This interesting name has to be described as 'European'. It is is recorded in much the same spelling in the British Isles as Grass, in Germany as Gras, Grass, Grasse, Grassmann, Graser, in France as de Grasse, de Gras, Le Gras, Gras, and diminutives such as Grasot, Grasset, and Gassin, in Italy as Grassi and Grasso, as well as many diminutives such as Grasselli, Grassini, and Grasetti. It has at least three possible origins, dating from the early medieval period. The first is from a nickname from the Old French word "grace", meaning charm, itself from the Latin word "gratia".The second origin is from the female given name Grace. This was a very popular name during the Middle Ages, and is thought to derive in the first instance from the Old German word "grisja", meaning grey. Thirdly if Scottish and Irish the origination is occupational from the Gaelic word 'greas' meaning skilful, and in a transferred sense describing a shoremaker. Lastly it may have been a nickname for a large or probably small person. Here the origination is the word 'gras' from the Lation'crassus' meaning large. George Grace was an early emigrant to the American colonies, leaving London on the "Globe" in August 1635, bound for Virginia. Early examples of tghe surmname recording include Henry Grece, in the Hundred Rolls of Northamtonshire in 1275, and in Switzerland Henry Gras of Zurich in 1414, 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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