7 responses to History of Amish names: A ‘Smiley’ Amishman by way of the British Isles
  • As an Irish Anabaptist I find it encouraging to hear of fellow country people who went before me on the Anabaptist path.

    However I find it offensive that to this day people still assume that Ireland is still a part of England (or “britain” as the English like to say).It’s akin to saying that Poland is still under Russian Soviet rule.

    As an added comment, I do know some Irish people with the Smiley surname.

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    Comment on "British Isles" includes Ireland as well (January 15th, 2010 at 11:16)

    "British Isles" includes Ireland as well

    Hi Lucy,

    Appreciate the comment! Thanks for sharing this, I think you may be referring to the post title using “British Isles”? Actually I am aware of the geographical issues, that Ireland and England are very separate places and Ireland is not Great Britain nor part of the UK. However I chose this term because as I understand it, “British Isles” can refer to both Great Britain and Ireland as well as the numerous thousands of other isles including the Isle of Man, etc taken all together.

    I know it’s probably not the most common usage nowadays, but since Nathan Smiley had a British mother, and since the source I was referencing was a little unclear as to his father’s nationality and why he was born in Ireland and not Britain, I went with the wider geographical term of “British Isles”. Might be a less common usage but as I understand (hope I’m right here) it should still be technically accurate. I can understand why it might be somewhat controversial as well.

    And, yes, it is slightly irksome to hear Poland occasionally still referred to as “communist” or “the same as Russia”, but I usually make a joke about polar bears roaming the streets and then get a good laugh out of it to boot.

    And that is interesting to hear you know this surname as well. Luthy mentions that there are other spellings as well, such as “Schmeily” or “Smyly”.

    Thanks for reading, and by the way you have great photos on your blog!


  • Thanks Erik.

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    Sharon Schrock Beechy
    Comment on History of Amish names: A ‘Smiley’ Amishman by way of the British Isles (April 17th, 2011 at 19:59)

    I’m a direct descendant of Nathan Smiley and have heard the story of him being taken in by an Amish family since I was a child. My family faithfully went to the Smiley reunion every year. I grew up near Smithville, Ohio. I can’t remember exactly where the reunion was held. As a kid, it was my least favorite reunion because I didn’t know other people there and there never seemed to be other kids to play with!

    I now live in Goshen, Indiana, near the site of Nathan and John Smiley’s farms. The original farmhouse is now a restaurant. I enjoy going in there (a two-story brick house) and imagining my ancestors running up and down the open staircase.

    Thanks for the helpful information!

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      Carolyn Krabill Geiger
      Comment on Nathan Smiley's House Is Now a Restaurant (December 14th, 2015 at 22:29)

      Nathan Smiley's House Is Now a Restaurant

      Nathan Smiley was my great, great, great grandfather. John Smiley was my great, great grandfather. My husband and I went to the Elkhart Prairie Cemetery near Goshen, Indiana and found Nathan’s gravestone.

      You mentioned that there is now a restaurant at his farmhouse. What is the name of the restaurant? What is its address?

      Our family could have attended the Smiley Reunion, but we never went. It was started by John Smiley’s wife, Mary Conrad Smiley who lived from 1825 – 1812. She wanted to have her daughters and their families together in the summer. First they met at her house, then at other houses and then eventually at Orr Park in Orrville, Ohio. Later the Smiley Reunion combined with the D.Z. Yoder Reunion also held at Orr Park. We did attend the D.Z. Yoder Reunion. D.Z.Yoder was John and Mary Smiley’s son-in-law and my great grandfather.

      Carolyn Geiger

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    Comment on Smiley reunion (April 18th, 2011 at 17:41)

    Smiley reunion

    Sharon, great to hear from you, and with the names you are sporting, how could you not have Amish blood 🙂 I did not know there was a Smiley reunion…boy the quips one could come up with 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Next time I am in N. Indiana I’ll need to figure out just where the Smiley farms are!

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    Georgia [Sommer] Linscheid
    Comment on Nathan,my great great grandfather, John my great grandfather (April 9th, 2012 at 21:03)

    Nathan,my great great grandfather, John my great grandfather

    I went to all the Smiley reunions and they were in Orville Park. I grew up on John Smiley’s farm near Smithville and Wooster Ohio. I have the family history of the Smiley’s. I am 85 so the history was all around with relatives close by. I now live in Reedley Cal and am still a Mennonite.

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