Family History & Genealogy
The English Family has been in the area southeast of Oxford since the 1200's. The family claims descent from Eustace, Count of Boulogne, chief ally of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, 1066. However, the definite link has not been established. The first to make his home in England was Geoffrey of Boulogne who appears in
1086 as holding manors from the Boulogne estates and from his wife's family, the De Mandevilles. He had three grandsons and it is from the middle one, Master Eustace, a lawyer in the service of the Archbishop of Canterbury that the family and the name are descended. One of his sons was seal bearer to Richard, Coeur de Lion, later Bishop of Ely and with his brother and stepfather was involved in the negotiations leading to Magna Carta.
The family name of FitzEustace was used during the 1200's but the `Fitz' was dropped about 1300 and `Eustace' continued as the family name. There is a father to son record until William who supplied stone from his quarry at Wheatley to build part of Windsor Castle. He sold the quarry to Abingdon Abbey in 1375. As there were no personal records at that time, the trail becomes difficult but we know of a Eustace who fought at Agincourt, another who was warden of the Queen's wood at Bray and several who were university students at Oxford. From 1550 to the present day there is a record of every generation including branches in USA, New Zealand and Australia.
Successive generations produced leaders in the community including lords of the manors of Watcome and Britwell; one was mayor of the city of Oxford. There are records of a continuous emigration into London and into Birmingham during the 19th century. One of the earliest migrations to the USA was in 1657 when William and Sarah went to Boston. They took the spelling `Eustis' which has remained to this day. There are at least three Eustis villages and three townships in the USA named for members of the family. The history of the Eustis family has been recorde by Professor Lawrence Henry Eustis Genealogy of The Eustis Family (1878) and The Eustis Families in The United States by Warner Eustis in 1968.
There have been three US ambassadors named Eustis and William Eustis served as Governor of Massachusetts. Another emigration was in 1676, when John Eustace, born in Bucks, who went with his wife, Sarah, and her parents to take over a property in the colonial Virginia. A Eustace of a later generation married one of their neighbours, a member of the prominent Lee family, who trace their roots to passengers on the Mayflower. Members of the Bucks connection went to Kansas in the late 19th century.
Considerable movement of Eustaces has taken place along the line of the Chiltern hills into Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire to the north and into Berkshire and Wiltshire to the south. Gravestones, memorial inscriptions and church bells commemorate their part in the life of the community over the centuries.
These pages © Ronald Eustice, 2009