Behind "Smith"
I was just wondering. Smith is one of the most common English/American last names, and it is derived from the smithy trade. Is this so common because metalworking was the most common of professions?
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I think so, "Smith" covers a lot of metal workers in the Anglophone world. Apart from Goldsmith qualified smith names are few and far between. The Germans, in contrast, have their Messershmidts (knives), Nagelschmidts (nails) and many more.
I've heard a couple of ideas about the commonness of the name Smith:
that blacksmiths, being strong and healthy men, were more likely to survive plagues and other epidemics, so having a greater chance to pass on their genes
That surnames were being adopted in England about the time of the crusades, and many more smiths were needed to fabricate the weapons and armour needed by the armies raised.
I just think that there has to be one name commoner than all the rest - why not Smith?
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