Choyce History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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

Early Origins of the Choyce family

The surname Choyce 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 Choyce family

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

Choyce Spelling Variations

Names were simply spelled as they sounded by medieval scribes and church officials. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, his name was often spelt in many different ways, explaining the many spelling variations encountered while researching the name Choyce. Some of these variations included: Joyce, Joyes, Joy, Joice and others.

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


United States Choyce migration to the United States +

Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Choyce:

Choyce Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Choyce, who settled in Philadelphia in 1813

Contemporary Notables of the name Choyce (post 1700) +

  • Lesley Choyce (b. 1951), Canadian author of novels, non-fiction, children's books, young adult novels, and poetry, nominated for the 2014 Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit
  • John Leslie Choyce (1930-1999), Canadian ice hockey coach, 1976-1977 CHL Coach of the Year and was awarded the Jake Milford Trophy


The Choyce 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


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