Smythe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Smythe family

The surname Smythe was 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.

Early History of the Smythe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Smythe research. Another 240 words (17 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Smythe Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Smythe family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Smythe family to Ireland

Some of the Smythe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Smythe migration to the United States +

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 [1]
Smythe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Smythe, who arrived in Virginia in 1789 [1]
Smythe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Smythe, aged 25, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1825 [1]
  • William Smythe, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1826 [1]
  • Thomas J Smythe, who landed in Mississippi in 1833 [1]
  • John Smythe, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834 [1]
  • Samuel Smythe, who landed in America in 1848 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Smythe Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Walter E Smythe, who arrived in Mississippi in 1905 [1]

Canada Smythe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Smythe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Smythe U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [2]

Australia Smythe migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Smythe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Robert Smythe, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Woodall" in 1849 [3]

New Zealand Smythe 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:

Smythe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Dr. Smythe, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Jane and Catherine" arriving in New Zealand on 28th June 1849 [4]
  • Miss Smythe, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Jane and Catherine" arriving in New Zealand on 28th June 1849 [4]
  • Mrs. Sarah Smythe, (b. 1824), aged 35, British teacher travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Regina" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1859 [5]
  • Miss Sarah Ann Elizabeth Smythe, (b. 1845), aged 14, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Regina" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1859 [5]
  • Mr. Archibald George Smythe, (b. 1849), aged 10, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Regina" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1859 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Smythe (post 1700) +

  • Danny Smythe (1949-2016), American drummer, member of The Box Tops, an American rock band known for their hits "The Letter", "Cry Like a Baby", and "Soul Deep"
  • William P. Smythe, American politician, U.S. Consul in Hull, 1897 [6]
  • William Smythe, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Iowa, 1904 [6]
  • Wilhelm N. Smythe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1972 [6]
  • Mabel Murphy Smythe (b. 1918), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon, 1977; Equatorial Guinea, 1979 [6]
  • John T. Smythe, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1964 [6]
  • James M. Smythe, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Augusta, Georgia, 1853-61 [6]
  • Hugh Heyne Smythe (b. 1913), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Syria, 1965-67; Malta, 1967 [6]
  • Henry Maxwell Smythe (1844-1932), American politician, U.S. Minister to Haiti, 1893-97; U.S. Consul General in Port-au-Prince, 1893-97 [6]
  • Henry A. Smythe (b. 1819), American Republican politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1866-69 [6]
  • ... (Another 11 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Henry Howard Smythe (1924-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Thames, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [7]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. James Smythe, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [8]


The Smythe 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: Semper Fidelis
Motto Translation: Always faithful.


  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)
  2. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN WOODALL 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849JohnWoodall.htm
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  8. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html


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