Off and on I have toyed with the thought that perhaps one of my ancestors had been a blacksmith and thus, adopted the SMITH part for a last name.
The word brings to my mind a dude with a grimy soot smeared face swinging a ten pound hammer onto a piece of red hot metal to shape a horseshoe.
Or something like that.
Recently, while perusing the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness website, I ran across a page that listed occupations of old.
To my great surprise, there were TWENTY kinds of SMITHS!
What the what the?!
While I had heard of various kinds of “smiths,” archaic occupations aren’t my wheelhouse and I had never heard of some of these.
Of course there was the “smith”—a metal worker—okay, my blacksmith. Who was also known as an assistant coachsmith, a brightsmith or a forgeman.
Then there were the ones you could figure out what they were:
- anchor smith
- angle iron smith
- anvil smith
Then, the metal dudes—coppersmith, goldsmith and silversmith.
What did they do? Well, a brownsmith worked with brass or copper, a greensmith worked with copper or latten (a copper and zinc alloy), a redsmith was a goldsmith, and a whitesmith was a tinsmith.
The last three...I had no idea.
The jack-smith was a “maker of lifting machinery and contrivances,” the smugsmith was a smuggler, and the sucksmith was a maker of ploughshares.
Perhaps one of my ancestors had been a smith.
I wonder what kind?!
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, https://www.raogk.org/ "Listing of Some Early Occupations" accessed 4 December 2017.