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Origins of the Smith surname

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What does the name Smith mean?

One of the most popular surnames in the English-speaking world, Smith is the most prevalent in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Particularly common among those of English, Scottish and Irish heritage, but also often used by African Americans as a result of the enslaved being given the surname of their slavers, and with variants of Smith common in almost every country in Europe. It dates back to the Anglo-Saxon era and derives from the occupation of 'smith', from the Old English 'Smid', which means to hit or to strike, and was used to describe someone who worked with metal (a blacksmith for example). The Smith surname would have been given to those with a connection to this occupation, in the era before surnames were inherited. Due to the occupational nature of this surname, there are many diverse branches of the Smith family, and there is believed to be no common line of origin to be traced back to.

Alternative variations of the name Smith

Smith, Smyth, Smythe, Smithe, Smit

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Delve deeper into the Smith family's history

Where do most Smiths live?

In 1921, most Smiths lived in London.


Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Smiths

How common is your surname?

1st most common surname in the UK

We have 4,270,000 records for the Smith surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Smiths most likely to marry?

Johnsons

&

Browns

Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Smiths.

What are the most common Smith first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Smith family members

Common jobs for Smiths

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Smiths in 1921
Dressmaker

18,106

Laundress

11,495

Domestic Servant

11,283

General Servant Domestic

9,036

Cotton Weaver

8,062

Common Male occupations for Smiths in 1921
Agricultural Labourer

19,627

General Labourer

17,261

Coal Miner

16,542

Farmer

11,643

Farm Labourer

11,008

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Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 2,900,000 family trees with the Smith surname

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