The surname of DESMET was an occupational name 'the smith' a worker in metals, one who worked on a lathe. The name was brought into England from Germany, sometime during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name was common to every village in during medieval times. Medieval smiths were important not only in making horseshoes, ploughshares, and other domestic articles, but above all for their skill in forging swords, other weapons and armour. The name has numerous variant spellings which include SMET, SMIDT, DE SMID, SZMID and SMISSON. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. Early records of the name mention Ecceard Smid, documented in the year 975. Alfword de Smith was recorded in County Somerset in the year 1100. William le Smyth appears in a charter in Somerset in the year 1200. Philip le Smethe, 1273 County Huntingdonshire. Johannes Tagge Smyght, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
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