Show ContentsRyce History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Welsh name Ryce go back to those ancient Celts known as the Britons that once occupied the hills and Moors of Wales. This old Welsh surname is from the Welsh personal name Rhys, which also took the forms Rice and Rees. This name was originally derived from the Old Welsh forename Ris, which means ardour. [1]

Early Origins of the Ryce family

The surname Ryce was first found in Carmarthenshire (Welsh: Sir Gaerfyrddin), located in Southwest Wales, one of thirteen historic counties and presently one of the principal area in Wales, where they held a family seat from very early times.

"Rhys, or Rees (Welsh), Red. A name borne nearly eight centuries ago by Rhys ab Tewdwr ab Eineon ab Owen ab Howell Dda, or, as sometimes styled, Rhys ab Tewdwr Mawr; i. e., Rice, son of Tudor, son of Eineon, son of Owen, son of Howell the Good, or Rice, son of Tudor the Great. " [2]

The first record of the family in early rolls was found in Saxon times where the mononym Hris in Cambridgeshire in 1052. [1] Rees is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Cheshire. [3] The Pipe Rolls of 1178 list Resus filius Griffini in Devon and a few years later, Griffinus filius Res was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire in 1198, while the same rolls included an entry for Griffinus Ris in Gloucestershire. In Lincolnshire, William Res was recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1203, John Rees was listed in the Feet of Fines for Suffolk in 1288, and Walter Rys was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1327. [1]

Early History of the Ryce family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ryce research. Another 177 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1449, 1467, 1519, 1524, 1525, 1532, 1535, 1536, 1548, 1573, 1579, 1601, 1605, 1606, 1607, 1637, 1647, 1715, 1722, 1724, 1762, 1779, 1790, 1843, 1844, 1865, 1868, 1871, 1872, 1879, 1882 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Ryce History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ryce Spelling Variations

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Ryce has occasionally been spelled Rice, Rees, Rhys and others.

Early Notables of the Ryce family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Richard Rice or Price (fl. 1548-1579), Welsh author, son of Robert ap Rhys ap Maredudd of Foelas and Plas Iolyn, Denbighshire. Hugh Rhys (or Rice) ap Thomas (1449-1525), supporter of Henry VII, third son of Thomas ap Gruffydd ap Nicolas of Newton, Carmarthenshire, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Gruffydd of Abermarlais, was born in 1449. When about twelve years of age he accompanied his father to the court of Philip of Burgundy; the two returned to Wales about 1467, and not long after the father and his sons Morgan and...
Another 214 words (15 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ryce Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Ryce family to Ireland

Some of the Ryce family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 110 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Ryce migration to the United States +

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Ryce:

Ryce Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Ryce, who arrived in Maryland in 1657 [4]
Ryce Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lucius C. Ryce, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1895
Ryce Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Pickering P. Ryce, aged 51, who landed in America from Northampton, in 1906
  • Mary Low Ryce, who immigrated to the United States, in 1907
  • Helen Th. Ryce, who immigrated to the United States, in 1907
  • Mary J Ryce, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Lucius Chester Ryce, aged 48, who immigrated to America, in 1913
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Ryce (post 1700) +

  • Joel Ryce Menuhin (1933-1998), born as Joel Taylor Rice, an American pianist, who later became a Jungian psychologist in private practice
  • Claudine Dianne Ryce (1943-2009), American advocate for missing children from Miami, Florida; her son, Jimmy Ryce, was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1995
  • Lucius C. Ryce, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from West Hartford; Elected 1912 [5]
  • Santiago Ryce Samaniego (b. 1974), nicknamed "El Herrero," Panamanian super welterweight professional boxer, NABO Welterweight Champion (1996-1997), WBA Fedelatin Light Middleweight Champion (2001-2002), WBA Light Middleweight Interim Champion in 2002, WBA Light Middleweight Champion (2002-2003)

The Ryce 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: Secret et hardi
Motto Translation: Secret and bold.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  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. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 19) . Retrieved from on Facebook