Recorded in many forms including Trace, Traice, Trase, Trass, Tree, Treece, Trees, and Trosse, this is an English surname. It is topographical and describes a person who dwelt by a particular tree. In general as the countryside in ancient times was not exactly short of trees, the name probably originally referred either to a barren area where trees were rare, or more likely to somebody who lived by a tree used as a parish or county boundary marker, or perhaps by a particulary prominent tree where the local court and council would meet. The origination is Olde English pre 7th century and the earliest recordings are to be found in the counties of Derbyshire and Yorkshire where moorland abounds and perhaps 'trees' were found only in more secluded places. These early recordings include Henry en le Tres in the Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire in 1327, John del Trees in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, Richard Trace was christened at St Andrews Undershaft, in the city of London in 1579, whilst Richard Tree was one of the very earliest settlers in the New England colony of Virginia in 1619. The surname in all its various forms is well recorded in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London from medieval times. It is interesting that the more unusual forms of the surname such as Traice, Trase, Trass and Trosse, are quite late, proving that even in the 19th century spelling remained at best indifferent. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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