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Smith Family History

Smith Name Meaning

English: occupational name for a worker in metal, from Middle English smith (Old English smið, probably a derivative of smitan ‘to strike, hammer’). Metal-working was one of the earliest occupations for which specialist skills were required, and its importance ensured that this term and its equivalents were perhaps the most widespread of all occupational surnames in Europe. Medieval smiths were important not only in making horseshoes, plowshares, and other domestic articles, but above all for their skill in forging swords, other weapons, and armor. This is the most frequent of all American surnames; it has also absorbed, by assimilation and translation, cognates and equivalents from many other languages (for forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Smitha, Stith, Smythe, Nesmith, Smithey, Faith, Mitch, Smet, Smithe

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Smith family from?

You can see how Smith families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Smith family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Smith families were found in the USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 60,270 Smith families living in London. This was about 15% of all the recorded Smith's in the UK. London had the highest population of Smith families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Smith surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Smith ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the UK named Smith. 5% of Smith men worked as a General Labourer and 61% of Smith women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Smith were Incapacitated and Incapacitated.

View Census data for Smith | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1939

  • General Labourer
    5%
  • Builders Labourer
    2%
  • Bricklayer
    2%
  • Incapacitated
    2%

Top Female Occupations in 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
    61%
  • Unpaid Domestic
    3%
  • Housewife
    2%
  • Incapacitated
    2%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Smith family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 18 million census records available for the last name Smith. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Smith census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search UK census records for Smith

Passenger Lists

There are 2 million immigration records available for the last name Smith. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Smith immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 2 million military records available for the last name Smith. For the veterans among your Smith ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of Smith family history.

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What is the average Smith lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Smith life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for Smith in 1940 was 46, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Smith

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