Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Gracy, Graicie, Greacy
Category: 1 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.
Contact: Mr Alfred Gracey
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.
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:
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 ...
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: