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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

This study, like many others, has grown out of a study of my own direct ancestral family. I actually started my family tree at 'the wrong end' - where did the Passeys, from whom I am descended, come from. My own grandfather moved to Kent from Worcester in about 1905 and I knew he had Worcester and Hereford ancestry. I began hunting for all the Worcester, Hereford and Shropshire Passeys and soon discovered that I had information on a large number of Passeys from the area who were not directly 'mine'. Historically I came across Passeys that I could not connect to my immediate line. Geographically the same extraneous material accumulated.

Therefore this Study at its inception (February 2013) is to be 'A Study of the Passeys of the Marches, their distribution in Time and Space'.

Variant names

I am aware of a number of variant spellings of the name and some of them will figure in genealogical data, others may just be listed as historical curiosities. Variants include 'Passy', 'Possie', 'Payse', 'de Passey', 'de Pascy', 'Passeis', 'Pacey' and 'Pacy'.

Name origin

The origin of the name is firstly from the Roman given name 'Paccius', related to 'Pax=peace'. However the name in England is of Norman locational origin - 'Pacy-sur-Eure' was part of William FitzOsbern's territory when he joined William's cross-Channel adventure. FitzOsbern and his followers (perhaps 'les hommes de Pacy') were given charge of the Welsh border. William FitzOsbern, Le Seigneur de Pacy et Breteuil, became Earl of Hereford and garrisoned the border lands and settled Hereford in particular, which then had more than a smattering of 'frenchmen' as Domesday records.

So 'Pacy' became over the centuries 'Passey'

Historical occurrences of the name

I claim 'Caius Paccius Maximus' of Tripoli as an historical occurrence and also William FitzOsbern de Pacy, but in anything like its modern spelling we must look to:

John Passey, 'of the King's Household' who after being yeoman porter to Henry VIII, left property for the foundation of Passey's Charity in Eltham. (d.1509)

John Passey, MP for Ludlow 1553

Stanwardyne Passey, assistant to Richard Topcliffe, the torturer of Catholics (fl. 1594)

Colonel William de Passey (1859-1942), farm labourer's son of Habberley, Kidderminster who rose by his own efforts to become a lauded Australian military figure.

Name frequency

The Passey name is unusual and the 1841 census lists just 397 Passeys in all of England.

Of these 35% were in Herefordshire, 21% in Worcestershire, 14% in Shropshire, 5% in Warwickshire, 4% in Staffordshire.

Distribution of the name

Worldwide there are Passeys almost everywhere. In particular there is a strong representation in North America, with a group being descended from followers of the Mormon religion, who left for Utah from Tyning in Gloucestershire. These were descendants of John Passey (b.1810)


Currently any data that I have is computer based and has not yet been uploaded in any form to the site. (February 2013)