Naysmith History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Naysmith is thought to be an occupational name for a maker of knives or nails, deriving from the Old English "cnif," meaning "knife," or "noegel," meaning "nail" combined with "smith." [1]

One source notes, the name is derived from "Nail-smith; but they bear two broken hammers in their Arms, as if the name were No smith !" [2]

Early Origins of the Naysmith family

The surname Naysmith was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects. [3]

"Adam Nasmith, owner of lands at Brechin, died before 1420. The Nasmyths were an old family of burgesses at Hamilton. James Nasmytht, witness in Glasgow, 1543. George Nasmyth was one of those hanged for holding Paisley against the king and his regent, 1565, and John Nesmyt is mentioned by Moysie as one of those concerned in a conspiracy in Holyrood, 27 December 1591. There was a resignation of property in favor of Robert Nasmyth in Glasgow, 1552." [3]

Further to the south in England, Hugh Nasmith was listed in Yorkshire in 1277. [4]

And it is here in England that we find definitive proof of the former spellings of the family. Roger Knifsmith was listed in London 1246-1289; Adam Knyfsmith in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1285; Saman le Knyfsmyth in Devon in 1310; William Knysmyt in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1326; and Robert Knysmithe was listed in 1594. [4]

Early History of the Naysmith family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Naysmith research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1552, 1579, 1626, 1630, 1619, 1720, 1684, 1779, 1778, 1730, 1741 and 1779 are included under the topic Early Naysmith History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Naysmith Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that rules have developed and the process of spelling according to sound has been abandoned. Scottish names from before that time tend to appear under many different spelling variations. Naysmith has been spelled Naismith, Naysmith, Naesmyth, Nesmith, Nasmyth and others.

Early Notables of the Naysmith family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Nasmith or Naysmith (d. 1619?), Scottish "surgeon to James VI of Scotland and I of England, was second son of Michael Naesmith of Posso, Peeblesshire, and Elizabeth Baird. The family trace their descent to a stalwart knight, who while in attendance on Alexander III was unable to repair his armour, but so atoned for his lack of skill as a smith by his bravery in the fight that after its conclusion he was knighted by the king with the remark that, although ‘he was nae smith, he was a brave gentleman.’ Sir...
Another 212 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Naysmith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Naysmith migration to the United States +

Unwelcome in their beloved homeland, many Scots sailed for the colonies of North America. There, they found land and freedom, and even the opportunity to make a new nation in the American War of Independence. These Scottish settlers played essential roles in the founding of the United States, and the shaping of contemporary North America. Among them:

Naysmith Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Peter M. Naysmith, aged 33, who landed in America from Pittenweem, Scotland, in 1910
  • Walter Naysmith, aged 23, who immigrated to the United States from Brayton, England, in 1911
  • Elizabeth Naysmith, aged 19, who immigrated to America from Musselburgh, Scotland, in 1913
  • Johnstone Naysmith, aged 29, who immigrated to the United States from Lochgelly, Scotland, in 1922
  • Stanley Naysmith, aged 22, who landed in America, in 1922
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Naysmith migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Naysmith Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Henry Naysmith, aged 34, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mary Naysmith, aged 25, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Alexander Naysmith, aged 1, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mary Argyle Naysmith, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mr. K. Naysmith, Scottish settler from Tranent travelling from Leith aboard the ship 'Melbourne' arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 18th March 1861 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Naysmith (post 1700) +

  • Richard Naysmith, American politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1948 [6]
  • Gary Andrew Naysmith (b. 1978), Scottish footballer
  • Anne Naysmith (1937-2015), British classical pianist; she slept in her car for 26 years until 2002 when it was towed away and lived until her death in a handmade shelter next to Stamford Brook Underground station
  • John Douglas "Doug" Naysmith (b. 1941), British Labour Co-operative politician, Member of Parliament, for Bristol North West (1997 to 2010)


The Naysmith Motto +

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: Non arte sed marte
Motto Translation: Not by science but by war.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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