The Truxton Boyce Genealogical Research and Family Papers

MSS 0583, Truxton W. Boyce genealogical research and family papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware

1792-1999 (bulk dates 1850s-1980s) ; 7.6 linear feet (10 boxes)

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 from Delaware and Virginia. The extensive material in these notebooks was compiled by Truxton W. Boyce and includes work on the Boyce, Justis, Morrow, Shreve, Wright, Brownley, Lawrence, Sebree, Adams, and Tuley families, as well as the family lines of his wife, Doris Jolls Boyce (including the Jolls, McColgan, Colge, Wise, Lutz, and Lorenz families). The genealogical emphasis began in 1961 when Truxton W. Boyce started creating an ancestral study of his mother, Elizabeth Armstrong Morrow, and continued researching both his and his wife’s ancestral past over the next fifty years.

In addition to the genealogical focus of the collection, nine autobiographical scrapbooks document the family life of Truxton W. Boyce and his wife, Doris Jolls Boyce, who began their married life in 1942 in Newark, Delaware. The Boyce family scrapbooks thus represent one family’s post-war, suburban, upwardly-mobile, growing and thriving American experience.

The Boyce collection of personal family histories, overall, 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 used 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.

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 gathered and documented the lives, marriages, burials, land holdings, family homes, relocations, important possessions, and occupations of generations of his ancestors.  His notes often include family memories and anecdotes about individual ancestors and remarks about the current location of family heirlooms. Altogether, this collection provides rich documentation for several family lines through nearly four centuries of life in America.


View the collection finding aid here.


Submitted by Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware


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