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

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

Originally, Murdoch was a nickname for a person associated with the sea. The name Murdoch derives from one of two Gaelic names which have become indistinguishable from each other. The first of these, Muireach, means belonging to the sea or a mariner. The second name is Murchadh, which means sea warrior.

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Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Murdoch has appeared in various documents spelled Murdock, Murdoch, Murtoch, Murtough and others.

First found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murdoch research. Another 277 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1175, 1214, 1296, and 1420 are included under the topic Early Murdoch History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Murdoch family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 155 words(11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Murdoch, or a variant listed above:

Murdoch Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Murdoch settled in New England in 1718
  • Robert Murdoch settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • John Murdoch settled in North Carolina in 1774
  • John Murdoch, aged 17, arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774
  • Archibald Murdoch, aged 17, landed in New York, NY in 1774

Murdoch Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Sarah Murdoch, who landed in America in 1805
  • Thomas Murdoch, aged 8, arrived in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1805
  • Thos Murdoch, who landed in America in 1805
  • Margaret Murdoch, aged 10, landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1805
  • Alexander Murdoch, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811


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  • Rupert Murdoch AC KSG (b. 1931), Australian-born, American media magnate and the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of News Corporation
  • William McMaster Murdoch (1873-1912), Scottish first Officer on the RMS Titanic and in charge on the bridge the night when the Titanic collided with an iceberg
  • David Murdoch (b. 1978), Scottish curler from Lockerbie, member of the 2006 and 2009 World Curling Champion team
  • Nancy Murdoch (b. 1969), Scottish curling coach from Lockerbie
  • Bobby Murdoch (1944-2001), Scottish professional footballer
  • James Murdoch (1856-1921), Scottish scholar and journalist
  • Stewart Murdoch (b. 1990), Scottish professional football player from Aberdeen
  • William Murdoch (1754-1839), Scottish engineer and inventor who built a prototype steam locomotive in 1784, recipient of the Rumford Medal
  • Mr. William John Murdoch (d. 1912), aged 33, Scottish Senior Sixth Engineer from Stirling, Scotland who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Keith Rupert Murdoch (b. 1931), Australian global media executive, chairman and managing director of News Corporation

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Omine secundo
Motto Translation: With favourable omen.

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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  4. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  5. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  6. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  7. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  10. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  11. ...

The Murdoch Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Murdoch 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 19 February 2014 at 09:41.

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