The Clan/Sept History
Ireland already had an established system of hereditary surnames when the
Strongbownians arrived. Often the two traditions blended together quite well due
to some of their basic similarities, but the incoming Anglo-Norman system
brought in some forms that were uncommon amongst the Irish. One of these
Anglo-Norman anomalies was the prevalence of local surnames, such as Lacy. Local
names were taken from the names of a place or a geographical feature where the
person lived, held land, or was born. Originally, the place names were prefixed
by de, which means from in French. This type of prefix was eventually either
made a part of the surname if the place name began with a vowel or was
eliminated entirely. The local surnames of these Strongbownian invaders referred
to places in Normandy, or more typically England, but eventually for those
Anglo- Normans that remained in Ireland, the nicknames referred to places or
geographical features of the island: they became true local names. The Lacy
family appears to have originally lived in the settlement of Lassy in the region
called Calvados in northern France. The name of this place is derived from the
Gaulish personal name Lascius, which is of uncertain origin, and the local
suffix -acum. The Gaelic form of the surname Lacy is de Léis. However, there is
a native Irish family of county Wexford named O Laitheasa who anglicize their
surname as Lacy. This name, which was originally O Flaithgheasa, is derived from
the Gaelic word flaith, which means prince. This was, in most cases, a nickname
applied to someone with princely manners or a regal bearing.
Church officials and medieval scribes often spelled early surnames as they
sounded. This practice often resulted in many spelling variations of even a
single name. Early versions of the name Lacy included: Lacey, Lacie, Lacy, de
Lacy, Lasey, Lassey and many more.
First found in county Limerick, where they had been granted lands by Strongbow
after the invasion of Ireland in 1172.
Ireland went through one of the most devastating periods in its history with the
arrival of the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Many also lost their lives from
typhus, fever and dysentery. And poverty was the general rule as tenant farmers
were often evicted because they could not pay the high rents. Emigration to
North America gave hundreds of families a chance at a life where work, freedom,
and land ownership were all possible. For those who made the long journey, it
meant hope and survival. The Irish emigration to British North America and the
United States opened up the gates of industry, commerce, education and the arts.
Early immigration and passenger lists have shown many Irish people bearing the
name Lacy: John Lacey, who settled in Virginia in 1677; Elizabeth Lacey with her
husband James and son and daughter settled in Georgia in 1737; William Lacy
settled in Virginia in 1635.
Motto Translated: Honours are enhanced by deserts.
Present your clan/sept crest in a most unique and attractive way by choosing an Irish Clan/Sept Shield by Rowan Heraldic Shields!