JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Smoley family name origin #general

David W. Perle

Hi, all.

The last couple of nights, I've pulled up some cool stuff for a new (to me) family
branch going a few generations back, the Morris (Moses)Smoley family of Manhattan.
I'd previously been told that my great-great-grandmother Ida Gottlieb's maiden name
was Smoley and I was told that the family were shoemakers, and now I've found the
family's 1900 and 1910 census directories showing Morris as a shoemaker (they
should be in the 1890 census out of Manhattan, but I can't find it on Ancestry for
some reason), I found his 1896 petition to naturalize, and even "Moses Smole's"
German manifest record and U.S. ship arrival listing. Even Googling for "Morris
Smoley," a couple of quick, random mentions came up showing his shoe and
leather-dealing business. I also found him listed on a burial site showing his and
his wife's/my g-g-g-grandmother's final resting place in Queens. Cool stuff.

His census records indicate that he was >from "Russia" (I have a feeling that he was
really >from Poland, which at the time was under the Russian Empire; I think I saw
some reference to Poland). I had previously understood that he was >from Budapest,
because his daughter'(my great-great-grandmother's) adult census entries indicated
that her father was >from there, but I'm guessing at this point that's wrong.
Adding more possible confusion, I saw Morris's ethnicity on one of the
records given as being >from Prussia.

I Googled to check out the name origin of "Smoley," and I was surprised to see a
whole lot of returns for the name being >from the British Isles! I then remembered
something that my grandma told me probably more than 15 years ago about some branch
of the family >from around there, "you've never seen so much red hair." I wish I'd
asked her more about that, because that that's not a particularly Jewish area!) In
my genealogical adventures since two summers ago, I had not yet come across what
she was referring to, but...could this now be a clue?

However, despite all of those Google returns showing Smoley as being Celtic,
looking it up in Ancestry seems to show a lot of people not >from there but >from
eastern Europe.

Anyone know anything about that name?

David Perle
Washington, DC

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