A To Z Challenge – S




I want to discuss my ancestors, but the above title is a lie. Upstairs/Downstairs was a British TV series dealing with the various goings-on of the upper-crust, upper-floor rich folk in a mansion, and the serving class below them, both physically and socially, who provided their every whim and wish.

My forebears didn’t live in no stinkin’ mansion, making tea, and cucumber sandwiches for effete dilettantes.   My folks have been industrious, productive people for hundreds of years.  They were ‘blue-collar’ long before blue collars existed.  A more accurate title might be Manor-House/Mill-house – and never the twain shall meet.

My father’s name (and mine) was Smith.  His progenitors originally were productive German artisans named Schmied.  Over many years, the name changed to Schmidt, and was carried to the newly-born United States of America by a Hessian mercenary, paid by the British.  After another hundred years, it got Anglicized to Smith.

Smith is a proud name, and a proud profession. It originally meant, one who produces, makes or manufactures something. Then the language changed so that it meant, a worker in metal.  Finally, the meaning narrowed to just the blacksmith, who pounds hot iron and steel.

I like to think of myself as a wordsmith.  I received blacksmith training in my high school shop class.  (Yes, I lived that far out in the sticks, and back in the mists of time.)  Blacksmith is making a comeback, both through the custom knife and sword makers, and artisans who supply millennial hipsters with hand-made gate latches, coat-racks, porch rails and coffee tables.

My mother’s side of the family supplied the name Stewart.  This is a Scottish name from the English word steward, meaning, one who takes take of something.  The spelling of this name also slipped a bit, to Stuart, and a branch of the clan became the Royal Stuarts, ruling, and ‘taking care of’, Scotland.

Before he emigrated from Glasgow to Canada, my maternal grandfather became the ‘Keeper of the Tartans’ at the fabric mill where he worked. He was the steward of the patterns of the plaids which clothed a good portion of the country.


All in all, I think maybe this is the S that I should have chosen for this post.  I’m impressed with my family history.  How about you?  😎

9 thoughts on “A To Z Challenge – S

  1. That is an interesting heritage, Archon. I didn’t know Schmidt became Smith. My surname was actually English & they Germanized it. Genealogy is fascinating.


  2. Jim Wheeler says:

    Agreed, the link between surnames and professions is interesting. My own is pretty obvious. However, I’ve often wondered where many other surnames came from. One might think that they would be fairly limited in number since they are kept in the family through generations, but I am always seeing some I’ve never seen before. Some even seem made up. Probably a plot by evil illegal immigrants. 😉


    • Archon's Den says:

      Unlike Chinese, where clan names have been amalgamated until there’s only about 10 ‘family’ names left, English surnames proliferated. Place names, job names, nicknames….there are thousands. I just discovered that there is only 1 name in the official list of English names that starts with ‘I’, Illedge, for one who lived on the side of a hill.
      You’ve been listening to Trump, about those evil immigrants, haven’t you? 😕


  3. Sightsnbytes says:

    S is for Sidewalk.
    At church a few weeks back, we were fortunate to have a visiting priest, Fr. Eugene O’Reiley, say mass. The guy is so talented. Not only a great singer (He even has youtube videos), he can also tell a great joke. A true Irishman, he reeled off a few good ones, which had the crowd in tears of laughter. I will share one of his jokes.

    This old priest got fed up with people in the confessional. “I cheated on my wife”, “I committed Adultery”, “I had sex with a neighbour”, He got so fed up with this, in church the next Sunday, he made a request to the parishioners.
    “Rather than saying any of those things, if you commit adultery, say something different, like ‘I tripped over the sidewalk”.”
    Well this worked great. No longer did the old priest have to listen about the gory details of martial affairs. It worked great right up until the day the old priest died.
    A bit later, the parish was appointed a replacement priest, who was much younger than the previous priest. When people came to confess their sins, the young priest was appalled at the number of people who tripped over the sidewalk. He decided to do something about it. he went to see the mayor.
    “I have to talk to you, it seems our citizens are having trouble with the sidewalks here in town. You really need to fix them!”.
    The mayor, now realizing the young priest wasn’t aware of the ‘code’, laughed to himself.
    The priest, now frustrated with the Mayor’s lack of interest, said
    “I wouldn’t laugh if I were you, your wife told me she tripped over the sidewalk three times in the past month!”

    Happy New Years Archon. Looking forward to another year of your great stories and anecdotes.


  4. BrainRants says:

    I’m a kind of smith as well. I whack my head against firm, fixed things repeatedly. Percussive maintenance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s