The surname of SMITH was derived from the occupation 'the blacksmith' a worker on the lathe. The name was taken to Scotland by settlers from England where for more than 400 years a family of Smith, firstly as tenants and afterwards as lairds, were settled in the parish of Strathblane at Craigend. Early records of the name mention Robert the Smith, who witnessed a charter in 1199. William the Smith was juror on an inquest made at Traquar. Thomas Smyth, a Scotsman was granted a safe conduct into England in 1398. In the same year Patrick Smyth of Scotland was to be kept in custody in the Tower of London. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
A notable member of the name was John Smith (1825-1910). He was the Scottish dentist and founder of Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School, the son of an Edinburgh dentist, whose practice he inherited. He was also a theatre enthusiast, and wrote the scripts of several Edinburgh Lyceum pantomimes and successfully adapted Sir Walter Scott's 'Waverley' for the stage.
Alexander Smith (1830-67) was the Scottish poet and essayist, born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire. In 1854 he was appointed secretary to Edinburgh University, and produced sonnets, verses and poems, his best known 'A Summer in Skye' was published in 1865.
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 is most common in the Aberdeenshire area, and also throughout the Midlands and in East Anglia. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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