McMurdo History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Dalriadan kingdom consisted of the Hebrides islands, and the rugged mountains of Scotland west coast. The name McMurdo began in this region; it was a nickname for a seagoing warrior. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Mhurchaidh, which means son of the sea warrior.

Early Origins of the McMurdo family

The surname McMurdo was first found in Argyllshire (Gaelic erra Ghaidheal), the region of western Scotland corresponding roughly with the ancient Kingdom of Dál Riata, in the Strathclyde region of Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Argyll and Bute, 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.

Early History of the McMurdo family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McMurdo research. Another 64 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McMurdo History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McMurdo Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, McMurdo has been spelled MacMurdo, MacMurdie, MacMurdy, Murdoson, MacMurdiston and many more.

Early Notables of the McMurdo family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early McMurdo Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand McMurdo migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

McMurdo Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Francis McMurdo, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Racehorse" in 1868
  • Henry McMurdo, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Racehorse" in 1868

Contemporary Notables of the name McMurdo (post 1700) +

  • Sir William Montagu Scott McMurdo KCB (1819-1894), Scottish army general who saw active service in India
  • Lieutenant Archibald McMurdo (1812-1875), Scottish naval officer who aboard the HMS Terror explored Hudson's Bay and then Antarctica, eponym of McMurdo Sound, McMurdo Ice Shelf and other locations in Antarctica
  • Philip D. McMurdo (b. 1954), Australian justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Margaret Anne McMurdo AC (b. 1954), Australian jurist, current President of the Queensland Court of Appeal
  • Wendy McMurdo (b. 1962), British artist who specializes in photography and digital media


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