Small History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Small family

The surname Small 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 Richard Small was the Canon of Glasgow in 1329.

Early History of the Small family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Small research. Another 96 words (7 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Small Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Small family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Small Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Small family to Ireland

Some of the Small family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Small migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward and Francis Small, who settled in Maine in 1620
  • John Small, who settled in Massachusetts in 1635
  • William Small, aged 18, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [1]
  • Henry Small, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Margarett Small, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Small Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Small, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [1]
  • Margaret Small, who landed in Virginia in 1719 [1]
  • Richard Small, who landed in New England in 1719 [1]
  • John Small, who landed in Virginia in 1724 [1]
  • Elizabeth Small, who arrived in Virginia in 1724 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Small Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Nelly Small, aged 30, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [1]
  • Rhodery Small, who arrived in America in 1803 [1]
  • Owen Small, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [1]
  • Kitty Small, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [1]
  • Hugh Small, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Small migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Small Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Dorril Small, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Hanah Small, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Isabelah Small, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Small, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1756 [2]
  • Mr. John Small U.E. who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Small Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Reuben Small, who settled in Conception Bay in 1810
  • John Small, who settled in Moreton's Harbour in 1845
  • Mr. James Small who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "John Bolton" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in 1847 [4]
  • Mr. James Small, aged 50 who immigrated to Canada, arriving at the Grosse Isle Quarantine Station in Quebec aboard the ship "Clarendon" departing from the port of Liverpool, England but died on Grosse Isle in June 1847 [4]
  • Miss. Bridget Small, aged 1 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Vanilla" departing 28th May 1847 from Limerick, Ireland; the ship arrived on 11th July 1847 but she died on board [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Small migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Small Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jacob Small, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]
  • Robert Small, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1848 [7]
  • Thomas Parrier Small, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Thomas Lowry" in 1848 [8]
  • Harry Small, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Navarino" in 1849 [9]
  • Mary Small, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Hooghly" [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Small 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:

Small Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • David Small, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1839 aboard the ship Chelydra
  • Charles Small, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr Small, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway
  • Charles Small, aged 36, a saw miller, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • Margaret Small, aged 33, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Martha Ridgeway" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Small (post 1700) +

  • William J. Small (1926-2020), American broadcast journalist, executive, author, and educator, President of NBC News (1979–1982)
  • Arthur Adams Small Jr. (1933-2015), American politician and lawyer, Member of the Iowa State Senate (1979-1987)
  • Richard W. "Dickie" Small (1945-2014), American Thoroughbred horse racing trainer who had 1,182 career wins
  • Michael Small (1939-2003), American film score composer
  • Edward Small (1891-1977), American film producer
  • Bertrice Small (b. 1937), American best selling writer of historical and romance novels
  • John Small (1828-1886), Scottish librarian of Edinburgh University, son of John Small and Margaret Brown his wife, born at Edinburgh
  • John Small (1726-1796), Scottish major-general, born at Strath Ardle in the district of Atholl in Perthshire
  • Chris Small (b. 1973), Scottish professional snooker player
  • Millicent Dolly May Small CD (1946-2020), Jamaican singer-songwriter, best known for her 1964 recording of "My Boy Lollipop"
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Royal Oak
  • William Small (d. 1939), British Chief Petty Officer Cook with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [11]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William Small (d. 1912), aged 40, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [12]


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


Suggested Readings for the name Small +

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

  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  3. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  4. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 55)
  5. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 95)
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anson voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1843 with 499 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anson/1843
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Hooghly.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) THOMAS LOWRY 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848ThomasLowry.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) NAVARINO 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Navarino.htm
  10. ^ South Australian Register Wednesday 21st February 1855. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Rodney 1855. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/rodney1855.shtml
  11. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  12. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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