Joice History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Joice is derived from the personal names Josse or Goce. The name Joice 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 Joice is Seoigh.

Early Origins of the Joice family

The surname Joice was first found in Glamorganshire (Welsh: Sir Forgannwg), a region of South Wales, anciently part of the Welsh kingdom of Glywysing.

However, the Welsh origin is very much overshadowed by the Irish predominance of the name in later years. In Ireland, the family was "of Welsh origin which became completely hibernicized; their territory was called Joyce's country. They also became one of the 'Tribes Of Galway' " [1]

Perhaps an exploration of one of the earliest entries for the name will assist. Thomas Jorz or Joyce, also called Thomas the Englishman (d. 1310), was an English "cardinal, is said to have been born of a good family in London, although he was perhaps, as has been sometimes suggested, a Welshman by descent. He was one of six brothers, who all entered the Dominican order. Two of them, Walter and Roland, were successively Archbishops of Armagh [Ireland]. " [2]

Walter Jorz or Jorse ( fl. 1306), "Archbishop of Armagh, was a Dominican of Oxford. Like Thomas Jorz [q. v.], his brother, he is doubtfully said to have been a disciple of Albertus Magnus, and a fellow-student with Thomas Aquinas." [2]

Early History of the Joice family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Joice research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1172, 1487, 1647, 1647 and 1647 are included under the topic Early Joice History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Joice Spelling Variations

Church officials and medieval scribes spelled names as they sounded; therefore, single person, could have his name spelt many different ways during their lifetime. While investigating the origins of the name Joice, many spelling variations were encountered, including: Joyce, Joyes, Joy, Joice and others.

Early Notables of the Joice family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Cornet George Joyce (fl. 1647), an officer in the Parliamentary New Model Army during the English Civil War. He is said to have been originally a tailor in London. He entered the army of the eastern association, appears to have served in Cromwell's regiment, and was in 1647 a cornet in the horse regiment of Sir Thomas Fairfax. When the quarrel between the army and...
Another 73 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Joice Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Joice migration to the United States +

Ireland went through one of the most devastating periods in its history with the arrival of the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Many also lost their lives from typhus, fever and dysentery. And poverty was the general rule as tenant farmers were often evicted because they could not pay the high rents. Emigration to North America gave hundreds of families a chance at a life where work, freedom, and land ownership were all possible. For those who made the long journey, it meant hope and survival. The Irish emigration to British North America and the United States opened up the gates of industry, commerce, education and the arts. Early immigration and passenger lists have shown many Irish people bearing the name Joice:

Joice Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Joice, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [3]
  • Peter Joice, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [3]
  • Hen Joice, who landed in Virginia in 1657 [3]
Joice Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John M Joice, who arrived in America in 1809 [3]
  • George Joice, who arrived in Alexandria, Va in 1817 [3]
  • William Joice, who landed in Alexandria, Va in 1817 [3]
  • Thomas Joice, aged 27, who arrived in New York, NY in 1831 [3]
  • Richard Joice, who arrived in New York in 1841 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Joice migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Joice Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Joice U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Penobscot Association [4]
  • Mr. James Joice U.E., "Toice" who settled in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Penobscot Association [4]
Joice Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Joice, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • Bernard Joice, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1833
  • James Joice, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eleanor" in 1834
  • Francis Joice, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1842
  • Ellen Joice, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1844

New Zealand Joice migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Joice Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • George Joice, aged 33, a miner, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Annie Joice, aged 32, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Mary H. Joice, aged 2, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876
  • Matthew Joice, aged 30, a miner, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bebington" in 1876

Contemporary Notables of the name Joice (post 1700) +

  • John Wesley "Wes" Joice (1931-1997), American minor league baseball player, policeman, bartender and owner of the Greenwich Village's "The Lion's Head"
  • Dick Joice (1921-1999), British regional television presenter
  • Joice NanKivell (1887-1982), Australian author, journalist and humanitarian


The Joice Motto +

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.


  1. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X


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