Simpson Surname Genealogy

is derived from Simon, a popular baptismal name
among the Normans.  It is a surname which has been infected by a
“parasitic glide consonant.”  This basically means that the
“p” was not originally there and came about naturally from the
pronunciation of Simson.
The early spelling was Simson.  And then Simson gave way to Simpson.  Simpson
with the “p” first occurred
in 1397 when a John Simpson was thus recorded in Yorkshire.
Select Simpson  Resources on The Internet

England.  The early appearance of the Simson/Simpson
name was in
.  But northern England was where
Simpsons were
mainly to be found, in a spread from Durham and Lancashire at one end
Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Derbyshire at the other.

The Simpsons were one of the freebooting
reiver families on the English/Scottish border in the 16th
century.  After
the Border pacification in 1603, many of these Simpsons ended up in
Ireland.  Simpsons were later to be found
in the 1750’s
at Bradley Hall near Ryton in Durham.
These Simpsons became coalmine owners in the mid-19th century.

The largest number of Simpsons has been in
Yorkshire.  One Simpson family traces
itself back to the
village of Idle near Bradford
and William Simson who
there in 1661.  The best known of these
Yorkshire Simpsons was probably Edward Simpson of Wakefield who
owned a soap factory close by Walton Hall, the home of naturalist

“In 1846
Squire Waterton complained about the fumes and pollution from Simpson’s
affecting his land.  A series of lawsuits
followed until 1849 the Squire obtained an injunction on the soap
requiring the works to close down.
Simpson simply moved the factory to Thornes in Wakefield and
to prosper.”

Ironically, the Watertons went bankrupt in 1876 and Edward Simpson
acquired his Walton Hall estate.  His
family remained there until 1959.

Scotland.  One early family
line in Scotland traced itself to Simon, the son of William de Clint in
Yorkshire, who adopted the name of Simson to distinguish himself from
the de
Clints.  His family became known as Simson in the 14th century and
subsequently moved north to Scotland where they became
affiliated with the Fraser clan.

Simsons appeared at Blairstruie in Fifeshire in
the 15th century and, remaining Simsons, made a fortune in India in the
late 18th century and then lost it in London.  The Simpson name
was also by the 17th century to be found further north in Aberdeenshire.

By the time of the 1881
census, the Simpson name was still well represented in Aberdeenshire,
as well
as in Edinburgh and Glasgow.  From
villages near Edinburgh had come:

  • Andrew
    Simpson of Dunbar, the author of the
    standard Latin grammar textbook which was published in 1587
  • and
    James Simpson of
    Bathgate, who introduced chloroform to the world for general medical
    use in

Simpson in Ireland is mainly a Scottish
implant.  The name first appeared in Antrim in the 17th
century.  Simpsons
were one of the leading linen merchants in Belfast in the 19th century.  The surname remains very much an Ulster name.

America.  John Simpson from Scotland was
as a planter in Stafford county, Virginia in 1686. Another
John Simpson, a Tyrone farmer who had
emigrated to Ohio in 1760, had a grandson who later became President
Ulysses S.
Grant.  John Simpson’s small whitewashed cottage back in Ireland
has been
preserved as a museum.

There were 371 Simpsons by the time of the 1790 US
census, of which some 30 percent were recorded in the Carolinas.  They included:

  • William
    Simpson, Scots Irish,
    the forebear of the Simpsons of Union county, North Carolina.  He
    arrived there with his wife Martha sometime in the 1770’s.
  • and
    Simpson from Belfast who came to Laurens county, South Carolina in 1786.  He was the first of four generations of
    Simpsons who represented their county in state politics.
    His home, called Belfast, still stands.

Obadiah Simpson, born in North Carolina, was one of the Empire
who left for Canada after the Revolutionary War.  He and his
family were
the first homesteaders in the Brighton township along the northern
shores of
Lake Ontario.

Meanwhile George
, born illegitimately in Scotland, had
come out to Canada in 1821.  Known as “the little emperor,” he
was to be the dominant figure in the development of the Hudson Bay
Company in
the Canadian West over the next forty years.

Simpson Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Simpson Names

, born in Leicestershire, was a noted 18th century
Archibald Simpson was the
principal architect of the granite city Aberdeen in the early 19th
Robert Simpson was a naval
hero for Chile in their War of the Confederation of the
George Simpson
established the Hudson Bay Company in Canada, being Governor of the
company from 1826 until his death in 1860.
was the Scottish doctor who pioneered the use of
chloroform in the 19th century.
Wallis Simpson was the American
divorcee who married King Edward VIII and became the Duchess of Windsor.
O.J. Simpson is the former
American football star who was acquitted of his wife’s murder in a
famous court trial, but was later convicted of robbery.
John Simpson has been BBC’s leading
foreign correspondent.
The Simpsons are a
fictionalized American family in the popular animated TV sitcom.

Select Simpsons Today

  • 101,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Aberdeen)
  • 67,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 46,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


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