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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The SMEE one-name study has expanded from my efforts to find my own Ancestors, in the hope that a process of elimination would show me the way.

30+ years, several thousand Pounds and many hours later, my own tree has expanded downwards and sideways to 60,000 relatives, but my bloodline still peaks in the Marshes of Essex around 1780.

But the database that drives my web site now has over 7,700 Individuals using SMEE as their Birth Surname, over 12,500 Spouses and relations within one generation and 245 Family trees have been reconstructed.

I am ALWAYS interested in any information about any person, anywhere using the name Smee.

Variant names

Although several Variants have been researched (Smeeth, Smeath, Smeed, Smees) I have not found any evidence supporting the theories the roots of these names are the same.

The reconstruction of the Smees Family trees is nearing completion, I will be pleased to answer queries about individuals in these families, but please don't expect me to supply a complete Family tree.

Name origin

The Origin of the name is shrouded in history, the only sure thing is that nearly every Genealogical Reference has a different theory.

Please check Origins page for my latest view

Historical occurrences of the name

By far the most famous Smee is of course Captain Hook's henchman, despite many theories that his real name was something else! My Aunt always insisted J M Barrie had named him after her Grand father a red headed Mayor of Deptford, but ....

Whilst not actually flying the Skull and Crossbones (in Harbour), 2 privateer sloops commanded by different Captain Smees in the 1720's were in the Caribbean, both were damaged (in different Harbours) by the Hurricane that hit Jamaica in 1726.

One Smee family were hevily involved it the Coastal trading between Essex, London, and the trade with the iron and steel making areas in the North-East of England, many of their relatives presumably took passage on the ships Northerly voyages and resulted in 'Smee pockets' around Durham etc.

The most Illustrious Family Branch is certainly that which came from Sudbury, 3 generations served in the Bank of England including William Smee, Chief Accountant, perhaps the most celebrated scion was Alfred Smee a renowned Victorian Scientist whom some credit with identifying the cause of the Potato blight that effected Ireland and England so dramatically. Alfrd also invented the Smee Battery which famously powered the first under-sea telegraph system, and the Inks and printing process that created the first 'forgery proof' English banknotes.

Name frequency


Distribution of the name

Database Entries for Surname=SMEE as of January 2011

Total - 7,748

Break down (emigrants will be duplicated)

England - 4,892
USA - 1159
Australia - 639
Wales - 460
Ireland - 261
Canada - 143
France - 74
Scotland - 49
Norway - 40
South Africa - 38
New Zealand - 35
Germany - 14
Netherlands - 9
Rhodesia - 8
Denmark - 5


Every England and Wales BMD entry for the Surname SMEE has been Transcribed into the database, as well as the Scottish records that are available. Most of the Australian, New Zealand and Canadian BMD records available are included, but keeping pace with New Zealand Cemetery transcriptions is ongoing