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Surname Smelley - Meaning and Origin

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Smelley: What does the surname Smelley mean?

The surname Smelley is of English origin and it dates back to the Middle Ages. It is a locational surname, meaning it likely derives from a place, possibly a town or region known as Smelley or a name similar to Smelley in Old England. However, the exact location of this place remains ambiguous as it seems to have ceased to exist or may have significantly changed in spelling over the centuries. Different variations of spelling have been recorded over history which marks the evolution of this surname; these include Smalley, Smelly, Smeley, and Smellie among others. It is important to note that the name does not have anything to do with the modern English word 'smelly'. Instead, some experts suggest that it might mean 'At the Small Lea', from Old English ‘Smael-leah’; 'smael’ meaning small or narrow and ‘leah’ meaning a wood, glade, clearing or pasture, implying someone who lived near a small pasture or glade. However, this is yet to be confirmed. Surnames like Smelley were used in Old England to indicate personal characteristics, occupation, or location of an individual.

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Smelley: Where does the name Smelley come from?

The last name Smelley is most commonly found in the United States, particularly in the southern regions. Smelley is a surname of English origin, and is most concentrated in the states of Virginia and Georgia. In Virginia and Georgia, Smelley is ranked as one of the top 1000 most common last names for just those two states.

Smelley is also found in other states in the United States, though not as highly concentrated as in Virginia and Georgia. Texas and North Carolina have among the most notable Smelley populations outside of the south, as well as a few other states.

The Smelley surname can also be found in many other countries around the world, particularly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. However, the highest concentration of Smelleys is still found in the United States.

Generally, the Smelley name is associated with a sturdy and honest character, and most Smelleys have been known to be hardworking and diligent. The Smelley character was particularly well noted in the south, helping to make the Smelley name more common in the area.

Variations of the surname Smelley

The surname Smelley is a distinctive and unusual surname that has a long and complex history. Smelley is an ancient English surname originating in the East Midlands region of England. It is believed that it began as an Anglo-Saxon name derived from the Old English given name Smell, which translates to Small. The spelling of the name has varied over the centuries and has developed into many variant spellings, such as Smelling, Smally, Smalle, Smalley, Smellie, Smelley, Smiley, and Smillie.

The surname Smelley is also an anglicisation of other European surnames, such as Schnelle, Smolak, Smolczynski and Smolinski. This was common practice amongst the settlers from many other countries who arrived in the New World during the 16th and 17th centuries.

The variantspellings of the Smelley surname has been further complicated by variations within different countries. Smellies are particularly prevalent in Scotland and Northern England, where the name is also spelled as Smelley or Smiley. In the United States,the spelling has been simplified and standardized to Smelley.

The Smelley surname remains a popular one in many parts of the world and has spread to many countries, including England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Austria, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Notable people with the surname Smelley include American footballmedia executive Val Smelley, actor Chris Smelley, and British astronaut Tim Smelley.

Famous people with the name Smelley

  • Georgia Smelley: American actress known for her roles in films such as Ant-Man and Wheelman.
  • Harold G. Smelley: American chemical engineer and professor of chemical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jesse Smelley: Canadian athlete who competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics.
  • Kike Smelley: Argentine-American music executive, best known for her work as the President of Sónar Music Group.
  • Devin Smelley: American former professional baseball player.
  • Jairus Smelley: American former professional basketball player.
  • Lilie Smelley: American former silent film actress
  • Robert Smelley: American racecar driver who competed in the IndyCar Series.
  • Shaun Smelley: American former running back who played in the NFL.
  • Stan Smelley: British former Formula One driver who competed in three Grands Prix, achieving his best result in 1973.

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