Show ContentsSime History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The tale of the Sime name began in the medieval era among the Boernician people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. Sime comes from the Medieval given name Sim which was derived from Simon, but denoted son of Simon. [1]

Early Origins of the Sime family

The surname Sime was first found in East Lothian, where the name is a diminutive of Symon and Simeon.

In "Symmie and his Bruder," a satire in the vein of Peblis to the play, we have mention of "Bayth Sym and his bruder," and "Nowthir Syme nor his bruder." [2]

Moreover, "Sim is not always representative of Clan Moc-Shimidh as some think-it is a common English name as well." [2]

Early records of the name in Scotland include: "Sym Clerk [who] witnessed an instrument of resignation in 1446, John Sym de Banchry, recorded in 1503, Andrew Sym, vicar of Cumry (Comrie) in 1530 and William Sym [who] witnessed a precept of clare constat of 1548. William Sym in Nether Possill is recorded in 1596." [2]

At about this time, we also found records in England, specifically Thomas Symme, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. Christopher Sims, Berkshire appears in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1504; and Ellen Simms, of Warrington is listed in the Wills of Chester in 1593. [1]

Early History of the Sime family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sime research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1162, 1503, 1530, 1596, 1755, 1831, 1793, 1794, 1753, 1809, 1753, 1787, 1791, 1793, 1800, 1774, 1845, 1808, 1795, 1861, 1799, 1870, 1799, 1843, 1889, 1859, 1867, 1866 and are included under the topic Early Sime History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sime Spelling Variations

Since medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, and since there were no consistent rules for the translation of rules from Gaelic to English, spelling variations are extremely common in Boernician names of this vintage. Sime has been spelled Simms, Symes, Sime, Simes, Sim, Sym, Syms, Syme and others.

Early Notables of the Sime family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was John Syme (1755-1831), nicknamed "Stamp-Office Johnny," a close friend of Robert Burns'. In the summers of 1793 and 1794, he joined Burns on his two short tours of Galloway. He and Alexander Cunningham were amongst the most active of the friends and admirers of Burns's works who raised funds for the poet's family. Together with Dr Willam Maxwell he arranged Burns's funeral. [3] Michael Symes (1753?-1809), was a British soldier and diplomatist, born about 1753, entered the army about 1787, and went to India in the following year with the newly raised...
Another 249 words (18 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sime Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Sime family to Ireland

Some of the Sime family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Sime migration to the United States +

Many of the Boernician-Scottish families who crossed the Atlantic settled along the eastern seaboard in communities that would become the backbone of the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. In the War of Independence, American families that remained loyal to the Crown moved north into Canada and became known as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestral culture of all of these proud Scottish families remains alive in North America in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Sime or a variant listed above:

Sime Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • C Sime, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]

Canada Sime migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sime Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Peter Sime, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • William Sime, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • John Sime, aged 16, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • David Sime, aged 14, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833
  • Jane Sime, aged 8, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Forth" in 1833

Australia Sime migration to Australia +

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

Sime Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Sime, Scottish convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Elizabeth and Henry" on 11th February 1848, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

New Zealand Sime 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:

Sime Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Sime, aged 26, a wright, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • Jamet Sime, aged 27, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • Mary Sime, aged 5, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • James Sime, aged 3, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • Janet Sime, aged 4 months, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Sime (post 1700) +

  • David William "Dave" Sime (1936-2016), American silver medalist sprinter at the 1960 Summer Olympics
  • James Sime (1843-1895), Scottish critic and journalist, born 31 Oct. 1843, was eldest son of Rev. James Sime of Airdrie, and afterwards of Wick and Thurso, Caithness-shire
  • Sime Silverman (1873-1933), American newspaper publisher who founded Variety in 1905

SS Caribou
  • Mr. Adam W. Sime, British passenger from Toronto, Ontario was travelling aboard the railway ferry "SS Caribou" when it was struck by a German submarine torpedo on 14th October 1942, the most significant sinking in Canadian waters at that time, he died in the sinking


The Sime Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortuna et labore
Motto Translation: By fortune and labor.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elizabeth-and-henry


Houseofnames.com on Facebook