Select Simpson Surname Genealogy

Simpson 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 SimpsonSimpson with the "p" first occurred in 1397 when a John Simpson was thus recorded in Yorkshire.

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

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

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

.  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 they 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 1847.
Ireland.  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.

John Simpson from Scotland was first recorded 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 had arrived there with his wife Martha sometime in the 1770's.
  • and John 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.
Canada.  Obadiah Simpson, born in North Carolina, was one of the Empire Loyalists 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 Simpson, 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.

Select Simpson Miscellany

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

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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 is 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)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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