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

Origins Available: English, Scottish


The saga of the name Smythe begins with the people of the Pictish clans. Smythe was a name for a smithy. Although Smythe appears to be an occupational name for a blacksmith, it has been suggested that when surnames came into use in Scotland, several different families simply 'took on' the name whether they had been blacksmiths or not. Thus, Smythe is a classic example of a polygenetic surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

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Scribes in the Middle Ages did not have access to a set of spelling rules. They spelled according to sound, the result was a great number of spelling variations. In various documents, Smythe has been spelled Smith, Smyth, Smythe and others.

First found in northern England and Scotland, where they held a family seat from ancient times. In trying to establish a single source for this amazing, monumentally prolific surname Smith, it is asserted that they descended from Neil Cromb, a Chieftain who flourished in 1150, third son of Murdoch, Chief of the Clan Chattan, a confederation of twenty-six Clans of which Smith was a member Clan. Faber and Ferro were Latin equivalents of the name Smith which were used in medieval documents. William faber de Karel witnessed legal proceedings c. 1250. William the Smith served as a juror during an inquest held at Traquair in 1274. In Aberdeen there lived an Alan Smyth in 1398. Finally, a Patrick Smyth of Scotland is noted as being confined in the Tower of London in 1401.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smythe research. Another 479 words (34 lines of text) covering the years 1853, 1620, 1668, 1660, 1665, 1720, 1699 and are included under the topic Early Smythe History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Smythe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Smythe 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.

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The cruelties suffered under the new government forced many to leave their ancient homeland for the freedom of the North American colonies. Those who arrived safely found land, freedom, and opportunity for the taking. These hardy settlers gave their strength and perseverance to the young nations that would become the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the name Smythe:

Smythe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • George Smythe, who arrived in America in 1635

Smythe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Richd Smythe, who arrived in Virginia in 1789

Smythe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Edward Smythe, aged 25, landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1825
  • William Smythe, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1826
  • Thomas J Smythe, who landed in Mississippi in 1833
  • John Smythe, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834
  • Samuel Smythe, who landed in America in 1848


Smythe Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Walter E Smythe, who arrived in Mississippi in 1905

Smythe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Robert Smythe arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Woodall" in 1849

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  • William Smythe, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1904
  • Wilhelm N. Smythe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1972
  • Mabel Murphy Smythe (b. 1918), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon, 1977; Equatorial Guinea, 1979
  • John T. Smythe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1964
  • James M. Smythe, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Augusta, Georgia, 1853-61
  • Hugh Heyne Smythe (b. 1913), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Syria, 1965-67; Malta, 1967
  • Henry Maxwell Smythe (1844-1932), American politician, U.S. Minister to Haiti, 1893-97; U.S. Consul General in Port-au-Prince, 1893-97
  • Henry A. Smythe (b. 1819), American Republican politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1866-69
  • Edward D. Smythe, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Augusta, Georgia, 1902-06
  • Mrs. D. Verner Smythe, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Connecticut, 1964

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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: Semper Fidelis
Motto Translation: Always faithful.

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  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  9. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  10. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  11. ...

The Smythe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Smythe Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 25 January 2016 at 14:46.

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