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Descendants of Robert Royce of New London, Connecticut

Generation No. 1

1. ROBERT1 ROYCE was born Abt. 1606 in Martok, Somersetshire, England, and died Aft. 22 September 1676 in New London, New London, Connecticut1,2. He married MARY Abt. 1630 in England. She was born Abt. 1609 in England, and died 14 July 1696 in Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut3,4.

Notes for R
This compilation of the descendants of Robert and Mary Royce of New London, CT was prepared by:

Michael E. Dobson
4706 Arbutus Ave
Rockville, MD 20853
phone (301)933-5909; email

It includes the work of hundreds of family historians that has been generously made publicly available as well as submissions made directly to the compiler. It is very much a work in progress. Corrections and additions are gratefully accepted. A major effort is being made to document the primary sources where known in an attempt to have as accurate a genealogy as is possible. Anything not documented should be considered unreliable and even documented information should be double checked for errors. Some relationships are very speculative and are noted as such. Credit is given whenever possible to the original writer of notes and to the compilers of various lines of descent.

I hope this compilation proves useful to my many cousins.

Michael Dobson, April 2002

Amy Ellis Shaw notes:

He was in Stratford, CT in 1643, was in New London, CT in 1657 and an early settler of Mansfield. Was representative in 1661. He was a shoemaker, a constable 1660, owned lots in Stratford 1660. Notes from History of New London, "where he lived in good repute". "To Goodman Roys for ye minister's dyet, 15 pounds". "Nathaniel Roys dug celler for Rev. Bradstreet". Robert Roys "orated and chosen by the town to keep the ordinary". "Mr. Roys lived on Post Hill". "amount of R. Royces property among the highest assessments for the ministry". "Died, New London, 1676".

Ruth, Sarah, Nehemiah, & Samuel moved to Wallingford after being married in New London. With Isaac & Joshua, were among the first planters in Wallingford.

Michael E. Dobson notes:

The above was provided to me by my father, Howard Arthur Dobson. He received this information from his mother's cousin, Amy Ellis Shaw. She was working from sources which have confused the two Robert Royces living in New England at roughly the same time notably James Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of New England, vol 3 p 570, and F. M. Calkin's History of New London, pp 293-295. As a result, the children of the two families are often found merged in various genealogies and you frequently see Joshua and Patience as children of Robert and Mary along with a birthdate for Nathaniel in 1639.

There is ample evidence that the Robert Royce married to Elizabeth was not the same as the Robert Royce married to Mary and the ancestor of the Roys members of my ancestral tree. In 1965, Clarence Leslie Hewitt, Jr. did extensive research in New England and in Somerset County, England. He published an essay on his findings entitled "Some Light on the Marriage of Robert and Mary Royce of Connecticut" in English Origins of New England Families, Series 2, Volume 3, pp 42-45 (originally in the NEHGS Register). His main conclusion is that there is no record of a marriage between Robert Royce and Mary Sims dated Jun 4, 1634. He further concludes that a marriage on June 4, 1624 between Robert Rayce and Mary Sims could not be the correct one. He does not believe there could be a 10 year gap between the date of their marriage and the date of their first born child, Sarah or Jonathon. Thus he concludes all claims that the Mary Royce that is our ancestress is Mary Sims are wrong.

He cites work by Frank Farnsworth Starr and Donald Lines Jacobus which provides rather conclusive evidence that the Robert Royce or Rice of Boston and part of the Winthrop Fleet is not the same individual as Robert Royce of New London, Connecticut. Robert Royce of Boston died prior to Oct 1652 and was outlived by his wife Elizabeth who later married Michael (Miles)Tarne or Terne. He had at least one son named Joshua who is mentioned in Tarne's will.

Charles Henry Pope in "Pioneers of Massachusetts" has three entries relavent to this question. On p 383 under "Rice, Rise, Ryce, Ryse" we find:

"Robert, Boston. Wife Elizabeth; ch. Joshua b. 14 (2) 1637, Nathaniel b. 1 (2) 1639, Patience b. and d. 1632."

This would be 14 April 1637 and 1 April 1639. I question the date of 1632 for Patience although it is possible. Other sources give 1642.

On p. 393 under "Royce, Roise" we find:

"Robert, Boston, memb. cch. 1632, frm. April 1, 1634. Ch. Joshua bapt. 16 (2) 1637, Nathaniel bapt. 24 (1) 1639."

The dates are 16 April 1637 and 24 March 1639/40 remembering that at that time March was the first month and New Years Day was 25 March.

These dates correspond to the Joshua, Nathaniel and Patience often found listed with Robert and Mary Royce of New London. Since they most likely were not in New England prior to 1640 and there is no record of births in England that correspond to them, I do not consider these children to belong to Robert and Mary but rather to Robert and Elizabeth Rice (Royce) of Boston.

Finally on p. 447 under "Tarne, Terne" we find:

"Miles, leather-dresser, Boston, .....(wife Sarah) died before 23 Oct. 1652, when he and his second wife (probably widow of Robert Rice,) sold land for the use of her two small children by her former husband, their names not given. [Col. Rec.] ..... Inv. of his est. filed by his widow Elizabeth July 27, 1676; "the house and land where he lived, the reversion whereof at the death of his wife being the inheritance of Joshua Rice as by covenant the 15 : 12 : 60"" (15 Feb 1660 Old Style Date)

The [Col. Rec.] above refers to Records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony or The Genral Court.

Marriage Notes for R
Michael E. Dobson notes:

The often claimed marriage to Mary Sims on Jun 04, 1634 cannot be substantiated. Extensive research in the Long Sutton, Martok and Lubenham, Somerset, England parish churches failed to show any marriage in 1634 between a Robert Royce by any spelling and a Mary Sims (Syms). The closest that could be found was between a Robert Rayce and a Mary Sims on Jun 04, 1624 in Long Sutton. Clarence Leslie Hewitt, Jr. in an article originally published in the NEGHS Register and later in "English Origins of New England Families", Series 2, Volume 3 pp 42-45 titled "Some Light on the Marriage of Robert and Mary Royce of Connecticut" concludes this could not be the correct date because the earliest recorded birth of a child, Sarah, was 1633-34 and they had seven children total.

Various genealogies published as part of the World Family Tree and elsewhere list up to 13 children with 3 or 4 being born before 1634. If true, the above marriage in 1624 could be the correct date. Hewitt mentions only two sons, Samuel and Nathaniel, but most genealogies include two or three others. However, it should be noted that there was another Robert Royce present in Boston and Watertown, Massachusetts about the same time whose wife was Elizabeth. This couple had 3 children, two of whom were sons, Joshua and Nathaniel. Elizabeth outlived Robert and remarried. It is very likely that many of the above genealogies have merged the two Robert Royces into one as did apparantly James Savage whose "Genealogical Dictionary of New England" is a standard starting point for researchers looking for early New England ancestors, as well as Frances Manwaring Caulkins in her "History of New London, Connecticut".

Children of R
2. i.   JONATHAN2 ROYCE, b. Bet. 1631 - 1635, Martock, Sommersetshire, England; d. July 1690, Norwich, New London, Connecticut.
3. ii.   SARAH ROYCE, b. Bet. 1633 - 1634, Epswick, England or Martok, Somerset, England; d. 01 May 1711, Norwich, New London, Connecticut.
4. iii.   NEHEMIAH ROYCE, b. Abt. 1636, Long Sutton, Somerset, England; d. 01 November 1706, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut.
5. iv.   ENSIGN SAMUEL ROYCE, b. 01 November 1644, Prob New London, New London, Connecticut; d. Bef. 24 December 1711, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut.
6. v.   RUTH ROYCE, b. 07 December 1645, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut; d. May 1695, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut.
7. vi.   ENSIGN NATHANIEL ROYCE, b. 24 April 1647, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut; d. 08 February 1726/27, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut.
8. vii.   ISAAC ROYCE, b. Abt. 1648, Milford, New Haven, Connecticut; d. Abt. 1681, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut.

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