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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish


The illustrious surname Smethe finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England known as Cornwall. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People at the time that surnames first came into use. Local surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Smethe is a local type of surname and the Smethe family lived at the village of Smeeth, in the county of Kent.

Smethe Early Origins



The surname Smethe was first found in Cornwall, where they held a family seat during the Middle Ages.

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Smethe Spelling Variations


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Smethe Spelling Variations



Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Smeed, Smead, Smee, Smeeth, Smethe, Smeath, Smye and many more.

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Smethe Early History


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Smethe Early History



This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smethe research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1202, 1275, 1279, 1573, and 1746 are included under the topic Early Smethe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Smethe Early Notables (pre 1700)


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Smethe Early Notables (pre 1700)



More information is included under the topic Early Smethe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Smethe In Ireland


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Smethe In Ireland



Some of the Smethe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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The Great Migration


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The Great Migration



An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Smethe: George Smee, who sailed to Virginia in 1665; William Smead sailed to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1658; Mr. Smede sailed to San Francisco in 1850; George Smee moved to Mobile Alabama in 1879..

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See Also


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See Also




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Citations


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Citations



    Other References

    1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    2. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
    3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    5. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
    6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    9. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    11. ...


    This page was last modified on 27 October 2010 at 13:59.

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