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

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Tracy family come from? What is the Irish Tracy family crest and coat of arms? When did the Tracy family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Tracy family history?

The oldest instances of the Tracy surname in Ireland come from an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Treasaigh, or "descendant of Treasach," a personal name meaning "warlike," "fierce." However, many of the surname Tracy come from Anglo-Norman roots, from the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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A single person's name was often spelt simply as it sounded by medieval scribes and church officials. An investigation into the specific origins the name Tracy has revealed that such a practice has resulted in many spelling variations over the years. A few of its variants include: Tracey, Tracy, Treacy, Trassey, Trasey, O'Tracy, O'Trasey, Tracye and many more.

First found in Devon, where they were Lords of Barnstaple, descended from a famous Norman family from Tracy near Vire in Carne in Normandy. William Tracey was a natural son of Henry I, and his descendant, Henry Tracey received from King Stephen the Barony of Barnstaple. His descendant, William Tracy, in 1170, was one of the murderers of Thomas A Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tracy research. Another 317 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1643, and 1648 are included under the topic Early Tracy History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 28 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tracy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the 1840s, Ireland experienced a mass exodus to North America due to the Great Potato Famine. These families wanted to escape from hunger and disease that was ravaging their homeland. With the promise of work, freedom and land overseas, the Irish looked upon British North America and the United States as a means of hope and prosperity. Those that survived the journey were able to achieve this through much hard work and perseverance. Early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Tracy:

Tracy Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Stephen Tracy and Tryphosa Tracy, who came to Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621
  • Stephen Tracy, who landed in Massachusetts in 1623
  • Robert Tracy, who landed in Virginia in 1653
  • Robert and Mary Tracy, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • Samuel Tracy, who landed in Maryland in 1670


Tracy Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Alexander Tracy, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1710-1711
  • John Tracy, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1768

Tracy Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Tracy, aged 2, landed in New York, NY in 1803
  • Rose Tracy, aged 32, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • James Tracy, aged 30, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Hugh Tracy, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Mary Tracy, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816


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  • Spencer Tracy (1900-1967), American film actor, two-time Academy Award-winner
  • David Tracy (b. 1939), American theologian
  • Benjamin Franklin Tracy (1830-1915), United States Army officer, jurist, secretary of the navy, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor
  • Lee Tracy (1898-1968), American actor
  • John Tracy (1783-1864), American lawyer and politician, Lieutenant Governor of New York (1833-1838)
  • Andrew Tracy (1797-1868), American lawyer and politician, U.S. Representative from Vermont
  • Henry Wells Tracy (1807-1886), American politician, U.S. Representatives from Pennsylvania
  • Paul Tracy (b. 1968), professional automobile racer
  • Hugh Gordon Henry Tracy (b. 1912), English Royal Navy Rear Admiral


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  • Genealogies of the Tracy-Tanner Families, And Other Genealogies by Mathew J. Tracy.
  • An Ormsbee Odyssey: The Ancestry of Reverend Oliver Amos Ormsbee of Palto, Texas Co., Missouri.
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  1. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  2. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  6. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  10. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  11. ...

The Tracy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tracy 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 23 July 2014 at 09:58.

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