INTERESTING HISTORY NOTES ON COY SURNAME
carefully reviewed ancient manuscripts searching for the beginnings of the COY name. These
sources included, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismal, tax
records and other ancient documents where they located the first reference of the name COY
in Cambridgeshire, England. Coys were seated from the very ancient times, some say well
before the Norman Conquest and arrival of Duke William at Hastings in year 1055 AD.
Coy, did occur in many manuscripts, but from time to time the surname included the spellings Coy, Coye, & Coey. But these versions took place even between father and son. For example, it was quite common for a person to be born with one spelling, married, with another, and yet another version would appear on his or her gravestone. Church officials or scriveners spelt names as told to them phonetically.
Available records indicate that the distinguished family name Coy descended originally from an Anglo/Saxon stock. The Saxons were a fair-skinned people led by General/Commanders during the internal wars. As relative peace was restored to the Country, the family name Coy emerged as a notable English family name in the County of Cambridgeshire where they were recorded as a family with manor houses and estates during that period in that shire(county.)
The Coy family became intermarried with many distinguished families of this county. Christian names that were popular at that time included names such as Felice, Wakelin, and Richard. They also branched to Hatfield-Peverall in Essex.
Even with plagues and famines during the next two or three centuries the surname Coy flourished and helped shape the culture of the nation. Later during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries all Britain was ravaged by internal religious conflict. First Protestantism, then the newly found political fervor of Cromwellianism, and the remnants of the Roman Church rejected all but their own sects. The Crown and Political groups all claimed allegiances, and imposed their influences on the populace.
Clans and families were deliberately broken and disbanded and proscribed their influence onto the political climate. Accordingly the Coy name was affected when many were banished to the North to Scotland, then to Ireland, and then to the Colonies. Families were "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or specifically the north part of Ireland. Some were rewarded grants of lands at minimal prices.
In Ireland they became known as the "Adventurers for land in Ireland". Essentially, government sponsored Protestant settlers "undertook to keep their faith, being granted land previously owned by the Catholic Irish, and were given this for a nominal payment. There is no evidence that the family migrated to Ireland at this time but the Coys were in residence in what is now Northern Ireland.
Genealogical historians in Dublin report that Coy is not an Irish name and that those who did come to Ireland were a scattered migration from Scotland or Wales. Whether the Coys were banished from the old country has not been substantiated, but the New World did beckon the adventurous. They migrated, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly from England, to their home territories.
Some Coys even moved to the European continent but others sailed among an armada of small sailing ships known as "White Sails" that plied the stormy Atlantic Ocean. They were overcrowded, pestilence ridden, and it was common for 30% to 40% of the passenger list to never reach their destination, dying from illness and the elements, many being buried at sea. A genealogical trace, then becomes next to impossible when attempts are made to locate the roots of many of the families of that era. Records were relatively non-existent.
Although no COYS actually arrived on the Mayflower, one married Ann Brewster, descendent of a Mayflower family. Also there were some Coys amongst the early settlers of North America. They could be considered the kinsman of the surname Coy, or a variable spelling of that family name. Edward Coy settled in New England 1695; Richard Coy settled in the Barbados in 1686; Matthew Coye settled in Boston in 1630; Richard Coy settled in Boston in 1630; John Coy from Brookfield, Massachusetts was killed by Indians on the 2nd of August 1675. From these early Coy settlers, in all probability, they're the ones who marked the start of a majority of the many Coy branches in the United States today.
From the overcrowded settlements of the East Coast ports many settlers looked westward and joined wagon trains to the Mid-West prairies and continued on to the West Coast. During the American Revolutionary War of Independence, many of the Coys remained loyalists and made their way north to Canada becoming known as United Empire Loyalists.
Many of the States, after the Declaration of Independence was signed, fashioned their own Declaration and asked the citizens in each of these Towns to sign the document. If they refused, they were branded Tories, or Tory sympathizers, and life for them became more difficult. The result is that many fled to Canada or other parts of the unknown country. William Coy in Claremont, New Hampshire was one such person and records show his refusal to sign the document in 1776.
In Canada they were welcomed and granted equivalent lands along the banks of the St. Lawrence River and in the Niagara Peninsula. There were towns or counties in New York State, even in recent years, where the surname Coy was seen listed in large numbers. The name Coy included many distinguished contributors, and the family name continued to make important contributions to the political and cultural life on both side of the Atlantic.
There are also were an even dozen Coys who fought in the American Revolution. Additionally there are a number of Coys that fought for the Union in the Civil War.
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Clifford L. Coy