Origin, Meaning, & Etymology
The surname Boyce has several origin stories. First, it a topographic name denoting someone who lived near the woods, derived from the Old French word bois, meaning “wood”.
Second, it is a patronymic name derived from the Middle English nickname boy, meaning “lad” or “servant”, or an occupational name of the same derivation.
Third it could be a patronymic name derived from an Old English and Welsh personal name Boia (Aluuninus Boi was recorded in the Domesday Book).
Fourth, in some cases it an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Buadhaigh, or an Anglicized version of the French surname Bois.
Spelling variations include Boyse, Boys, and Boice.
Some of the earliest known bearers of this name include Nicholas del Bois (Lincolnshire 1201 AD), Ivo le Boye (Lincolnshire 1232 AD), Stephanus filius (son of) Boie (Northumbira 1202 AD), Thomas del Boys (Dorset 1273 AD), Ralph del Boys (Norfolk 1273 AD), Thomas Boys (Sussex 1296 AD), Henry du Boys (1313), Robert du Boys (Suffolk 1327 AD), Katerina Boyse (Yorkshire 1379 AD), Jodn de Boy (Norfolk 1350 AD), and Richard Bosse (Somerset 1327 AD).
Family History & Genealogy
Guillaume de Boissay was born c. 1001 AD. He had a son named John Boys who was born in Kent, England c. 1047 AD. He had a son named Richard Boys who was born in Kent c. 1070 AD. He had a son named John Boys who was born in Kent in 1100 AD. He had a son named Thomas Boys who was born in 1143 AD. His grandson, William De Bois was born in Goodstone Kent, England c. 1209 AD. William had two sons: Edmund and John. Edmund was the grandfather of John Boys who was born in Goodeston in 1307 AD. He married Sarah and had issue with her as follows: Richard, William, Alice, and Elena. William had a son named John. John Boys was born in Bonnington Kent c. 1400 AD. John’s son was Thomas Boys, Gentleman, born in Goodnestone, Kent c. 1428 AD. His son, William Boys, was born in Kent in 1452 AD. He had two sons: Captain Thomas Boys and John Boys.
Sir Thomas Boys, Esq., born 1527 AD in Barfrestone, Kent. He was the son of William, and grandson of John Boys (1476-1533, a Member of Parliament).
William Boyce (1711-1779) was an English organist and composer. He was born in London, England, the son of John Boyce and Elizabeth Cordwell. He produced incidental music for Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Cymbeline, and the Winter’s Tale.
Boyce in America & Canada
Some of the earliest settlers in America bearing this surname include Cheney Boyce (Virginia 1617), Luke Boyce (Virginia 1620), Alice Boyce (Virginia 1622), Humfry Boyse (Virginia 1622), Joseph Boyce (Massachusetts 1639), Christopher Boyce (Virginia 1642), Matthew Boyse (Massachusetts 1639), Sarah Boyce (Virginia 1653), and John Boyce (Maryland 1658).
Numerous members of this family fought in the American Revolution, including Lieutenant William Boyce (New York), Sergeant Daniel Boyce (Virginia), Private John Boyce of Virginia, Peter Boyce (New York), Charles Boyce (Vermont), Private Latharias Boyce (Pennsylvania), and Corporal Hendrick Boyce (New York).
Several of these veterans received land grants from the government in return for their service, including Sergeant Arthur Boyce of North Carolina (1,000 acres), Private Jesse Boyce of North Carolina (236 acres), Private John Boyce of North Carolina (200 acres to his assignee), Private Seth Boyce of North Carolina (640 acres to his heirs), and Lieutenant William Boyce (over 3,000 acres).
In the United States today, the surname ranks in the top 1,000 most common surnames in the following states: Vermont, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, West Virginia, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Tennessee, Maryland, and Michigan.
In Canada, some of the earliest settlers with this surname include Stephen Boyce (1796), Ichida Boyce (1796), John Boyce (1796), Jacob Boice (Nova Scotia 1801), and Nathaniel D. Boyce (Ontario 1805).
James Petigru Boyce (1827-1888) was a Baptist pastor, theologian and author who was the founder and first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1827-1888). He was the son of Ker Boyce.
Christopher Boyse was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England in 1546. He married Mary Grace Wortley and had a son with her named Joseph. Joseph’s son, Joseph Boyce was born in Oxfordshire, England in 1611. He married Eleanor Plover and had issue with her as follows: Mary, Ester, Elizabeth, and Joseph. He went to Massachusetts. His son Joseph had four children, including three sons.