About Names: Dr. Cleveland Evans on the name “Stacy”

American politician Stacey Yvonne Abrams (Photo: Public Domain)

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his June 4th column, he discusses the name “Stacy”.

Remember private eye Mike Hammer on “The New Mike Hammer” (1984-1987)? “Papa” Ken Titus on the sitcom “Titus” (2000-2002)? Ed Pegram, Woody’s former business partner in Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” (2013)?

Stacy Keach, who played them all, was born Walter Stacy Keach Jr. 83 years ago today.

Stacy and Stacey are surnames derived from a short form of Eustace, the English form of the Latin Eustachius, combining the Greek Eustathios “well-built” and Eustachys “fruitful.”

Eustace was common in medieval England in honor of St. Eustace, a Roman general martyred after refusing to sacrifice to idols.

Stacy became an official first name when the custom of giving surnames as first names began around 1700. England’s 1851 census found 51 men with Stacy or Stacey as a first name.

The 1850 U.S. Census, first listing all free residents’ names, found 603 male Stacys and Staceys. There were 243 (40%) born in New Jersey, which then had 2.1% of the total population.

In the 17th century, Quakers in England wanted to find somewhere to practice their religion freely. In 1676, Mahlon Stacy (1638-1704), a wealthy Yorkshire Quaker, bought shares in the West Jersey settlement. He sold part to his brother Robert Stacy, who founded Burlington, New Jersey, in 1677.

In 1679, Mahlon Stacy settled on the Delaware’s east bank at what later became Trenton. Though today the fame of William Penn, granted the west bank as Pennsylvania in 1681, eclipses that of the Stacys, it’s clear in 1850 their memory was still honored in New Jersey.

As a female name, Stacy was either from Eustacia, feminine of Eustace, or Anastasia, a saint’s name from Greek “resurrection.”