'Smith' most common name in region
ISAAC SMITH is almost the perfect representative to sit on Lismore City Council, after all he could say he represents one of the largest families in the world.
Cr Smith was not surprised to find out that a recent White Pages report had rated Smith as the most common surname in the Northern Rivers. Brown is the second most common and Wilson the third.
“It can be quite a big joke,” he said.
“We have friends, Chris and Jubilee, who also have the surname Smith. We’re very close and we often go out to dinner and it can get quite confusing.
“In some ways it has helped me because my parents gave me an interesting first name, which is not a bad thing.”
The Smith name is considered an occupational name of someone who works with metal.
Alstonville’s Rachel Brown always knew there were plenty of like-named people around the Northern Rivers.
“I went to school with heaps of Browns at Trinity (Catholic College), six actually, but when I went to Alstonville (High) I was the only one,” she said.
“There have been lots of Browns around but I have not been related to them.”
Brown is considered a descriptive surname and generally referred to the complexion, hair or eyes, or the clothes of the person.
Ballina’s Jeff Wilson used to be intrigued by the amount of people who used to share his last name.
“When I was young and I met another Wilson I would always see if they were related,” he said.
“I soon got over that when I realised mostly I wasn’t.”
Wilson is believed to havederived from a nickname for the son of Will.
It is believed surnames began in England as early as the 11th Century and became a more common practice in the 16th Century when parish registers were started.