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Joy Last Name Origin


Choosing a name for your child is an important decision that can have a lasting impact on their life. One option that many parents consider is using a family surname as a first or middle name. If you have the last name Joy in your family tree, you may be interested in learning more about its origin and meaning. In this article, we will explore the history and genealogy of the Joy surname.

Meaning and Origin of the Joy Surname

The Joy surname has a few possible origins, depending on the region and time period. One theory is that it comes from the Old French word 'joie', meaning 'joy' or 'happiness'. This could have been a nickname for someone who was known for their cheerful personality or positive outlook on life. Another possibility is that it comes from the Middle English word 'joie', which was a term for a small piece of land or a plot of ground. This could have been a surname for someone who owned or worked on such a piece of land.

Early History of the Joy Surname

The Joy surname has been found in records dating back to the 13th century in England. One of the earliest known bearers of the name was William Joy, who was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of 1273 in Yorkshire. Other early mentions of the Joy surname include John Joy, who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and Thomas Joy, who was recorded in the Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379.

Joy Surname in America

The Joy surname was brought to America by early immigrants from England. One of the first recorded instances of the name in America was John Joy, who arrived in Virginia in 1623. Other early Joy immigrants to America include Thomas Joy, who settled in Massachusetts in 1635, and William Joy, who arrived in Maryland in 1664. Over time, the Joy surname spread throughout the United States, with concentrations in states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Famous People with the Joy Surname

There have been several notable people throughout history with the Joy surname. One of the most famous is Henry Joy, an Irish nationalist who was executed in 1921 for his involvement in the Irish War of Independence. Another notable Joy is Robert Joy, a Canadian actor who has appeared in films like 'The Hills Have Eyes' and 'Land of the Dead'. Other famous Joys include American football player Vontae Davis and British musician Joy Crookes.

Joy Family Genealogy

If you are interested in tracing your Joy family tree, there are several resources available to help you get started. One of the best places to begin is with online genealogy databases like or These websites allow you to search through millions of historical records, including census data, birth and death certificates, and immigration records. You can also connect with other Joy family members who may be able to share information and insights about your family history.


The Joy surname has a rich history and interesting origin, with possible roots in both Old French and Middle English. Whether you are considering using the Joy name for your child or simply want to learn more about your family history, there are many resources available to help you explore the meaning and genealogy of this fascinating surname.