Dear Dr. Lapajne:
thank you very much for your message. There is also a "Susmelj" family living in Patagonia, here in Argentina, but I have not been in touch with them. The explanation about the possible German origin was provided by a German genealogist. The "move" out of Germany, for those that were Catholic, was set around the time of the Reformation, so anyway the famiy could have been in Slovenia and around for four centuries: time enough to have spellings adapted to the region. The limited family lore received from my great uncle and great aunt did include a reference to the famiy having come to the area a two or three centuries ago. But the Slovenian origin is also perfectly possible, as you well point out.
The president of the Securities Depository in Lubljana once approached me at a meeting of the International Organization of Securities Commission many years ago and told me that she was originally from Nova Gorica and that she had had "Susmel" classmates in school (she did not mention any different spelling, but we did not go into that). Over the years, people from Generali Assicurazione and Banca Commerciale Italiana (now Banca Intesa), also based in Trieste, would also recognize the name: on the Italian side, there was no difference in the spelling.
In church records, the first ancestor we have found mentioned in the Church of San Rocco, in then Goerz, was already spelled "Susmel", in the middle of the 18th century. His profession was given as "mauer" (mason). A few "Google" internet searches have provided information going back also to the same period for "Susmel" in the region. Nothing further back, but neither my brother nor myself have done any "field" research.
Thank you very much for your help.
Very truly yours,