Emigrant Ships


It may be presumed that the majority of Traceys originate from Ireland. In the 1860s, there were approximately 1200 families in Ireland, and in the 1911 census there were approximately 4100 individuals. In the census of 1841 for England, of the 814 Traceys, 15% were born in Ireland. By 1871, of the 1869 Traceys, 26% were born in Ireland. In 1841, of the 74 Traceys in Scotland, 54% were born in Ireland. From a review of the Ancestry.com records for the US 1880 Federal Census, of the 14354 Traceys, 5519 (41%) had a father born in Ireland and 1172 (8%) had a father born in England.


In the distribution of surnames in Great Britain in 1881, the majority of Traceys lived all along the west coast, with clusters in London. The exception being ‘Tracy’ which had clusters on the east coast around Norwich.  http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/


The following is a rough guide to the number and distribution of names:




Great Britain




1860s Families

1911 Census

1881 Census


1880 Census




346 (28%)

1215 (29%)

1898 (68%)

4087 (72%)

2563 (18%)

8046 (21%)

1238 (58%)


787 (64%)*

394 (9%)

826 (30%)

556 (10%)

11693 (81%)

29316 (75%)

335 (16%)


3 (0%)

171 (4%)

16 (1%)


7 (0%)




89 (7%)

2349 (57%)

60 (2%)

1043 (18%)

145 (1%)

1443 (4%)

541 (26%)


The most common occurrence of the names, per part of the population, are:


Tracey: Ireland, Australia, UK, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Argentina, Spain, Denmark, Sweden...

Tracy: USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Sweden, India, Spain, Germany...

Treacey: Ireland, UK, Argentina, USA.

Treacy: Ireland, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Spain, Argentina, Netherlands, France...


The spelling of the name may be linked to the time of emigration. The early standardised spelling is Tracy, which was adopted by the leading English family, although they also used other variations. In Ireland, the spelling of the name appears to be inter-changeable and different variations can be found within a family or even for an individual. When tracing ancestors all spelling of the name should be checked. Usually, the spelling Treacy is particular to Ireland. It appears to have been first adopted by Protestant families and became increasingly popular and the most numerous in Ireland in the second part of the 19th century with the rise of Irish nationalism. Treacey is also a predominately Irish spelling.


* This number is probably artificially high due to the preference of compilers for this standardised spelling. In the Slater Commercial directory of 1846, the following occurrences of spelling were found: Tracey 16 (22%), Tracy 37 (50%), Treacey 1 (1%), Treacy 20 (27%).


It often comes as a surprise to learn that most contemporary North Americans, especially in the southern states, who think of themselves as "Irish" are, in fact, Protestant, not Catholic. Commentators generally agree that these Protestant Irish-Americans are descended mainly from the Irish who settled in the United States prior to the Famine (1850’s). As such, religion may also be an indication of time of emigration. It has been stated that the earliest emigrants were Catholics, possibly fleeing from Cromwell:


“In the Great Swamp Fight [southern Rhode Island] in King Philip's War in 1675, five Connecticut Irishmen are on record as having won distinction by their gallant conduct, and as receiving as the reward of their services, generous grants of land. The names of these brave men deserve to be perpetuated. They were the sturdy pioneers in this land of a race that has ever been its defenders; and as the records of the infant nation are emblazoned with the brave deeds of Erin's sons, so will the annals of the mighty giant in the future be enriched with their brilliant and valorous achievements. Our heroes of the Great Swamp Fight were James Murphy, Daniel Tracy, Edward Larkin, James Welch, and John Roach [given land in Norwalk town, Conn].”

Byrne, Wm et al (1899) History of the Catholic Church in the New England states. Boston.

Thomas Hamilton Murray. The Irish Soldiers in King Philip's war, who served under the "Great Commanders" 1675-6.. The Rosary Magazine, March 1896.



Name Distribution http://www.britishsurnames.co.uk/

Name Distribution http://www.publicprofiler.org/worldnames/Main.aspx

1841 1851 1861 1871 British Census http://www.traceyclann.com/files/1841%201851%201861%201871%201881%201891%201901%20British%20Census.htm

Michael P. Carroll. How the Irish Became Protestant in America. Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Winter, 2006), pp. 25-54



This is obviously a fraction of the emigrant ships and will be updated as more information is compiled.



Emigrants to Australia and New Zealand


Emigrants to North America



Emigrants to South America





Last update: 05 November 2014