This interesting surname is a patronymic from the given name Sam(m), a medieval derivative form of the biblical name Samson, itself coming from the Hebrew Shimshon, a diminutive of "shemesh" meaning "sun". Among Christians, it may sometimes have been chosen as a given name or nickname in direct reference to the great strength of the biblical character, but a more common association was with the 6th Century Welsh bishop Samson, who travelled to Brittany, where he died and was greatly venerated. His name, which may be an altered form of the Celtic origin, was popularized in England by Breton followers of William the Conqueror, and to some extent independently from Wales.The surname dates back to the mid 15th Century, (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Sam, Samme, Sammes, Samms, etc.. One Agnes Sammes married Martin Frolick on January 10th 1573 at St. Mary Abchurch, London and William, son of John and Margrett Sams, was christened at St. Bride street, London on February 10th 1621. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Sammys, which was dated 1458, The Norwich Wills Index, during the reign of King Henry V1, The Founder of Eton, 1422 - 1461. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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