Scotland's coastal mountains and Hebrides
islands were known in ancient times as the kingdom of Dalriada. The name Smeley evolved there as a nickname
for a for a person noted for their smile, or happy personality. Smeley is thus, 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 Smeley comes from the Old English word, smile,
which means grin.
Therefore, the surname Smeley would have been adopted by someone with a distinct smile, or grin.
Early Origins of the Smeley family
The surname Smeley was first found in Cumberland
, where they held a family seat
from very ancient times as Lords of the manor, some say well before the Norman Conquest
and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Early History of the Smeley family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smeley research.Another 145 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1774, 1795, 1787, 1697, 1763, 1740, 1795, 1630, 1670, 1660, 1689, 1968 and are included under the topic Early Smeley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Smeley 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 Smeley has been spelled Smiley, Smellie, Smyly, Smyley, Smilley, Smilie and many more.
Early Notables of the Smeley family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Smeley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Smeley family to Ireland
Some of the Smeley family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 313 words (22 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Smeley family to the New World and Oceana
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 Smeley were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown: John and Jane Smiley who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1763 with their children Margaret and Robert; William Smilie settled in Charles Town in 1756.
The Smeley 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: Industria virtus et fortitudo
Motto Translation: Industry, valor, and fortitude.