JOYCE/JOY SURNAME HISTORY
by Paul McCotter
These two are actually quite distinct surnames that have become
completely mixed up with each other in Ireland. Joye was an
Anglo-Norman Christian name of uncertain origin while Joce was a
Christian name of two distinct origins, one French, the other Breton.
Many Irish Joyces have Galway origins, being descendants of the Joyce
clan who established themselves in Connemara during the thirteenth
century and who later formed a sept along Gaelic lines there. Their
territory was known as Joyces Country. Ironically these were originally
Joyes and their territory earlier known as Joyes Country. The other
region where Joyces are common today is County Cork. Here in the
thirteenth century we find both Joyes and Joces, but the evidence points
clearly to a Joce ancestry for the Joyces of east Cork.
Other true Irish Joyces must be those of the Kilkenny/Wexford area,
whose sixteenth century ancestors styled themselves Josse. In the
thirteenth century there were Joyes in Dublin and these later spread to
Meath, yet strangely today most Irish Joys are found in County
This Surname History is reproduced with the kind permission of Irish
Roots Magazine in which it was first published as part of the feature
article, Anglo-Norman Surnames of Ireland (part 4), in issue 1, 1998.
Published by: Belgrave Publications
Year written: 1998
Copyright owned by: Belgrave Publications