Smalls 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 Smalls evolved there as a nickname for a person who was small in stature. Smalls 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 Smalls 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 Smalls family

The surname Smalls 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 Smalls family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smalls 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 Smalls History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Smalls 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 Smalls has been spelled Small, Smalle, Smal and others.

Early Notables of the Smalls family (pre 1700)

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

Smalls Ranking

In the United States, the name Smalls is the 2,028th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Smalls family to Ireland

Some of the Smalls 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 Smalls 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 Smalls were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown:

Smalls Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Smalls, aged 19, who landed in America, in 1892
Smalls Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Roscoe C. Smalls, aged 25, who landed in America from Paris, in 1902
  • George Smalls, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • H Smalls, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1924
  • Henry Smalls, aged 20, who settled in America, in 1924

Contemporary Notables of the name Smalls (post 1700) +

  • Charlie Smalls (1943-1987), American Tony award winning composer and songwrite
  • Robert Smalls (1839-1915), American slave who freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 13, 1862, by commandeering a Confederate transport ship and sailing it to freedom beyond the Federal blockade
  • Fred Smalls (b. 1963), former American football linebacker
  • Cliff Smalls (1918-2008), born Clifton Arnold, an American jazz trombonist, pianist, conductor and arranger
  • Robert Smalls (1839-1915), American Republican politician, Member of South Carolina State House of Representatives, 1868; Member of South Carolina State Senate, 1870 [2]
  • Marva Smalls, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Democratic National Committee from South Carolina, 2008; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from South Carolina, 2008 [2]
  • Jeroline E. Smalls, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1996, 2000 (alternate) [2]
  • Betty L. Smalls, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from District of Columbia, 1996, 2004, 2008 (alternate) [2]
  • Joan Rodriguez Smalls (b. 1988), Puerto Rican fashion model


The Smalls 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.


  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 20) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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