Choice History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Choice family

The surname Choice 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 Choice family

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

Choice Spelling Variations

Church officials and medieval scribes often spelled early surnames as they sounded. This practice often resulted in many spelling variations of even a single name. Early versions of the name Choice included: Joyce, Joyes, Joy, Joice and others.

Early Notables of the Choice 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 Choice Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Choice migration to the United States +

In the mid-19th century, Ireland experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name Choice:

Choice Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Helue Choice, aged 20, who landed in America from Spartemburg, S.C., in 1910
  • Robert Choice, aged 20, who immigrated to the United States, in 1923

Australia Choice migration to Australia +

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

Choice Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Thomas D. Choice, aged 18, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Brankenmoor" [3]

New Zealand Choice 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:

Choice Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Charles Choice, aged 25, a shepherd, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856
  • Mary Choice, aged 26, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oliver Lang" in 1856

Contemporary Notables of the name Choice (post 1700) +

  • Tashard J. Choice (b. 1984), American NFL football running back
  • William Choice Cleveland (1834-1908), American politician, Mayor of Greenville, South Carolina, 1875-77 [4]
  • Choice Boswell Randell (1857-1945), U.S. Representative from Texas
  • Choice Boswell Randell (1857-1945), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Texas, 1901-13 [5]


The Choice 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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BRANKEN MOOR 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849BrankenMoor.htm
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 28) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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