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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Moriarty family come from? What is the Irish Moriarty family crest and coat of arms? When did the Moriarty family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Moriarty family history?

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Moriarty is O Muircheartaigh, which is derived from the word "muircheartach," which means "navigator."

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One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname Moriarty were found in the many archives researched. These included Moriarty, O'Moriarty, Murtagh, Murtag, McMoriarty and many more.

First found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moriarty research. Another 239 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Moriarty History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Moriarty Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish immigrants began to leave the English-controlled Ireland in sizable numbers during the late 18th century. Many of these Irish immigrated to British North America or the United States in the hopes of gaining their own tract of farmland. This pattern of migration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine caused a great exodus of immigrants to North America. These immigrants differed from their predecessors in that they were desperately fleeing the disease and starvation that plagued their homeland, and many were entirely destitute when they arrived in North America. Although these penniless immigrants were not warmly welcomed when they arrived, they were critical to the rapid development of the United States and what would become known as Canada. Many went to populate the western frontiers and others provided the cheap labor the new manufacturing sector and the building of bridges, roads, railways, and canals required. A thorough examination of immigration and passenger lists has revealed some of the earliest people to arrive in North America with name Moriarty or one of its variants:

Moriarty Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Daniel, Ellen, Eugene, Margaret, Michael, and Thomas Moriarty, who all settled in Boston in 1849
  • James, John, Martin, Maurice, and Michael Moriarty all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Henry S Moriarty, who arrived in California in 1898

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  • John Moriarty (b. 1930), American conductor and stage director
  • Michael Moriarty (b. 1941), Tony-winning and Emmy-winning American actor
  • Cathy Moriarty (b. 1960), Academy Award nominated American actress
  • George Joseph Moriarty (1884-1964), American Major League Baseball umpire and player
  • Brendan Moriarty (b. 1989), American film director and producer, known for his work in The Road to Freedom (2011)
  • George Joseph Moriarty (1884-1964), American Major League Baseball third baseman, umpire and manager from 1903 to 1940
  • James F. Moriarty, American diplomat and career foreign service officer with the rank of Minister-Counselor, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh (2008 to 2011)
  • Judith K. "Judi" Moriarty (b. 1942), American politician, the first woman to serve as Missouri Secretary of State (1993-1994)
  • Patrick Moriarty Jr. (1851-1928), American politician, Mayor of Ashland, Kentucky (1889)
  • Robert J. Moriarty, American former Marine F-4B fighter pilot who recorded over 824 missions in combat

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  1. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  2. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  3. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  4. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  7. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  11. ...

The Moriarty Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Moriarty Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 January 2014 at 18:09.

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