- This name has two possible origins. The first, and most likely being a dialectually transposed locational name from a place in Derbyshire called Smalley, recorded as Smalleagh in Ancient Manuscripts of that county, dated 1009 and as Smalei in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname from this source is first recorded in Scotland in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). The second distinct possibility is that the name derives from the Medieval English "smile" and originally given as a nickname to one of cheerful disposition. In Lancashire Church Registers dating from the late 16th Century the surname Smylie occurs with Smyley, Smiley, Smellie and Smell(e)y. On August 20th 1820, one, George Smylie married an Ann Cross at Leyland, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ricardus Smaley, witnessed a sale of land in Glasgow. which was dated c.1280, in the Church Registers of Glasgow. during the reign of King Alexander 111, of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.