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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish lacey family come from? What is the Irish lacey family crest and coat of arms? When did the lacey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the lacey family 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 lacey. 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 lacey 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 lacey is de Léis. However, there is a native Irish family of County Wexford named O Laitheasa who anglicize their surname as lacey. 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.


During an investigation of the origin of each name, it was found that church officials and medieval scribes spelled many surnames as they sounded. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, a name could be spelt numerous ways. Some of the spelling variations for the name lacey include Lacey, Lacie, Lacy, de Lacy, Lasey, Lassey and many more.

First found in County Limerick (Irish: Luimneach) located in Southwestern Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they had been granted lands by Strongbow after the invasion of Ireland in 1172.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our lacey research. Another 327 words(23 lines of text) covering the year 1298 is included under the topic Early lacey History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 54 words(4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early lacey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


A great number of Irish families left their homeland in the late 18th century and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation. They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty, starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population, but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing the name lacey:

lacey Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Lawrence Lacey, who settled in New England between 1620 and 1650
  • Elia Lacey, who arrived in Virginia in 1653
  • John Lacey, who settled in Virginia in 1677

lacey Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Wm Lacey, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Benjamin Lacey, who was sent to America as a bonded passenger in 1719
  • James Lacey, who was sent to Virginia in 1721 as a convict
  • Elizabeth Lacey with her husband James and son and daughter settled in Georgia in 1737
  • John Lacey, who in 1739 was also sent as a convict to Virginia

lacey Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Edward Lacey, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854
  • Jeremiah Lacey, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1858
  • Alfred Charlton Lacey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1866


  • Jesse Thomas Lacey (b. 1978), American musician
  • Major-General Julius Kahn Lacey (1904-1992), American Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Far East Air Forces, Tokyo, Japan (1955)
  • Samuel "Sam" Lacey (1948-2014), American NBA basketball player who played from 1970 to 1983
  • Laurena Lacey (b. 1986), one of the first Irish born and raised glamour models to become known internationally
  • Robert Lacey (b. 1944), British historian and biographer
  • Andrew William Lacey (1887-1946), Australian politician, Member of the Australian House of Representatives and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of South Australia
  • Margaret Lacey (1910-1989), Welsh actress
  • Rob Lacey (1962-2006), British author
  • Ingrid Lacey (b. 1958), British actress
  • Catherine Lacey (1904-1979), English actress who made her film debut in 1938 in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes



  • The Thomas Lacy III (also Lacey) Family by Hubert Wesley Lacey.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Meritas augentur honores
Motto Translation: Honours are enhanced by deserts.


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  1. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  5. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  6. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  7. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  11. ...

The lacey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The lacey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 June 2014 at 03:19.

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