The Symmes family name dates back to the late 14th century when it was recorded that John Symmes, priest, was appointed Rector of Stokesbury by the Prior and Convent of St. Andrews on October 13, 1390. Most of the American descendants are from the lineage continued by Zachariah Symmes. Zachariah completed his formal education at Emmanuel College at Cambridge University and entered the ministry. He emigrated to America in 1634 tired of persecutions in the Bishop’s court. Descendants of Zachariah’s family have since settled in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Much of the family history through the mid 19th century is captured in THE SYMMES MEMORIAL by James A. Vinton, published in 1873. A copy can be found on Google books or a PDF version can be downloaded here (beware, it it 7.34 MB).