Recorded in many forms including Small, Smale, Smalles, Smailes (English) Small, Smaile, Smellie, Smiles (Scotland), Schmal and Schmall (German), Smal (Dutch) and others, this is a European name. It is one of a group of early surnames which were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of personal qualities, and in this case was probably a reference to a large person, in other words the opposite of what it seems to describe. In fact in the tales of Robin Hood we have the perfect illustration in Little John or John Little, who was the biggest member of the band of outlaws. The derivation is said to be from Olde English and Saxon pre 7th century word "smael", meaning thin or narrow, and in Middle English smal or smel. Early examples of the surname from this source include Alexander le Smele of Staffordshire 1n 1221; William le Smale of Huntingdonshire in 1294; and Thomas Small of Roxburghshire, in Scotland, in 1349. John Smale was admitted as a burgess of Aberdeen in 1407, and Cristian Smile or Smiles was recorded at Newton, Midlothian, on November 25th 1687. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Smale. This was dated 1221, in the Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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