Recorded as Smitherman, Smitheman, Smithiman, Smythiman and others, this is an English surname. It derives from the pre 7th century word smitan, meaning "to strike." From this it has been deduced by researchers that a smith was an iron worker, but it must be said that no such skill as "smith" is recorded in the Medieval Occupations list. There are over one thousand occupations in which the word smith plays a part such as Arrowsmith, Greensmith, Goldsmith, and Swordsmith, but nowhere plain smith. It is our opinion that early smiths were local militiamen who may have had a secondary role as wearing armour or more likely being responsible for the maintenance of armour. In the case of this surname it has the addition of the suffix "-er" and "-man" to give a meaning of "one who works with Smith's man" or the employee of Smith. Examples of recordings include Elizabeth Ann Smitherman christened on the 2nd July 1722 at St. Giles Cripplegate, whilst Hannah Smitheman married John Collins on October 13th 1740 at St. Dunstan's Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Smythyman. This was dated 1309, in the Calendar of Close Rolls, for the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward IInd, 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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