Whats in a name?

Well I went onto the Guild of One Name Studies and have looked at some of the links they suggest looking at after doing a search to see if anyone else is undertaking your name.
The first one I tried was British Surnames and to my surprise it found nothing and came up with the following:
“Sorry, we don’t currently have any data for SCRACE. If this is your name Congratulations, you are a genuine rarity, at least in the UK. Maybe you should try to breed, to avoid the SCRACE family becoming extinct!”I then continued by looking for SCRASE, once again nothing. It did though this time suggest looking at the American site which I hastily did. Once again though no luck and this time it stated:”Sorry, we don’t have any information about the SCRACE surname. If this really is your surname, then congratulations – you are a genuine rarity, at least in the USA.”The next stop was another suggested site, Public Profiler – British Names, this time the name was found, phew at last! I will post more on this in a later post, but from looking at the data it produced, as I suspected the surname (Scrace or Scrase)  is predominantly in the South of England and is prevalent in Sussex, Kent and Surrey.I then finally did a Google search on the name and found the Surname Database, which said about the surname:”This interesting and uncommon surname is English. Although rare in most parts of the country it is found in several spellings including Scras, Scrace, Scrasse, Scrase, and Skrase in the church registers of the county of Sussex from the mid 16th Century; however its exact origins remain undetermined.

The most likely source of the name is topographical, and describes a person who lived in, or more likely by, a hollow or cave. This is from the Old English pre 7th century word “scraef”, meaning a cave or recess, and the high concentration of the surname in Sussex registers suggests that there may have been a place so called in this region. These early recordings taken from surviving church registers of the county include examples such as Thomas Scrace who married Jone Gillan at Ardingley, on July 10th 1558. This was in the first year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, (1558 – 1603), whilst others include Edmunde Skrace and Johanna Gat, who were married at the hamlet of Cowfold on January 15th 1565, and on January 6th 1592, Elizabeth, the daughter of John Scrase, was christened the village of Street. A coat of arms granted to the Scrace family of Sussex, has the blazon of a blue shield charged with a silver dolphin between three gold escallops, the sign of a pilgrim to the Holy Land. The crest is a falcon, standing on the stock of a tree. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.”

Not sure how much of this is true, but hopefully I may find out further along in my study of the name. One interesting comment after this description was made by someone called Z Barraclough which I think is worth looking into at some point:

“There is a location between Lindfield and Haywards Heath called Scrase Bridge, where the Scrace brook is crossed by the main road between these settlements. The road to Ardingly branches off from this point. Lindfield was a main watering hole for livestock being driven between the Ashdown Forest and the markets to the south. There is also a Scrase valley nature reserve which preserves the rural gap in between. Seems like a good candidate for the origin of this surname, given that your earliest record is at Ardingly.”

I then went on to see what it said for Scrase and found the following:

“This is a most interesting surname of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It is residential and describes either a cave dweller, or perhaps more probably in most parts of England, somebody who lived in a hollow or narrow valley. Unfortunately we have not been able to determine whether an actual village as ‘Scrase’ or similar ever existed, but the surname is relatively popular in Sussex, and the Brighton area seems to be the epi-centre of recordings. The hamlet of ‘Scrafton’ in Yorkshire has a similar origin, in that it is derived from the elements ‘scraef’ and ‘tun’, a farmstead or house, and is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. However whilst the surname of Scrafton is recorded in York at least as early as 1591, when Urseley Skraffton was christened there on January 18th, the surname as ‘Scrase’ is not recorded at all. Locational surnames were usually given to people after they moved from their original homes, as an easy method of identification. In the case of ‘Scrase’ they do not seem to have moved far, suggesting that the original village was simply abandoned for natural causes. Early examples of the surname recordings include Thomasine Scrase, who married William Holbeach at Wilmington, Sussex, on September 22nd 1561, and Wyllem Scrace who married Ann Payn at Hurstpierpoint on February 8th 1576. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Scrase, which was dated July 10th 1558, married Jane Gill at Ardingley, Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as ‘Good Queen Bess’, 1558 – 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.”

Boy do I have my work cut out here.
Until Next time………
© Karen Anderson 2012
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About Karen

Wife and mum of two who is a hobbyist photographer, a lover of books, genealogy and spending my free-time with my kids.
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