Curphey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many of the oldest Irish surnames were originally in the Gaelic language native to Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name Curphey is O Murchadha or Mac Murchadha, which are both derived from the word "murchadh," meaning "sea warrior."

Early Origins of the Curphey family

The surname Curphey was first found in County Wexford (Irish: Loch Garman), founded by Vikings as Waesfjord, and located in Southeastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very early times.

Early History of the Curphey family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Curphey research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1127, 1172, 1650, 1716 and 1798 are included under the topic Early Curphey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Curphey Spelling Variations

Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Curphey were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. Murphy, Morchoe, O'Murphy, Murfie, Murfree, Morfie, Morfey and many more.

Early Notables of the Curphey family (pre 1700)

Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Curphey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Curphey migration to the United States +

During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Curphey family in North America:

Curphey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Curphey, who arrived in America in 1722-1723 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Curphey (post 1700) +

  • Theodore Joscelyn Curphey (1897-1986), American coroner, Chief Medical Examiner of Nassau County (1937-1957), Los Angeles County Coroner (1957-1967)
  • Major Aldington George Curphey MBE, Jamaican President of the Legislative Council of Jamaica (1952-1958)
  • Ian Curphey, New Zealand field leader of M.G. Laird's New Zealand Antarctic Research Program geological party (1974–1975), eponym of The Curphey Peaks, Victoria Land, Antarctica
  • Captain William George Sellar Curphey MC (1895-1917), Scottish World War I flying ace credited with six aerial victories; he died in a field hospital on 14 May 1917 from burns he suffered when his plane was shot down the previous day


The Curphey Motto +

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: Fortis et hospitalis
Motto Translation: Brave and hospitable.


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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