Joyce History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Joyce family

The surname Joyce 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 Joyce family

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

Joyce Spelling Variations

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.

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


United States Joyce migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 17th Century
  • Jon Joyce, who landed in Virginia in 1621-1629 [3]
  • Jonathon Joyce, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • John Joyce, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [3]
  • Robert Joyce, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [3]
  • Crowder Joyce, who landed in Virginia in 1639 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Joyce Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mats Joyce, aged 18, who arrived in New York, NY in 1803 [3]
  • Patrick Joyce, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811 [3]
  • Penny Wright Joyce, aged 52, who landed in Delaware in 1812 [3]
  • James Joyce, aged 27, who landed in New York in 1812 [3]
  • George Joyce, who landed in Alexandria, Va in 1817 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Joyce migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Joyce Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James I. Joyce U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [4]
Joyce Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Lewis W Joyce, who landed in Canada in 1832
  • John Joyce, aged 40, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
  • Norry Joyce, aged 22, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
  • Stephen Joyce, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Trafalgar" from Galway, Ireland
  • Susan Joyce, aged 25, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Joyce migration to Australia +

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

Joyce Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Henry Joyce, a bricklayer, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Mr. John Joyce, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. John Joyce who was convicted in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 4th August 1836, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mrs. Mary Ann Joyce, (b. 1811), aged 27, British house servant, from Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha travelling aboard the ship "Fairlie" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 6th December 1838 [7]
  • James Joyce, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Joyce 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:

Joyce Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • T Joyce, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1839
  • Mr. Michael Joyce, British settler as part of the 8th Detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [9]
  • Mrs. Anne Joyce née Philp, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Oriental Queen" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th September 1849 [9]
  • Miss Elizabeth Joyce, (b. 1835), aged 24, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mary Anne" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 4th August 1859 [10]
  • Mr. W. G. Joyce, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 19th October 1859 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Joyce (post 1700) +

  • Alice Brown Joyce (1890-1955), American actress who appeared in more than 200 films during the 1910s and 1920s
  • Mike Joyce (1939-2020), American professional golfer who won the GTE Northwest Classic in 1992
  • Major-General Kenyon Ashe Joyce (1879-1960), American President of the Allied Control Commission Italy (1943) [11]
  • Michael Joyce (b. 1945), American author and professor of English
  • Natalie Joyce (1902-1992), American film actress
  • David Joyce (1825-1904), American lumber Baron and industrialist
  • Patrick H. Joyce (1879-1946), American railroad executive
  • Brenda Joyce (b. 1915), American actress who played Jane in Sol Lesser's "Tarzan" series
  • Robert Dwyer Joyce (1830-1883), Irish poet, writer, and collector of traditional Irish music
  • 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
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Catherine  Joyce (1846-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [12]
  • Mr. John  Joyce (1877-1917), English Fireman aboard the SS Curaca from Liverpool, England, United Kingdom who died in the explosion [12]
HMAS Sydney II
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Leslie R Joyce (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Southwark, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [14]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Calvin Wilbur Joyce, American Fireman Second Class from Ohio, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [15]


The Joyce 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
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  7. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_bounty_nsw.pdf
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BUCKINGHAMSHIRE 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Buckinghamshire.htm
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, March 30) Kenyon Joyce. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Joyce/Kenyon_Ashe/USA.html
  12. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  13. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  14. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  15. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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