Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Sampson Name
Origins of Name:
The surname Sampson is derived from three separate origins. The biblical name “Samson” which is derived from the Hebrew name “Shimshon” and a shortened version of the Hebrew word “shemesh” which translates to “sun.” The name Samson was popular among Christians, who gave it as a first, personal name to honor the 6th Century Welsh bishop Samson who travelled to Brittany and founded the Abbey of Dol. Followers of William the Conqueror were particularly fond of the name Samson, especially in the areas of Cornwall and Yorkshire. The second possible origin of the surname Sampson is as a nickname for one who was strong. However, because the medieval period comes with a robust humor, it is possible that the nickname of Sampson/Samson was given to those who are very weak, and was used as a jesting, sarcastic nickname. The third possible origin of the surname of Sampson may be from a location. There is a place in Normandy which is called “Saint-Sampson,” introduced to England by the followers of William the 1st, who was the Duke of Normandy. It is important to note that Anglo-Norman names have many spelling variations because the Normans introduced a new language when they came into power. Old and Middle English had very few spelling regulations and restrictions, which caused confusion when the language was switched, as well as when it was dictated to medieval scribes who based their spelling off of phonetics, thus creating multiple spellings of the surname Sampson.
More common variations are:
Sampson, Samson, Sanson, Sansom, Sansome, Sansum, Sampsoni, Sampason, Sampsone, Samppson, Samipson, Seampson, Samepson, Sammpson, Samapason, Simpson, Sinson,
The first recorded spelling of the surname Sampson was a variant spelling, which was recorded in the Doomsday Book for Ely, Cambridgeshire, and was noted as Albert de Samsona, dated 1086. The Doomsday Book was a “Great Survey” of England, under the direction of King William I, who was also known as “The Conqueror,” and who ruled between the year 1066 and the year 1087. Other early examples of this recorded surname of Sampson included marriage records. John Sampson married Elizabeth Clarke at St. Michaels Church in Cornhill in the year 1550, and John Sansom married Elizabeth Belton at St. George’s Chapel, in Hanover square, London, in the year 1769. The first recorded person with the surname Sampson to emigrate from England to the New World, or America, was Henry Sampson who rode on the “Mayflower” on the maiden voyage to America in the year 1620, and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ten years later, in 1630, Abraham Sampson also sailed to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Ro Sampson arrived in New England that same year, making the Sampson surname one of the first English surnames to be used in the New World.
The surname Sampson was first found in Normandy France, where a man named Richard Samson (Ricardi Samsonis) was said to have a family seat at Saint-Clair-Sur-Elle in the town of Manche. Richard Samson was noted in the year 1142 in a charter to Philip the Bishop of Bayeux. In this charter, Richard Samson is named as an inhabitant in the castle of Saint-Clair.
United States 43,454
South Africa 11,689
Papua New Guinea 2,242
Trinidad and Tobago 1,238
Alden Sampson, who was the founder of the Alden Sampson Manufacturing Company in America in 1904, produced the Sampson automobile
Ezekiel Silas Sampson (1831-1892) who was a lawyer, judge, prosecutor. and he also served as a two-term Republican Congressman from the year 1875 to 1879
William Thomas Sampson (1840-1902) who was a former United States Navy rear admiral, and is most notably recognized for his service leading to a victory in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba during the Spanish-American War, the USS Sampson (DDG-10) and (DLG-102) and the (DD-394) were named after him
Christopher Keith “Chris” Sampson (born in 1978) who was a former right-handed pitcher in the MLB (Major League Baseball) and played from the year 2006 to 2010
Ralph Lee Sampson Jr. (born in 1960) who was former professional basketball player in the NBA, was named as the NBA Rookie of the Year, and was also named the College Player of the Year a total of three times
Will Sampson (1933-1987) who was a Native America (Muscogee, Creek) artist and actor, who is most notably recognized as the mute Indian in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Sampson Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Sampson blazon are the cross moline, escallop, tower and cross. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, sable and gules .
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross . Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges , or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross . The cross moline is typical of these whereby each arm of the cross expands and curves outwards, reminscent of the fer-de-moline from which it gets its name. These cross variations are probably largely for decorative effect, and to differentiate the arms from similar ones and hence their significance is that of the Christian cross itself.
The escallopoccurs often in arms, represented as the outside of the shell, sometimes “fluted” of a different colour . It has been part of heraldic tradition almost from the beginning of the art, Henry III of England awarded Gules, 3 escallopes argent to Herbert de CHAMBERLEYNE in the 13th century, and it is present in the heraldry of almost all countries . It is believed that they were adopted as badges of those going to the Holy Land and can be found in the arms of many a crusading family. Hence Wade’s suggested association of the scallop with those that “complete long journeys to far countries” .
Architectural items, from individual components to entire buildings feature frequently as charges In a coat of arms. Not surprisingly, considering the times from which many arms date, fortifications are common. The tower Is a typical example of an object from the world of architecture adopted, albeit in a stylised form, for use in heraldry. It can be placed alone, or frequently with three turrets on the top, known as a tower triple towered, and can have doors and windows of a different colour. In continental European heraldry they are often accompanied by pictorial effects such as armoured knights scaling them on ladders.