Itis estimated that there are more than forty categories of "workers in metal" who have the suffix "smith". "Brownsmith" is today amongst the rarer versions and was originally given to one who worked in an alloy coloured brown (probably Bronze) as against a "Greensmith" who worked in Copper and a Whitesmith who worked in Tin. In all cases the surnames were usually shortened to Brown, Green and White - hence the popularity of these variants. Oddly enough a "Smith" was not someone who worked in metal but a warrior, the name deriving from"one who Smote". The early recordings include William Brown-Smyth in the Somerset Rolls of 1327, who was reported as being "a worker in Copper and Brass". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Le Brounesmyth, which was dated 1296, The City Rolls of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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