Smail last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Smail is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Smail.

Meaning of Smail

A Scottish and English occupational surname referring to a person who worked as a maker of small goods.

Smail, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Smail surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Smail in America

Smail is the 3900th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Smail surname appeared 9,097 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 3 people would have the surname Smail.

We can also compare 2010 data for Smail to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 3900 16010 -121.65%
Count 9,097 1,665 138.12%
Proportion per 100k 3.08 0.62 132.97%

The history of the last name Smail

The surname SMAIL is of Scottish origin, with roots tracing back to the 13th century. It is believed to have derived from the Old English word "smael," meaning "slender" or "small." This suggests that the name may have been initially used as a descriptive nickname for a person of slight build.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name can be found in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, which document those who swore fealty to King Edward I of England. In this historical record, the name appears as "Smale," reflecting an earlier spelling variation.

During the 14th century, the name SMAIL began to appear in various Scottish records and charters, indicating its widespread use across the region. For instance, a John Smale is mentioned in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland in 1327, and a William Smale is documented in the Bute Charters of 1390.

The name also has connections to certain place names, such as Smail Burn, a stream located in the Scottish Borders region. This association suggests that the surname may have originated from a particular location or geographic feature.

Notable individuals bearing the SMAIL surname include:

  1. John Smail (1795-1867), a Scottish agriculturist and writer who authored several works on farming practices.
  2. Henry Smail (1829-1906), a Scottish-born Australian politician who served as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.
  3. Robert Smail (1833-1909), a Scottish-born American businessman and philanthropist who founded the Smail Watch Case Company in Brooklyn, New York.
  4. Jessie Smail (1856-1935), a Scottish painter and member of the Glasgow Girls, a collective of female artists from the late 19th century.
  5. Thomas Smail (1890-1969), a Scottish minister and theologian known for his works on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and Christian spirituality.

Throughout its history, the SMAIL surname has been found in various spellings, including Smale, Smaille, and Smeal, reflecting regional variations and language changes over time. Despite these variations, the name's Scottish origins and connection to descriptive characteristics or place names have remained consistent.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Smail

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Smail.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Smail was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 66.48% 6,048
Non-Hispanic Black Only 27.50% 2,502
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.49% 45
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.60% 55
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.46% 224
Hispanic Origin 2.45% 223

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Smail has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 66.48% 92.97% -33.23%
Black 27.50% 2.64% 164.96%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.49% (S)% (S)%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.60% (S)% (S)%
Two or More Races 2.46% 1.80% 30.99%
Hispanic 2.45% 1.50% 48.10%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Smail was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Smail, please contact us.

Reference this page

We spend a lot of resources downloading, cleaning, merging, and formatting the data that is shown on the site.

If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

"Smail last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 17, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/smail-surname-popularity/.

"Smail last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/smail-surname-popularity/. Accessed 17 July, 2024

Smail last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/smail-surname-popularity/.

Search for a name

Search for a first or last name to learn more about its origin, meaning, and more.

Simple as that.