• Joyce Heritage

Joyces of Canada: William Joyce (b. 1814)

Sharing the same strand of y-DNA as the descendants of Thomas (1722-1780) and Alexander Joyce (1719-1778), they all share a common origin from Scotland. However, the history and genealogy of William Joyce is different from the Joyces of 18th Century Virginia and North Carolina.

The son of George Joyce (b. 1769), William Joyce lived in an Ireland where political strife was common. His father, a loyalist to the King of England, served in the Rebellion of 1798. As an Anglican, he fought against the United Irishmen who wanted an independent Ireland. However,  even though he was successful in helping suppress the revolt, Ireland would later face a far more devastating situation. At the age of 28, William Joyce and his family were forced to emigrate to Canada for better opportunities.

When the Potato Famine struck Northern Ireland in the 1840's, thousands of people, Anglican, Catholic, and Presbyterian alike suffered. Starvation stalked every town and city as the economy declined. Not even the well-off family of William Joyce was exempt from these troubles. Sailing from Belfast, Ireland on 19 May, 1842, they sailed for Canada with no knowledge of the journey that lay ahead.


The District Tartan of County Armagh

The seas on the Atlantic Ocean were rough, and proved to be life-threatening. Off the coast of Newfoundland, "Mountain-like waves" threatened the lives of all 213 passengers. Ordered below deck, William Joyce waited countless hours, fearing when the last one would be his last.

Finally settling on the frontier surrounding North Frederickburgh, Canada, William Joyce became a well-known school teacher. Dedicated to living a simple, honest life, he was well-respected in the community, and was missed after his passing.

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