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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

The distinguished surname Morse emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Morse is derived from the Old French name Maur, which is derived from the Latin personal name Mauritius, which means Moorish or dark. Morse is a late form of the surname.


Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Mors, Morse, Mawse and others.

First found in Gloucestershire where, conjecturally being of Flemish origin they were one of the many settlers who were invited into England to improve the industrial capabilities of the nation.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morse research. Another 256 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1771, 1791, 1807, and 1872 are included under the topic Early Morse History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 20 words(1 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Morse

Morse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Samuel and Elizabeth Morse settled at Dedham in Massachusetts in 1635
  • Joseph Morse who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635 along with Anthony and Mary
  • Anthoney Morse, who landed in New England in 1635
  • Daniel Morse, who landed in Dedham, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Samvell Morse, aged 50, landed in New England in 1635

Morse Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Francis Morse, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • Michael Morse, settled in Boston in 1765
  • Phillip Morse settled in Trinity Bay in 1767

Morse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Barney Morse, aged 30, arrived in Maryland in 1813
  • Abraham Morse, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1824
  • John Morse, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • William Morse, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1846
  • J Morse, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

Morse Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Abner Morse, who landed in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Samuel Morse, who landed in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760

Morse Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Ben Morse, a Welshman, jumped his ship, the Perseverance, at St. John's, Newfoundland in 1818
  • Moses W Morse, who arrived in Canada in 1836
  • Moses Webster Morse, who landed in Canada in 1841

Morse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Charles Morse arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Competitor" in 1848
  • H.P. Morse arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Competitor" in 1849
  • Henry Morse arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Abberton" in 1849

Morse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Robert Morse, aged 24, a millwright, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ocean Mail" in 1875
  • Ann Morse, aged 24, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ocean Mail" in 1875
  • Robert Henry Morse, aged 2, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ocean Mail" in 1875


  • Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872), American inventor and portrait painter, but best known as the co-inventor "Morse Code"
  • John Torrey Morse (1840-1937), American lawyer and biographer
  • Wayne Lyman Morse (1900-1974), American lawyer and politician, professor of law and later dean at the University of Oregon, and a U.S. Senator (1945-69)
  • David Morse (1907-1990), American lawyer, Legion of Merit awarded soldier, and bureaucrat
  • Charles Copeland Morse (1842-1900), American businessman known as the "American Seed King", co-founder of the Ferry-Morse Seed Company
  • David Bowditch Morse (b. 1953), award-winning American stage, television, and film actor
  • Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826), American geographer whose textbooks became a standard for students throughout America, father of telegraphy inventor Samuel F. B. Morse
  • Henry Woolson Morse (1858-1897), American composer of musical theatre
  • Brigadier-General Winslow Carroll Morse (1904-1990), American Chief of Staff, Caribbean Air Command (1954-1956)
  • Sir Arthur Morse (1892-1967), head of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation during World War II



  • Morse Genealogy by J. Howard Morse.
  • The Ancestors and Descendants of the Rev. Daniel Morse by Colleen Morse Elliott.

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  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  3. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Morse Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Morse 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 December 2014 at 12:56.

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