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Smith Family History

Smith Name Meaning

English and Scottish: occupational name denoting a worker in metal especially iron such as a blacksmith or farrier from Middle English smith ‘smith’ (Old English smith probably a derivative of smītan ‘to strike hammer’). Early examples are also found in the Latin form Faber . Metal-working was one of the earliest occupations for which specialist skills were required and its importance ensured that this term and its equivalents in other languages were the most widespread of all occupational surnames in Europe. Medieval smiths were important not only in making horseshoes plowshares and other domestic articles but above all for their skill in forging swords other weapons and armor. This is also the most frequent of all surnames in the US. It is very common among African Americans and Native Americans (see also 5 below). This surname (in any of the two possible English senses; see also below) is also found in Haiti. See also Smither . English: from Middle English smithe ‘smithy forge’ (Old English smiththe). The surname may be topographic for someone who lived in or by a blacksmith's shop occupational for someone who worked in one or habitational from a place so named such as Smitha in King's Nympton (Devon). Compare Smithey . Irish and Scottish: sometimes adopted for Gaelic Mac Gobhann Irish Mac Gabhann ‘son of the smith’. See McGowan . Americanized form (translation into English or assimilation) of various European surnames meaning ‘smith’ or ‘blacksmith’ for example German and Jewish Schmidt Dutch Flemish and North German Smit Ukrainian Rusyn or other Slavic Koval Slovak Kováč Slovenian Serbian and Croatian Kovač (see Kovac ) and Jewish Kuznetz (see Kuznetsov ). Native American: from English smith adopted as an occupational name for a smith often as a translation into English of a personal name based on an equivalent occupational name from any of the Native American languages such as Navajo atsidí ‎‘smith’ (see Atcitty ). In most cases however the surname Smith was probably chosen because it is the most common (English) surname in North America (see 1 above). It is also the most common surname among Native Americans. Compare Blacksmith .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Smitha, Stith, Smythe, Nesmith, Smithey, Faith, Mitch, Smet, Smithe

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Where is the Smith family from?

You can see how Smith families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Smith family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Smith families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 7,086 Smith families living in New York. This was about 20% of all the recorded Smith's in USA. New York had the highest population of Smith families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Smith surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Smith ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Smith. 15% of Smith men worked as a Laborer and 7% of Smith women worked as a Maid. Some less common occupations for Americans named Smith were Truck Driver and Teacher. .

View Census Data for Smith | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1940

  • Laborer
    15%
  • Farmer
    14%
  • Salesman
    4%
  • Truck Driver
    3%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Maid
    7%
  • Housewife
    6%
  • Housekeeper
    6%
  • Teacher
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Smith family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 18 million census records available for the last name Smith. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Smith census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 2 million immigration records available for the last name Smith. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 2 million military records available for the last name Smith. For the veterans among your Smith ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Smith lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Smith life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for Smith in 1940 was 46, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Smith

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