Simpson Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Simpson Meaning
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.
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Select Simpson Ancestry

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

Simson and Simpson.  In the 15th century a John Symson living in the city of London was alternatively known as John Sympson, thereby showing that the two
spellings of the same name could exist side by side.

The Simpsons from Buckinghamshire.  The
family name Simpson was said to have emerged as a notable English
family name in the county of Buckinghamshire, where they were descended
Archil, a Saxon lord living at the time of King Edward the Confessor

Even after the Conquest this family held many lands, including the manor of Clint in Yorkshire.  In the 12th century this branch called
themselves de Clint.  Simon, son of
William de Clint, adopted the name Simpson to distinguish himself from
the other
de Clints.  From the 14th century his
became known as Simson. They flourished and moved north into Scotland
they became affilated with the Fraser clan.

The Simpsons of Idle in Yorkshire.  Idle
is a small village in the West Ridings of Yorkshire close to
Bradford.  It history goes back to the
14th century and the Simpsons there back to 1629.

The William Simson recorded
then was the forebear of the Simpson family which followed.  William died in 1661.  His
sons Richard and John Simson appeared in
the Idle Hearth Tax records of 1672.
John Simson was constable of Idle in 1686.

The spelling changed with the next generation
to Simpson.  An area called Simpson
Green, named after a family holding, was first reported in the 1739
register of
the local Calverley church.  The Simpsons
remained in Idle village through the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Simsons of Blairstruie.  The
Simson family of Blairstuie was one of old
standing, having established itself in Fifeshire in the 15th century.  There were subsequent branches of the family
at Pitcorthie and Brunton.

family fortunes took an upturn after George
Simson went out to India in 1783, made a fortune there, and returned
home to
spend it.  He first acquired the
Pitcorthie estate in Fifeshire and then various estates in England,
Sillwood Park in Berkshire.  He was MP
for Maidstone in Kent in 1806.

The fortunes of the Simson
family later declined.  George Simson’s
business ventures in London proved disastrous.
His sons chose to have careers with the East India Company in
India.  One Simson did return to live at
Brunton in Fifeshire in the 1880’s.

John Simpson, Virginia Planter.  John
Simpson, a Virginia planter, made the following
deposition about his father in 1748:

Simpson of Stafford county, planter
and aged about 69 years, deposed and said that he had been informed
than he was
born within ten miles of Woodstock in Stafford county.
While he was a child the Deposer’s father
and mother removed to live on the Woodstock plantation and continued
until he was about 15 or 16 years of age.
At that time he removed himself about a mile from there and
there until he came of full age and married and has lived ever since
that time
within twenty miles of the plantation.

Deposer perfectly well remembers
George Brent, deceased, who lived at Woodstock when the Deposer’s
father and
mother removed there.  The Deposer
always understood and was informed by his father, who served his time
with the
first George Brent, that this George was born in England and came from
there to

father John Simpson was a Scotsman and was indentured to George
Brent when he came to America.  He is
believed to be the John Simpson reported at Acquia in Virginia in 1680.

John Simpson was illiterate and attached his mark to his will made out
in 1756.

John Simpson of Stafford county, being sick but of perfect mind, do
make this
my last will and testament.  I recommend
my soul into the hands of God and that my body be buried in a decent
manner.  I
will give and bequeath to Ann, daughter of Benjamin Sudderth, one
feather bed and
furniture and one young pacing horse of one year of age.  I give
to Alexander
Simpson two coats and my riding saddle.  I give to my beloved wife
Silent Simpson
all the remaining parts of my personal estate.
And lastly I appoint my beloved wife Silent Simpson as my whole
sole executrix.”

had two brothers,
Thomas and George, who had died before him.

George Simpson and His Offspring.  George Simpson, known as “the little emperor” for his
leadership of the Hudson Bay Company between 1820 and 1860, had been
illegitimately around 1787 (the exact date is uncertain) in Scotland to
Simpson and an unknown woman.  Simpson had subsequently little
respect for
legitimacy.  He sired at least eleven
children by at least seven women, only one of whom was his wife.

While in London
he produced two daughters by two unknown women. When he left for Canada
were sent to Scotland to be cared for by his relatives. The eldest,
Mary Louisa
Simpson, was given a £500 dowry on her marriage and moved to Canada.
She has
over a hundred recorded descendants.

In 1817 Simpson produced a daughter by a
half-Cree washerwoman named Betsy Sinclair.
She was soon passed onto an accountant whom he had promoted. The
daughter married an English botanist but died in a canoe accident on

The record of James Keith Simpson is poorly documented.
Simpson then
fathered two sons, George and John, with Margaret Taylor.  Soon
after the birth
of John, Simpson left Margaret to marry his cousin.  Simpson
shocked peers by
neglecting to notify Margaret of his marriage or to make any
arrangements for
the future of his two sons. The sons have over 400 descendants in
Canada and California.

By his legal wife between 1831 and 1850 he had five
children. After his wife’s death he impregnated a servant and married
her off
to his manservant.


Simpson Names

  • Thomas Simpson, born in Leicestershire, was a noted 18th century mathematician.
  • Archibald Simpson was the principal architect of the granite city Aberdeen in the early 19th century.
  • Robert Simpson was a naval hero for Chile in their War of the Confederation of the 1830’s.
  • George Simpson established the Hudson Bay Company in Canada, being Governor of the
    company from 1826 until his death in 1860.
  • James Simpson 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 Simpson Numbers 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)


Select Simpson and Like Surnames  

Patronymic surnames can be with either the “-son” or the shorter “s” suffix to the first name.  The “son” suffix is more common in northern England than in the south and in lowland Scotland.  Here are some of these surnames that you can check out.




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