This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may derive from the Old English pre 7th Century "Smethe" meaning smooth and was a topographical name for someone who lived on a piece of smooth, level ground. It may also be of locational origin from Smeeth in Kent, recorded as "Smitha" in the "Index to the Charters and Rolls" in the British Museum 1018, from the same derivation. One, Laurence de Smethe, is noted in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Kent. The surname may also have originated as a nickname from the same word, "smethe", used in a transferred sense for someone of an amiable disposition.One, William le Smeth, appears in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Smeed, Smeeth, Smead, Smeath, etc.. The marriage of Robert Smee and Agnes Turner took place at Uxbridge, London, on September 24th 1612 and Thomas, son of Lewis and Luce Smee, was christened on January 18th 1638, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Smethe, which was dated 1202, in the Pipe Rolls of Cornwall, during the reign of King John known as known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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