Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Gracie, Gracy, Graicie, Greacy, Greece
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
Contact: Mr Alfred Gracey
Goal: A celebration of persons surnamed Gracey; in a contribution to the Guild's vision of educating the public, empowering researchers, and preserving genealogical information.
Purpose: To collect and publish (a) occurrences of the Gracey surname; a study of its origin, meaning, distribution and frequency; and (c) the development and relationship of some family branches.
Scope: Worldwide, and till this surname first appeared.
Priority: Initial focus is Ireland, where four researchers are active. Next in Scotland and England, where there are links to Irish name-bearers. Then beyond.
Collaborators are sought, and invited to contribute Gracey information from their own family history and surname research. Joint efforts will develop this one-name study more quickly.
Quality: sound reasoning from interview, document and DNA evidence, with citation of evaluated sources, and digitised media in support.
Method: to publish interim collections and conclusions iteratively as we go, with a critical review before any work-package is deemed completed. This mitigates the risk of nugatory effort.
Project management: a professional approach is used to define products, control their creation, and drive prompt publication. This prevents drifting off purpose.
Gracy, Graicie, Greacy and Greece occur in old documentary contexts that align with Plantation English and Lowland Scottish settlers otherwise named Gracey in Ireland. These are variant and deviant forms that probably arose from local accents (especially in pronouncing vowels) and the literate disposition of contemporary scribes. Gracie, which is common in SW Scotland, within easy reach of counties Down and Armagh in Ireland, will be regarded as a variant.
This study excludes the surname Grace, which seems to be a separate, large group in central Ireland and another in northern and central England; and also the surname Grassick, restricted to Aberdeenshire, with a Gallic root.
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.
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:
Data collections, with analytical reports and commentaries, will be published on http://gracey.one-name.net in due course.
A Gracey DNA Champion is sought, to lead a parallel DNA project and collaborate with this document-biased approach.
Contributors to date:
Alfred Gracey (heir of research by Jim Francis Gracey & Walter Thomas Gracey)
Jim Whitla Gracey. Ivan and Florence Gracey. Cameron Gracey. Helen Gray (a Gracey granddaughter). Elsie Richie (a Gracey daughter in law). Jackson Eagleson (...).
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