The Lucey and Lucy Family History Web Site, first published 1999 with 708 pages of detailed information

Lucey Home Page

The Lucey & Lucy Family History Home Page
Published by Norman Lucey

Databasede LucySigournayGuestbook

Origins of the SurnameRickmansworth

s you may already know from Edward MacLysaght's work on Irish Families, the Norman name "de Lucy", originating from the town of Luce in the Orne region of Normandy, France, was prominent in Ireland in the fourteenth century; for Anthony de Lucy was Justiciar in 1332. The name also appears earlier in the Gormanston Register, at Carlingford in 1305. There is however no evidence that there are any present representatives of the de Lucy families in Ireland and it is therefore believed that we are Gaelic in origin, the surname being Ó Luasaigh in Irish. This may be a corruption of MacCluasaigh, which is now also obsolete. Around 660 the poet St. Colmán ua Cluasaigh from the monastery at Cork wrote one of the earliest examples of the written Irish language. Between 1302 and 1307 a grant was made to Thomas Ó Lousy of the Archdeaconry of Cashel. A Robert Mac Clwos of Cork obtained "English Liberty" in 1560 and later in the century several persons called MacCluosse appear in the Elizabethan Fiants living in Co. Cork. In the Fiants for 1601 are recorded a James Lowsse, Gullishie Ó Lwoshie, Tige and Donell Ó Lwosie of Muskerry and Gillpatrick Ó Lowsie of Ballivorney. Also mentioned are Gulestie Ó Lwoshie of Mashanaglas, Owliffe Ó Lwosie of Kilmidie and Shane Ó Lwosie of Ballyvoyrane; all of County Cork. In 1649 one of the "46 officers" was a Charles Lucey, listed as a commissioned officer owed arrears, who served Charles 1st. or 2nd. in the wars of Ireland prior to 5th June 1649. As Luosy it is found in the Kinsale presentments of 1712, among the "Popish" inhabitants against which execution was obtained (robbery warrants against Dennis Luocy and Tiege Luosy). In 1865 including variations in spelling, all the total number of 43 Irish birth registrations occurred in Munster, 39 in Cork. Similarly in 1890 of the 42 registrations, 35 were in Cork and 4 in Kerry. The calculated population of Irish Luceys in 1890 was 1,882. In 1876 no Luceys owned land over one acre.

rior to 1800 the Luceys were resident around Ballyvourney and Kilnamartery, both west of Macroom, Co. Cork and around the 1820's also at Inchigeelagh (Iveleary or Eveleary) further West, Ballymakeery, Clondrohid, Coolmountain, Kilmichael, Nohovaldaly and Dromtarriff (Drumtarriff), NW of Millstreet. Later in the century births were also registered in Co. Kerry - Glen Flesk, Ardfert, Castleisland and in Co. Cork - Slievereagh, Millstreet and Boherbue. Early prominent residents who left wills were Maurice Lucey (Cork City Merchant 1782), Thomas Lucey (Cork merchant and tailor 1770) and Catharine Lucey (1771 of Cork). Daniel Lucey (tobacconist and chandler) is also noted in the Macroom directory of 1824.

s you may know the difficulty with genealogical research in Ireland is that almost all parish and census records were destroyed in 1922. Between 1750 and 1800 Ireland began to suffer from a rapid over population and rural crisis. The people rented minute plots of land, with little substance and capital, known as cottiers, from tenant farmers on inferior uplands above good farming land. Rent was paid off in labour with potatoes grown for subsistence and pig fattening. An increasing number of peasants had to take conacre (land hired for a single season) at inflated rents. By 1830 only a third of the rural labourers could count on permanent employment. Seasonal migrant labour became more common, for example from West Cork to Waterford, Limerick and increasingly from the 1820's to the English haymaking and harvest seasons. As population grew, dependence on the potato grew.

heir cabins were constructed of mud and consisted of one room. 60-75% of all houses were of this type, with a hole in the wall for light, no glass and a board to stop it up, often in isolated communities of twenty houses or less. On death all holdings were sub-divided among the children. In the early 1800's coach road-building opened up West Cork and Kerry, areas previously almost completely isolated. The majority spoke Irish and were illiterate. I suspect our Lucey ancestors were caught in an Ireland of extreme poverty, social tensions and unrest.

n April 1847 there were many food riots, violence and a flight to the cities. 20,000 paupers invaded Cork City. Ireland was not a place to which to return. In May and June 1847 a M. and P. Lucey (aged 24 & 27, labourers) emigrated from Liverpool on the ships Adam-lodge and Constitution respectively to the U.S.A. Also a John (1860), John (1868), William senior and junior (1834) and Anthony (1838) were naturalized in Philadelphia. Another Lucey emigrated to San Francisco with his wife. The less well off emigrated to Liverpool, the Clyde, Swansea, Cardiff and Newport from Cork and Skibbereen and on landing literally swarmed across Britain seeking food and spreading disease, reaching Bath in November 1847 and passing through Bristol to South Wales to the West Country.

n England and Wales prior to the commencement of National records in 1836 the surname Lucey occurs almost exclusively in London (records date from 1540) and Ashburton Devon (records from 1630). The name Lucy is obviously intermixed and occurs in these areas with Dynock, Gloucestershire, the Charlecote Lucy's and their connection with Shakespeare, in addition. These appear to be separate sources of the same surname. The Devon Luceys were extinct by 1800, while the Lucey form remains today by far the most common in Ireland, the majority still resident in Co. Cork. In the 1830's and 1840's the majority still lived in Bermondsey with further families located in the City of London, Ledbury, Weymouth, Clifton and Stoke Damerel in the West, and Huddersfield in the North. Ledbury and Huddersfield appear also to be centres for the Lucy family.

n the native habitat of Ireland, which is roughly between Macroom and the Kerry border, they are rather obviously one clan, and cousinage can usually be traced from one family to another. There is even supposed to be a Lucey or physical type which is probably at least partly true. In some places they are known as the 'black Luceys'. The prefix 'O', which is found in all early records of the family, except where it is called 'Mac', is most unusual among Norman families who usually, in Gaelic, take the 'De' as in de Burgo or de Paor or other familiar names. The probability is that the Luceys were a branch or sept of the McCarthy clan, and that they were called Lucey by Normans and English to whom their name sounded like Lucy.

he earliest Irish records of the name are in the time of Queen Elizabeth and relate to legal action taken against members of the family for their part in McCarthy wars and rebellions. Here the form of the name is found earliest as Mac Luasaigh and a little later as Ó Luasaigh. There is a tradition of the Luceys coming from somewhere north of Cork to take military service with the McCarthys. If this is true, they almost certainly came from the North of Ireland or from the Isles of Scotland as the McSweeneys came. This would make them Scottish or North of Ireland Gaels and it has been suggested that there is something a little foreign or exotic, in a Cork sense, about the Luceys as a whole. If they came down as gallowglasses with the McSweeneys at that time to take service with the McCarthys, it is possible that the name is cognate or related to the name McCluskey which is found in Limerick, Galway, Donegal and Scotland, and which is quite probably a gallowglass name.

hat is certain is that the name goes back in West Cork at least as far as the sixteenth century and has always been connected with McCarthy lands and McCarthy fortunes. The usual Cork spelling of the surname is of course LUCEY. If the name is Norman, this is incorrect. If it is Gaelic, one takes one's choice of two Anglicisations LUCEY or LUCY.

I am interested in all contacts researching the surnames LUCEY & LUCY. From early sources in England & Ireland, some back as far as 1066, I have a database and many genealogies of individuals with these surnames and would be very interested in making contact with all those with similar interests. Many links are with the USA, Canada, South Africa & Australia. I also have a register of all births, marriages & deaths in England & Wales for LUCEY/LUCY from 1836. Please contact me on the e-mail address below to see if I can be of assistance.


Norman Lucey 
PS: I also have a special interest in the SIGOURNAY & SIGOURNEY surnames.

For further information ?

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Check Ancestry Database Lucey & Lucy Records
Early de Lucy History Sigournay Family History
Earliest Records About Rickmansworth
Lucey Origins in England Lucy Heraldry
Lucy in the 12th Century Help Page
Wills & Census Information Site Map
Irish Lucey Origins Sign Guest Book
Historical Information Links to Related Sites

La traduction en français / Übersetzung auf Deutsche

Le Home Page D'Antécédents familiaux De Lucey Et De Lucy
El Home Page De los Antecedentes familiares De Lucey Y De Lucy
Das FamiliengeschichteHome Page Lucey U. Lucy
Il Home Page Di Storia Di Famiglia Di Lucy & Di Lucey


Published by Norman Lucey

© Copyright 1999-2024, Norman Lucey. All rights reserved.

This family history website has 708 pages of detailed information
including a database of 12,106 individuals and 3,737 marriages
over 37 generations with 2,336 different surnames.

This page first published 1999 and last revised 2nd June 2024

Databasede LucyRickmansworthGuestbook

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