Does anybody not have a Smith on their family tree? There is always some branch, or fruit or nut, sometimes let in by marriage, with the surname Smith. Our ancestry is mostly from the British Isles, although many came from Germany.
I found a very funny book about the many Smiths in the world, entitled People Named Smith by H. Allen Smith. I'm sure you will enjoy these excerpts:
Only the most ignorant of all the inhabitants of this planet (possibly a Smith) needs
to be told that we excel in numbers. Our lead is so commanding, our procreative instincts
so sharply developed, that it is unlikely that any of the other family groups will ever
catch up to us. There have been times in the past when the Johnsons or the Browns or the
Millers or the Joneses have taken to their mattresses and tried to make a fight of it,
but in the end they faded and gave up.
A long time ago everyone was named Smith. As each committed a sin, he was compelled to take another name. Today only a few of us Smiths are left. p23.
The average Smith looks with considerable distaste on anyone bearing the name Smyth, or Smythe. A Smith can tolerate a person with any one of the many foreign variants of his surname, but he is somehow contemptuous of Smyths, just as he is inclined to be antagonistic toward Hyphenated Smiths. It appears to be almost inherent in a Smith to believe that a Smyth was originally a Smith and changed the spelling for the sake of haughtiness. This cleavage between Smith and Smyth becomes all the more curious when we consider that many Smyths will snarl at you if you address them as Smith. p27.
The sad truth is that we cannot think of anything of the slightest use to you in this
dismal business of being called Smyth. From our lonely island we look across at all the
happy, carefree people called Smith cavorting on the mainland, untroubled by those who
misunderstand and misspell. It must be a wonderful life.
Let us look at 5/8 Smith, a respected citizen of Pearson, Georgia. 5/8 is a peson of some prominence in Pearson, being a member of the City Council, owner of a jewelry store, owner of a farm, and operator of a plant which produces concrete blocks. He was born in Dupont, Georgia, in 1912, the son of a man named Frank Smith who was fed up with being mistaken for other men named Frank Smith (there were five other Frank Smiths in Dupont alone). When his son was born Frank Smith sat down and considered the problem, thought of all the confusions and embarrassments he had suffered because of his name, and the more he thought about it, the more determined he became that his son should have a first name the like of which no other mortal on earth possessed. In the end he chose 5/8. Not Five-Eighths, spelled out, but 5/8 Smith. In the interests of accuracy it must be reported that while everyone else calls him 5/8, and while he gets his mail in that name and pays his taxes as 5/8 Smith, his wife calls him Willie. p49.
A guy named Smith
Copyright 2002 Debbie McLeod