This interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name is French locational from Brecy in Aisne or Ardennes. The placename is believed to derive from the Old French "brace", arm, and may have been used here in a transferred topographical sense to mean "arm of land" or "stretch of land". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Alice de Breci, Cambridgeshire, Elias de Braci, Oxfordshire, and Richard de Braci, Oxfordshire, are listed in the 1273 Hundred Rolls. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Brassy, Bracy and Bracey. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Crastyan Bracy and Thomas Pearson on April 5th 1572, at St. Giles' Cripplegate; the marriage of William Bracey and Margery Hunsley on May 18th 1591, at St. Mary Somerset; and the christening of their son, John Bracey, in the same place on March 27th 1592. A Coat of Arms granted to the Bracey family depicts a silver bend between two silver dexter hands on a black shield, the Crest being a unicorn sejant resting the dexter paw against an oak tree proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Bracy, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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