Simson/Simpson of Kings County, New York

Alexander Simson of Kings County, Long Island, was the great-grandfather of Simeon Simpson (who served in the Revolutionary War and migrated from New Jersey to Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1786) and there have been claims in on-line queries as well in older books on the Cory family that Alexander came from Scotland as part of England's shipment of Scottish prisoners to America in the 1650s. Since these prisoners went to the Boston area and not Kings County, which in the 1650s was under Dutch control, it seems a stretch to make such a claim. A thorough examination of Kings County records from about 1650 forward shows a much more satisfying solution to understanding the likely parents of Alexander and knowing his origins.

The research is presented in the Alexander Simson document on the Research Reports page. His probable father was Peter Simson of Gravesend and probable mother Margariet [-?-]. His likely sister was Elisabeth and his likely brother was James. Peter Simson was English and probably immigrated either as a young man or child, perhaps about 1635-1640. Currently there is no record of a Simson from England participating in the Great Migration (1620-1635) but the Great Migration Project has not yet finished researching and publishing later records for surnames beginning with "S", so these are preliminary conclusions that may change as we learn more about English immigrants in the early period after the Mayflower landed.

Peter was born before 1625, but not much earlier, and was English. He married Margariet [-?-], of Dutch origin, 2 Aug 1650 and died between 2 May 1687 and 29 Dec 1696, living in Gravesend all his life. Margariet was his only wife, outliving him and dying after the census of 1698. Assuming Margariet was approximately Peter's age, they would have had children between about 1651-1670 and this span of years agrees nicely with the estimates of the birth dates of Alexander, James and Elizabeth.

Occam's razor is applicable to this situation and there is no need to invoke multiple Simson prisoners from Scotland to explain Alexander's origins, although it does make a nice story compared to the more prosaic likelihood of Alexander being the son of Peter Simson, immigrant from England.


1. "Map - 1666 Brooklyn," Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page ( : 13 Nov 2008). Original source of image at New York State Library.

2. "5 Dutch Towns," Street Origins & Towns of Brooklyn ( : 13 Nov 2008). Original source of image not stated but likely came from articles in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Frank D. Schroth, Publisher, 1946.