Show ContentsSymonds History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. 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 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 first name of the bearer's father, meaning literally "son of Simon." Alternatively, the name could have "come from the Domesday name Simund, which is distinct from Simon." [1]

Simon was a popular biblical name and comes ultimately from the ancient Hebrew personal name Shimon, meaning "to hearken." [2]

The name appears as a character in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales: 'Awake, Simond, the fend is on me fall.'

Early Origins of the Symonds family

The surname Symonds was first found in Devon and in Cornwall, where the family held a family seat since ancient times.

The ancient Latin form of the name Simmunddnrus was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. [3]

Simeon or Symeon of Durham (fl. 1130), was an English historian, a monk of Durham, being thirty-eighth on his own list of the monks of that house. Saint Simeon Stock (1165?-1265), was general of the Carmelite friars and is said to have been born in Kent of noble parents about 1165. "From his earliest years he was devoted to religion, and, according to the legend, owed his surname to the fact that from his twelfth year he lived a hermit's life in the trunk or stock of a tree for twenty years. " [4]

Simeon of Warwick (died 1295), was an English historian who became a Benedictine monk at St. Mary's, York, and in 1258 was elected abbot.

In Scotland, the first records of the family were "Symon, capellanus, [who] witnessed a charter by William Bruce to Adam Carlyle, c. 1194-1214, and Symon or Simon, archidiaconus of Aberdeen, a charter witness, 1172." [5]

Early History of the Symonds family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Symonds research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1178, 1273, 1379, 1388, 1475, 1487, 1500, 1525, 1528, 1586, 1614, 1617, 1623, 1624, 1640, 1665, 1687, 1692, 1815 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Symonds History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Symonds Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Symonds family

Notable amongst the family at this time was

  • John Symons, M.P. for Helston in 1388; Thomas Simon (c. 1623-1665), English medalist, born in Yorkshire who studied engraving under Nicholas Briot; Samuel Simmons (1640-1687), an English printer, best...
  • Peter Symonds (c. 1528-1586), born in Winchester, was a wealthy English merchant and benefactor, most notable for founding a number of almshouses for charitable endeavors in Southeast England

Symonds Ranking

In the United States, the name Symonds is the 10,288th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Symonds family to Ireland

Some of the Symonds family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Symonds migration to the United States +

An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Symonds:

Symonds Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Symonds, who landed in New England in 1631 [7]
  • Oliver, Sarah, Dorothy, Francis, James, and Joe Symonds, who all, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Symonds, aged 18, who landed in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Primrose" [7]
  • Samuell Symonds, aged 30, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Paul" [7]
  • Thomas Symonds, aged 27, who arrived in Virginia in 1634 aboard the ship "Bonaventure" coming via St. Domingo [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Symonds Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. T.H. Symonds, (b. 1857), aged 29, Cornish blacksmith departing from Liverpool aboard the ship "Aurania" arriving in the United States on 12 April 1886 [8]
  • Mrs. T.H. Symonds, (b. 1862), aged 24, Cornish settler departing from Liverpool aboard the ship "Aurania" arriving in the United States on 12 April 1886 [8]

Canada Symonds migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Symonds Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Josiah Symonds, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Symonds migration to Australia +

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

Symonds Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Daniel Symonds, (b. 1802), aged 33, English agricultural labourer who was convicted in Suffolk, England for life for stealing, transported aboard the "England" on 6th June 1835, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Bessie Symonds, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Africaine" in 1836 [10]
  • Richard Gilbert Symonds a surveyor, who arrived in Holdfast Bay, Australia aboard the ship "Cygnet" in 1836 [11]
  • Mr. George Symonds, Welsh convict who was convicted in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales for 15 years, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 25th January 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [12]
  • Mr. William Symonds (Symons), (b. 1825), aged 19 born in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK convicted in Devon on 14th October 1844, sentenced for 10 years for housebreaking, transported aboard the ship "Joseph Somes" in 1846 to Van Diemen's Land, Tasmania, Australia [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Symonds 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:

Symonds Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W C Symonds, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1836
  • J J Symonds, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • W C Symonds, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Symonds, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842
  • Lieut. Symonds, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Berhampore" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th June 1849 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Symonds migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [15]
Symonds Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Francis Symonds, aged 21, British settler travelling from Gravesend, UK aboard the ship "Hopewell" arriving in Barbados on 17th February 1634 [7]
  • Mr. Richard Symonds, English settler from Wantage, Oxfordshire, England, (b. 1606), aged 28, British settler travelling from Plymouth, England aboard the ship "Margarett" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) on 1st March 1634 [16]
  • Mr. John Symonds, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Peter Bonaventure" arriving in Barbados and St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [17]
  • Mr. Dorothy Symonds, (b. 1595), aged 40, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [18]

Contemporary Notables of the name Symonds (post 1700) +

  • Craig Lee Symonds (b. 1946), American historian, Distinguished Visiting Ernest J. King Professor of Maritime History (2017-2019)
  • Alan Symonds (1946-2006), American theater director, Technical Director of the Harvard College Theaters
  • Thomas Symonds (1731-1793), British naval captain from Horringeth Suffolk in the American Revolutionary War, father of William Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy
  • James Symonds, American rear-admiral in the US Navy, former Commanding Officer of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76)
  • Robert Symonds (1926-2007), American stage actor and associate director of the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center (1965-1972)
  • Air Vice Marshal Sir Charles Putnam Symonds KBE, CB (b. 1890), English neurologist and a senior medical officer in the Royal Air Force
  • William Samuel Symonds (1818-1887), English geologist and author, born at Hereford, the eldest child of William Symonds of Elsdon, Herefordshire, a member of an old west-country family
  • Benjamin Parsons Symonds (1785-1878), Warden of Wadham College, son of John Symons of Cheddar in Somerset
  • John Symonds (1729-1807), English professor of modern history at Cambridge, born at Horningsheath in Suffolk, the eldest son of John Symonds (d. 1757), rector of Horningsheath
  • Sir William Symonds CB FRS (1782-1856), English Surveyor of the Royal Navy (1832-1847) from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
  • ... (Another 18 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Repulse
  • Mr. William James Symonds, British Boy 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and died in the sinking [19]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Henry G. Symonds, British Leading Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [20]
Prince of Wales colliery
  • Mr. William Symonds (b. 1839), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. W. H. Symonds (b. 1864), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. Edward Symonds (b. 1843), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. Thomas H. Symonds (b. 1861), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]
  • Mr. Albert Symonds (b. 1865), Welsh coal miner who was working at the Prince of Wales Colliery in Abercarn, Wales on the 11th September 1878 when there was a coal mine explosion; he died [21]


  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. 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)
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?". NameCensus.com, https://namecensus.com/last-names/
  7. 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)
  8. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th April 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/england
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) AFRICAINE 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Africaine.htm
  11. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Cygnet arrived Holdfast Bay, Adealide Sept. 11, 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Cygnet.htm
  12. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 4th May 2022). https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/equestrian
  13. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 30th May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/tasmanian_convicts_cornish.pdf
  14. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  16. Cornish in the Caribbean (retrieved on 23rd September 2021). Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=gnSFDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA265&lpg=PA265&dq=wallen+lizard+cornwall&source=bl&ots=ARTnm6uRLv&sig=ACfU3U3ewicUaBkTuwC_Gpr0ic-
  17. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's. Retrieved 23rd September 2021 from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm
  18. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm
  19. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  21. Entombed in flood and flame (retrieved 3rd August 2021). Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120603025705/http://www.crosskeys.me.uk/history/prince.htm


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