This surname was originally derived from the Hebrew personal name SHIMON, and in many vernacular versions of the Old Testament the name is usually rendered as SIMEON. In the New Testament, however, the name is normally rendered as Simon, partly as a result of an association with the Greek byname SIMOS, meaning snub-nosed. The name has spread to England, Italy, Germany, Holland, Czechosovakia and Hungary, and the name has been in use as a given name in Western Europe from the Middle Ages onwards. The name was no doubt popular because of its associations with the apostle Simon Peter, the brother of Andrew. In Britain there was confusion from an early date with the Anglo-Scandinavian form of Sigmund, a name whose popularity was reinforced at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066, by the Norman form of Simmund. Simon Magus (Simon the Magician) 1st century, was a Samaritan sorcerer. According to the bible he became a commanding personality in Samaria through his sorceries. He was converted by the preaching of Philip the evangelist, and tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit from Peter and John (hence the term Simony). Later Christian authors brought him to Rome and made him the author of heresies. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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