RE: [PACE-L] John Peace
03/03/2004 -

On the Pace Network I have posted the following which was submitted by Gordon Pace of Ontario, Canada. It suggests several possible origins for the surname Pace. "Pasch" as meaning Easter is also possibly a derivative of Latin "pax" or peace; the pronunciation is almost the same, and Easter is supposed to be the season of peace. Easter was the Passover season and it is also related to that.

Gordon Pace of Ontario, Canada, came across the following
from Debbie Bayham, also of Ontario,
on the Pass surname in England, relationship to Pace, etc.

Debbie Bayham:
It is possible that the two surnames "Pace" and "Pass" are related,
but I think it is much further back than 1850. My grandfather lived in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire where he was born in 1893 before he came to Canada in 1923, but all his ancestors before him came from Derbyshire.

I have traced our family back to 1702 so far and I am still digging. According to the "Dictionary of English" surnames by P. H. Reany (Oxford Press) "Pass or Passe is English, and was first recorded in 1230 in the Pipe Rolls for Nottinghamshire. It is thought to have been derived from a pet form of the name Pascall, which in turn comes from the French name "Pascal". "Paschalis" is Latin for "pertaining to the Passover".

In this same book, "Pace" is also said to be English, and was first recorded in 1242 in Devonshire. Middle English shows it as "Pais" or "Pes(e)", Old French shows it as "Pais" and Latin shows it as "Pax" which means "peace, concord or amity". As Middle English it also appears as "Pasches", "Paisch, "Peice", "Peace" and Easter eggs are still called "Pace" eggs. This book also says that a later variation of "Pace" may also be "Pash". Variations of this include "Pashe", "Paish", "Pask", "Paske" and "Pasque". This variation was first recorded in 1253 in Oxfordshire. Middle English records this name first as "Pasche(s)", or "Paske(s)". Old French records the name as "Pasche" or "Pasques" and means "Passover" from the Hebrew word "pesakh" and translates as "a passing over", and was used as a personal name for one born at Passover. Most "English" names came from somewhere else originally.

There have been so many invaders/visitors to that little island over the centuries, so this gives a starting point in time. Since "Pass" seemed to be Jewish in origin, I contacted a Jewish etymologist online, and this is what he had to say "..."PASS", was probably anglicized and shortened from something else. Alexander Beider, in his "Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from the Russian Empire" lists, i.e.; PASS, POSS, PAS, PAFS, PAZ, PACE, PASCAL, PASCHAL, PASCALL, PASTERNAK, PASQUALI, POSSMAN, PASOWITZ, PASOWSKI, PASMAN, and PASSMAN as variants of the same name, from the Yiddish word meaning "belt, girdle, strip, strap, or line", and frequently belonged to ethnic Germans who migrated to Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Belorus and Lithuania. Add the suffix "owitz" or "ski" to any of them in Poland and you have a couple of the Slavic equivalents. In his volume on the Kingdom of Poland at p. 339, he finds the same PAS surname plus PASOWSKI commonly in the districts of Konskie, Sandomierz, Jedrzejow, and Warsaw.

In the early 20th century, this surname was particularly concentrated around Dvinsk Latvia. (Page 443.) In the magazine AVOTAYNU, he advertizes that for a small sum of money, he will send the incidence of surnames from the voting lists to the requester, but only for certain districts, and I do not recall if these are the districts. So you might be able to discover the given names of the PAS and PASS folks in, say, 1907, that way. Men over 21 only, of course.

Some PASS lines are related to the Germans who were imported in the late 1600 and early 1700s, rather than the Irish. One of the great problems with genealogy is that nothing stays where you think it should. There are Jews with non-Jewish names, and Christians with Jewish names. The fact is that relatively few names were originally one or the other, and those that were have managed to get mixed up by conversions and intermarriages. Given names are an even less reliable guide, as many fundamentalist Protestants named their children for Old Testament characters. However, my recollection is that Jews were not officially allowed to reside in England from 1290 to 1650, Cromwell having changed the rules. So I would not think that there would be very many of them there by 1702, and I would suspect that most of them came from Spain to France, then crossed the channel with the Huguenots when Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, which I believe was in the 1670s. Some who fled France at that time when to Holland, then came to England with William and Mary in 1688 or just after."

Anyway, the year (1230) that "Pass" first appears in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire (see above) is 60 years prior to the date that the Jews were "officially" allowed to reside in England (1290) by Cromwell. "Pace" appears twelve years after this date and "Pash" twenty-three years after it. We all know that people immigrate places "unofficially", and at that time I doubt there were records kept of who came into the country from abroad. A huge leap of logic then suggests (I'm assuming here, okay????) that it is possible that the name was originally Jewish and that some of those living "unofficially" in England with this name converted to Christianity. Sixty years could easily comprise at least three generations (and twenty-three would allow at least one, while twelve is a much slimmer margin) and perhaps these were therefore allowed to remain in England while their Jewish cousins were not. This also might account for the further spread of (at least) the surname Pass to other countries where they were forced to go. I know this is not a very "scientific" method of discovery, but it does fit with the history of the time and is a logical possibility of why this surname suddenly appears in England at this time.

Interestingly enough, the surname "de Pass" (which is probably French Huguenot in origin) also has survived in England. One prominent "de Pass" in England is Commander Robert de Pass (of the Royal Navy), whose wife Phillipa is an extra lady of the bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II. As an added point of interest, she is simply listed as Mrs. Pass in official records. I wonder why. Their names appears in Diana's autobiography as written by Andrew Morton. In this book, their son Philip was said to have been prominent in the match-making between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. I have done wild-card searches for e-mail addresses on the surname Pass in Yahoo and have found several all over the world. Perhaps you might find that the same thing would be possible with the surname Pace. It is all very interesting. I hope this all has been of some help Gord.

Happy Ancestor hunting (519) 448-1154


Parish Register records started around the year 1537 when Henry VIII broke with the Church of Rome and created the Church in England. The Pershore Abbey of Holy Cross and Saint Andrews which are actually the same parish being across the street from each other, had PACE records going back to the 1540's, amongst the earliest PACE records in English parishes.

The PASCAL name is also in this parish. Later on, both surnames appeared in the Shropshire parishes of Wellington and Wrockwardine where PACE also was to appear.

In the above epistle by Debbie Bayham, who has obviously done some diligent research into the surnames Pascal, Pace, Pass and many other variants, it becomes rather clear that the names may have a common background.

I would wonder if DNA donors of both surnames PASCAL and PACE were to be compared, possibly we might find that there is a relationship between these two names.

Chr: 20 APR 1572
Holy Cross, Pershore

    Chr: 21 JAN 1594
    Holy Cross, Pershore
    Father: ROGER PACE

  • PACE Female
    Chr: 25 DEC 1614
    Holy Cross, Pershore
    Father: ROGER PACE
Chr: 03 DEC 1574
Holy Cross, Pershore

Chr: 23 JUL 1580
Holy Cross, Pershore

more PACE-Pershore - click here

Christening: 18 JAN 1626
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

Christening: 31 AUG 1627
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

Christening: 12 JUN 1630
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

Christening: 21 OCT 1632
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

Christening: 01 JAN 1663
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

Christening: 25 APR 1667
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

Christening: 11 FEB 1675
Holy Cross, Pershore, Worcester

St Mary M007051 - M007053 C007053 7036416 Sheet 56 (1815)
ALSO SEE: Rochdale & Bury

An Easter Tradition
in Lancashire

- Hawkshead Easter Pace-Egg Play - 1898

In previous centuries, PACE EGGERS were groups of locals who toured the villages at Easter enacting The Pace Egging Play. This was a drama that usually involved a character representing St. George, a battle, and an interesting individual known as Old Tosspot. It invariably detailed someone's unfortunate death (in some versions it's St. George, in others it's a Turkish Knight called Bold Slasher) and his subsequent revival by a comic doctor. - A Lancashire Tradition

More Pace Egging
- Pace' comes from... the old English 'pasch' meaning 'Easter', and pace-eggs are eggs specially decorated for the festival.

and EASTER EGGS in general

The Ukrainian and Russian people create the most beautiful decorative eggs called Pysanky (pizzz ank ee) which translates from Russian and Ukrainian to Peace. These eggs are (usually chicken), blown out and then hand painted in complex patterns and fine detail. While you might see them displayed year round as they are very lovely, they actually form a part of the Easter tradition. In England, I hear, easter eggs are known as Pace Eggs..........

Brenda Howorko (nee PACE)
in Alberta, Canada

Pysanka - The art of the decorated egg in Ukraine, or the pysanka, dates back to ancient times. As in many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god (Dazhboh). The sun was important - it warmed the earth and thus was a source of all life. Eggs decorated with nature symbols became an integral part of spring rituals, serving as benevolent talismans. - PYSANKY SHOWCASE

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