Recorded in many forms including Semken, Simkin, Simkins, Simkiss, Sinkin, and the patronymics Simkins, Simpkins, Sinkins and Sinkinson, this is an English surname. It derives from the medieval personal name Simkin, itself a nickname form of Simon, a personal name of ancient biblical origins introduced into Europe by Crusaders returning from various expeditions to free the Holy Land in the 12th century. Simon is from a Hebrew word meaning "listening", and to this was added various suffix such as -kin or -in, meaning little, and -s or -son, meaning "son of".The surname is first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century as shown below, and was originally chiefly found in the West Midlands of England. The intrusive "p" where it occurs is dialectal, introduced to make for easier pronunciation. An interesting example of the surname recordings was that of Nathaniell Simkins, aged 26, who was an early settler in the New England colonies of the West Indies and America. He travelled to St. Christopher in Barbados aboard the ship "William and John", leaving the port of London in September 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anand Simekin. This was dated 1199, in the archaeological records of the county of Suffolk, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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