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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Joyce family come from? What is the Irish Joyce family crest and coat of arms? When did the Joyce family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Joyce family history?

The surname Joyce is derived from the personal names Josse or Goce. The name Joyce is derived from the Latin word "gaudere" and is cognate in origin with the words joy and joyous. The personal names Josse and Goce were made popular by St. Josse the Hermit, who refused the sovereignty of Brittany. Joyce was used primarily as a female personal name, although some of the earlier instances were masculine. The Gaelic form of the surname Joyce is Seoigh.

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Medieval scribes and church officials spelled the names as they sounded, so a name was often spelled many different ways during the lifetime of a single person. The investigation of the origin of the name Joyce revealed many spelling variations including Joyce, Joyes, Joy, Joice and others.

First found in Glamorganshire (Welsh: Sir Forgannwg), a region of South Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Glywysing, where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Joyce research. Another 201 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1172, 1487 and 1618 are included under the topic Early Joyce History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 33 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Joyce Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name Joyce:

Joyce Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Jon Joyce, who landed in Virginia in 1621-1629
  • Jonathon Joyce settled in Virginia in 1635
  • John Joyce, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Robert Joyce, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Crowder Joyce, who landed in Virginia in 1639


Joyce Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Mats Joyce, aged 18, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Patrick Joyce, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Penny Wright Joyce, aged 52, landed in Delaware in 1812
  • James Joyce, aged 27, landed in New York in 1812
  • George Joyce, who landed in Alexandria, Va in 1817


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  • Brenda Joyce (b. 1915), American actress who played Jane in Sol Lesser's "Tarzan" series
  • Patrick H. Joyce (1879-1946), American railroad executive
  • David Joyce (1825-1904), American lumber baron and industrialist
  • Alice Joyce (1890-1955), American actress
  • Natalie Joyce (1902-1992), American film actress
  • Michael Joyce (b. 1945), American author and professor of English
  • Major-General Kenyon Ashe Joyce (1879-1960), American President of the Allied Control Commission Italy (1943)
  • James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author, best known for his novel "Ulysses" in 1922, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" in 1916
  • Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830-1883), Irish poet
  • Eric Joyce (b. 1960), British politician and Member of Parliament

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Mors aut honorabilis vita
Motto Translation: Death, or life with honour.

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  1. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  6. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  8. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  9. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  11. ...

The Joyce Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Joyce Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 October 2014 at 14:26.

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