Smail History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Smail was derived from the Old English word "smael" and the Middle English word "smel" which both mean "small, slender, thin" [1]

Early Origins of the Smail family

The surname Smail was first found in Derbyshire at Smalley, a chapelry, in the parish of Morley, union of Belper, hundred of Morleston and Litchurch. [2]

However, early records of the name are scattered throughout England: William Smale was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcester in 1275; Alexander le Smele was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1221; and William le Smale was listed in 1294. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list the following entries: Robert le Small in Huntingdon; and Henry Smale in Cambridgeshire. Later Willelmus Smale was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, and in 1468, Thomas Smale was listed as rector of Lerling in Norfolk. [3]

We would be remiss if we didn't mention the Scottish connection to the name. "A deed of 1283 runs in the name of 'Oliverus et Ricardus Smally prepositi et ceteri prepositi ac cives Glasguenses congregati in placitis burgi que tenebantur apud Glasgu.' " [4] At about the same time, Ricardus Smaley witnessed a sale of land in Glasgow, c. 1280-1290.

Early History of the Smail family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smail research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1440, 1438, 1458, 1530, 1665, 1596, 1615, 1578, 1577 and 1596 are included under the topic Early Smail History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Smail Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Smale, Smail, Smalley, Smaley and others.

Early Notables of the Smail family (pre 1700)

Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Smail Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Smail Ranking

In the United States, the name Smail is the 16,721st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]


United States Smail migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Smail Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William J. Smail, aged 30, who arrived in America, in 1894
  • Mrs. Henry Smail, aged 36, who arrived in America from Kent, in 1896
Smail Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Henry Smail, aged 50, who arrived in America from London, in 1906
  • Elizabeth Smail, aged 39, who arrived in America from Galashiels, Scotland, in 1907
  • James C. Smail, aged 27, who arrived in America from Dublin, Ireland, in 1908
  • William Smail, aged 23, who arrived in America from Dundee, Scotland, in 1911
  • Isabella Smail, aged 26, who arrived in America from Birkenhead, England, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Smail 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:

Smail Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Andrew Smail, Scottish shepherd travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [6]
  • Mrs. Christian Smail, Scottish servant travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [6]
  • Mr. Andrew Smail, Scottish settler travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [6]
  • Mr. James Smail, Scottish settler travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [6]
  • Mr. William Smail, Scottish settler travelling from Leith aboard the ship "Strathallan" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 8th January 1858 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Smail (post 1700) +

  • Thomas "Tom" Allan Smail (1928-2012), Scottish theologian
  • David Smail (b. 1938), British clinical psychologist
  • Douglas Dean Smail (b. 1957), Canadian retired professional NHL ice hockey left winger from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • David Smail (b. 1970), New Zealand professional golfer
  • Smail Hamdani (1930-2017), Algerian politician, Prime Minister of Algeria (1998-1999)


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


Houseofnames.com on Facebook