The Poncys of France and Martinique


Meaning of Poncy

The name Poncy is derived from the Latin name Pontius. When modern surnames came into wide usage, it was common for people to be named after saints, and there were three saints in France named St. Poncy (or some variation).

Our ancestors from Marseille likely were named after St. Pons of Nice. A baptismal name prevalent in the Ariege and Pyrenees-Orientales, and common there from medieval times. It comes from the latin Pontius. Saint Pons was martyred in Cimiez (Nice) in the third century. A few centuries later, his remains were supposedly taken to the cathedral of Saint-Pons, near Beziers.

Another possibility, less likely, is St. Pontius (or Ebontius) of Comminges, born in 1104 ce. Pontius became the Bishop of Bibastro after the Moors were driven from northern Spain, in the late twelfth century.

The name spread out from the eastern Pyranees region, all along the Mediterranean coast from Spain to Italy, the Castilian form is Ponce, Poncy in France, and Ponsi or Ponzi in Italy. Other variations include Ponti and Pons and Pond.

There are a number of Poncys throughout France, but the name is relatively rare, compared to other surnames. Poncy families in North America come from at least two unrelated family lines, one of which emigrated to Canada (New France) in the seventeenth century from the village of St. Poncy, in northern France.

Our family came here by way of Marseille and Martinique.

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