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Origins Available: Irish, Scottish-Alt, Scottish


The roots of the Morrison family name are in ancient Scotland with the Viking settlers. Morrison was derived from the name Maurice. This comes from the Latin personal name Mauritius, which means dark. Numerous legends exist for the origins of this great Scottish Clan. One old tale holds that the Clan's Norse forbears were shipwrecked off the Isle of Lewis, and saved themselves by clinging to driftwood; hence the Clan Plant badge is driftwood. Another branch claims descent from the O'Muircheasain bards of the outer Hebrides. This latter legend is not inconsistent with a possible shipwreck of the Norsemen, as many of the bardic missionaries from Ireland were of Norse descent. Others claim the Clan is descended from King Somerled, King of the Isles, who died in 1164. Again, this is compatible with history, as Somerled was descended from the Norse Kings of Ireland and gave origin to many of the more notable Scottish Clans.

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The surname Morrison was first found in on the Isle of Lewis (Scottish Gaelic: Ledhas), where the first Clan chiefs once held the hereditary office of Judges or Brieves of Lewis. They also had their stronghold in the Tigh Mor' or 'big house,' which was near Habost in Ness on the extreme northern tip of Lewis. Their claim of descent from King Somerled is also substantiated by their descent through Ceadhain Mac Mhuirich. A Chief of a junior branch of the Donalds, he was descended from Somerled, and through Gillemoire, a brother of Leod (progenitor of the MacLeods) - both were royal princes of the Norse Empire of the Isle of Man and the Hebrides.

Sound and intuition were the main things that scribes in the Middle Ages relied on when spelling and translating names. Since those factors varied, so did the spelling of the names. Spelling variations of the name Morrison include Morrison, Morison, Morieson and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morrison research. Another 351 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1950, 1893, 1961, 1620, 1683, 1660, 1790 and 1852 are included under the topic Early Morrison History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Robert Morison (1620-1683), a Scottish botanist and taxonomist; and Ruaraidh ('Roderick') Morrison; born in 1660, he is remembered as An Clarair Dall, 'the blind harper', and held the highest place of honor for players of the clarsach. His ballads and poetry still survive...

Another 84 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morrison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Morrison family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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In North America, the monarchy was thousands of miles away and Scots were free to settle on their own land and practice their own beliefs. The American War of Independence provided an opportunity for these settlers to pay back the English monarchy and forge a new nation. Recently, this heritage has survived through North American highland games and clan societies. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Morrison or a variant listed above:

Morrison Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Henry Morrison, who landed in Virginia in 1648
  • Francis Morrison settled in Virginia in 1650
  • Donald Morrison, who landed in New Jersey in 1685

Morrison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hannah Morrison, who landed in North Carolina in 1701
  • Jane Morrison, who landed in New England in 1738
  • Charles Morrison, who landed in Virginia in 1760
  • Darby Morrison, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766
  • Daniel Morrison who settled in Boston in 1767
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Morrison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Benjamin Morrison, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1804
  • Daniel Morrison, aged 33, arrived in New York in 1804
  • John Morrison, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1807
  • Martha Morrison, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Elizabeth Morrison, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
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Morrison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • John Morrison settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1764
  • George Morrison, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1773
  • Mr. Alexander Morrison U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784
  • Mr. David Morrison U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784
  • Mr. David Morrison U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784
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Morrison Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Archibald Morrison, aged 28, a farmer, arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Andrew Morrison, was a magistrate of Ferryland, Newfoundland in 1816
  • James Morrison from Edinburgh settled in Ferryland, Newfoundland and died there in 1832
  • William Morrison, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Catherine Morrison, aged 20, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
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Morrison Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Morrison, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Thomas Morrison, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • John Morrison, English convict from Durham, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Charles Baker Morrison arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836
  • James Morrison arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Tomatin" in 1840
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Morrison Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Arthur Morrison, aged 23, a carpenter, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Agnes Morrison, aged 23, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Hugh Morrison, aged 50, a shepherd, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Anne Morrison, aged 40, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
  • Hugh Morrison, aged 18, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blenheim" in 1840
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  • Tommy David Morrison (1969-2013), American heavyweight boxer and a former World Boxing Organization champion
  • Dan "Danny" Morrison (b. 1974), American wrestler
  • John H. Morrison (b. 1933), former President of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars
  • John Morrison, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 19th District, 1845-47
  • John Morrison, American politician, Delegate to Florida State Constitutional Convention from Walton County, 1865
  • John Alexander Morrison (1814-1904), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania 7th District, 1851-53
  • John C. Morrison (b. 1901), American Republican politician, Member of West Virginia State Senate 8th District, 1943-46; Delegate to Republican National Convention from West Virginia, 1952
  • John D. Morrison (b. 1896), American Republican politician, Michigan State Auditor General, 1945-46
  • John E. Morrison, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 10th District, 1942
  • John F. Morrison, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Tennessee, 1944, 1948
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Morrison Historic Events



Hillcrest Coal Mine

  • Mr. Alexander Morrison (1878-1914), Scottish Miner from Wilsontown, Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse on June 19 1914

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. H N Morrison, British Signalman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. W Morrison, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. Kenneth John Morrison, Canadian 1st Class Passenger from Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
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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: Dun eistein
Motto Translation: Castle Eistein.

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Morrison Clan Badge
Morrison Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Morrison
Brieve, Gillmar, Gillmer, Gillmoor, Gillmoore, Gillmor, Gillmore, Gillmour, Gilmar, Gilmer, Gilmoor, Gilmoore, Gilmor, Gilmore, Gilmour, Juddes, Jude, Judes, Judge, Judges, Juge, Kilmore, MacBrieve, MacGhilleMhoire, McGhilleMhoire, Morieson, Morison, Morisson, Morrieson, Morrison, Morrisson, Morson and more.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    2. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
    3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
    4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    5. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
    6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    8. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
    9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
    11. ...

    The Morrison Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Morrison 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 11 July 2016 at 16:55.

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