JOYCE families descend from Thomas de Jorse a 13th century Cambro-Norman settler from Wales, who came to County Galway and settled there. He is reputed to be the progenitor of the Joyce families, numerous in Connacht. The stronghold of the Joyce families was in Ross barony, County Galway, commonly known as Joyce's county. Early records of the name mention Goce Fitz-Peter, Sherif of London in 1211. Josse Shepherd, was recorded in the year of 1273 in Ireland. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. An notable bearer of the name was James Augustine Aloysius JOYCE (1882-1941) the Irish writer born in Dublin. He was a linguist and voracious reader. In 1922 he published 'Ulysses' in Paris, and it was not published in the United Kingdom until 1936, although now it is regarded as a epochal, a great leap forward for fiction. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.
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