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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The ancestors of the Worthy family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The family name comes from the personal name Murdo. The Gaelic form of the surname was Mac Mhurchaidh, meaning son of Murdo. The name Murdo is equivalent to Murdock, and means sea warrior.

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Historical recordings of the name Worthy include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include MacMurchie, MacMurchy, MacUrchie, MacWurchie, MacWorthy, MacVurchie, Murchie and many more.

First found in south Uist, in the Outer Hebrides (Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Siar), in the present day Council Area of Western Isles, a region controlled by the Norwegians prior to the Treaty of Perth in 1266, 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 Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Worthy research. Another 237 words(17 lines of text) covering the year 1506 is included under the topic Early Worthy History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Worthy or a variant listed above:

Worthy Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Damaris Worthy, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • Dammaris Worthy, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Worthy Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Thomas Worthy, who came to New York in 1794

Worthy Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • George Worthy, who settled in New York in 1831
  • George Worthy, who arrived in New York in 1831

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  • Rick Worthy (b. 1967), American actor
  • James Ager Worthy (b. 1961), retired Hall of Fame American college and professional basketball player
  • William Worthy Jr. (b. 1921), African-American journalist and civil rights activist
  • Jerel Worthy (b. 1990), American NFL football defensive end for the Green Bay Packers
  • Dave Worthy (1934-2004), Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian House of Commons (1988-1993)
  • Trevor H. Worthy (b. 1957), New Zealand paleozoologist
  • Calum Worthy (b. 1991), Canadian actor, singer and musician from Victoria, British Columbia
  • Christopher John "Chris" Worthy (1947-2007), retired Canadian professional ice hockey player


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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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  5. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Worthy Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Worthy 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 7 December 2012 at 15:57.

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