Smiley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Scotland's western coastal mountains and the desolate Hebrides spawned the line of the Smiley family. The name Smiley was originally a nickname for a for a person noted for their smile, or happy personality. Smiley 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 Smiley comes from the Old English word, smile, which means grin. Therefore, the surname Smiley would have been adopted by someone with a distinct smile, or grin.

Early Origins of the Smiley family

The surname Smiley was first found in Cumberland, a historic county of North West England, now known as Cumbria.

Early History of the Smiley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smiley research. Another 74 words (5 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 Smiley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Smiley Spelling Variations

Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Smiley has been spelled Smiley, Smellie, Smyly, Smyley, Smilley, Smilie and many more.

Early Notables of the Smiley family (pre 1700)

Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Smiley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Smiley family to Ireland

Some of the Smiley family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 163 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Smiley migration to the United States +

Settlers from Scotland put down roots in communities all along the east coast of North America. Some moved north from the American colonies to Canada as United Empire Loyalists during the American War of Independence. As Clan societies and highland games started in North America in the 20th century many Scots rediscovered parts of their heritage. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Smiley were among those contributors:

Smiley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Margaret Smiley, who landed in New England in 1755 [1]
  • John and Jane Smiley who settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1763 with their children Margaret and Robert
Smiley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Smiley, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1803 [1]
  • Dominick Smiley, aged 24, who arrived in New York, NY in 1806 [1]
  • Domk Smiley, who landed in America in 1806 [1]
  • John Smiley, who arrived in America in 1810 [1]
  • James Smiley, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Smiley 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:

Smiley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Robert Smiley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1863
  • Alexander Smiley, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Catherine Smiley, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Smiley (post 1700) +

  • Edward Forbes Smiley III (b. 1956), convicted American art thief found guilty in 2006 of stealing 97 rare maps originally valued at more than US 3 million and sentenced to 42 months in prison
  • Brett Smiley (1955-2016), American singer-songwriter
  • Charles Hugh Smiley (1903-1977), American astronomer and academic, eponym of the main belt asteroid 1613 Smiley
  • Charles Smiley (b. 1954), American politician, Member of the Michigan House of Representatives (2011-)
  • Jane Smiley (b. 1949), American Pulitzer Prize-winning (1992) novelist for her novel A Thousand Acres (1991)
  • Gordon Smiley (1946-1982), American race car driver, inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2000
  • Tava Michelle Smiley (b. 1971), American actress and television host
  • Arthur Lee "Red" Smiley (1925-1972), American bluegrass and country musician, posthumously inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1992
  • John Smiley (b. 1965), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1986 to 1997
  • Rickey Smiley, American standup comedian, television host, actor, and radio personality
  • ... (Another 31 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Smiley 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Smiley +

  • 0 "Genealogy of Smiley family and descendants" (1971) by Jane Myrtle Hinkhouse

  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)


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