Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his August 29th column, he looks at the history of the name Lacey.
‘You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey,” by Omahan Lacey Lamar and her sister, comedian Amber Ruffin, is the Omaha Public Library’s 2021 Omaha Reads selection. They humorously present the serious subject of how racism has impacted their lives as Black Omahans. The library will hold an online discussion with the authors Sept. 2.
Lacey is an English surname from the town of Lassy in Normandy. Lassy is 42 miles south of D-Day landing site Omaha Beach.
The first Laceys came to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror. One branch included John de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln (1192-1240), a leader of those who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.
An Irish branch was founded by Hugh de Lacy, who King Henry II appointed Lord of Meath when he invaded Ireland in 1172. Most Irish Laceys are Hugh’s descendants, though some get the name from Gaelic Ó Laitheasa, “grandson of the prince.”
When the custom of turning surnames into given names became established around 1700, men named Lacy appeared. The 1850 U.S. Census reported 603.
The spelling Lacy was commoner for boys. In 1880, when yearly baby name data starts, Lacy ranked 662nd. It peaked at 392nd in 1900, leaving the male top thousand in 1969.