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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, German, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Small family come from? What is the Scottish Small family crest and coat of arms? When did the Small family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Small family history?

Scotland's coastal mountains and Hebrides islands were known in ancient times as the kingdom of Dalriada. The name Small evolved there as a nickname for a person who was small in stature. Small is a nickname surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Nicknames form a broad and miscellaneous class of surnames, and can refer directly or indirectly to one's personality, physical attributes, mannerisms, or even their habits of dress. The surname Small derived from the Old English word smal, which means narrow, thin, or small, and referred to a person who was of slender build, or of small stature. This surname was established in Renfrew (now part of the Strathclyde region), prior to the Norman invasion of England, in 1066.


Spelling in the medieval era was a highly imprecise process. Translation, particularly from Gaelic to English, was little better. For these reasons, early Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. In various documents Small has been spelled Small, Smalle, Smal and others.

First found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Frił), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, where Richard Small was the Canon of Glasgow in 1329.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Small research. Another 191 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1329, 1326, 1407, 1447, 1503, 1625, 1714 and are included under the topic Early Small History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 85 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Small Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Small family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The Small were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

Small Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward and Francis Small, who settled in Maine in 1620
  • John Small, who settled in Massachusetts in 1635
  • Wm Small, aged 18, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Henry Small, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Margarett Small, who arrived in Virginia in 1637

Small Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Small, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Margaret Small, who landed in Virginia in 1719
  • Richard Small, who landed in New England in 1719
  • Oliver Small, who arrived in Virginia in 1735
  • Michael Small, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749

Small Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Rhodery Small, who arrived in America in 1803
  • Nelly Small, aged 30, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Owen Small, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Kitty Small, who landed in New York, NY in 1812
  • Hugh Small, who landed in New York, NY in 1812


  • Bertrice Small (b. 1937), American best selling writer of historical and romance novels
  • Edward Small (1891-1977), American film producer
  • Michael Small (1939-2003), American film score composer
  • Richard W. "Dickie" Small (1945-2014), American Thoroughbred horse racing trainer who had 1,182 career wins
  • Chris Small (b. 1973), Scottish professional snooker player
  • Ambrose Joseph Small (b. 1863), Canadian theatre owner
  • Sir Bruce Small (1895-1980), Australian businessman and politician
  • Charles A Small, Professor with the Institute for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University
  • Very Rev. Robert Leonard Small, Chaplain to the Queen in Scotland
  • Mr. William Small (d. 1912), aged 40, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking


  • Buxton Forbes Laurie of Southcote by N.J. Vine Hall.
  • Descendants of Margry Lemond and James Nicholas Small by Haskell Pruett.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Ratione non ira
Motto Translation: By reason, not by rage.


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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  4. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  5. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  6. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  11. ...

The Small Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Small Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 June 2014 at 09:18.

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