Transferred use of the surname, originally a northern English and Scottish local name for someone who lived near a church (from Old Norse kirkja). Recent use has probably been influenced to some extent by the film actor Kirk Douglas (b. 1916 as Issur Danielovich Demsky).
English, Dutch, and Jewish: variant of Samson. The -p- was introduced in the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name Shimshon. The English surname has also long been established in Ireland. In North America, this name has absorbed other European cognates, for example Greek Sampsonakis, Sampsonides.