Master John Semple, Canadian 2nd Class passenger residing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [7]
  • Mrs. Agnes Semple, Scottish 2nd Class passenger residing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [7]


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY BUTE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839LadyBute.gif
  4. ^ South Australian Register Saturday 4th February 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Sultana 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sultana1854.shtml.
  5. ^ South Australian Register Monday 9th April 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Flora 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/flora1855.shtml
  6. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  7. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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