Boys History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Boys is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. The name Boys is derived from the Old French word bois, which means tree, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a prominent tree. [1]

Early Origins of the Boys family

The surname Boys was first found in various parts of Scotland including Hugo Delboys who witnessed a confirmation charter by Hugh, Bishop of St. Andrews c. 1185-1188 (Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae.) A few years later, Richard del Bois witnessed a confirmation charter of fishery in Torduf between 1194 and 1211.

About the same time, Walterus de Bosco witnessed a charter by Robert the Bruce c. 1190. Robert Boys was listed in Dumfriesshire c. 1259. [2]

The Scottish branch of this ancient Norman family which likely moved north from England, their first place of landing and settlement after the Conquest as many of the earliest records of the family in Scotland were almost 100 years later. By example, Robert de Bois held estates in Buckinghamshire in 1086. The De Bois-Herbert family were barons of Halberton, Devon c. 1050.[3]

Early History of the Boys family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boys research. Another 128 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1150, 1296, 1413, 1719, 1465, 1536, 1543, 1594, 1543, 1594 and are included under the topic Early Boys History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Boys Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Boyce, Boyes, Boze, Bois, Boise, Boice, Boas, Bost, Bust, Boast, Boost and many more.

Early Notables of the Boys family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Hector Boece (sometimes spelt Boethius, or Boyce) (1465-1536), a Scottish philosopher and first Principal of King's College in Aberdeen. John Boste or Boaste (1543?-1594), was and English Catholic priest, "born of a good family at Dufton, in Westmorland, in or about 1543, and educated at Oxford. He was imprisoned in the Tower, where he was 'often most cruelly rack'd, insomuch that he was afterwards forced to go crooked upon a staff.' When he had so far recovered as to be fit to travel, he was sent back to the north, and...
Another 99 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boys Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Boys family to Ireland

Some of the Boys family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Boys migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boys Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Cheney Boys, who landed in Virginia in 1618 [4]
  • Mrs. Boys, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [4]
  • Luke Boys, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [4]
  • John Boys, who landed in Virginia in 1649 [4]
  • Cornelius Boys, who arrived in Maryland in 1666-1750 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Boys Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Boys, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [4]
  • Anne Boys, who arrived in Virginia in 1723 [4]
Boys Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Boys, who arrived in New York in 1822 [4]
  • I William Boys, aged 41, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1851 [4]

Australia Boys migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Boys Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Boys, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Caroline Agnes" in 1850 [5]

New Zealand Boys 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:

Boys Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J C Boys, who landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842
  • Mr. James Boys, British settler travelling from London via Plymouth aboard the ship "Tasmania" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on to Lyttelton on 26th February 1853 [6]
  • Mr. Robert Boys, British settler travelling from London via Plymouth aboard the ship "Tasmania" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on to Lyttelton on 26th February 1853 [6]
  • H. Boys, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Balaklava" in 1864

Contemporary Notables of the name Boys (post 1700) +

  • William Boys, Australian politician, Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly (1856-1861)
  • William Alves Boys (1868-1938), Canadian politician and barrister, Member of the Canadian Parliament for Simcoe South (1912-1925), for Simcoe North (1925-1930)
  • Commodore William Boys (1700-1774), English Royal Navy officer, Commander-in-Chief, The Nore, who at the age of 24 was one of only five men who survived the sinking of the Luxborough Galley in 1727; the ghoulish details of cannibalism were published in the Boston Globe
  • William Boys (1735-1803), English surgeon and topographer, son of Commodore William Boys
  • Thomas Shotter Boys (1803-1874), English watercolour painter and lithographer
  • Thomas Boys (1792-1880), English theologian and antiquary
  • Samuel Francis "Frank" Boys FRS (1911-1972), English theoretical chemist, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1972
  • Edward James "E.J." Boys (1916-2002), English authority on the famous Charge of the Light Brigade of 1854 during the Crimean War of 1854-56
  • John Boys (1749-1824), English agriculturist, father of Edward Boys
  • Edward Boys (1785-1866), English sea captain who was captured by the French then escaped to the West Indies where he wrote his family an account of his adventures in France which was later published
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CAROLINE AGNES 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850CarolineAgnes-Hydaspe%20RegisterOct15.gif
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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