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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Smythe family come from? What is the Scottish Smythe family crest and coat of arms? When did the Smythe family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Smythe family history?

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


  • Patrick Mungo Smythe (1923-1983), Scottish pianist
  • Mr. James Smythe, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • James Moore Smythe (1702-1734), born James Moore, an English playwright, fop,and wastrel
  • Brigadier Rolsa Erich Smythe, Canadian Deputy Quartermaster-General "C", National Defence Headquarters
  • George Smythe, British Conservative politician
  • Conn Smythe (1895-1980), Canadian owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1927 to 1961
  • George Smythe (1818-1857), 7th Viscount Strangford
  • Sir Thomas Smythe (b. 1558), founder of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia
  • Sergeant Quentin George Murray Smythe (1916-1998), South African soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII


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. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  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. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. 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.
  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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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