This is a rare surname of Gaelic – Scottish origins. It derives from the word “griasaich” and can have several meanings including embroiderer, decorator and more latterly, shoe or hose maker. The surname is unusual in that it is occupational when most Gaelic names were patronymics, and based upon nicknames for the original chief of the clan. It is said that Grassick is most popular in the far north and specifically Aberdeenshire, where the pronunciation is as Gracey! As a result that there are spellings as Grassie and Grass, and indeed these seem to predate the actual Grassick recordings with that of John Grasse of Kirktoun of Crathe appearing in the tenants list in 1539. However it is more likely that earlier registers have gone missing, since the keeping of such items in the past was not given any great consideration. Other early examples of recordings include Donald Graycht at Lochalsh in 1548, Elspet Grassiche of Tullochaspak in 1612, and David Grassiche of Kepache. He was a bit of a lad who was accused of “violence” in 1617, although his fate is not known. Another to fall foul of the authorities was Alexander Gresiech of Towie in 1669. He was accused of curing cattle by charming them!
There comes a time when too many thoughts, too much analysis, fills your head, and you just have to find a way to get it all out. Squabbling online with various trolls has proven less than satisfactory, so here goes with another personal blog to add to the millions out there.
It won’t be specific. There’s the name Grassick that I’ve occasionally researched, there’s the politics, there’s Scotland, there’s cycling advocacy, there’s the Green Party, and there’s Hibs. But there’s also the European wanderings, whether in Provence or Bremen or Lanzarote, there are the ever-widening family connections from Spain to Norway. How that European identity survives Brexit is one of these political and personal pre-occupations.
For now, my sense of my roots takes me back to Scotland and the ongoing struggle for independence. The photo at the top of this post is the ruin that was once my ancestors’ home. Located just west of Bridge of Brown on the old Tomintoul road. As far as I can tell, they lived there until the Highland Clearances sent my great-great grandfather James Grassick south to Edinburgh in search of work, sometime around 1860.
But this 2017, so most of this blog is about today and the future. What will we, my generation, the baby boomers, be leaving for our kids? We have a hell of a lot to answer for.