SMITH - Name Meaning and Origin

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Derived from the Anglo-Saxon smitan, meaning "to smite or strike," SMITH and its derivations are an occupational name for a man who works with metal (smith or blacksmith), one of the earliest jobs for which specialist skills were required. It is a craft that was practiced in all countries, making the surname and its derivations the most common of all surnames. Smith still tops the list of most popular surnames in England and America, and is also a very common last name in Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Canada and Australia.

Surname Origin: English

Alternate Surname Spellings: SMYTH, SMYTHE, SCHMIDT

Fun Facts About the Surname SMITH:

The Granny Smith green apple is named after a woman named Maria Ann Smith (nee Sherwood), who developed it from a seedling in her orchard in Australia in 1868 at the age of 69.

Famous People with the Surname SMITH:

  • John Smith - One of the original settlers of Jamestown colony in 1607; saved from execution by the Indian princess Pocahontas
  • Captain Edward John Smith - Captain of the ill-fated RMS Titanic
  • Paul Smith - British designer
  • Anna Nicole Smith - American model
  • Adam Smith - Scottish economist and author
  • Michael J. Smith - American Astronaut; died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on 28 January 1986.
  • Gregory Paul Smith - Christian singer


Where in the World Do People with the SMITH Surname Live?

As you might expect, surname distribution data from Forebears indicates that the Smith is found throughout the world, although it ranks it at 117th most common. The Smith spelling ranks 1st, however, in the United States, England, Australia, Canada, Scotland, New Zealand, Belize, Bermuda, Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Tuvalu and Monaco.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname SMITH:

Searching for Smiths
Use these strategies for locating ancestors with common names like Smith to help you research your SMITH ancestors online.

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Common English Surnames & Their Meanings
Yes, Smith tops the list of English surnames as well!

Smith Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Smith family crest or coat of arms for the Smith surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 

Smith Family Genealogy
Family history traces the descendants of Lt. Samuel Smith (1602 - 1680) from England and Massachusetts.

Smith Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Smith surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Smith query.

FamilySearch - SMITH Genealogy
Explore over 48 million historical records which mention individuals with the Smith surname and variants, as well as online Smith family trees.

GeneaNet - Smith Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Smith surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries. - SMITH Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Smith and its variations.

The Smith Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Smith from the website of Genealogy Today.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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