Truxton W. Boyce genealogical research and family papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

Truxton W. Boyce

Truxton W. Boyce (1919–2007), native Delawarean and University of Delaware alumnus, was an avid family genealogist and avocational historian. Boyce was born on April 23, 1919, to Elizabeth ("Bess") Armstrong Morrow Boyce and William Truxton Boyce. At the time of his birth the Boyce family resided in Stanton, Delaware, in what is now known as the Hale-Byrnes House. The Boyces were the last owner-residents of the historic home where, in 1777, General George Washington held a war council following the Revolutionary War Battle of Cooch's Bridge. The Hale-Byrnes house is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to visitors.

Following graduation from Alexis I. du Pont High School in 1937, Boyce enrolled at the University of Delaware. There, he met his future wife of sixty-four years, Doris Lee Jolls Boyce. While at Delaware, Boyce played on both the tennis and soccer teams and was president of his junior class. Boyce received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Delaware in 1941. Doris Jolls Boyce, who reigned as Delaware's 1941 May Queen and was active with the student theater group the E-52 Players, graduated in 1942.

After completing his degree at the University of Delaware, Truxton Boyce entered the United States Army Air Force in 1941. Boyce rose through the ranks, finally obtaining the rank of Major in 1945 while stationed with the Fourth Air Force in San Francisco, California. During his five years of service Boyce was stationed in a variety of locales, including Fort Du Pont, Fort Miles, Camp Davis, and in the Pacific Theater abroad (most notably in occupied Japan). He left the service in 1946.

Following his military career, Boyce began employment with Sears Roebuck & Co. in Wilmington, Delaware. He became assistant manager of several additional Sears stores located in Dover, Delaware; Asbury Park, New Jersey; and Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. After moving to Allentown, Pennsylvania, in 1953, Boyce became involved with the Stewart In-fra-red Commissary Company, a budding food franchise that used pre-microwave technology to quickly cook sandwiches for customers. Boyce remained with Stewarts, first in Allentown, then in St. Louis (1965–1971) and Boston (1971–1982), until he and Doris ultimately retired home to Wilmington in 1982.

Truxton and Doris Boyce had two daughters. Barbara ("Bunny") Jolls Boyce (married name Meyer) was born on April 4, 1944 and Virginia ("Ginger") Truxton Boyce followed on May 15, 1947.

In 1961 Boyce began conducting research into the ancestral history of his mother, Elizabeth ("Bess") Armstrong Morrow, who descended from the Morrow family, which settled in Wilmington in the 1830s, and the Justis family, which first came to Delaware from Sweden in the 1630s. Following this initial research into his mother's family, Boyce maintained his interest in genealogy and remained an active family genealogist and record-keeper throughout his life. His efforts have produced a multi-volume family history that details several lines of both his and his wife's ancestors. Along with his interest in genealogy, he also was interested in antiques, the history of America, Delaware, and Native American cultures.

Truxton Boyce passed away on April 25, 2007, two days after he celebrated his 88th birthday.

Sources

"Truxton Wright Boyce." The News Journal. April 28, 2007. (Obituary) http://miva.delawareonline.com/miva/cgi-bin/miva?obits.mv+68360 (accessed December 2008)

"Ancient tree once shaded Gen. Washington." The News Journal. February 20, 2007. http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070220/NEWS/702200362/1006 (accessed December 2008)

"Double Dels return." UD Messenger 14, no. 3 (2006). http://www.udel.edu/PR/Messenger/05/03/doubles.html (accessed December 2008)

Additional biographical information derived from the collection.

Genealogical Charts

The following genealogical charts were compiled by Lora J. Davis during the processing of this collection. These charts correlate to those created by Truxton W. Boyce over the course of a half-century researching his family history and housed within the thirteen genealogical notebooks in this collection (Notebooks 1–13). These transcribed charts are provided to assist with navigation of the collection and do not represent authoritative information for genealogists.

A statement is included following the heading for every chart indicating the notebook(s) from which the chart was transcribed. Extensive family and historical notes are included in the Detailed Contents List of this finding aid.

Genealogy Chart 1, Boyce Family (Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Delaware)

See notebooks 3 and 4 for the original genealogical charts from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 2, Adams Family (Virginia)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 3, Shreve (or Sheriff) Family (Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky)

See notebook 2 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 4, Martin Family (New Jersey)

See notebook 2 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 5, Lawrence Family (Maryland)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 6, Talbott Family (Maryland)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 7, Dorsey Family (Virginia and Maryland)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 8, West Family (Maryland)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 9, Wright Family (Virginia and Missouri)

See notebook 2 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 10, Sebree Family (Virginia and Kentucky)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 11, Johnson Family (Virginia and Kentucky)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 12, Cave Family (Virginia)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 13, Tuley Family (New Jersey and Virginia)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 14, Bowlby Family (New Jersey)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 15, Brownley Family (Virginia)

See notebook 1 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 16, Morrow Family (Delaware)

See notebook 6 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 17, Eves Family (Delaware and Pennsylvania)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 18, Ferris (or Fiaris or Fearis or Faris) Family (Delaware)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 19, Justis Family (Delaware)

See notebook 7 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 20, Brynberg Family (Delaware)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 21, Peterson Family (Delaware)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 22, Stidham Family (Delaware)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 23, Armstrong Family (Delaware)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 24, Springer Family (Delaware)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 25, Mahaffy Family (Pennsylvania)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 26, Hall Family (residence(s) unknown)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 27, White Family (residence(s) unknown)

See notebook 8 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 28, Jolls Family (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Delaware)

See notebooks 9, 10, and 13 for the original genealogical charts from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 29, Whitaker Family (Rhode Island)

See notebook 9 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 30, Child Family (Rhode Island)

See notebook 9 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 31, McColgan Family (Delaware)

See notebook 13 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 32, Wise Family (Maryland and Delaware)

See notebook 13 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 33, Lorenz Family (Delaware)

See notebooks 10 and 12 for the original genealogical charts from which this chart was transcribed.

Genealogy Chart 34, Lutz Family (Delaware)

See notebook 12 for the original genealogical chart from which this chart was transcribed.

Scope and Contents

The Truxton W. Boyce genealogical research and family papers contains twenty-six three-ring notebooks and nine folders of genealogical research notes, family photographs, correspondence, and other ephemera related to nineteenth- and twentieth-century generations of Boyce's family lines primarily from Delaware and Virginia. In 1961 Truxton Boyce undertook the task of creating an ancestral study of his mother, Elizabeth ("Bess") Armstrong Morrow. She was the descendent of, among others, the Morrows, who emigrated from Ireland to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1835 and owned a confectioners shop in Wilmington in what came to be known as the Morrow building, and the Justis family, who first arrived in the Swedish settlement in Delaware from Sweden in the 1630s. Over the next half-century Boyce continued his research into his and his wife's ancestral past and developed a multi-volume collection of genealogical records. In addition to these genealogical notebooks, Boyce also compiled several additional contemporary scrapbooks documenting his own generation's family history.

This collection of personal family histories is an important historical source for a wide variety of researchers. Genealogists as well as researchers interested in local history, photography, architecture and historic preservation, post-World War II family life, and other topics will find original documents in this extensive collection. As a repository for generations of original family documentation and ephemera, this collection includes, for example, images produced via many of the different photographic processes utilized over the span of more than one hundred years. The collection includes everything from mid-twentieth-century Polaroids and colorized portraits mounted on plywood to early nineteenth-century tintypes.

In addition to the significance of the material objects housed within this collection, the stories Boyce gathered and documented about the lives, marriages, relocations, and professions of generations of his ancestors provide interesting case studies for an investigation into the state of the nation as a whole at various periods in time. Each line of the Boyce and Jolls families arrived on the American continent during different eras and had variously rich experiences once here. The Brynberg, Stidham, and Justis families first arrived in New Castle and Wilmington, Delaware, from Sweden in the seventeenth-century, whereas the earliest Jolls arrived in eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island from England. Many of these early Jolls ancestors engaged in Atlantic whaling during the eighteenth-century. Boyce ancestor Uriel Wright was a prominent St. Louis lawyer during the antebellum period and returned to his home state of Virginia to become a Confederate staff officer during the Civil War. During the same period, Jolls ancestor Frederick Lorenz appealed for American citizenship on November 7, 1854.

The Morrow family owned a store at 211 Market Street in Wilmington, Delaware, during the last half of the nineteenth century, and Colonel Upton Lawrence Boyce lived on his wife's Virginia family estate, the Tuleyries, from 1866 until he moved his family to Stanton, Delaware, as a widower in 1902. In 1929 William Truxton Boyce was appointed Federal Prohibition Commissioner for the state of Delaware, and during the late 1960s his granddaughter, Barbara ("Bunny") Boyce served with the Peace Corps in Nigeria. These stories, as well as many others, illustrate the widely disparate lifestyles of generations of Boyce and Jolls ancestors. In addition, they demonstrate how truly wide-reaching a genealogy of one couple, in this case Truxton and Doris Jolls Boyce, can become.

While much of the focus of this collection is on Boyce's ancestral past, and thus of a historical nature, another wealth of information from this collection is of more contemporary interest. In addition to the genealogical content of the collection, Boyce also preserved his own immediate family's history via several personal scrapbooks. These scrapbooks (Notebooks 14–22) document over half a century of the lives of Truxton W. Boyce, his wife Doris Jolls Boyce, and their two daughters, Barbara ("Bunny") Boyce Meyer and Virginia ("Ginger") Boyce. The scrapbooks trace the Boyces' lives from Truxton and Doris's first meeting as students at the University of Delaware in the early 1940s, to their eventual retirement in Wilmington, Delaware, in the 1980s. The scrapbooks document Truxton's service in the Second World War, including the period when he was stationed in occupied Japan, and the young family's transition to civilian life with Truxton's initial sales jobs with Sears Roebuck and Company in Wilmington and Dover, Delaware; Asbury Park, New Jersey; and Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. The scrapbooks also document Truxton's rise through the ranks with the Stewart In-Fra-Red Sandwich Company from the mid-1950s until his retirement in the 1980s. This career moved the family several times, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, to St. Louis, Missouri, and to Boston, Massachusetts. Photographs, newsclippings, and ephemera illustrate Boyce's career, residences, home life, family activities, holidays, and vacations. The Boyce family scrapbooks thus represent one family's post-war, suburban, upwardly-mobile, growing and thriving American experience.

Boyce's research notes and records also provide a glimpse into a unique time and place. Boyce conducted most of his research during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and the research materials housed in this collection echo this time frame. In many instances Boyce utilized then-contemporary maps to illustrate the movement of his family members from place to place, gathered period tourist brochures and materials from his research destinations, and supplemented the genealogical charts he crafted with the then-current whereabouts of his relatives. All of this serves to add an additional dimension to the historical content of the collection.

The collection is divided into four series. The first two series, Series I. The genealogy of Truxton W. Boyce, and Series II. The genealogy of Doris Lee Jolls Boyce, solely contain notebooks tracing the family lines of Truxton Boyce and Doris Jolls Boyce respectively. The family lines traced in Series I. include the following: Boyce, Tuley, Adams, Sebree, Lawrence, Brownley, Wright, Shreve, Morrow, Justis, Eves, Armstrong, Cleland, Ferris, Brynberg, Mahaffy, Dushane, Sharpe, Hyland, Stidham, Springer, and Hall families.

Those families traced in Series II. include the following: Jolls, Lorenz, Lutz, Lepley (or Lepple), Herman, McColgan, Colge, and Wise families. Boyce did not trace every family line to the same degree of detail. Some lines, such as the Lutz and Lorenz families (Notebook 12), are only traced as far back as their mid-nineteenth century arrivals in America from Austria and Germany. Other lines, most notably the Stidham and Brynberg lines (Notebook 8), have been traced back into the seventeenth-century.

Series III. The life of Truxton W. Boyce is comprised of nine notebooks (Notebooks 14-22) and one scrapbook (Scrapbook 1) that document nine periods in the life of this collection's compiler, Truxton W. Boyce. Unlike the other notebooks in this collection, these nine notebooks more closely resemble personal scrapbooks with autobiographical content, rather than notebooks of genealogical research and collected family ephemera. The nine notebooks detail eight self-defined periods in Boyce's life. The periods are 1939–1942 Courtship and Marriage; 1941–1946 Military; 1946–1953 Sears Roebuck; 1953–1965 Allentown; 1965–1971 St. Louis; 1971–1982 Boston; 1982–1984 Wilmington; and 1985–1990s. In addition to these nine three-ring notebooks, Series III. also contains one bound scrapbook that was kept during Truxton Boyce's youth as a student at Henrik J. Krebs Grammar School (Newport, Delaware) and Alexis I. du Pont High School (Wilmington, Delaware).

The final series, Series IV. Miscellaneous notebooks and foldered items, includes four notebooks and nine folders containing items that were either not originally housed in any of the notebooks or do not specifically pertain to any one family line. The notebooks in this series include the following: Notebook 23 General Data and Letters, Notebook 24 Addresses and Antique Articles, Notebook 25 Boyce and other notes, and Notebook 26 Letters and family ephemera. Boyce apparently used these notebooks to collect varied reference sources supporting his research. These notebooks include information such as addresses of research institutions and libraries, correspondence with distant relatives regarding shared ancestors, a listing of family antiques and heirlooms noting both the items's original owners and who currently possesses them, and articles on caring for and collecting antiques. A detailed description of the contents of these miscellaneous notebooks and folders can be found in the contents list below. Notable among the items in this series is the reunion notebook of Col. Ephraim Preston Jolls, Class of 1913, University of Delaware. Jolls, who retired to Newark, Delaware, after a career in the U.S. Army, received the booklet "Ye-Old-School-Tie" (no. 1 and 3, 1951 and 1953), which includes biographical profiles of his Delaware classmates, many of whom served in either one or both of the World Wars.

Boyce developed his understanding of the lives of his ancestors by talking to and corresponding with living relatives, consulting county probate records, wills, church records, cemetery records and tombstones, and other common sources of genealogical data, mining through family held records such as family Bibles, funeral announcements, marriage licenses, birth certificates, and so on, and, frequently, by visiting the former homesteads and places of residence of his ancestors. Boyce kept detailed records of his journeys and, over time, developed an extensive family tree. The materials housed within this collection reflect his hard work and preserve much of what he collected while investigating his family's past. Much more than just research notes and demographic data, the notebooks preserve a remarkable array of original family ephemera, such as hundreds of photographs (including two tintypes) of relatives, homes, tombstones, and antiques spanning well over a century; nineteenth-century letters, receipts, recipes, legal documents and newspaper clippings; an 1841 cookbook; a Nigerian coin from the 1960s; and First and Second World War-era military medals.

Though each of the twenty-six notebooks is unique, the overall style, content, and structure of the notebooks are similar. Typically, each notebook opens with research notes on the family and several pages of handwritten genealogical charts. (Many of these charts have been compiled and reproduced in this finding aid in order to provide a roadmap for the collection.) Following the notes, Boyce has preserved correspondence, brochures, and maps, and any additional period items such as photographs and other ephemera related to the family line. Boyce's notes often include family memories and anecdotes about individual ancestors and remarks about the current location ancestral antiques. Altogether, this collection provides rich documentation for several family lines through nearly four centuries of life in America.