Show ContentsLuce History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Luce reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Luce family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Luce family lived in Norfolk. Their name, however, derives from the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066 of England, Lucy, near Rouen. [1] Luce is in Orne in the bailiwick of le Passeis, near Domfront, Normandy.

Early Origins of the Luce family

The surname Luce was first found in Norfolk where the first mention of the family of Lucy was made by Henry I of the lordship of Dice therein to Richard de Lucie, Governor of Falaise who later played a prominent role in the contests of King Stephen's reign. He was more than once Lieutenant of England. [2]

"In 1165, Richard de Lucy's barony in Passy ([, Normandy]) consisted of 19 fees. He also held 19 in Devon, besides others in Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk and in 1156 in Northumberland. Geoffry de Lucy held on fee in Devon in 1165." [3]

Inglewood Forest in Cumberland was home to another branch of the family. "It was a forest only in the Scottish sense of the word; a wild open chace, 'full of woods, red and fallow deer, wild swine, and all manner of wild beasts.' The wild beasts included many wolves. There is a sad tradition respecting a lady of the Lucy family, who, walking one evening near her father's castle of Egremont, was attacked and torn to pieces by a famished wolf. The place where her mangled body was found is still marked by a cairn of stones, and known as Woeful Bank." [4]

The Lucys of Charlecote, Warwickshire descend from Sir William de Charlecote who changed his name to Lucy. This latter claim of a name change is of some dispute but what is certain is that this was the same gentleman that Shakespeare apparently lampooned in the 1580s by mocking his name and suggesting his wife was unfaithful. Again, this claim cannot be verified.

Truro in Cornwall was an ancient home to some of the family. "The manor, in 1161, belonged to Richard de Luci, chief justice of England and lord of Truro, who probably built the castle (the site of which is still called Castle Hill), and who invested the inhabitants with numerous privileges, which were confirmed by Reginald Fitz-Henry, Earl of Cornwall, natural son of Henry I." [5]

Another branch of the family was found at Lessness in Kent. It was here that Richard de Luci (1089-1179) of Richard de Lucy was High Sheriff of Essex and later Chief Justiciar of England (1154-1179.) He also founded "an abbey for Black canons, in honour of St. Mary and St. Thomas the Martyr in 1178." [5]

Early History of the Luce family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Luce research. Another 90 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1592, 1667, 1647, 1658, 1594, 1677, 1660, 1677, 1525, 1551, 1585, 1640, 1614, 1640, 1619, 1677 and 1653 are included under the topic Early Luce History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Luce Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Lucy, Luce, Lucey, Lucie and others.

Early Notables of the Luce family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Lucy,High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1400; Sir Richard Lucy, 1st Baronet (c.1592-1667), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1647 and 1658; William Lucy (1594-1677), an English clergyman, Bishop of St David's (1660-1677); Sir Thomas Lucy (d.1525); and his son, William Lucy (d.1551)...
Another 55 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Luce Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Luce Ranking

In the United States, the name Luce is the 3,143rd most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [6] However, in France, the name Luce is ranked the 1,317th most popular surname with an estimated 4,301 people with that name. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Luce family to Ireland

Some of the Luce family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Luce migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Luce name or one of its variants:

Luce Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Luce, who settled in New England in 1630
  • Thomas Luce, who landed in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1644 [8]
Luce Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Betty, Elijah and Joseph Luce all, who settled in Boston in 1769
  • Richard Luce, who arrived in Mississippi in 1798 [8]
Luce Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Luce, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • J B Luce, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [8]
  • N V Luce, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855 [8]
  • A. J. Luce was a hop-grower in Cazaville in 1891

Canada Luce migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Luce Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Philippe Luce, a blacksmith in Bonaventure, Quebec in 1871
  • John Luce was a councillor in Giande-Greve, Quebec in 1871
  • Elias Luce was an agent in Fox River, Quebec in 1871
  • Deforest and Asa Luce lived in Ontario in 1877
  • A. Luce lived in Ontario in 1877
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Luce migration to Australia +

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

Luce Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • George Luce, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cromwell" in 1849 [9]

New Zealand Luce 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:

Luce Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alfred Luce, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Excelsior" in 1869 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Luce (post 1700) +

  • Richard Napier Luce KG, GCVO, PC, DL (b. 1936), Baron Luce, Lord Chamberlain to HM The Queen from 2000 to 2006, former Governor of Gibraltar
  • Henry Robinson Luce (1898-1967), American publishing executive, once called "the most influential private citizen in the America of his day," born in Tengchow (now Penglai), Shandong, China
  • Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987), American writer, U.S. Congresswoman and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, eponym of The Clare Boothe Luce Award
  • Robert Luce (1862-1946), American politician, United States Representative from Massachusetts
  • Stephen Bleecker Luce (1827-1917), U.S. Navy admiral, founder and first president of the Naval War College, eponym of the USS Luce (DLG-7/DDG-38), USS Luce (DD-522) and the USS Luce (DD-99)
  • Robert Duncan Luce (1925-2012), American social scientist, Distinguished Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of California who developed Luce's choice axiom
  • Edgar A. Luce, American Republican politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for California, 1940 [11]
  • Edgar A. Luce, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 1912 [11]
  • David R. Luce, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 2nd District, 1952; Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1952 [11]
  • Cyrus Gray Luce (1824-1905), American politician, Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention, 1867; Member of Michigan State Board of Agriculture, 1885-86; Resigned 1886; Governor of Michigan, 1887-90 [11]
  • ... (Another 30 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Luce +

  • Ancestors and Descendants of James and Althea (Loose) Johnston (Also Luce) and Allied Families by Aaron Montgomery Johnston.
  • The American Descendants of Henry Luce of Martha's Vineyard by Martha F. McCourt.

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  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. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CROMWELL 1849. Retrieved from
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 4th November 2011). Retrieved from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook