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

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

The ancient Scottish name Moffatt was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name lived in the place called Moffatt, in Scotland. The place-name is derived from the Gaelic words magh and fada, which mean field and long. Hence, the surname Moffatt means, from the long field.

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The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Moffatt has been spelled Moffatt, Maffat, Maffett, Maffet, Moffat, Moffet, Moffett, Moffert, Moffertt, Moffit, Moffitt, Merphet, Merphett, Merfet, Merfett, Murphat, Murphatt, Murphet, Murphett, Muffat, Muffatt, Muffett, Muffet, Muffit and many more.

First found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, at Annandale where the first on record was Nicholas de Mufet who began his life as a simple cleric and was first recorded as witness to a charter by Walter, bishop of Glasgow, some time before 1232. Approximately twenty years later, in 1250, he was made Archdeacon of Theuidale and eventually, in 1268, he was made Bishop of Glasgow. After only two years of holding the position of bishop, he died, in the year 1270.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moffatt research. Another 221 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1348, 1467, 1553, 1604, 1553, 1604, 1795, 1883, 1815 and 1870 are included under the topic Early Moffatt History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 181 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Moffatt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Moffatt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 127 words(9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Moffatt Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Moffatt, who landed in Maryland in 1663

Moffatt Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Thomas Moffatt settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1712
  • Thomas Moffatt, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712

Moffatt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • William Moffatt, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • James Moffatt, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1870
  • Robert Moffatt, who arrived in California in 1876

Moffatt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Moffatt, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • George Moffatt, aged 30, a joiner, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Joseph Rowan"
  • Mary Moffatt, aged 18, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Melbourne"

Moffatt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Moffatt arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861
  • H. Moffatt arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Balaklava" in 1864
  • John Moffatt, aged 18, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878

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  • Seth Crittenden Moffatt (1841-1887), American politician, 29th Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives (1881-1882)
  • John Moffatt (b. 1964), American television producer and world record holder for distance traveled on a personal water craft
  • Henry Keith Moffatt FRS, FRSE (b. 1935), Scottish applied mathematician
  • James Moffatt (1870-1944), Scottish theologian and Bible translator
  • Mr. William Moffatt (d. 1915), Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Winchester, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. John Herbertson Bernstone Hyman Moffatt (d. 1915), English First Waiter from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Albert John Moffatt (1922-2012), English actor and playwright, best known for his portrayal of Hercule Poirot on BBC Radio
  • Scott Andrew Moffatt (b. 1983), Canadian co-founder with his brothers, Clint, Bob and Dave of the Moffatts, a Canadian country music vocal group from Whitehorse, Yukon
  • George Moffatt (d. 1878), British Liberal Party politician, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth (1845-1852), for Ashburton (1852-1859) and for Honiton (1860-1865)
  • Bernard Moffatt (b. 1946), Manx political campaigner and trade unionist

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  1. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  8. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  9. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  11. ...

The Moffatt Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Moffatt 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 3 August 2015 at 21:52.

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