Smoak History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The ancestral home of the Smoak family is in the German province of Bavaria. Smoak is a German nickname surname. Such names came from eke-names, or added names, that described their initial bearer through reference to a physical characteristic or other attribute. It is a name for a shaggy or unkempt person, stemming from the German word "rauch," meaning "rough, hairy." As with many early names such as this, the reference was often in jest. More likely, the origin is in reference to the smoke generated by smithies and thereby would be a trade name. The name was translated to English when the first settlers immigrated to North America, giving rise to such variations as "Smoak" or "Smoke."
Early Origins of the Smoak family
The surname Smoak was first found in Bavaria, where the name was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. Literally, the name refers to the smoke generated by smithies. For instance, a smith in Zurich was known as "Meister Roeuchli," literally "Mister Smoke," around 1468. The various branches of the Rauch and Raeuchlin families declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region.
Early History of the Smoak family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smoak research. Another 137 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1522, 1740, 1743, 1745, 1808, and 1814 are included under the topic Early Smoak History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Smoak Spelling Variations
Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Smoak include Raucher, Rauche, Raeuchlin, Reuchlin, Raeuchle, Rauck, Raucker, Raucke, Rauk, Rauker, Rauke, Smoak, Smoke, Ruch and many more.
Early Notables of the Smoak family (pre 1700)
Prominent among members of the name Smoak in this period include Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522), who was, together with his friend Erasmus, the driving force behind the German Renaissance. He began as a lawyer in the service of the Duke of Wuerttemberg, became a judge of...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Smoak Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Smoak migration to the United States +
German settlers were among the most common to come to North America between the mid-17th and mid-20th centuries. Poverty and religious persecution drove many Bavarians to make this long trek. tenant farmers were also enticed by the prospect of owning land. From east to west, these German immigrants populated the United States, settling in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Ontario and the prairie provinces of Canada also provided homes to many. Early settlers bearing the Smoak surname or a spelling variation of the name include:
Smoak Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
- Merle Smoak, aged 19, who settled in America, in 1914
Contemporary Notables of the name Smoak (post 1700) +
- Marion Hartzog Smoak, American politician, Member of South Carolina State Senate 23rd District, 1967-68 
- Ivey Andrew Smoak Jr. (1923-2000), American politician, Member of South Carolina State House of Representatives from Colleton County, 1953-56; Member of South Carolina State Senate from Colleton County, 1959-62 
- Gerald C. Smoak, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from South Carolina, 1964 
- Claude Smoak, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Florida State Senate 11th District, 1978 
- Jim Smoak (b. 1933), American bluegrass and country music banjo player
- Justin Kyle Smoak (b. 1986), American Major League Baseball first baseman
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