Robert Joyce (Newfoundland)

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Greetings from Canada,

I am descended from a Robert (Robin) Joyce located in Freshwater, Carbonear, Newfoundland 200 years ago.  There is a record of his having shared a plantation with a John Harvey in 1804 (i.e. they were involved in fishing) and having children Elizabeth, George, William and Patience.  We have no evidence whatever of his origins, but most of the English population from the area came from the west country, and mainly from Dorset.  For example my 2x great-grandfather Edward Bemister came from Corfe Mullen to Freshwater and his daughter married Robert (Robin) Joyce's grandson, also called Robert.  There are lots of reasons to believe that many of the settlers from the Poole, Sturminster Marshall, Sturminster Newton, Lyme Regis area knew one another's families before emigration and in many cases came to the new world in the employ of the same merchant firms, e.g. George and James Kemp of Poole.

In the case of Robert Joyce, we think it likely that he came from Dorset or Devon, may have been in the fishing trade before emigration and have had his own boats, and may have been a buddy of John Harvey before emigration. They bought the plantation for $40 Pounds - no small sum in those days. So they were not by any means destitute.  I found the Dorset voters list of 1807 on the web which lists a number of Harveys and Joyces in Dorset in that period.

So that is the background to my inquiry as to whether you have ever come across a Robert Joyce who might have been the one who emigrated to Newfoundland just before 1800 I would think.  He might have been born in the 1770's.

Any information would be much appreciated. email

Sincerely,
Cameron Hopkins
Sudbury, Ontario

P.S.  I now live in central Canada, but grew up in St John's NF and spent lots of time in the Carbonear - Freshwater area growing up.  A great place to go back to!

contributed March 2002

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