Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

119 total views, 1 views today




About the study


Project name GRACEY One-Name Study
Description A celebration and collation of the Gracey family history research made hitherto. A framework: for its preservation, for collaborative extension of it to stimulate fresh researchers, and for responding to enquirers about the Gracey surname.
Objectives To research all occurrences and aspects of the surname Gracey. To consider the relationship of the various branches, their migrations, how and why each has developed its own line and social position. To reflect upon the religious beliefs and social values of Gracey name-bearers, their occupations and responses to opportunities and pressures (e.g. political, legal, environmental, social, technological, commercial). To make such discoveries and commentaries available to qualified other enquirers.
Scope: Global – territorially and time-wise
1 Availability of data at tolerable cost
2 Availability of researchers' time and skill, and their willingness and ability to collaborate
Roles, responsibilities:  
Sponsor Alfred Gracey
Customers Guild members, collaborators' family members, and an assumed Gracey community worldwide
Manager Alfred Gracey
Main products:  
1 Progressive publication of each stage's results in relevant periodicals, websites and meetings. Show how Objectives are fulfilled.
2 Responses to enquiries
3 Preserved syntheses, accessible in Guild archive and elsewhere by future enquirers
External dependencies:  
1 Relevant data available at tolerable cost and effort in target countries.
2 Data protection regulations & best practice
1 Current active researchers of a Gracey branch will collaborate
2 Retired researchers of a Gracey branch will bequeath their data and results
3 New researchers will volunteer to extend the current status and collaborate
4 Each researcher bears their own cost & is computer-literate
Stage name Resource
Planning & admin Alfred Gracey (AG)
Data collection AG & Collaborator volunteers by country
Data analysis AG & Collaborator volunteers by country
Data synthesis AG & Collaborator volunteers by country
Publicity AG & Collaborator volunteers by country
Enquiry response AG & collaborators
Publication AG & collaborators
Preservation AG & collaborators & Guild
Start date all 10 Oct 2017
Finish date target 9 Oct 2022
Date: Review annually after each stage/country start
Product: Progress Report. Final Report.
Method: Manager & Peer appraisal
   Quality plan: per Guild standards
  RootsMagic app: Research logs,Task lists, Reports, etc
  Websites: Guild, RootsMagic,, etc
  Product definitions: to be agreed between collaborator & manager
  Issues Log
  Task & Time Schedule
  Collaborators & Correspondents log


Variant names

Gracy, Graicie and Greacy occur in old documentary contexts that align with Plantation English settlers otherwise named Gracey in Ireland. Local accent (esp of vowels) and literacy of those document writers probably affected spellings

Similar names such as Gracie (a surname of NE Scottish provenance and Gallic derivation; seeks an ONS sponsor), and the surname Grace (a separate, large ONS), will not be studied as variants of Gracey.

Name origin

There are various hypotheses about its meaning (e.g. a matronymic, from the retinue of a English lady called Grace) but none convince. This study will seek to elucidate its origin. A summary of the assertions is being drafted.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Gracey surname was fairly common in 17th Century Ireland, especially in the Ulster counties of Armagh and Down. Those families initially settled in a relatively few manors and parishes, managed by English 'undertakers', where being loyal to the Crown and the Anglican Church were selection criteria (plus an adventurous personality, a strong body, and ability to pay the rent).

Gracey men were mostly farmers, technicians and shopkeepers. Gracey women were industrious and versatile, but bearing children carried its risks as well as joys. In the 19th Century many Graceys migrated for economic reasons to North America, Australia and New Zealand. In Ulster, a few mid-sized commercial companies grew in the 20thC. Occasional Gracey professionals appear across the United Kingdom in the late 19thC and early 20thC, before expansion of higher education in 1965 tempted and equipped many to leave the land. In migration destinations, anecdotes suggest a similar pattern. Of Graceys native to England and SW Scotland, little is known. All of which this study attempts to discover in detail and celebrate.

Famous names, e.g. -

Commander James Whitla Gracey RN, 1884-1969, died in Britol. (Researched by his namesake James W Gracey, b1935)

... Gracey, first Principal of Spurgeon's Bible College, London; from a Co Down family.

Dr Leslie (?) Gracey, and his son, both buried on Lindisfarne; from Downpatrick.


And the not yet famous:

Name frequency


A preliminary scout suggests >9000 occurrences of the surname (; which includes duplicates), with about 4000 bearers alive today. This is gleaned from: Ireland 1901 Census: 613, mainly in Armagh and Down; Scotland ... with a SW cluster: England 1901 Census: 217, mostly in northern counties; USA Federal Census 1910: 810, with a current cluster of 309 in Nebraska; New Zealand currently 587, in 3 clusters. Australia 100?, Canada 1000?.   Census data from c 1900 might be marked up by a factor of x3 to get an estimate for Gracey name-bearers alive in 2018.
Hence the project's desire for a collaborating team of researchers, at least one in each major territory, working to a common goal and compatible set of products. Many have already researched their respective lineages, thus might have unconnected data to which this Study can add value with little marginal effort.

Distribution of the name

    ONS Gracey Project      
    Status date:      
Stage# Task# Stage or Task description Resource Start date End date
100   PLANNING & ADMIN      
  101 Startup: Define project      
  102 Prepare & upload Profile v1      
  103 Decide storage policy (computer, paper, online)      
  104 Design data structure & materiel      
  105 Devise backup plan & routine practice      
  106 Prepare for digitising essential papers      
  107 Enlist collaborators      
  108 Other admin      
  190 Close my Study & brief successor manager      
200   DATA COLLECTION County Armagh      
  201 Identify frequency & distribution      
  202 Collect initial data on births, deaths & marriages      
  203 Collect all Gracey data in IGI      
  204 Search Census records & substitutes      
  205 Collect entries from major published Will indexes      
  206 Collect all Burial records      
  207 Collect Monumental Inscriptions      
  208 Examine other major sources      
  209 Check IGI data against original records      
  210 Submit ONS data to Guild's Marriage, Scottish & Probate Indexes      
  211 Request searches from Guild's Marriage Challenges      
  212 Use Guild Marriage Index & Locator      
  213 Other data collection by country      
220   DATA COLLECTION County Down      
240   DATA COLLECTION Ireland other      
260   DATA COLLECTION Scotland      
280   DATA COLLECTION England, Wales, IoMan, Channel Is      
300   DATA COLLECTION New Zealand      
320   DATA COLLECTION Australia      
360   DATA COLLECTION Canada      
380   DATA COLLECTION Brazil      
400   DATA COLLECTION Rest of world      
500   DATA ANALYSIS by country      
  501 Construct family groups from data      
  502 Analyse distribution & relative frequency      
  503 Analyse distribution patterns for variants      
  504 Analyse for missing data, hunt it      
  505 Consider setting up a DNA project      
  506 Other analysis      
600   DATA SYNTHESIS      
  601 Assess possible meaning of Gracey      
  602 Assess origin based on distribution & migration      
  603 Identify where & how name variants & deviants arose      
  604 Identify main patterns of distribution change      
  605 Assess for other conclusions      
  606 Other synthesis      
700   PUBLICITY      
  701 Prepare a Publicity Plan      
  702 Create website, blog etc per Plan      
  703 Maintain, refresh Profile      
  704 Prepare Enquiry Response procedure      
  705 Respond to enquiries as they arrive      
  706 Other publicity      
800   PUBLICATION      
  801 Write articles for Guild Journal etc      
  802 Consider ONS Newsletter or Society      
  803 Consider writing a book      
  804 Other publication      
900   PRESERVATION      
  901 Deposit copies of Study with Guild, NIFHS etc      
  902 Arrange for permanent preservation of Study      
  903 Other preservation      
    Seven Pillars of Wisdom, p96      


Sources include: Church and State BMD registers. Censuses. Title deeds. Wills. Manorial registers - tenant rolls, leet courts, schools. Commercial & telephone directories. Tithe applotments. Militia muster rolls. Modern military records. Migration records (ship departures, arrivals; coincident causes). Ulster Covenant signatories. Newspapers. Family documents, interviews. PRO and LDS. Online. Private family records (Bible, Accounts book) with privacy protection.

Synthesised trees and commentaries would be published on Guild TNG and / or contributors' individual websites in due course.


A complementary DNA project is not a priority in this document-biased approach.

A volunteer to become the Gracey DNA Champion is cordially invited to get in touch.


[NIFHS website, & North Armagh branch on Facebook. Alfred's article on Ballymore tenant roll.

[Contributor branch website/s: ...

Core contributors: Alfred G (heir of research by Jim F G & Walter G); Jim Whitla G. Desirably also Ivan G; Cameron G; Wolsey G; Helen G; Jackson E, JG...]. Mailing list at ...