The surname of ARSMITH was an occupational name 'a maker of iron-arrow tips'. This is an occupative surname that is listed in many ancient documents. Early records of the name mention Henricus Arusmyth, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Arrowsmith, ibid. Stephen Arrowsmith was documented in County Lancashire in the year 1488. John Arrowsmith was the curate of Lynn in County Norfolk in 1643. Noble, son of Robert Arrowsmith (butcher) was baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1748. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Invasion of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of nobler blood recognised the practical advantage and prestige in having a second name as it added to their status.
A notable member of the name was Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) the English cartographer, born in Durham. In about 1770 he went to London, and by 1790 had established a great map-making business. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God, however much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
The arms are registered in County Lancashire.
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