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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

Moss is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived near a peat bog. The name comes from the Old English word mos, which denoted a peat bog. The name may have been taken on as a hereditary surname by someone who lived near a peat bog. However, there are also place names that have come from this word, and the surname may have come from a pre-existing name for a town, village, or parish. Other instances of this surname may also have evolved from the personal name, Moses; and there was also an Ashkenazic Jewish name of uncertain origins that has evolved into Moss. Alternatively, the name could have an ancient Norman surname derived from "Godefridus de la Mosce, Normandy, [who] held a fief from Philip Augustus of the honour or Malherbe." [1]

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Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Moss family name include Moss, Mos, Mosse and others.

First found in Lancashire at Chat Moss, a large area of peat bog near the City of Salford, in Greater Manchester. Alternatively, the name could have derived from Moss, a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. One of the earliest records of the name was Ailmerus filius Mosse or Almer Mosse who was listed in Norfolk 1153-1168. [2]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moss research. Another 169 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1286, 1327 and 1327 are included under the topic Early Moss History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Moss family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Moss surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Moss Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard Moss who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Joe and Jane Moss settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jo Moss, aged 21, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Jane Moss, who landed in Virginia in 1642
  • Edward Moss, who landed in Virginia in 1655


Moss Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anne Moss, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Hanah Moss, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Robt Moss, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Wm Moss, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Margaret Moss, who arrived in Virginia in 1717


Moss Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Anna Moss, aged 35, landed in Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Bryan Moss, who arrived in America in 1806
  • Chas Moss, who landed in America in 1806
  • Rose Moss, who landed in America in 1806
  • Charles Moss, who landed in Maryland in 1831


Moss Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Robert Moss, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Moss Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Moss, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Priscilla Moss, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • George Moss, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • E. Moss arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lysander" in 1839
  • Samuel Moss, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Anson" on September 23, 1843, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia


Moss Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Moss arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Robert Moss arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Sarah Moss arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1863
  • J. Moss arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Viscount Canning" in 1865
  • P. Moss arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Viscount Canning" in 1865


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  • Thomas Warren "Tom" Moss Jr. (1928-2015), American politician, 52nd Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates (1991-2000)
  • Larry Moss (d. 2014), actor/director and acting coach. He wrote the acting textbook, Intent to Live
  • Jerome S. "Jerry" Moss (b. 1935), American recording executive, co-founder of A&M Records, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006
  • Santana Terrell Moss (b. 1979), American NFL football wide receiver
  • Randy Gene Moss (b. 1977), American professional football wide receiver
  • Frank Edward Moss (1911-2003), American politician, United States Senator from Utah (1959-1977)
  • Mr. John Barrow Moss (d. 1915), English Second Waiter from Crosby, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. William Moss (d. 1912), aged 34, English 1st Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Kate Moss (b. 1974), English fashion model, second on the Forbes top-earning models list in 2012
  • Alan Edward Moss (b. 1930), English cricketer

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  • The David Moss Family by Thomas Chester Moss.
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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: En la rose je fleurie
Motto Translation: I flourish in the rose.

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  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)

Other References

  1. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  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. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  11. ...

The Moss Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Moss 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 30 November 2015 at 15:57.

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