Show ContentsSimm History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The traditions that gave rise to the name Simm began among the Boernician of the Scottish/English Borderlands in the medieval era. It is derived from the Medieval given name Sim which was derived from Simon, but denoted son of Simon. [1]

Early Origins of the Simm family

The surname Simm 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 Simm family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Simm 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 Simm History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Simm Spelling Variations

Before the printing press and the first dictionaries appeared, names and other words were often spelled differently every time they were written. Simm has appeared under the variations Simms, Symes, Sime, Simes, Sim, Sym, Syms, Syme and others.

Early Notables of the Simm 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 Simm Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Simm family to Ireland

Some of the Simm 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 Simm migration to the United States +

The Scots who crossed the Atlantic were often on the run from poverty as well as persecution. They brought little with them, and often had nothing of their home country to hand down to their children. In the 20th century, Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations have helped the ancestors of Boernician Scots to recover their lost national legacy. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Simm were among those contributors:

Simm Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Marmaduke Simm, who arrived in Maryland in 1669 [4]
Simm Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Simm, who landed in Maryland in 1716 [4]
Simm Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Simm, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1850 [4]
  • Thomas Simm, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870 [4]
  • Robert Pallister Simm, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1878 [4]

New Zealand Simm 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:

Simm Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Simm, (b. 1852), aged 22, British settler travelling from England aboard the ship "Varuna" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 27th May 1874 [5]
  • Mrs. Jane Simm, (b. 1852), aged 22, British settler travelling from England aboard the ship "Varuna" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 27th May 1874 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Simm (post 1700) +

  • Paul Simm, English musician, composer and record producer, known for his work with Amy Winehouse
  • Kevin Ian Simm (b. 1980), English pop singer
  • John Ronald Simm (b. 1970), English two-time BAFTA Award nominated actor, best known for his roles as Sam Tyler in Life on Mars and the Master in Doctor Who
  • Juhan Simm (1885-1959), Estonian composer
  • Benjamin Simm (b. 1986), German international rugby union player


The Simm 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. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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