Grace History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Grace is generally thought to derive from the Old French word "grace," which means "charm" or "pleasantness." In some instances, it may have evolved from the Old French word "gros," which means "great," or "large." In either instance, the name was a nickname which evolved into a surname.

Early Origins of the Grace family

The surname Grace was first found in Normandy where "Raymond Fitz-William de Carew, surnamed ' Crassus,' 'Le Gros,' and ' Le Gras,' accompanied Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in his celebrated expedition into Ireland in 1169, and he may be regarded 'as the Achilles of the enterprise.' He married Basilia de Clare, Strongbow's sister, with whom he acquired an enormous estate in Killarney, subsequently known as 'the Cantred of Grace's country;' for 'his cognomen Gros, given him on account of his prowess, gradually became first Gras, and then by English pronunciation Grace.' Many of the English families of this name deduce their descent from Ireland." [1]

"The Irish family of Grace appears to be a branch of the Fitzgeralds. For the Baronets Grace, see Gammon." [2]

"The Norman family of Grace has been prominent in Irish history since the first le Gros came to Ireland with Strongbow." [3]

Early History of the Grace family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grace research. Another 92 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1559, 1689, 1620, 1691 and 1652 are included under the topic Early Grace History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grace Spelling Variations

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 Grace included: Grace, Grase and others.

Early Notables of the Grace family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Oliver Grace, Knight of Ballylinch and Legan Castles, County Kilkenny, Lord of Carney, Tipperary, and Member of Parliament for that county in 1559; and his son, Oliver Grace, of Shanganagh, (now Gracefield), Member of Parliament for the borough of Ballynakill in 1689 Richard Grace...
Another 52 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grace Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grace World Ranking

In the United States, the name Grace is the 1,167th most popular surname with an estimated 27,357 people with that name. [4] However, in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Grace is ranked the 641st most popular surname with an estimated 69 people with that name. [5] And in Australia, the name Grace is the 537th popular surname with an estimated 7,232 people with that name. [6] New Zealand ranks Grace as 453rd with 1,525 people. [7]


United States Grace migration to the United States +

Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination for Irish families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Grace:

Grace Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Geo Grace, aged 25, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • Robert Grace, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • Roger Grace, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • Georg Grace, who landed in Virginia in 1639 [8]
  • George Grace, aged 40, who arrived in New York in 1643 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Grace Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Isaac Grace, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [8]
  • Edward Grace, who settled in Maryland in 1726
  • Ann Grace, who arrived in Virginia in 1746 [8]
  • William Grace, who landed in America in 1796 [8]
Grace Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Grace, aged 19, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [8]
  • James Grace, who landed in America in 1811 [8]
  • Samuel Grace, aged 36, who arrived in New York in 1812 [8]
  • Solomon Grace, aged 26, who landed in New York in 1812 [8]
  • P H Grace, aged 33, who landed in South Carolina in 1812 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Grace migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Grace Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Grace, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • John Grace, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1752
  • Mr. Thomas Grace U.E. who settled in St. Andrews, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Port Matoon Association [9]
Grace Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

Australia Grace migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Grace Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Patrick Grace, (b. 1799), aged 23, Irish labourer who was convicted in Wicklow, Ireland for 7 years for smuggling, transported aboard the "Countess of Harcourt" on 3rd September 1822, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1872 [11]
  • Mr. James Grace, (b. 1790), aged 48, Irish labourer who was convicted in Kilkenny, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Elphinstone" on 29th December 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • Mr. James Grace, (b. 1807), aged 31, Irish soldier born in Kilkenny who was convicted in Kannur (Cannanore), Kerala, India for 7 years for deception, transported aboard the "Caledonia" on 20th August 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Edward Grace, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1839 [14]
  • William Grace, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Grace migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Grace Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Grace, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Lady Lilford
  • Peter Grace, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Rev. Grace, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Fairy Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th July 1850 [16]
  • Mrs. Grace, British settler travelling from London with 3 children aboard the ship "Fairy Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 9th July 1850 [16]
  • Mrs. Catherine Grace, British settler travelling from Portsmouth aboard the ship "Duke of Portland" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 13th October 1851 [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Grace migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [17]
Grace Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Benjamin Grace, who settled in Barbados in 1680
Grace Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Isaac Grace, who arrived in Jamaica in 1705-1706 [8]
  • Isaac Grace, who arrived in Antigua (Antego) in 1710 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Grace (post 1700) +

  • Nancy McCampbell Grace (b. 1952), American Virginia Myers Professor of English at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio
  • Christopher John "Topher" Grace (b. 1978), American actor, best known for his role as Eric Forman on the Fox sitcom That '70s Show and as Eddie Brock/Venom in Spider-Man 3
  • Thomas Langdon Grace O.P. (1814-1897), American prelate, 2nd Roman Catholic Bishop of Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Thomas Grace (1841-1921), Irish-born, American 2nd Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, in Sacramento, California
  • Michael James "Mike" Grace (b. 1970), American former Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1995 until 1999 for the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Michael Lee Grace (b. 1956), American former Major League Baseball player who played in 1978 for the Cincinnati Reds
  • Michael Paul Grace (1842-1920), Irish-born, American businessman, CEO of W. R. Grace and Company, a shipping company of New York City
  • Maggie Grace (b. 1983), born Margaret Grace Denig, an American a Young Artist Award nominated actress
  • John Grace (b. 1977), American-born, retired Canadian Football League linebacker
  • William "Willie" Grace (1917-2006), American Negro league baseball outfielder and pitcher who played from 1943 and 1948, Negro League World Series Champion (1945)
  • ... (Another 46 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Lily  Grace (1899-1917), Canadian resident from Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [18]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Victor Maurice Grace (1919-1939), British Writer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [19]


The Grace Motto +

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: En Grace affie
Motto Translation: On Grace, depend.


Suggested Readings for the name Grace +

  • Grace Family of Louisiana by Desdemona Grace Redlich.

  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, More Irish Families. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  9. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  10. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/countess-of-harcourt
  12. ^ Convict Records Australia (Retrieved on 18th March 2022, (retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/elphinstone)
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/caledonia
  14. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Hooghly.htm
  15. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SOMERSETSHIRE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Somersetshire.htm
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  18. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  19. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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